Legislature(1997 - 1998)

04/14/1998 04:05 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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                     
 4/25/97      1485     (S)  READ THE THIRD TIME  SB 17                         
 4/25/97      1485     (S)  MTN TO REMOVE (ADM, LAW)FN ANALYSES                
 4/25/97      1485     (S)  ADDRESSING FISCAL IMPLICATION ADP Y14              
 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                         
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                 
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              
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            
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                  
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                    
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                     
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             
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.                       
Number 0684                                                                    
CHAIRMAN BUNDE adjourned the House Health, Education and Social                
Services Standing Committee at 5:03 p.m.                                       

Document Name Date/Time Subjects