Legislature(1997 - 1998)
04/14/1998 04:05 PM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE April 14, 1998 4:05 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Con Bunde, Chairman Representative Joe Green, Vice Chairman Representative Brian Porter Representative Fred Dyson Representative J. Allen Kemplen Representative Al Vezey MEMBERS ABSENT Representative Tom Brice COMMITTEE CALENDAR HOUSE BILL NO. 201 "An Act transferring responsibility for the day care assistance program and the child care grant program from the Department of Community and Regional Affairs to the Department of Health and Social Services; and providing for an effective date." - HEARD AND HELD HOUSE BILL NO. 429 "An Act relating to vocational education." - HEARD AND HELD SENATE BILL NO. 17 "An Act creating the crime of criminal transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)." - PASSED SB 17 OUT OF COMMITTEE (* First public hearing) PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 201 SHORT TITLE: DAY CARE TO DHSSC SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) HANLEY Jrn-Date Jrn-Page Action 3/18/97 737 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 3/18/97 737 (H) HES, FINANCE 4/14/98 (H) HES AT 4:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 429 SHORT TITLE: REQUIRING VOCATIONAL EDUCATION SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) AUSTERMAN Jrn-Date Jrn-Page Action 2/18/98 2353 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 2/18/98 2353 (H) HES 3/19/98 (H) HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106 3/19/98 (H) MINUTE(HES) 4/09/98 (H) HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106 4/09/98 (H) MINUTE(HES) 4/14/98 (H) HES AT 4:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: SB 17 SHORT TITLE: CRIMINAL TRANSMISSION OF HIV SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) TAYLOR, Pearce, Miller, Ward; REPRESENTATIVE(S) Rokeberg Jrn-Date Jrn-Page Action 1/13/97 18 (S) PREFILE RELEASED 1/3/97 1/13/97 18 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 1/13/97 18 (S) HES, JUD, FIN 4/11/97 (S) HES AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 4/11/97 (S) MINUTE(HES) 4/11/97 1099 (S) HES RPT 2DP 1NR 4/11/97 1099 (S) DP: LEMAN, WARD; NR: WILKEN 4/11/97 1099 (S) ZERO FISCAL NOTES (ADM, DPS, LAW) 4/11/97 1099 (S) JUD REFERRAL WAIVED 4/15/97 (S) MINUTE(FIN) 4/22/97 (S) FIN AT 9:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532 4/22/97 1383 (S) FIN RPT 1DP 4NR 1DNP 4/22/97 1383 (S) DP: TORGERSON; DNP: ADAMS 4/22/97 1383 (S) NR: PEARCE, SHARP, PHILLIPS, DONLEY 4/22/97 1383 (S) PREVIOUS ZERO FNS (ADM, DPS, LAW) 4/25/97 (S) RLS AT 10:45 AM FAHRENKAMP RM 203 4/25/97 (S) MINUTE(RLS) 4/25/97 1478 (S) RULES TO CALENDAR 4/25/97 4/25/97 1485 (S) READ THE SECOND TIME 4/25/97 1485 (S) ADVANCED TO THIRD READING UNAN CONSENT 4/25/97 1485 (S) READ THE THIRD TIME SB 17 4/25/97 1485 (S) MTN TO REMOVE (ADM, LAW)FN ANALYSES NOT 4/25/97 1485 (S) ADDRESSING FISCAL IMPLICATION ADP Y14 N6 4/25/97 1485 (S) COSPONSOR(S): MILLER, WARD 4/25/97 1486 (S) PASSED Y14 N6 4/25/97 1486 (S) DUNCAN NOTICE OF RECONSIDERATION 4/28/97 1513 (S) RECON TAKEN UP - IN THIRD READING 4/28/97 1513 (S) PASSED ON RECONSIDERATION Y14 N5 E1 4/28/97 1530 (S) TRANSMITTED TO (H) 4/30/97 1393 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 4/30/97 1393 (H) HES, JUDICIARY, FINANCE 3/12/98 (H) HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106 3/12/98 (H) MINUTE(HES) 4/07/98 (H) HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106 4/07/98 (H) MINUTE(HES) 4/14/98 (H) HES AT 4:00 PM CAPITOL 106 WITNESS REGISTER REPRESENTATIVE MARK HANLEY Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 507 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-4939 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified as sponsor of HB 201. LAMAR COTTON, Deputy Commissioner Department of Community and Regional Affairs P.O. Box 112100 Juneau, Alaska 99811-2100 Telephone: (907) 465-4700 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to HB 201. YVONNE CHASE, Director Division of Community and Rural Development Department of Community and Regional Affairs 333 West 4th Avenue, Suite 220 Anchorage, Alaska 99501-2341 Telephone: (907) 269-4610 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to HB 201. JEWEL JONES Municipality of Anchorage P.O. Box 196650 Anchorage, Alaska 99519 Telephone: (907) 343-4667 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 201. JEAN STRAATMEYER, Administrator Child Care Assistance HC01, Box 6446 Palmer, Alaska 99645 Telephone: (907) 373-1456 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 201. JIM NORDLUND, Director Division of Public Assistance Department of Health and Social Services P.O. Box 110640 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0640 Telephone: (907) 465-2680 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 201. REPRESENTATIVE ALAN AUSTERMAN Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 434 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-2487 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 429. MEL KROGSENG, Legislative Assistant to Senator Robin Taylor Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 30 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-3873 POSITION STATEMENT: Presented SB 17. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 98-46, SIDE A Number 0001 CHAIRMAN CON BUNDE called the House Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee meeting to order at 4:05 p.m. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Bunde, Green, Porter, Dyson and Kemplen. Representative Vezey arrived while the meeting was in progress. Representative Brice was absent. The meeting was teleconferenced for listen-only. HB 201 - DAY CARE TO DHSSC Number 0059 CHAIRMAN BUNDE announced the first order of business to come before the committee was HB 201, "An Act transferring responsibility for the day care assistance program and the child care grant program from the Department of Community and Regional Affairs to the Department of Health and Social Services; and providing for an effective date." He asked Representative Hanley to come before the committee to present his bill. Number 0084 REPRESENTATIVE MARK HANLEY, Alaska State Legislature, sponsor of HB 201, said during the course of his work over the last few years on welfare form, it was repeated to him time and time again how important child care is both to the people trying to get off the welfare program because obviously it makes it pretty difficult if a person doesn't have the ability to pay for child care when looking for a job, as well as the fact that a lot of people manage to stay off welfare because they have access to child care. He said it's been an integral part of the whole welfare reform issue and although many people who receive child care are not on welfare, some of them are right on that edge. He said last year during the budget process as the Finance Committee was trying to figure out welfare payments for child care, he asked the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) how many people on welfare right now access child care through the Community and Regional Affairs Day Care Assistance Program, which is the non-welfare child care program. The department didn't have an immediate answer and in fact, it took him some time to get the information which revealed that thousands of people on welfare were accessing child care through the Department of Community and Regional Affairs. The Department of Health and Social Services had actually overestimated the cost needed to fund child care for welfare recipients because they estimated that everyone on the welfare rolls would need child care when in fact, the recipients were already accessing it. This brought to light that part of the problem was a lack of coordination between the two departments and a lack of understanding of how the system works. As a result, he introduced HB 201 which very simply moves the Department of Community and Regional Affairs' (DCRA) statutes on child care into the Department of Health and Social Services. He anticipates some administrative savings and there should be a clearer line as to who is the head person for the child care program. He noted the effective date reads July 1, 1997, which obviously would need to be changed. One of the concerns that had been expressed with the program being moved to the Department of Health and Social Services was that people didn't want to be perceived as getting welfare. He said, "I don't think they're going to see any difference - if we moved it to Public Safety - it doesn't make sense necessarily to move it there - in Health and Services there are a lot of federal funds that have to go through DHSS and what's happening now through our Welfare to Work Program, you're seeing this mix - some is directly administered through Health and Social Services and a lot is getting funded through Health and Social Services in this year's budget RSAed (Reimbursable Services Agreement) or sent over to Community and Regional Affairs to administer as well, so there's a combination of departments dealing with both - DCRA is now, at least under the Governor's budget proposal dealing with both the welfare individuals who are trying to get jobs and get off the welfare rolls as well as the people who aren't on welfare." He said that's the reason he introduced this bill and it's fairly simple in its concept. Number 0465 REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN remarked this appears to be a sensible approach. With a program shift from DCRA to DHSS he wondered if Representative Hanley anticipated a reduction in the number of people accessing child care because of not wanting to be perceived as getting welfare or if a reduction would come as a result of some people being on the program who don't actually qualify for it. REPRESENTATIVE HANLEY remarked people have to qualify under either program. He said he wasn't talking about trying to eliminate any coverage for individuals being served, but rather eliminate some of the administration costs of two separate programs. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN questioned the absence of a fiscal note showing a positive impact. REPRESENTATIVE HANLEY replied he has not seen a fiscal note from the department; in actuality, he's still waiting to hear what the department thinks about the overall program. Number 0564 CHAIRMAN BUNDE wondered how individuals currently in the program administered by the DCRA would know the difference when they receive a check next month from the DHSS. REPRESENTATIVE HANLEY said he didn't think recipients would see any difference; at least that's the intent. He explained the DCRA not only administers grants to individuals, but the grants to providers as well, and provides a licensing function for providers to make sure they're up to certain standards. That entire function would be shifted along with most of the people involved, so he didn't think there would be a noticeable difference. CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked about the welfare stigma. REPRESENTATIVE HANLEY said those comments had been made last year and it may not be a concern any longer. CHAIRMAN BUNDE said Representative Hanley had indicated that many of these people may well be on welfare if they didn't have access to child care. REPRESENTATIVE HANLEY said the testimony on the welfare reform legislation was really focused on how critical child care is for individuals on welfare and individuals off welfare. CHAIRMAN BUNDE said he had heard the same comments when he was teaching. He asked if there were additional questions for Representative Hanley. Number 0691 REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN PORTER verified for the record this bill would not present any significant change to the criteria for qualification. REPRESENTATIVE HANLEY said that is not the intent of the legislation; it's to transfer the programs under one roof and hopefully, to realize some administrative savings. The intent is not to either change, eliminate or add to the number of people who would qualify under either program. CHAIRMAN BUNDE thanked Representative Hanley for his remarks and asked Lamar Cotton to come before the committee to present his testimony. Number 0765 LAMAR COTTON, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Community and Regional Affairs, advised that Yvonne Chase, the director of this program, was available to testify via teleconference. He testified the department does not support HB 201; the program has been in the DCRA for 23 years and as with any program, there have certainly been challenges but generally have come up with a solution. He noted many programs are cross-agency, requiring coordination and conceded there is undoubtedly a need for improvement in that area. However, it is the department's thinking that moving programs and people probably won't resolve some of the basic questions. Secondly, it is the department's sense from the client perspective there isn't a compelling need to make a change. Clients are comfortable with the department and for whatever reason, there's a sense of getting better service from a smaller department. In conclusion, the department does not concur with the observation that changes are needed. CHAIRMAN BUNDE thanked Mr. Cotton for his comments and asked Yvonne Chase to testify at this time. Number 0898 YVONNE CHASE, Director, Division of Community and Rural Development, Department of Community and Regional Affairs, testified via teleconference from Anchorage. She said Representative Hanley, in introducing the bill, spoke about the importance of child care and also the lack of coordination he had sensed in the past in terms of administering a program between two agencies. She said there is a great difference between the two programs and the funding streams and the two departments have worked hard since the beginning of welfare reform to separate those issues for the departments as well as the clients. The Department of Health and Social Services provides the funding, as far as welfare reform efforts, to the Department of Community and Regional Affairs for both the pass two and pass three programs, which is the funding for individuals who are moving from welfare to work. The DHSS at this point is only authorizing child care pass one clients, or those clients who are still receiving public assistance. She said in terms of a duplicative structure, with the exception of pass one, all of the child care authorizations and payments are done through the DCRA system. The DCRA continues to handle all the ongoing aspects of the overall program; i.e., regulations, monitoring, technical assistance, distance delivery program, financial reports, et cetera, and (indisc.) that effort, there again to concentrate on making sure recipients of public assistance, as they move from welfare to work, have the funding available and the immediate access to child care, have been doing the first authorizations and helping the client transition to a system that's been in place for 20 years. MS. CHASE referred to an audit conducted by Legislative Budget and Audit in November 1994 on this issue, and said there were at that point, some perceptions that perhaps a combining of these administrative functions would suggest some efficiencies. The audit, however, concluded that due to the way the child care service delivery system is structured, the programs would be better remaining separate. In fact, the department over the last couple years has attempted to clarify the difference between the programs and the funding streams. MS. CHASE said that in terms of receiving information - how many people are in the system, where are they, how much are they receiving in terms of a subsidy - she would have to agree that statistical information in the past has not been readily accessible. It's been a problem throughout the system mainly because of a "count on your fingers" system for the most part. The department is in the process of implementing a new management information system that will be used by the DCRA and all local administrators throughout the state, and will comply with the new federal requirement for statistical reporting on child care. It will both provide information to the state legislature hopefully, at a moments notice as well as meet the requirements that both the DCRA and the DHSS have in terms their funding streams. CHAIRMAN BUNDE thanked Ms. Chase for her remarks. Number 1127 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON said it appeared to him the DCRA could argue that because of being largely active in the rural areas - probably more active than any other department, it makes most sense for the DCRA to administer child care in the rural areas. He asked Mr. Cotton if that was a valid argument? MR. COTTON said his quick answer was absolutely, but he tended to agree with the sponsor that probably anyone could administer the program. However, if it came to a tie vote, he believed the DCRA's presence and field staff probably gives them the edge. He added that others can do child care, but the point is who can do it best and who do the clients feel most comfortable with? There's undoubtedly been, administratively and from the legislative branch, confusion, misunderstanding and a learning process about welfare reform and the DCRA is not without exception of trying to work through it. He stated his belief that DCRA has come a long way in the last couple years and in the department's opinion, the solution to the lack of information at times or the inability to succinctly answer questions is not a reason to combine the programs. Number 1240 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON asked if the DCRA and DHSS use the same standards for licensing child care? MS. CHASE said the licensing requirements are the same throughout the state. She added, "Health and Social Services does some of the licensing and within the municipality of Anchorage, the municipality itself handles (indisc.-coughing)." Number 1270 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said, "We heard earlier that the recipients of this would very likely not even be aware that there had been a change and I've got kind of a three-part or run-together kind of question that most of us are aware the economy of scale, generally with more people you can operate even if it's only the administrative load that changes, a little more efficiently and I was wondering - there was reference to a study that reviewed this very thing or something similar to this on a combination - what was the date of that, was that something recent or was that some time back?" MR. COTTON replied it was 1994. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked, "Would you think that with this reform that that conclusion would be the same if it were reviewed again in 1998?" MS. CHASE stated her belief the conclusion would be the same and added the infrastructure that the Legislative Budget and Audit Report talked about in 1994 is in fact the same infrastructure that has been in place for a number of years, so the DHSS has not duplicated the infrastructure. Number 1352 CHAIRMAN BUNDE said somehow it seems logical to consolidate to achieve some administrative savings and asked if all child care should be moved to the DCRA. MS. CHASE replied that's certainly possible, but she reiterated the DHSS at this point has the funding stream for those individuals moving from welfare to work and has not attempted in any way to duplicate a program, and in fact, has one position within their central office dedicated to coordination with the DCRA but has not formed an administrative structure beyond that. Number 1380 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN observed, "Is it possible that I've heard a couple of times now between the last two testifiers that there is a 'touchy/feely' almost that has been there for some time that would be lost if they were combined into one program and I'm wondering if do we still have the wherewithal to consider continuing a 'touchy/feely' program as opposed to an answering of needs that maybe we could just no longer afford to have separate organizations, one of which is kind of a nice, soft pillow as opposed to another being kind of a rigid chair, but in both cases you support the individual. And I'm wondering maybe if that's the aspect we're worried about here?" MS. CHASE commented it may be more appropriate for Jewel Jones who oversees the program for the municipality of Anchorage to respond to that question. Number 1440 JEWEL JONES, Municipality of Anchorage, testified via teleconference from Anchorage, said, "I am here today representing those parents and advocating on behalf of those parents because they are working or training and that's the point of what we are doing with day care assistance and working with both Departments of Community and Regional Affairs and Health and Social Services in order to provide child care for these parents. It's really not - I wouldn't want to call this 'touchy/feely' but there is something to be said about the whole concept of day care assistance, as you might recall is a state program. It was designed initially to help parents move from not necessarily welfare, but they had to be in training or working, and we were providing a subsidy for them in order to be able to continue to work. But really these are local programs and I think that's the point that needs to be made - that the client knows the city of Fairbanks, they know the city of Kenai, they know the Mat-Su Borough and they certainly do know the municipality of Anchorage and often call on you when there is a problem. So when we're talking about the funding agencies and the relationship with the state agencies, really we're talking about a funding stream, a funding mechanism, so it doesn't make a lot of difference in that degree. I think it makes a lot of difference because the DCRA today has a system. If you make that kind of a transfer, then what you're obligating the DHSS to do is to set up a system. They are successful at this point in working with in the first level of child care, pass one, where they are working with those parents, but most all of the child care system today is in DCRA, be that pass two, pass three in child care systems. We also have those opportunities at the local level to coordinate with those people going into job training - that happens at the local level, also. So, it is at the local level that you see these issues and I don't think that the administrative issues that you're talking about are going to really result in a great deal of savings, but there would be a major disruption to a system that is currently in place." Number 1570 REPRESENTATIVE J. ALLEN KEMPLEN asked Ms. Chase to elaborate on the conclusion of Legislative Budget and Audit that the program and the funding stream should be kept separate. MS. CHASE quoted from the audit, "The similarity of these administrative functions suggested that some efficiencies might be realized through a merger or consolidation of the program. However, in our view due to the way the child care service delivery systems are necessarily structured, the programs should remain separate." She added, "When I looked into what was discussed within the audit in terms of the structure of the program, they were talking about the way in which - now mind you this was done in 1994, so they were talking about the JOBS program in the DHSS as opposed to what's now called the welfare to work program and the ATAP program - but was looking at the service delivery system that was in place for all of child care within the DCRA and then looking at the piece that had specifically come on to deal with the issue of welfare to work." Number 1640 REPRESENTATIVE KEMPLEN asked if Ms. Chase was referring to personnel when speaking of the infrastructure. MS. CHASE said no, she was actually speaking of the actual service delivery system that had been constructed and remained through the years in terms of a very small unit at the state level and then a network of local administrators located throughout the state who actually provide the authorization and the payment structure. CHAIRMAN BUNDE noted that Jean Straatmeyer was standing by to testify from Mat-Su. Number 1680 JEAN STRAATMEYER, Administrator, Child Care Assistance, Matanuska-Susitna Borou the borough's program has increased immeasurably over the six years that she's been the administrator. The agency has a good reputation in the area and people know where to come to get child care assistance. The agency has a good working relationship with the Work Services Office that handles the pass one portion of child care. She said many people have commented how glad they are to be able to receive the child care assistance instead of having to go on public assistance. She said there is a certain feeling among the people who are working but don't have quite enough money to be able to pay for child care of not wanting to go to the public assistance office to get child care assistance; they want to come to an office where they feel a little more self-confident. She doesn't think it would be a good idea to change the child care assistance program from the DCRA to the DHSS because the individuals in the field working with the public have known the program for years and years. CHAIRMAN BUNDE thanked Ms. Straatmeyer for her comments and asked Jim Nordlund to come forward to testify. Number 1795 JIM NORDLUND, Director, Division of Public Assistance, Department of Health and Social Services, testified in opposition to HB 201. He said the division recognizes that Representative Hanley brought this bill forward with the intention of trying to figure out a way of providing an even better child care system to the state. He said the department appreciates that and appreciates the fact there are no cuts to subsidies that are so very important to helping both people who are on public assistance going to work and to maintain people who are in jobs. He said, "I guess the main reason we would be opposed to the bill - I guess we'd take issue even with the fact that we run a child care program - we do not run a child care program, DCRA runs the child care program and we just access those child care funds through our eligibility technicians who authorize child care services for folks who are on public assistance. One of the things we can emphasize in terms of the fact that we don't run a program is out of a department of close to 2,000 employees, we have 1 person who works in child care and that person incidentally is Carla Timpone and used to be Sherri Goll. We don't have a large administrative structure to run our side of the child care administration. The system really works well right now. There needs to be two points of entry into child care really, no matter what system you create. There needs to be a point of entry for the person who is on welfare who is trying to get that first job and needs child care to get offered that job, and then there also needs to be a point of entry for people who are currently working and as Ms. Straatmeyer said, who may not necessarily want to go into the welfare office to get their child care; they want to go into another entity that can provide that child care for them without having to necessarily go into our offices. I think no matter how we conceive of a system, there's still going to need to be those two individual points of entry and that really is the system we have right now and we think the system is actually fairly efficiently administered." MR. NORDLUND said there probably will be no administrative savings realized in combining the functions into the DHSS and the division has found that clients prefer the system the way it is currently operating. He stated frankly, with the implementation of the welfare reform, the division has their hands full in trying to get up to speed in the development and administration of a new welfare system, much less taking on the responsibility of administering a child care program as well, that includes a bunch of additional clients not currently being served by the Division of Public Assistance. In conclusion, with all that plus the findings of the audits previously discussed, the division does not support this legislation but certainly wants to work with Representative Hanley or any other member of the legislature, to continue seeking ways to improve the child care system. Number 1930 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER asked if Mr. Nordlund didn't view the division's role increasing in child care administration given the new challenges of the welfare to work program and the welfare reform. MR. NORDLUND said yes, the amount of staff time authorizing child care benefits has increased and, in fact, the division has requested additional funding for child care subsidies. That side of the business has grown quite dramatically, which actually pleases the division because every time there's an additional subsidy for child care benefits, it means another person employed or in some sort of work activity that will lead them to self-sufficiency. Number 1966 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER remarked while he is somewhat sensitive to the fact that some folks don't want to be on public assistance, it seemed to him the program and the funds should be in one place. Inasmuch as it appears the DHSS has inherited the program, ever expanding, he wondered if the function could be RSAed and implemented the same way it is currently, but this bill would be in effect and it would be a DHSS program. MR. NORDLUND explained currently the DCRA is basically the child care agency of the state; that department is responsible for making sure the quality of the child care is as good as it can be, making sure there's enough child care capacity, as well as administering child care for people who are not on public assistance. The DHSS simply accesses the system for people who happen to be on welfare at the time. He said the funding stream is almost irrelevant as long as the funding gets to the right place for the service delivery. CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked Representative Hanley for his closing comments on HB 201. Number 2044 REPRESENTATIVE HANLEY said, "I made a couple of notes - again, you'll see some concerns I guess by the people in the department. I was just going to note that one of the reasons is that we have field staff that can deal with a lot of this stuff in the DCRA and I would suggest that, generally speaking, there's a lot more Health and Social Services people around this state than there are Community and Regional Affairs people. Yvonne said that Health and Social Services does some licensing and some is done in DCRA; I think there's a duplication there, as well. In the welfare thing and what brought this to mind for me, is that we are going to and I think rightfully so, one-stop shops, not just for welfare training, but we're trying to create state agencies around the state where people can come in and get job training, where they can get not just access to our current welfare system, but maybe energy assistance programs because it used to be people would have to come in - if you're at the income level where you qualify for some of these programs, whether it's child care or maybe you qualify for welfare benefits, maybe you qualify for food stamps, maybe you qualify for Medicaid, and maybe you qualify for energy subsidies through some of the programs that we have for housing - you know for your electricity and some for housing allowances - you know, some folks would have to go to five or six different places to be able to qualify. And guess what? They go through the same paperwork every time looking for income levels, where do you work, - a lot of the same kinds of questions, and I think it's been good that over time we've tried to combine a lot of these things. Ketchikan has a program where they've tried to combine a lot of that including the job training aspects and it just seems to me that aside - and I heard the comment here that people don't want to come into a welfare office or they're concerned about going in -- and I think we ought to combine public health in some of these areas too, so that when you go into an office, people don't know whether you're going in there for welfare or public health service or for child care services, whether you're on welfare or not." REPRESENTATIVE HANLEY continued, "Jim talked about two points of entries - one being the welfare offices and he was the one that mentioned that people are a little concerned about going to the welfare office because those are the people who are on welfare versus the people that aren't on welfare wanting to have a different point of entry. We're talking about different offices. I'm not talking about -- there's two different people here that have qualified for a government program and I think a lot of our things ought to be combined even more than just these two programs, but there's incredible similarities here, I think there is duplication in some aspects of effort, and I haven't seen -- if you go back through the audit, some of the things they pointed to were 'the JOBS program' and Jim rightfully pointed out that maybe they -- I think as he said, they access child care funds, they don't actually provide a program and it's through their eligibility techs that do this and more and more we've asked those eligibility techs to do more - to be a little more of the front line worker to explain to people what their options are so you don't just go in and say, 'Okay, here you can get your' - it used to be AFDC payment, now it's Alaska Temporary Assistance Program, 'your cash grant', now they're supposed to say, 'And here's guess what else, you might be eligible for this and here's the limits on your time and you can get child care and things like that' and it seems to me that cross training some of these people instead of having one person that's just a child care tech that says, 'Okay, here's what you get for child care.' People get into habits, but I've got to tell you there's a lot of folks out there when they're trying to access government programs, they don't know where to go and they get as frustrated as anybody at having to go to four different offices ...." Number 2216 CHAIRMAN BUNDE announced that HB 201 would be held in committee for another hearing. HB 429 - REQUIRING VOCATIONAL EDUCATION Number 2234 CHAIRMAN BUNDE announced the next bill to come before the committee was HB 429, "An Act relating to vocational education." The committee had heard this bill before and would not be taking public testimony at this hearing. He referred to a letter he received from the Anchorage School District expressing concern with delayed graduation and asked Representative Austerman if he had any thoughts to share on that issue. REPRESENTATIVE ALAN AUSTERMAN said he had just read the letter and he hadn't introduced this legislation to do battle with the Anchorage School District. This bill has only one committee referral - the HESS Committee - and if committee members have a problem with the way the bill is drafted in terms of how the other school districts around the state are doing business, he would prefer the bill be held in committee until it can be resolved rather than moving it on. CHAIRMAN BUNDE pointed out this bill will go on to the Finance Committee because there is an indeterminate fiscal note. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN said he would prefer the bill be held in committee until such time as he has an opportunity to work with the Anchorage School District. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if in the rework of the bill there would be some way to maintain the concept but have an exemption for individuals who are obviously headed for college, so they don't get held back. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN agreed with Representative Green and based on the letter from the Anchorage School District, it appears they have set up a college plan and those students not wanting that have the option for vocational education. He noted there's sort of a conflict in the letter and the original information he had received from the Anchorage School District. TAPE 98-46, SIDE B Number 0002 CHAIRMAN BUNDE said he didn't want to see the Anchorage School District producing educated idiots in that they are very bright when it comes to calculus, but can't get out of the rain when it comes to doing some of the practical things. REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN said the letter from the Anchorage School District indicates this would only affect 30 percent of their students; it's the other 70 percent that he's concerned with. Number 0044 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER recalled the committee had previously indicated a need to define "vocational education." REPRESENTATIVE AUSTERMAN said there is a definition in the regulations. CHAIRMAN BUNDE noted that HB 429 would be held in committee at the request of the sponsor. SB 17 - CRIMINAL TRANSMISSION OF HIV Number 0130 CHAIRMAN BUNDE announced the next bill to come before the committee was SB 17, "An Act creating the crime of criminal transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)." He asked Senator Taylor's legislative assistant to address SB 17. Number 0130 MEL KROGSENG, Legislative Assistant to Senator Robin Taylor, Alaska State Legislature, said this bill does not criminalize the disease of HIV or AIDS; it criminalizes irresponsible conduct that puts others at risk. For those individuals who say this legislation criminalizes the disease, she offered the following parallel: It would be like saying that owning a gun is criminal because you shoot someone. In response to the Department of Health's statement that the majority of HIV cases in Alaska resulted from consensual sex, the question is, "Would consent have been given if the risk were known?" The bill does not shift the burden of proof to the defendant; the state would have to prove the defendant knew they were infected and did not warn the person being exposed. The provision of an affirmative defense protects the defendant; it does not shift the burden of proof. When asked in the Senate Finance Committee, the Department of Health and Social Services could not provide any substantiation to the claim that the bill will have a chilling effect on testing programs. In fact, the Illinois Department of Health advised the Alaska Legislative Research Section there was no decrease in testing as a result of their law. This statement came in March 1995, six years after the Illinois law had passed. Senate Bill 17 is modeled on the Illinois statute which has been upheld in both the Illinois Appellate and Supreme Courts. This legislation has no effect on needle exchange programs in the state. MS. KROGSENG noted that Congressman Coburn of Oklahoma, a medical doctor, has introduced HR 1062, the HIV Prevention Act. At the time SB 17 was drafted, HR 1062 had 90 co-sponsors in the U.S. House of Representatives. She referred to the summary of the HIV Prevention Act of 1997, which includes in its provisions, "Sense of the Congress language that the states should criminalize the intentional transmission of HIV." She said HR 1062 was endorsed by the American Medical Association. CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked if there were any questions of Ms. Krogseng. Number 0360 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said, "You indicated that Illinois in a four year period - or I got two different dates there - but at least they haven't seen any change in the number of tests since they've invoked this law. Have you checked with any other states that may have done the same thing? What I'm wondering about is, is the fact that the number of tests being taken not decreasing because there are far more people infected with AIDS each year so that the number of tests could be going up, but the people being tested could be still this stigma or this concern with a penalty like this of some people deciding, 'hey I don't want to be tested - I don't want to know' - even though the tests don't go down because the number of people contacting the disease is going up." MR. KROGSENG said she had read in a document that there had been a decrease, but she was not aware of any other state being contacted as the Legislative Research Section had conducted the research for Senator Taylor's's office. She had read in a document that in one area there was mention of a decrease in the number of testing through the Department of Health, but it was believed the reason for that was because of the increased testing by private sector physicians which would not be counted in the Department of Health as well as the home testing kits that can now be purchased at drug stores. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER noted the testimony had been rather compelling both ways on this bill and it had taken him awhile to get it straight in his mind that the federal legislation proposed, and the criminal legislation passed in at least one other state based on that federal legislation, makes it a crime to intentionally transmit HIV. The committee had heard testimony that it is currently illegal under state statute to do that. He said, "If I have HIV and I have sex with someone and not only don't tell them about it, but have intent to intentionally transmit HIV, I have committed a felony under our statutes. The problem is, I think the federal legislation is a little bit suspicious for lack of being forthright - no one can prove that. You cannot - well I can't say that you can't because there's always the exception, but in the case - the typical kind of case - Yah, I knew I had it, but I didn't intend to give it to anybody - that puts a 95 percent (indisc.) to prosecution unless you've got some really unusual evidence. What this does, and I must step back to my prior career, is make it possible to prosecute these cases. This, to me makes sense. It says we have to show that you knew you had it, but if you know that you've got it, you've got to be a blithering idiot and then you're probably not going to be culpable of being charged anyway, not to know the risks of this behavior and transferring it to somebody else, and that is what will criminalize it; not this 'I intend to transmit HIV' which is a next to impossible level of proof to get." Number 0657 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER made a motion to move SB 17 from committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes. REPRESENTATIVE KEMPLEN objected. CHAIRMAN BUNDE asked for a roll call vote. Representatives Dyson, Porter, Vezey, Green and Bunde voted in favor of the motion. Representative Kemplen voted against it. Representative Brice was absent. Therefore, SB 17 moved from the House Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee by a vote of 5-1. ADJOURNMENT Number 0684 CHAIRMAN BUNDE adjourned the House Health, Education and Social Services Standing Committee at 5:03 p.m.