Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/22/1994 03:00 PM House HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
           HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES                         
                       STANDING COMMITTEE                                      
                        February 22, 1994                                      
                            3:00 p.m.                                          
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
  Rep. Cynthia Toohey, Co-Chair                                                
  Rep. Con Bunde, Co-Chair                                                     
  Rep. Gary Davis, Vice Chair                                                  
  Rep. Al Vezey                                                                
  Rep. Pete Kott                                                               
  Rep. Harley Olberg                                                           
  Rep. Irene Nicholia                                                          
  Rep. Tom Brice                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
  Rep. Bettye Davis (excused)                                                  
  OTHER LEGISLATORS PRESENT                                                    
  Rep. Terry Martin                                                            
  Rep. Jeannette James                                                         
  Rep. Eldon Mulder                                                            
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
  HB 417:   "An Act relating to the possession of deadly                       
            weapons within the grounds of or on the parking                    
            lot of preschools, elementary, junior high, and                    
            secondary schools; and relating to school lockers                  
            and other containers provided in a public or                       
            private school by the school or the school                         
            PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                            
  *HB 362:  "An Act establishing the crime of aiding the                       
            nonpayment of child support."                                      
            HEARD AND HELD                                                     
  *HB 429:  "An Act relating to the special education service                  
            PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                            
  HB 359:   "An Act making special appropriations to the                       
            Department of Education for construction or                        
            upgrade of schools on military installations: and                  
            providing for an effective date."                                  
            PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                            
  HJR 47:   Relating to schools on military installations."                    
            PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                            
  (* First public hearing.)                                                    
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
  JERRY LUCKHAUPT, Attorney                                                    
  Legislative Legal Counsel                                                    
  Legislative Affairs Agency                                                   
  130 Seward St.                                                               
  Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                         
  Phone:  (907) 465-2450                                                       
  Position Statement:  Answered legal questions on CSHB 417                    
  MARGOT KNUTH, Assistant Attorneys General                                    
  Department of Law                                                            
  P.O. Box 110300                                                              
  Juneau, Alaska 99811-0300                                                    
  Phone:  (907) 465-4049                                                       
  Position Statement:  Answered legal questions on CSHB 417                    
  MARY GAY, Director                                                           
  Child Support Enforcement Division                                           
  Department of Revenue                                                        
  550 W. 7th, Ste 312                                                          
  Anchorage, Alaska 99501-3556                                                 
  Phone:  (907) 269-6800                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified in support of HB 362                          
                       (spoke via offnet)                                      
  COMMISSIONER MARGARET LOWE                                                   
  Department of Health and Social Services                                     
  P.O. Box 110601                                                              
  Juneau, Alaska 99811-0601                                                    
  Phone:  (907) 465-3030                                                       
  Position Statement:  Answered questions on HB 429                            
  SHEILA PETERSON, Special Assistant to                                        
  Commissioner Covey                                                           
  Department of Education                                                      
  801 10th St., Ste. 200                                                       
  Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                         
  Phone:  (907) 465-2803                                                       
  Position Statement:  Answered questions on HB 429                            
  DAVID MALTMAN, Executive Director                                            
  Governor's Council on Disabilities and Special Education                     
  P.O. Box 240249                                                              
  Anchorage, Alaska 99524-0249                                                 
  Phone:  (907) 563-5355                                                       
  Position Statement:  Answered questions on HB 429                            
                      (spoke via offnet)                                       
  PATRICK MADROS, Chairperson                                                  
  Yukon-Koyukuk School District                                                
  P.O. Box 80210                                                               
  Fairbanks, Alaska 99708                                                      
  Phone:  (907) 662-2515                                                       
  Position Statement:  Testified in opposition to HB 359                       
  DUANE GUILEY, Director                                                       
  Division of Education Finance and Support Services                           
  Department of Education                                                      
  801 W. 10th St., Suite 200                                                   
  Juneau, Alaska 99801-1894                                                    
  Phone:  (907) 465-2891                                                       
  Position Statement:  Answered questions on HB 359                            
  PREVIOUS ACTION                                                              
  BILL:  HB 417                                                                
  SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) BUNDE                                          
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  01/31/94      2205    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/31/94      2205    (H)   HES, JUDICIARY                                   
  02/17/94              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                      
  02/17/94              (H)   MINUTE(HES)                                      
  BILL:  HB 362                                                                
  SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MARTIN,B.Davis                                 
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  01/11/94      2033    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/11/94      2033    (H)   HES, JUDICIARY                                   
  01/13/94      2056    (H)   COSPONSOR(S):  B. DAVIS                          
  02/22/94              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                      
  BILL:  HB 429                                                                
  SHORT TITLE: SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICE AGENCY                                
  SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) JAMES                                          
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  02/02/94      2220    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  02/02/94      2220    (H)   HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL                       
  02/22/94              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                      
  BILL:  HB 359                                                                
  SCHOOLS TASK FORCE                                                           
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  01/11/94      2032    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/11/94      2032    (H)   HES, FINANCE                                     
  02/08/94              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                      
  02/08/94              (H)   MINUTE(HES)                                      
  02/22/94              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                      
  BILL:  HJR 47                                                                
  SCHOOLS TASK FORCE                                                           
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  01/11/94      2031    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/11/94      2031    (H)   HES, FINANCE                                     
  02/08/94              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                      
  02/08/94              (H)   MINUTE(HES)                                      
  02/22/94              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                      
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
  TAPE 94-25, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE called the meeting to order at 3:04 p.m., noted                  
  members present and announced the calendar.  He brought HB
  417 to the table.                                                            
  CHAIR BUNDE indicated that Representatives Martin, James and                 
  Mulder were present.                                                         
  HB 417 - POSSESSION OF FIREARMS IN SCHOOL LOCKERS                            
  CHAIR BUNDE stated that after much consideration, he had                     
  Jerry Luckhaupt from Legislative Legal Counsel draft the new                 
  committee substitute (CS) that prescribes punishment to be a                 
  class A misdemeanor opposed to a Class C felony.  It was his                 
  intention that the Class A misdemeanor would send the                        
  appropriate message.                                                         
  Number 165                                                                   
  REP. TOOHEY made a motion to adopt the CS as a working                       
  Number 169                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE, hearing no objections, declared that the CS was                 
  so moved.  He stated that Section 1 amends AS 11.61.220 by                   
  providing that a person commits the crime of misconduct                      
  involving weapons in the fourth degree if the person                         
  possesses a deadly weapon on school grounds, a parking lot,                  
  preschool, elementary, junior high, secondary, and in some                   
  situations, post-secondary schools.  He said the violation                   
  is a Class B demeanor.                                                       
  CHAIR BUNDE then said, "Mr. Luckhaupt, I thought we moved to                 
  Class A."                                                                    
  Number 202                                                                   
  MR. LUCKHAUPT, Attorney, Legislative Legal Counsel,                          
  Legislative Affairs Agency, stated that the section Chair                    
  Bunde read from was used for the original CS.  He further                    
  stated that since he had been working all day, prior to the                  
  meeting, on the CS he did not have time to prepare a                         
  Number 234                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE indicated that version 8-LS1589/O (version O) of                 
  the CS was the proposal being addressed.  He asked Mr.                       
  Luckhaupt to address CS (version O).                                         
  MR. LUCKHAUPT said that Section 1 makes possession of deadly                 
  weapons on school grounds and school sponsored events a                      
  Class A misdemeanor.  He said it was the same language used                  
  in AS 11.61.220 of the previous CS (version J).  He                          
  continued and said Section 2 applies an exception to peace                   
  officers that allows them, within the performance of duty,                   
  to possess a deadly weapon on school grounds.  Section 3                     
  repeals the language that was taken out of AS 11.61.220                      
  regarding the possession of a firearm on school grounds.  He                 
  stated it was a conforming change.  He said Section 4 and                    
  Section 5 remain the same.  He indicated a change on page 1,                 
  line 1, of the title, where the word deadly was deleted,                     
  leaving the title to indicate the possession of weapons, not                 
  deadly weapons.                                                              
  Number 323                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE clarified by saying the term weapons would                       
  include deadly and defensive weapons.                                        
  MR. LUCKHAUPT agreed.  He said the changes required were                     
  minimal in changing from a Class B misdemeanor to a Class A.                 
  CHAIR BUNDE said last week the bill was amended to include                   
  school sponsored events.                                                     
  Number 353                                                                   
  REP. TOOHEY said she might be missing Section 5.                             
  MR. LUCKHAUPT interjected that a mistake was made and that                   
  Section 6 should be Section 5.                                               
  Number 387                                                                   
  After some discussion, REP. TOOHEY, made a motion to adopt                   
  the technical amendment changing Section 6 to Section 5.                     
  REP. BRICE asked if the word participating would include                     
  being a person who purchases a ticket and sits in the                        
  CHAIR BUNDE said that it was his understanding that a                        
  prosecutor would be able to establish to the jury the                        
  offenders' intentions under the definition of participating.                 
  Number 403                                                                   
  MARGOT KNUTH, Assistant Attorneys General, Department of                     
  Law, agreed with Chair Bunde.                                                
  REP. BRICE asked if the legislation was applicable to people                 
  walking in and out of the gates of a football game in a                      
  borough park.                                                                
  MS. KNUTH replied yes.                                                       
  Number 434                                                                   
  REP. OLBERG asked if there was a definition of defensive                     
  CHAIR BUNDE responded that defensive weapon is defined in                    
  MR. LUCKHAUPT read from statute the definition of defensive                  
  weapon:  "an electric stun gun, or a devise to dispense mace                 
  or a similar chemical agent that is not designed to cause                    
  death or serious physical injury."                                           
  Number 455                                                                   
  REP. VEZEY asked if lines 1-10 on page 3 were being deleted.                 
  MR. LUCKHAUPT said that AS 11.61.220 (a)(4)(a) was being                     
  REP. VEZEY stated that the line would read, "...knowingly                    
  possesses a firearm within the grounds or on a parking lot."                 
  MR. LUCKHAUPT agreed.  He said that lines 12-15 on page 3                    
  pertained to child care centers.  He indicated that the                      
  proposal was dealing with schools and weapons in school                      
  lockers and child care centers could not be included.                        
  Number 520                                                                   
  REP. VEZEY asked what the intent was under Section 2.                        
  CHAIR BUNDE said it was not his intent to disallow peace                     
  officers to have a deadly weapon when they are on school                     
  REP. VEZEY asked what Chair Bunde interpreted as being the                   
  scope and authority of a peace officer's employment.                         
  CHAIR BUNDE stated that they are following their sworn duty.                 
  REP. VEZEY asked what the circumstances would be if the                      
  peace officers were off duty.                                                
  CHAIR BUNDE maintained that they are still sworn officers.                   
  He further stated if a person is a sworn officer and is off                  
  duty, that officer is required to respond to crimes in                       
  REP. VEZEY suggested that the sentence be terminated after                   
  the words peace officer.                                                     
  Number 565                                                                   
  MR. LUCKHAUPT stated that the section was drafted the same                   
  way as existing statute.  He further stated that from his                    
  understanding peace officers are in reality on duty 24 hours                 
  a day within a municipality, even though pay is for only                     
  eight hours a day.                                                           
  MS. KNUTH agreed with Mr. Luckhaupt.  She said she did not                   
  find the language troublesome.                                               
  REP. VEZEY asked the legal circumstance of an off duty                       
  Fairbanks peace officer who attends a North Pole school                      
  function.  He stated that the officer would be clearly out                   
  of his/her jurisdiction.                                                     
  MS. KNUTH said that the language contained in the CS is the                  
  same language used for concealed weapons, which holds                        
  exception for peace officers.  She also explained that if a                  
  peace officer has the ability to carry a concealed weapon                    
  anywhere, he/she is also able to go on to school grounds.                    
  Number 636                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE asked if there would be legal implications to an                 
  officer in uniform wearing a nonconcealed weapon.                            
  MS. KNUTH she said what is trying to be avoided is the peace                 
  officer who "goes bonkers" and goes to a school ground.  She                 
  said that peace officers have no special privileges because                  
  of their specific employment.                                                
  CHAIR BUNDE stated, "Beyond the scope of their employment."                  
  MS. KNUTH agreed.                                                            
  CHAIR BUNDE understood Rep. Vezey's concern, but said he was                 
  comfortable with the language.                                               
  Number 685                                                                   
  REP. NICHOLIA conveyed the rural perspective.  She said some                 
  students have a long distance to travel to school.  She said                 
  they carry guns with them, in a car or truck, or walking, in                 
  case of bear encounters.  She asked what kind of impact the                  
  proposal would have on rural areas.                                          
  MS. KNUTH explained that there should be no impact because                   
  the focus of the proposal is to change the offense from a                    
  Class B misdemeanor to a Class A misdemeanor.  She indicated                 
  that there is already a provision to allow a student to                      
  obtain special permission from a school administrator to                     
  carry a weapon.                                                              
  REP. NICHOLIA said that the legislation would allow a person                 
  over 21 years of age to have a gun in the trunk of a car or                  
  encased in a closed container in a motor vehicle.  She                       
  asserted that in rural areas there are more trucks than                      
  cars.  She explained that with trucks not having trunks,                     
  most people have racks in their trucks.  She felt that the                   
  legislation would have a drastic effect on rural                             
  communities, and asked if there could be a change made to                    
  address the issue.                                                           
  MS. KNUTH said the issue was addressed when the language was                 
  adopted by the legislature two or three years ago.  She said                 
  that the law provides for these situations.  She said if a                   
  person in a rural community continually picks their child up                 
  from school in a truck with a rack with a rifle on it,                       
  special arrangements should be made with the school                          
  administrator.  She said the provision focuses mainly on                     
  having knowledge of the weapons in a community and making                    
  sure that people are acting responsibly.                                     
  REP. NICHOLIA said, "A state trooper or someone who might be                 
  in the area could interpret it in a different way, and we'd                  
  end up with a huge lawsuit or huge court case."  She then                    
  said that people in rural areas usually do not have the                      
  funds to defend themselves with a good lawyer.                               
  MS. KNUTH said the residents of rural areas should already                   
  be making special arrangements to avoid those difficulties.                  
  Number 786                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE observed that an intoxicated person with a                       
  loaded weapon on a school ground would be just as much of a                  
  danger in rural Alaska than in urban Alaska.                                 
  REP. KOTT, referring to page 2, line 20, asked if a security                 
  guard contracted by the school for a special event would be                  
  provided for within Section 2.                                               
  MS. KNUTH said no.  She said that a police officer is a                      
  person with law enforcement authority, and a security guard                  
  does not have that authority.                                                
  CHAIR BUNDE indicated that security guards on school                         
  properties are not armed.                                                    
  MR. LUCKHAUPT said that the chief of administration could                    
  approve the possession of weapons for security guards.                       
  REP. KOTT asked about the implications if a security guard                   
  were just contracted for a weekend sporting event.                           
  MS. KNUTH, to her understanding, said that private security                  
  guards are not permitted to carry concealed weapons.                         
  Therefore, she said, the chief administrative officer of a                   
  school could permit them to carry a weapon as long as it is                  
  not concealed.                                                               
  Number 850                                                                   
  REP. VEZEY asked what was being accomplished under the                       
  proposal that is not under existing law.                                     
  CHAIR BUNDE asserted that the main thrust of the bill is the                 
  ability to search lockers, which is not available at the                     
  present time.                                                                
  REP. VEZEY asked if that was not already allowed by statute.                 
  MR. LUCKHAUPT explained that there is a certain amount of                    
  authority allowed in common law to search lockers.  Students                 
  do not have an absolute right to privacy within a school.                    
  He said the intent of the bill is to provide chief                           
  administrators of schools with statute that offers                           
  guidelines of when and how a locker can be searched.  A                      
  level of certainty would be provided for administrative                      
  officers by decreasing the risk of potential law suits.  He                  
  further stated that the search provisions of the bill do not                 
  decrease or eliminate any other rights the already exist.                    
  Number 924                                                                   
  REP. BRICE made a motion to move CSHB 417 (version O) out of                 
  committee with individual recommendations.                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE, hearing no objections, said CSHB 417 had moved                  
  out of committee.                                                            
  CHAIR BUNDE brought HB 362 to the table.                                     
  CSHB 362 - "An Act relating to the statute of limitations                    
  for actions brought upon a child support judgment; and                       
  establishing the crime of aiding  the nonpayment of child                    
  Number 944                                                                   
  REP. TERRY MARTIN, Prime Sponsor of HB 362, shared a brief                   
  analysis with the committee.  He said the Child Support                      
  Enforcement Division (the Division) does not have the tools                  
  necessary to do an adequate job.  He said federal funding                    
  received during the interim provided for 42 new positions,                   
  allowing for more efficient enforcement.  He said the                        
  important element of the bill is the "third-party barrier."                  
  He related a scenario of a person who is working for an                      
  employer who is not only aware of the employee's obligation                  
  to child support, but also is helping the employee to evade                  
  child support payments or is fraudulently paying the                         
  employee under the table or is paying a relative or friend                   
  the employee's wages in order to avoid garnishment.  Rep.                    
  Martin said under those circumstances it is difficult for                    
  enforcement to tap the resources of the individual.                          
  REP. MARTIN told the committee that there was a chart in                     
  their bill packets that indicates that the total amount owed                 
  by the top 100 nonpayors of child support is $16 million.                    
  He said the factors range from delays in payments to people                  
  actually moving to remote areas to avoid contact with                        
  REP. MARTIN said the proposal is one of the most important                   
  tools developed that is not only necessary for the Division                  
  to collect revenues, but also is necessary to prohibit a                     
  third party from interfering with enforcement of child                       
  support.  He then offered a committee substitute (CS) for HB
  362 that provides an attachment for ten years as opposed to                  
  every year.                                                                  
  REP. MARTIN stated that the federal government has completed                 
  a report on the state of Alaska that shows the state has not                 
  made "reasonable attempts" to try to catch "deadbeat"                        
  parents.  He asserted that the federal government would not                  
  continue to support the state at the current level if the                    
  enforcement system fails to make advances in the arrears.                    
  He maintained that the Division now has the manpower and                     
  technical equipment to carry out the task, but legislation                   
  is needed to "knock down" the creative barriers that                         
  nonpayors have erected.                                                      
  Number 063                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE identified Mary Gay as being on offnet to                        
  testify from Anchorage.                                                      
  REP. MARTIN introduced Nancy Manley and indicated that she                   
  would be the spokesperson for HB 362 for the remainder of                    
  the meeting, as he had to attend another committee meeting,                  
  CHAIR BUNDE asked if there were any questions for Rep.                       
  Martin before he left.                                                       
  Number 076                                                                   
  REP. VEZEY stated that he had considerable problems with the                 
  proposal.  He felt it was inappropriate to hold family,                      
  friends, and employees responsible for a nonpayor's                          
  financial obligations.  He suggested that in a case where an                 
  employee returns to a business five years later, the                         
  employer would have been legally obligated to honor the                      
  order from enforcement for the five previous years.  He said                 
  not only would the proposed legislation hold the employer                    
  civilly responsible for the nonpayment of child support, it                  
  would also make the employer guilty of a Class C felony.  He                 
  said that he too is an employer and is concerned with the                    
  business climate of the state.  He said he could not support                 
  the legislation.                                                             
  REP. MARTIN stated that he has gone to the defense of                        
  friends who are employers that did not know the employee was                 
  in arrear for child support.  He said in that specific                       
  incidence he felt the state went "way overboard trying to                    
  make him be the guilty one" when his friend had no idea that                 
  his employee was in arrears.                                                 
  REP. MARTIN said the key words within the proposal are,                      
  "...one who intentionally..."  He also added that it is not                  
  only employers but also relatives and friends.  He said                      
  currently there is no way of preventing this type of                         
  evasion.  He explained that some fathers are so upset by a                   
  divorce that they would go to any lengths to avoid payment.                  
  Number 146                                                                   
  REP. VEZEY said that being in receipt of a law enforcement                   
  order that has not been obeyed by a subsequent court order                   
  does put an employer, in a knowing position, in the position                 
  of having to defend against an accusation of intentional                     
  failure.  He said it could cost at least $20,000 to go to                    
  court to prove an employer is innocent, and because of the                   
  economics the employer would likely plead guilty.                            
  REP. MARTIN said it would allow the people in desperate need                 
  of the support payment to defend their need of the owed                      
  Number 164                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE pointed out that Rep. Martin had referred to new                 
  computer equipment and other technology that would be needed                 
  and then inquired to the zero fiscal note.                                   
  REP. MARTIN said that within the last year the Division had                  
  been upgraded with funds from last year's budget.                            
  TAPE 94-25, SIDE B                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
  REP. TOOHEY said that obviously the chart of nonpayors                       
  exhibits many years of nonpayment.  She asked, if a person                   
  owed $207,000 and was legally working, how would that amount                 
  be "broken down?"                                                            
  REP. MARTIN responded that most people don't know that they                  
  can appeal for an adjustment that would be relative to that                  
  person's financial ability.  He said that most people do not                 
  go through the appeal process because they are fearful.  He                  
  also acknowledged that some of the nonpayors on the chart                    
  are indeed financially destitute, but the Division needs to                  
  know they can be removed from the list.  He then said the                    
  next problem that must be addressed regarding the chart is                   
  when to take people off the list.                                            
  Number 062                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE said he was relieved to find that it does not                    
  matter where people live in Alaska, they still owe money.                    
  He found it amazing that people can be that far in debt from                 
  places where they claim to not have much employment.                         
  REP. MARTIN said that the chart indicates how diverse the                    
  problem is, and how it shows that the problem is not                         
  centered in the large cities.  He then related the large                     
  expense involved in investigating a case in a distant rural                  
  Number 096                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE asked if Rep. Martin, upon passage of the                        
  proposal, was anticipating a bigger budget for continuing                    
  REP. MARTIN said that the department already knows who the                   
  people are and where they live that are participating as a                   
  third party in the evasion of payments.                                      
  Number 113                                                                   
  REP. VEZEY said he found it difficult to conceive of how a                   
  person could run up $235,000 of debt.  He said that at some                  
  time that person, in the eyes of the court, must have had                    
  considerable assets and income.                                              
  REP. MARTIN said that he could not give Rep. Vezey specific                  
  case figures, but indicated that a lot of the debts shown on                 
  the chart span many years.                                                   
  REP. VEZEY said if some one owed him $245,000 and he had a                   
  court order to enforce it, he would go to court to obtain                    
  papers to attach the debt to the nonpayor's assets.  He felt                 
  the $50,000 in the legal fees would be an excellent                          
  Number 194                                                                   
  REP. BRICE said he did not agree with the zero fiscal note.                  
  He asserted that it would probably be a negative fiscal                      
  note, considering the cost of finding a "deadbeat dad" and                   
  making them come up with the payments.                                       
  CHAIR BUNDE interjected that there may be "deadbeat mothers"                 
  Number 217                                                                   
  REP. TOOHEY said, "Once a father, always a father."  She                     
  said laws for child support enforcement may have only been                   
  written in 1980, and questioned if the debts are                             
  retroactive, perhaps dating back to 1971.                                    
  REP. MARTIN said that in most cases the Division is looking                  
  for the parent that has forced the spouse with custody on to                 
  the welfare rolls.  He said that when the debt starts being                  
  repaid, the spouse can then be taken off public assistance.                  
  He said the proposal would decrease the number of welfare                    
  recipients by finding the deadbeat parent and enforcing                      
  REP. TOOHEY said that in most instances, Rep. Martin is                      
  assuming that the parent is working.                                         
  REP. MARTIN he said the Division knows that the nonpayor has                 
  income but is fraudulently diverting income, either through                  
  employers, friends, or relatives.  He said that circumstance                 
  is what HB 362 is specifically addressing.                                   
  Number 269                                                                   
  REP. NICHOLIA, relating to the rural perspective, said that                  
  many people worked during the pipeline era where salaries                    
  were considerable.  She said now pipeline jobs are scarce,                   
  people have moved back to their villages where there are no                  
  jobs, and they are very financially stressed.  She felt that                 
  the bill would only add another burden, in that they do not                  
  often come out from under that kind of debt.  She also said                  
  that people in the rural communities would have a difficult                  
  time paying for attorneys in regards to adjusting child                      
  support payments.  She said Rep. Martin's intentions are                     
  good, but the bill would have a negative impact on people in                 
  rural communities.                                                           
  REP. MARTIN said HB 362 focuses on the third-party barrier.                  
  CHAIR BUNDE thanked Rep. Martin and said that Nancy Manley                   
  would be available on Rep. Martin's behalf to answer further                 
  questions.  He then asked Mary Gay to testify via offnet.                    
  Number 325                                                                   
  MARY GAY, Director, Child Support Enforcement Division,                      
  Department of Revenue, testified via offnet from Alaska.                     
  She said that the legislation would assist in the                            
  enforcement of payments by deterring individuals from                        
  knowingly assisting nonpayors for the purpose of defrauding                  
  the state.  She said it would also deter the nonpayor from                   
  concealing or transferring assets for the purpose of                         
  defrauding the state or the child for whom the support is                    
  owed.  She said the proposed legislation provides penalties                  
  for the person who is involved in a third-party situation                    
  and also the stipulation that the third-party would assist                   
  in the prosecution of the nonpayor.  She felt the proposal                   
  would prevent these practices in the future, as the                          
  individuals would be aware of the penalties for making such                  
  Number 374                                                                   
  REP. KOTT referred to page 1, lines 9-11, and said that                      
  under constitution a family member cannot be forced to                       
  testify against another member of the family.  He asked if                   
  the proposed legislation would go against that current                       
  MS. GAY said no.                                                             
  Number 400                                                                   
  REP. TOOHEY said that the person everyone is forgetting is                   
  the child that the state is having to feed and clothe.  She                  
  said all the proposal is doing is asking "these guys to make                 
  some restitution, whether they're in a village or they live                  
  in downtown Anchorage."  She said the parent is being asked                  
  to pay their fair share for the child, regardless of their                   
  race or gender.  She stated they are responsible for the                     
  children's well being.                                                       
  REP. G. DAVIS said he was sure everyone felt as Rep. Toohey                  
  did, but he felt the bill was extending the long arm of the                  
  law, which he thinks is already aware of who these people                    
  are and where they reside.  He pointed out the subpoena                      
  powers of the Child Support Enforcement Division and said he                 
  did not see how the legislation would help.  He felt HB 362                  
  would not have an impact on those deadbeat parents who                       
  already know how to beat the system.  He felt if he could be                 
  convinced that the legislation would have an impact, he                      
  could support it.                                                            
  Number 467                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE said HB 362 would be held over for further                       
  REP. VEZEY said that he did not feel the bill had any                        
  relation to the top 100 chart provided by Rep. Martin.  He                   
  said he would like to ask the Child Support Enforcement                      
  Division if it is known how many assets are behind the debts                 
  on the chart.                                                                
  MS. GAY replied that she could only speculate.  She said                     
  perhaps some of the nonpayors had considerable earning power                 
  at one time.  She related situations where an obligor and                    
  current spouse have a business, but the obligor would not                    
  receive a paycheck, and also is eating, driving a car, and                   
  entertaining on the spouse's business expense account.  She                  
  indicated that friends of obligors also participate in this                  
  type of fraud, and these practices are more common than                      
  people would like to believe.                                                
  Number 539                                                                   
  REP. VEZEY maintained that if $245,450 was owed him, he                      
  would go to any length to obtain any of the assets.  He felt                 
  the chart, with such substantial amounts, indicated                          
  incompetence somewhere in the system.  He asked what good                    
  comes from the bill if the nonpayor doesn't have any assets.                 
  He also felt that the legislation would make criminals out                   
  of civic minded, productive citizens, and questioned the                     
  classification of a felony.                                                  
  Number 567                                                                   
  MS. GAY asserted that it is a federal felony to owe more                     
  than $5000 in child support payments.                                        
  REP. VEZEY inquired as to how many people fill that                          
  category.  He said, "I don't see the federal government                      
  running out there to incarcerate these people."                              
  MS. GAY said, "...with the federal government ...they didn't                 
  fund the legislation."                                                       
  REP. VEZEY said he understood that.  He reiterated again his                 
  being uncomfortable with the legislation.                                    
  Number 602                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE stated that the bill was not ready to move out                   
  of committee and asked Rep. Vezey to chair a subcommittee                    
  with Rep. Gary Davis to work with Rep. Martin.  He directed                  
  them to come back with answers one week from the day the                     
  meeting was held, and at that time a decision would be made                  
  as to whether the bill would be heard again.                                 
  Number 627                                                                   
  REP. G. DAVIS asked if it was becoming easier to prove                       
  intent to defraud.                                                           
  MS. GAY responded no.                                                        
  Number 637                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE closed testimony on HB 362 and brought HB 429 to                 
  the table.                                                                   
  HB 429 - SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICE AGENCY                                    
  CHAIR BUNDE, awaiting the arrival of Rep. Jeannette James,                   
  took a brief at ease at 4:06 and reconvened at 4:09.  He                     
  announced the calendar for the remainder of the week.                        
  Number 689                                                                   
  REP. JEANNETTE JAMES, Prime Sponsor of HB 429, said, "I                      
  think this is probably the shortest bill in history."  She                   
  stated that HB 429 was intended to enhance the operation of                  
  the state's Special Education Service Agency (SESA).  She                    
  said the agency makes special education services accessible                  
  to children with severe or unusual disabilities who need                     
  specialized services not normally found in their district.                   
  She said SESA assures that qualified specialists are                         
  available to assist remote districts to increase their                       
  ability to deliver required services.  She asserted that the                 
  bill would repeal the requirement for the Governor's Council                 
  on Disabilities and Special Education to govern the                          
  organization.  She explained that the mission of the                         
  Governor's Council is to plan, evaluate, and promote                         
  services to people with disabilities.  It should not govern                  
  part of the service system that is designed to evaluate and                  
  critique.  She said SESA will create a consumer driven                       
  governing board.  The new board will consist of people from                  
  rural areas and representatives of organizations that use                    
  the agency services.  She said there is no cost to the                       
  program, and the Governor's Council on Disabilities and                      
  Special Education is an advocacy group not a services group.                 
  She said the Governor's Council on Disabilities and Special                  
  Education has been providing services.                                       
  Number 723                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE said, "This replaces an existing group, that's                   
  why it's a zero fiscal note... or the existing group had a                   
  zero fiscal note."                                                           
  REP. JAMES said that a board within the Governor's Council                   
  on Disabilities and Special Education will be made a                         
  separate board and stand alone.  She said that federal                       
  funding is already in place.                                                 
  CHAIR BUNDE asked if it is 100% federal funding.                             
  REP. JAMES deferred the question to Commissioner Margaret                    
  COMMISSIONER MARGARET LOWE, Department of Health and Social                  
  Services, stated that the board is state funded, under the                   
  same funds that provide foundation funding.  She said there                  
  is no fiscal note because only the oversight of the                          
  Governor's Council on Disabilities and Special Education is                  
  being taken away.  She said that there is no need for                        
  additional funding.                                                          
  Number 754                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE reiterated that the legislation was changing the                 
  name of the program.                                                         
  REP. VEZEY asked what the relationship was between SESA and                  
  the Governor's Council on Disabilities and Special                           
  Number 800                                                                   
  COMMISSIONER LOWE explained that the state felt services                     
  need to be accessible to rural areas around the state to                     
  "low incidence impairments."  She said low incidence                         
  impairments relate to circumstances where perhaps there is a                 
  blind child in a rural community and the school district                     
  cannot afford to hire a teacher for the blind for that one                   
  child.  She said the Governor's Council on Disabilities and                  
  Special Education saw the need for a program to address                      
  those issues and that is how the board was formed.                           
  COMMISSIONER LOWE said they have had a subcommittee of the                   
  Governor's Council on Disabilities and SESA has had                          
  oversight over the special education services with its own                   
  special board.  She further stated that the board has always                 
  been subject to the approval of the Governor's Council on                    
  Disabilities and Special Education.                                          
  Number 798                                                                   
  REP. VEZEY said there would be redundant board review.                       
  COMMISSIONER LOWE said there was not only redundancy, but                    
  also a main problem with the board is that presently the                     
  advocacy agency is also being the oversight.  She said it                    
  seems to indicate a conflict of interest.                                    
  REP. TOOHEY asked where the committee would go, or would it                  
  stand alone.                                                                 
  COMMISSIONER LOWE said it would stand alone, and then other                  
  legislation would be proposed to give it its own statutory                   
  REP. TOOHEY asked where the funds would be funnelled from.                   
  COMMISSIONER LOWE said that it is fully funded by the                        
  Department of Education (DOE).                                               
  Number 837                                                                   
  REP. KOTT questioned the zero fiscal note and felt there                     
  would still be costs to the transition that should be                        
  reflected in the fiscal note.                                                
  REP. TOOHEY said, if that were the case, the bill would not                  
  be supported.  She said it was a funding shift.                              
  Number 850                                                                   
  REP. JAMES reiterated that there was no cost involved in the                 
  removal of the board from the Governor's Council on                          
  Disabilities and Special Education.                                          
  CHAIR BUNDE clarified by saying, "This is a name change.                     
  There is still a cost to what this group does, but it is                     
  funded by the Department of Education."  He questioned if                    
  Rep. Kott was inquiring as to the how much it costs to fund                  
  that particular board.                                                       
  REP. KOTT said that was a fair assessment.                                   
  Number 881                                                                   
  SHEILA PETERSON, Special Assistant to Commissioner Covey,                    
  Department of Education, said that she could ask Duane                       
  Guiley, Director of the Division of Education Finance and                    
  Support Services for the Department of Education, exactly                    
  how much funding SESA receives.                                              
  CHAIR BUNDE said it would answer a question that does not                    
  affect the bill one way or the other.  He then asked for                     
  further testimony.                                                           
  Number 902                                                                   
  DAVID MALTMAN, Executive Director, Governor's Council on                     
  Disabilities and Special Education, testified via offnet.                    
  He said that HB 429 would repeal the requirement of the                      
  Governor's Council on Disabilities and Special Education to                  
  govern the State Special Education Service Agency.  He said                  
  the council had felt it was inappropriate to have an                         
  advocacy program also evaluating and critiquing service                      
  Number 916                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE asked what relationship Mr. Maltman was to the                   
  MR. MALTMAN said he was the executive director.                              
  CHAIR BUNDE asked for further questions.  There being none,                  
  Chair Bunde asked the pleasure of the committee.                             
  REP. VEZEY made a motion to pass HB 429 out of committee                     
  with individual recommendations with the attached fiscal                     
  Hearing no objections, CHAIR BUNDE stated that HB 429 was so                 
  Number 935                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE brought HB 359 to the table.                                     
  HB 359 - APPROP:  CONSTRUCT/UPGRADE ON-BASE SCHOOLS                          
  TAPE 94-26, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE asked if there were any questions for Rep. Eldon                 
  REP. TOOHEY asked if there was forthcoming information from                  
  the DOE regarding HB 359.                                                    
  Number 020                                                                   
  REP. ELDON MULDER, Prime Sponsor of HB 359, said that the                    
  DOE does not categorize military bases within their process,                 
  although the DOE would like military base schools to be                      
  within their process.                                                        
  Number 280                                                                   
  PATRICK MADROS, Chairperson, Yukon-Koyukuk School District,                  
  testified in opposition to HB 359.  He stated that the                       
  proposal would provide $26,099,300 of state money for the                    
  construction of a new elementary school at Eielson Air Force                 
  Base (AFB) and upgrades to the remaining on base schools in                  
  Fairbanks and Anchorage, virtually ignoring the statewide                    
  school construction priority process.  He maintained that                    
  Yukon Koyukuk and other school districts have followed the                   
  current CPI process and have also appealed the position of                   
  one of the district's projects.  He felt to pass HB 359                      
  would be to ignore the current process and statewide                         
  prioritized need.  He stated that the military base schools                  
  should apply in the same manner that all other districts are                 
  required to.                                                                 
  MR. MADROS further explained various states of disrepair in                  
  several schools within the Yukon-Koyukuk School District.                    
  He asserted that there must be equality in the process of                    
  prioritization with both military and state run schools.  He                 
  also indicated that the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)                       
  upgraded all their facilities before they were given over to                 
  the state.   He felt that military base schools should also                  
  upgrade their facilities before turning them over to the                     
  Number 394                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE agreed that the children of Yukon-Koyukuk are                    
  just as important as children anywhere else in the state.                    
  REP. TOOHEY said the military would like to give the schools                 
  over to the state, but the state cannot accept them because                  
  of the conditions of most of the schools.  She said it is a                  
  catch 22 situation and indicated that Rep. Mulder was                        
  proposing that the military pay half and the state pay half                  
  to upgrade these schools.  She questioned Mr. Madros as to                   
  how the problem should be solved.                                            
  MR. MADROS indicated that Adak School was upgraded and was                   
  eventually shut down.                                                        
  REP. MULDER explained that the U.S. Department of Defense                    
  (U.S. DOD) built the Adak school.                                            
  REP. TOOHEY clarified and said there was not state money                     
  involved in the upgrade.                                                     
  Number 479                                                                   
  REP. MULDER maintained that BIA schools were funded by the                   
  federal government.  He said that he would welcome federal                   
  funds to accomplish the needed upgrades.  He said the                        
  problem is that the military would never receive $52 million                 
  in one lump sum from the government.  He also said that if                   
  the base schools are not upgraded, their chances for closure                 
  are greater.  He said if the state leverages half of the                     
  needed funds to make the upgrades, it would show the federal                 
  government that the state is willing to cooperate and solve                  
  its own problems.                                                            
  MR. MADROS said that the Adak schools did not go through the                 
  due process that his district has.  He felt that Alaska is                   
  in a strategically key position and that most of the state's                 
  bases will not be closed.  He said HB 359 would allow base                   
  schools "through the back door" for upgrades.                                
  Number 600                                                                   
  REP. NICHOLIA stated that funding the schools and making the                 
  upgrades would not safeguard them from closure.  She felt                    
  that perhaps only one base would be closed, seeing as the                    
  state is so close to Europe.                                                 
  REP. KOTT asked Rep. Mulder what would happen if upgrades                    
  were made to the schools on Fort Richardson Army                             
  Installation and then the base was closed in 1996.                           
  REP. MULDER said that it was his understanding that "dime                    
  one" would not be spent on Fort Richardson until there is                    
  assurance that the base will not be closed.  He said the                     
  potential for closure is very possible.  He asserted that                    
  the economic impact on Alaska would be a loss of                             
  approximately $200 million annually.                                         
  Number 666                                                                   
  REP. TOOHEY asked how many public students are enrolled in                   
  the base schools.                                                            
  REP. MULDER said he did not know, but indicated there were                   
  more public students attending base schools in Fairbanks                     
  than in Anchorage.                                                           
  REP. VEZEY asked which school in Fairbanks he was referring                  
  REP. MULDER said he was not sure which school on Eielson Air                 
  Force Base was attended by public students.                                  
  Number 714                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE stated that the majority of the base schools on                  
  Eielson are attended by public students.                                     
  MR. MADROS noted that the Air Force guaranteed Galena that                   
  they would not close the military base there for an                          
  "umpteen" number of years if they upgraded their power plant                 
  facility.  He said a few years later the air force base was                  
  shut down.                                                                   
  Number 759                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE indicated that Mr. Madros brought up a good                      
  point when he mentioned due process.                                         
  REP. VEZEY asked Mr. Madros if Galena still has a 20 year                    
  contract with the U.S. Air Force regardless of the base                      
  MR. MADROS said he was unsure.                                               
  REP. VEZEY said that the U.S. Air Force did enter into a 20                  
  year contract with Galena, and it was his understanding that                 
  the city will be paid regardless of the fact that no power                   
  is being generated by the new power plant.                                   
  MR. MADROS asked how one goes about suing the federal                        
  REP. VEZEY clarified by saying that he thought Mr. Madros                    
  might have updated information on that issue.                                
  Number 796                                                                   
  REP. TOOHEY explained that if the state produces $26                         
  million, the federal government would match that amount.                     
  MR. MADROS reiterated that Yukon-Koyukuk School District is                  
  in need much like other schools and stressed due process.                    
  Number 822                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE asked for further questions.                                     
  REP. KOTT asked Rep. Mulder if there was a companion bill to                 
  HB 359.                                                                      
  Number 830                                                                   
  REP. MULDER said no.  He also said that the military base                    
  situation is an "odd duck" because of the problem of                         
  financial responsibility and taxing authority and because of                 
  the political dimension.  He said if it weren't for those                    
  specific factors, the military would go by the state                         
  priority procedures.                                                         
  CHAIR BUNDE said that he did not have any answers to the                     
  concerns of committee.                                                       
  Number 874                                                                   
  REP. KOTT said the question is whether or not the base                       
  schools should be funded.  He said he would support moving                   
  HB 359 to the Finance committee to make that decision.                       
  REP. TOOHEY agreed with Rep. Kott.  She asked Rep. Mulder                    
  who would be financially responsible if the ceiling was to                   
  collapse at Ursa Minor School.                                               
  REP. MULDER said he was uncertain.                                           
  REP. TOOHEY stated it was assumed that the roof of that                      
  school was in a worse state of disrepair than the schools in                 
  the Yukon-Koyukuk School District.                                           
  REP. MULDER said technically Ursa Minor is the                               
  responsibility of the U.S. Department of Education (U.S.                     
  Number 918                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE speculated that the U.S. DOE would close the                     
  school if the roof was to collapse.                                          
  Number 930                                                                   
  DUANE GUILEY, Director, Division of Education Finance and                    
  Support Services, Department of Education, answered                          
  questions on HB 359.  He stated that it was the joint                        
  responsibility of the U.S. DOE and state DOE for major                       
  maintenance and school construction.  He said the                            
  legislature has previously provided funding for major                        
  maintenance and construction to districts for life/health                    
  safety issues.  He maintained that $7 million was granted to                 
  the Anchorage School District for the seven military base                    
  schools.  He said approximately $145,000 was spent per                       
  facility to address electrical upgrades and fire marshall                    
  code violations.  He mentioned several other base schools                    
  that received state funding.  Mr. Guiley stated that                         
  Fairbanks has a six year plan that is a phased approach                      
  whereby they ask for planning design money and then the                      
  funds for school construction.  He said those projects have                  
  been applied for by the Fairbanks School District.  He also                  
  said the Anchorage School District indicated that they would                 
  complete applications for all military base schools on                       
  Anchorage military bases to be evaluated and ranked in the                   
  priority process.                                                            
  Number 017                                                                   
  REP. TOOHEY asked if the base schools would then be on the                   
  statewide priority list or if they would be on their "own                    
  Number 020                                                                   
  MR. GUILEY said the DOE would envision putting the base                      
  schools on the statewide priority list.  He stated that the                  
  Eielson AFB school construction grant is 14th on the                         
  statewide priority list and that it was number one on the                    
  military task force list.                                                    
  Number 035                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE appreciated the concerns of all who testified.                   
  He asked the pleasure of the committee.                                      
  REP. VEZEY made a motion to pass HB 359 out of committee                     
  with individual recommendations.                                             
  Hearing no objections, CHAIR BUNDE said HB 359 was so moved.                 
  He then brought HJR 47 to the table.                                         
  HJR 47 - FUNDS TO UPGRADE MILITARY ON BASE SCHOOLS                           
  REP. MULDER stated that HJR 47 was a proposal expressing the                 
  legislature's encouragement to resolve the military school                   
  base problem expeditiously and transfer the schools to the                   
  state's charge as soon as possible.  He said the federal                     
  government does have funds available to match the state's                    
  share.  He also mentioned that the Chairperson for the State                 
  Board of Education, Patty Norheim, was on the task force.                    
  Number 114                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE asked if there were any questions or further                     
  discussion.  There being none, he asked the pleasure of the                  
  REP. TOOHEY made a motion to pass HJR 47 out of committee                    
  with individual recommendations.                                             
  CHAIR BUNDE, hearing no objections, said HJR 47 was so                       
  Seeing no further business before the committee, CHAIR BUNDE                 
  ADJOURNED the meeting at 4:48 p.m.                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects