Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/09/2002 03:00 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
          HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES                                                                         
                       STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                         April 9, 2002                                                                                          
                           3:00 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Fred Dyson, Chair                                                                                                
Representative Peggy Wilson, Vice Chair                                                                                         
Representative John Coghill                                                                                                     
Representative Gary Stevens                                                                                                     
Representative Vic Kohring                                                                                                      
Representative Sharon Cissna                                                                                                    
Representative Reggie Joule                                                                                                     
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 407                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to the certificate of need program."                                                                           
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
HOUSE BILL NO. 408                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to questionnaires and surveys administered in                                                                  
the public schools."                                                                                                            
     - MOVED CSHB 408(HES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 23                                                                                              
Proposing amendments to Uniform Rule 20 of the Alaska State                                                                     
Legislature; and providing for an effective date for the                                                                        
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                               
BILL: HB 407                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:CERTIFICATE OF NEED PROGRAM                                                                                         
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S)COGHILL                                                                                            
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
02/13/02     2232       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
02/13/02     2232       (H)        CRA, HES                                                                                     
03/04/02     2469       (H)        COSPONSOR(S): JAMES                                                                          
03/13/02     2530       (H)        COSPONSOR(S): SCALZI                                                                         
03/14/02                (H)        CRA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                   
03/14/02                (H)        Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                      
03/18/02     2593       (H)        COSPONSOR(S): DYSON                                                                          
03/19/02                (H)        CRA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                   
03/19/02                (H)        Heard & Held                                                                                 
03/19/02                (H)        MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                  
03/21/02                (H)        CRA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 124                                                                   
03/21/02                (H)        Moved Out of Committee                                                                       
03/21/02                (H)        MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                  
03/22/02     2638       (H)        CRA RPT 2DP 2NR 3AM                                                                          
03/22/02     2638       (H)        DP: SCALZI, MEYER; NR: GUESS,                                                                
03/22/02     2638       (H)        AM: KERTTULA, MURKOWSKI,                                                                     
03/22/02     2638       (H)        FN1: (HSS)                                                                                   
03/26/02                (H)        HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                   
03/26/02                (H)        Heard & Held                                                                                 
03/26/02                (H)        MINUTE(HES)                                                                                  
03/28/02                (H)        HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                   
03/28/02                (H)        Heard & Held                                                                                 
04/02/02                (H)        HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                   
04/02/02                (H)        Heard & Held                                                                                 
04/04/02                (H)        HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                   
04/04/02                (H)        -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                       
04/09/02                (H)        HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                   
BILL: HB 408                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:STUDENT QUESTIONNAIRES AND SURVEYS                                                                                  
SPONSOR(S): EDUCATION                                                                                                           
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
02/13/02     2233       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
02/13/02     2233       (H)        EDU, HES                                                                                     
02/20/02                (H)        EDU AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 120                                                                   
02/20/02                (H)        Moved Out of Committee                                                                       
02/20/02                (H)        MINUTE(EDU)                                                                                  
02/20/02     2338       (H)        EDU RPT 6DP                                                                                  
02/20/02     2338       (H)        DP: PORTER, WILSON, GUESS,                                                                   
02/20/02     2338       (H)        GREEN, BUNDE                                                                                 
02/20/02     2338       (H)        FN1: ZERO(EED)                                                                               
03/26/02                (H)        HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                   
03/26/02                (H)        Heard & Held                                                                                 
03/26/02                (H)        MINUTE(HES)                                                                                  
03/28/02                (H)        HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                   
03/28/02                (H)        <Bill Canceled>                                                                              
04/09/02                (H)        HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                   
BILL: HCR 23                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEES:SPLIT HOUSE HESS                                                                             
SPONSOR(S): EDUCATION                                                                                                           
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
02/11/02     2204       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
02/11/02     2204       (H)        EDU, HES                                                                                     
02/13/02                (H)        EDU AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 120                                                                   
02/13/02                (H)        Moved Out of Committee                                                                       
02/13/02                (H)        MINUTE(EDU)                                                                                  
02/13/02     2227       (H)        EDU RPT 6DP                                                                                  
02/13/02     2227       (H)        DP: GREEN, WILSON, JOULE,                                                                    
02/13/02     2227       (H)        STEVENS, BUNDE                                                                               
02/13/02     2228       (H)        FN1: ZERO(H.EDU)                                                                             
04/04/02                (H)        HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                   
04/04/02                (H)        -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                       
04/09/02                (H)        HES AT 3:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                   
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
RYNNIEVA MOSS, Staff                                                                                                            
to Representative John Coghill                                                                                                  
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 102                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented the changes encompassed in                                                                       
Version O of HB 407.                                                                                                            
ELMER LINDSTROM, Deputy Commissioner                                                                                            
Office of the Commissioner                                                                                                      
Department of Health & Social Services (DHSS)                                                                                   
PO Box 110601                                                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska 99811-0601                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 407 and HB 408.                                                                            
JOE FAULHABER                                                                                                                   
989 Senate Loop                                                                                                                 
Fairbanks, Alaska 99712                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Indicated the need to maintain the CON                                                                     
GEORGE LARSON                                                                                                                   
(No address provided)                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Expressed the need for the committee to                                                                    
consider   the   Matanuska-Susitna   Borough's   demography   and                                                               
geography in relation to the 55,000-population delimiter.                                                                       
DEE SKRIPS, Registered Nurse                                                                                                    
Health South Alaska                                                                                                             
(No address provided)                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 407.                                                                            
JOSHUA JENSEN, Finance Director                                                                                                 
Heritage Place Nursing Home                                                                                                     
232 W. Rockwell Avenue                                                                                                          
Soldotna, Alaska 99669                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 407.                                                                         
MICHAEL KELLY                                                                                                                   
1625 Wolverine Drive                                                                                                            
Fairbanks, Alaska 99709                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 407.                                                                         
HARRY PORTER                                                                                                                    
3206 Riverview Drive                                                                                                            
Fairbanks, Alaska 99709                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 407.                                                                                       
SUSAN McLANE, Registered Nurse                                                                                                  
Fairbanks Memorial Hospital                                                                                                     
1650 Cowles                                                                                                                     
Fairbanks, Alaska 99701                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 407.                                                                         
JENNIFER HOUSE, Employee                                                                                                        
Fairbanks Memorial Hospital                                                                                                     
1951 Gilmore Trail                                                                                                              
Fairbanks, Alaska 99712                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 407.                                                                         
DR. DAVID McGUIRE, Orthopedic Surgeon                                                                                           
(No address provided)                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 407.                                                                            
ROBERT GOULD                                                                                                                    
4820 Drake Street                                                                                                               
Fairbanks, Alaska 99709                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 407.                                                                         
JIM LYNCH, Director                                                                                                             
Human Resources                                                                                                                 
Fairbanks Memorial Hospital                                                                                                     
105 Bentley Drive                                                                                                               
Fairbanks, Alaska 99701                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 407.                                                                         
BRIAN SLOCUM, Administrator                                                                                                     
Tanana Valley Clinic                                                                                                            
1001 Noble St                                                                                                                   
Fairbanks, Alaska 99701                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 407.                                                                                       
MIKE POWERS                                                                                                                     
1283 View Pointe Drive                                                                                                          
Fairbanks, Alaska 99709                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 407.                                                                                       
APRIL HOTCHKISS, Substance Abuse Counselor                                                                                      
at Juneau-Douglas High School                                                                                                   
Juneau Youth Services                                                                                                           
1851 Patti Avenue                                                                                                               
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 408.                                                                            
JESSICA PARIS, High School Teacher                                                                                              
Juneau-Douglas High School                                                                                                      
635 Main Street                                                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 408.                                                                                       
ANDREE McLEOD                                                                                                                   
3721 Young Street                                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska 99508                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Mentioned other ways in which to obtain the                                                                
information sought from [anonymous surveys].                                                                                    
BILL DIEBELS, JR., Parent                                                                                                       
9342 Betty Court                                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 408.                                                                            
RICHARD BLOCK, Christian Science Committee on Publication                                                                       
for the State of Alaska                                                                                                         
360 W. Benson Boulevard, Suited 301                                                                                             
Anchorage, Alaska 99503                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Proposed an amendment to tighten the notice                                                                
provisions in HB 408.                                                                                                           
KATHRYN ARLEN, Member                                                                                                           
Board of Directors                                                                                                              
Youth on the Streets Action Group;                                                                                              
Member, Meeting the Challenge Advocacy Program;                                                                                 
Volunteer, Detention, Johnson Youth Center                                                                                      
127 S. Franklin Number 127                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 408.                                                                            
RIC IANNOLINO, Chair                                                                                                            
Youth on the Street                                                                                                             
PO Box 21892                                                                                                                    
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 408.                                                                            
MARY TONSMEIRE, Nurse                                                                                                           
Adolescent Health Care Coordinator                                                                                              
Juneau-Douglas High School                                                                                                      
2204 North Douglas Highway                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 408.                                                                            
LISA TORKELSON, Full-time Parent                                                                                                
(No address provided)                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to HB 408.                                                                         
BARBARA BONNER, Teacher                                                                                                         
Juneau-Douglas High School;                                                                                                     
Member, Youth on the Streets                                                                                                    
2812 John Street                                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 408.                                                                            
DEE HUBBARD                                                                                                                     
PO Box 88                                                                                                                       
Sterling, Alaska 99672                                                                                                          
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Highlighted the  importance  of  parental                                                               
consent   [for  surveys   and   questionnaires  administered   to                                                               
SAM TRIVETTE, Parent                                                                                                            
7870 Glacier Highway                                                                                                            
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 408.                                                                                       
KAREN McCARTHY, Staff                                                                                                           
to Representative Con Bunde                                                                                                     
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Capitol Building, Room 501                                                                                                      
Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                                                                           
POSITION STATEMENT:   As committee  aide, testified on  behalf of                                                               
the sponsor of HB 408, the House Special Committee on Education.                                                                
KRISTEN BOMENGEN, Assistant Attorney General                                                                                    
Human Services Section                                                                                                          
Civil Division (Juneau)                                                                                                         
Department of Law                                                                                                               
PO Box 110300                                                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska 99811-0300                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions regarding HB 408.                                                                       
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 02-28, SIDE A                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
CHAIR FRED  DYSON called the  House Health, Education  and Social                                                               
Services  Standing  Committee  meeting  to  order  at  3:00  p.m.                                                               
Representatives  Dyson, Wilson,  Coghill,  Stevens, Kohring,  and                                                               
Cissna were present  at the call to order.   Representative Joule                                                               
arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                                         
HB 407-CERTIFICATE OF NEED PROGRAM                                                                                            
CHAIR DYSON announced  that the first order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO.  407, "An Act relating to the  certificate of need                                                               
program."   Chair Dyson  announced his intention  to move  HB 407                                                               
from committee today.                                                                                                           
Number 0335                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  moved   to  adopt  version  22-LS1389\O,                                                               
Lauterbach, 4/4/02, as the working document.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL explained  that on  page 2,  lines 30-31,                                                               
through  page 3,  line 3,  the inserted  language clarifies  that                                                               
when a  facility changes  and transfers  its certificate  of need                                                               
(CON), that it stay within the same use and bed type.                                                                           
RYNNIEVA  MOSS,  Staff  to Representative  John  Coghill,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature, continued with the  changes in Version O.  She                                                               
explained that Version O clarifies  that when a person replaces a                                                               
facility or relocates  a facility that was obtained  under a CON,                                                               
a new CON  is not required, although the requirements  of the CON                                                               
must be followed.  This change is on page 3, lines 6-7.                                                                         
CHAIR  DYSON related  his understanding  that all  that is  being                                                               
required with the change on page  3, lines 6-7, is that the [CON]                                                               
contract be followed.                                                                                                           
Number 0495                                                                                                                     
ELMER   LINDSTROM,    Deputy   Commissioner,   Office    of   the                                                               
Commissioner,  Department of  Health  &  Social Services  (DHSS),                                                               
thanked  the  sponsor's staff  for  the  work  on  HB 407.    Mr.                                                               
Lindstrom recommended that the committee adopt Version O.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  restated his motion to  adopt version 22-                                                               
LS1389\O,  Lauterbach, 4/4/02,  as the  working document.   There                                                               
being no objection, Version O was before the committee.                                                                         
Number 0590                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE   CISSNA   moved    that   the   committee   adopt                                                               
Amendment 1, which read [original punctuation provided]:                                                                        
     Add new section under temporary law:                                                                                       
     The  State of  Alaska Department  of Health  and Social                                                                    
     Services shall develop a  comprehensive health plan for                                                                    
     the  state,  making  use of,  to  the  maximum  extent,                                                                    
     existing health  care plans  and processes  employed by                                                                    
     the  Department of  Health and  Social Services,  other                                                                    
     state agencies  and local community  efforts.   A focus                                                                    
     of  the plan  shall  be to  develop community  specific                                                                    
     health information  to assist  the Certificate  of Need                                                                    
     program in evaluating  applications for certificates of                                                                    
      need.  A report will be submitted to the legislature                                                                      
     by January 1, 2004.                                                                                                        
CHAIR DYSON objected.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA  specified that Amendment 1  is basically a                                                               
conceptual  amendment  requiring  the  department  to  develop  a                                                               
comprehensive  health  plan  for  the state  that  utilizes  what                                                               
already  exists  in   every  community.    She   noted  that  the                                                               
January 1,  2004, date  specified in  the amendment  could be  an                                                               
earlier  date.   She  informed  the  committee that  the  state's                                                               
current health care plan was developed  in 1983.  She said health                                                               
care  is one  of the  fastest  growing industries  in the  state.                                                               
Therefore, Amendment  1 provides the  state the chance  to review                                                               
what is currently on the books  and [decide] whether the state is                                                               
going in the right direction.                                                                                                   
CHAIR DYSON related his  understanding that Representative Cissna                                                               
didn't  want the  bill to  pick up  a fiscal  note, which  is why                                                               
existing staff are being utilized under existing duties.                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA confirmed  that she  didn't want  a fiscal                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL acknowledged  that the title of  HB 407 is                                                               
fairly broad,  as is  [Amendment 1].   However, he  indicated the                                                               
need to ask  whether there would be any  legal ramifications with                                                               
the  adoption of  Amendment  1.   He  said  that  the request  to                                                               
develop a plan is outside the scope of HB 407.                                                                                  
Number 0850                                                                                                                     
MR. LINDSTROM remarked that [Amendment  1] in regard to the title                                                               
is probably a  "close call."  [Amendment 1] might  well fit under                                                               
HB  407 since  one  of  the focuses  of  the  amendment would  be                                                               
related to  assisting the  CON program.   Mr.  Lindstrom recalled                                                               
his  testimony  in previous  hearings  regarding  the lack  of  a                                                               
comprehensive health care  plan.  He pointed out  that during the                                                               
course  of  the  hearings,  the  committee  has  heard  two  very                                                               
different views of what HB 407  will do.  Mr. Lindstrom said that                                                               
he hasn't  been very  helpful in  deciding how  to make  sense of                                                               
those arguments  because DHSS doesn't  have the data to  make the                                                               
determination as  to which view  is correct.   "My guess  is they                                                               
could both well be true and  even in the same community, although                                                               
at different points in time," he  said.  Therefore, to the extent                                                               
that  a [comprehensive]  health plan  would provide  the data  to                                                               
better  evaluate these  CONs,  [the amendment]  would  be a  good                                                               
idea.   Mr. Lindstrom said  that he  wasn't sure what  the fiscal                                                               
note would look like, although [there would be one].                                                                            
Number 0982                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL announced that  he would be voting against                                                               
the amendment, although he felt some  plans should be made by the                                                               
state.    He  noted  his  struggle with  regard  to  whether  the                                                               
government always  knows best.   Representative Coghill  said, "I                                                               
know  we  already  have comprehensive  plans,  except  for  we're                                                               
asking this one  to be a focus now to  develop community specific                                                               
health  information that's  going to  assist  the CON.   And  I'm                                                               
trying to say  we have people doing business plans  that do that.                                                               
I  just  struggle with  it."    He  mentioned that  perhaps  it's                                                               
different debate, which he didn't want to include in this bill.                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE STEVENS related that  he would be more comfortable                                                               
if  more  people  were  involved  in  deciding  on  this  matter.                                                               
Representative Stevens turned to the  timeline in Amendment 1 and                                                               
asked why it couldn't be accomplished by January 1, 2003.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA responded, "I  think that's better than ...                                                               
what's happening  now, personally."   There  is huge  pressure to                                                               
deliver  affordable health  care.   In response  to Chair  Dyson,                                                               
Representative Cissna  said that she would  accept Representative                                                               
Stevens'  suggestion  to change  the  date  in the  amendment  to                                                               
January 1, 2003, as a friendly amendment.                                                                                       
Number 1175                                                                                                                     
CHAIR DYSON  related that there  is a  lot of frustration  in the                                                               
provider  community.    Therefore,  he felt  there  should  be  a                                                               
specific task  force with resources.   Although HB 407  is fairly                                                               
important, it will  have a fairly tough time  moving through this                                                               
session.  Amendment 1 will generate  some support for HB 407, but                                                               
will also contribute  to HB 407 not passing this  session.  Chair                                                               
Dyson announced that he would vote against Amendment 1.                                                                         
A roll  call vote  was taken.   Representatives  Wilson, Stevens,                                                               
Cissna,   and  Joule   voted  for   Amendment  1   [as  amended].                                                               
Representatives  Coghill,   Kohring,  and  Dyson   voted  against                                                               
Amendment 1.   Therefore,  Amendment 1, as  amended, passed  by a                                                               
vote of 4-3.                                                                                                                    
Number 1328                                                                                                                     
JOE FAULHABER  testified via teleconference.   He  announced that                                                               
he is an  unpaid volunteer representing the  people of Fairbanks,                                                               
who own  the local hospital.   Mr.  Faulhaber stated that  HB 407                                                               
isn't about free  enterprise and competition.   He explained that                                                               
Fairbanks residents  support the local hospital  with hundreds of                                                               
thousands  of  dollars  of cash  donations.    Despite  community                                                               
support,  [the   hospital]  enjoys  nominal  excess   revenue  of                                                               
approximately a  million dollars, which  is scant in  the context                                                               
of  a $100-million  budget.   "As  a  practical matter,  patients                                                               
seldom choose where procedures are  to be performed, doctors do,"                                                               
he  said.    Therefore,  without CON  protection,  doctors  could                                                               
perform profitable procedures in  their [office] while performing                                                               
money-losing procedures in the  community hospital.  Furthermore,                                                               
if there was  a complication during a procedure  performed in the                                                               
doctor's  office,  where would  that  critically  ill patient  be                                                               
taken?    Mr.  Faulhaber  stated, "If  our  community  loses  CON                                                               
protection,  expect to  see us  in Juneau  next year.   We'll  be                                                               
asking for  an increase in  Medicaid rates and money  for capital                                                               
projects because you gave away our ability to self-fund."                                                                       
Number 1453                                                                                                                     
GEORGE LARSON  testified via teleconference.   Mr.  Larson turned                                                               
to  the  population  delimiter,  which  will  impact  only  three                                                               
communities  in  the  state:     Anchorage,  Fairbanks,  and  the                                                               
Matanuska-Susitna ("Mat-Su")  Borough.   Mr. Larson  stressed the                                                               
need for the committee to  consider how vastly different the Mat-                                                               
Su  Borough  is from  Anchorage  and  Fairbanks,  since it  is  a                                                               
second-class borough that covers an  area of 24,000 square miles,                                                               
about  the  size of  West  Virginia.    He further  informed  the                                                               
committee  that   this  size  of   borough,  with   an  estimated                                                               
population of  62,000, results in  a population density  of about                                                               
2.6  persons  per  square  mile.    The  most  heavily  developed                                                               
portion, the  core area, encompasses  Palmer and Wasilla  and the                                                               
developed areas  between and around these  two communities, which                                                               
accounts for  approximately 42,000  people.  Therefore,  the core                                                               
area falls well under the  55,000-population delimiter in HB 407.                                                               
However,  most  of  the  services provided  in  the  borough  are                                                               
located  within this  core area.    Mr. Larson  pointed out  that                                                               
there is an  acute-care facility in Palmer,  an outpatient center                                                               
in Wasilla, as well as a  history of collaboration with the rural                                                               
primary-care   providers   throughout    the   borough.      This                                                               
collaboration has assisted  in the improvement of  the quality of                                                               
care  and access  to  remote areas  outside the  core  area.   In                                                               
summary,  Mr. Larson  requested that  the committee  consider the                                                               
demography and geography of the Mat-Su Borough.                                                                                 
Number 1580                                                                                                                     
DEE  SKRIPS,   Registered  Nurse;  Administrator,   Health  South                                                               
Alaska, testified via  teleconference in support of HB  407.  Ms.                                                               
Skrips  said  that   Health  South  Alaska,  as   a  provider  of                                                               
ambulatory  services in  all 50  states  and internationally,  is                                                               
very aware  of the  rising costs  of health care  as well  as the                                                               
importance of  getting a handle  on these  costs.  As  a national                                                               
corporation, Health South has an  extensive background working in                                                               
this state  with and  without the  CON.   Ms. Skrips  pointed out                                                               
that to date, no states have  been on record as seeing a negative                                                               
effect as  a result of  the CON.  If  there have been  no adverse                                                               
effects  to  other states  without  the  CON,  then it  would  be                                                               
difficult  to  imagine  that  it's  different  in  Alaska.    She                                                               
informed the  committee that there  is no credible  evidence that                                                               
the  CON has  ever increased  the cost  of health  care to  those                                                               
states without it.                                                                                                              
MS.  SKRIPS  highlighted that  ambulatory  care,  such as  Health                                                               
South Alaska,  is not  on a cost-reported  schedule like  that of                                                               
the  larger acute-care  hospitals.   Furthermore, ambulatory-care                                                               
facilities don't  have the ability  to shift costs  as acute-care                                                               
facilities  do.     Ambulatory   care  facilities  do   have  tax                                                               
liabilities, and as  a for-profit organization taxes  are paid on                                                               
all  aspects  of the  business.    However, nonprofit  acute-care                                                               
facilities don't pay  taxes.  "There is  a great misunderstanding                                                               
that the ambulatory or freestanding  surgical centers cherry pick                                                               
hand-picked  surgical  cases," she  noted.    In conclusion,  Ms.                                                               
Skrips  reiterated  her support  of  HB  407  due to  the  choice                                                               
provided to the patients.                                                                                                       
Number 1697                                                                                                                     
JOSHUA  JENSEN, Finance  Director, Heritage  Place Nursing  Home,                                                               
testified via teleconference in opposition  to HB 407 because the                                                               
current CON  requirements serve  the state's  best interest.   He                                                               
characterized the revisions  of HB 407 as confusing.   He related                                                               
his  belief  that  this  issue deserves  more  review  given  the                                                               
complexities  and impact  of the  legislative  action this  year.                                                               
Therefore,  Mr. Jensen  urged the  committee to  not pass  HB 407                                                               
without careful and  considerate review of all the  impacts.  Mr.                                                               
Jensen  relayed  his knowledge  that  committee  members and  the                                                               
House  leadership   are  concerned  with  any   legislation  that                                                               
requires a  mandated increase  in the  cost of  state government,                                                               
which is illustrated in the fiscal note for HB 407.                                                                             
Number 1750                                                                                                                     
MICHAEL KELLY testified via teleconference.   Mr. Kelly announced                                                               
that he strongly  opposes HB 407 because it will  harm the system                                                               
in  Fairbanks.   Furthermore,  elimination of  the  CON is  risky                                                               
experimentation.   Because of Fairbanks's  size and  location, it                                                               
has a limited  and fragile health care market.   Thirty years ago                                                               
the health  care market  in Fairbanks was  an absolute  mess, and                                                               
thus  the community  organized to  form a  nonprofit health  care                                                               
foundation  to provide  the  infrastructure  that was  necessary.                                                               
That  organization,  under  the  rules of  the  CON,  has  worked                                                               
superbly relative to  access, cost, and the provision  of a broad                                                               
range of excellent  health care services.  Mr. Kelly  said HB 407                                                               
is about a few  doctors who make "six figures" and  want to add a                                                               
bit more to that.  Although  that doesn't make those doctors bad,                                                               
"you  owe  a lot  more  to  the 90,000  folks  who  live here  in                                                               
Interior Alaska  than to  be just  listening to  a few  docs," he                                                               
said.   Furthermore,  there  is  the [push]  to  build a  surgery                                                               
facility in  order to  take the  more profitable  procedures from                                                               
the Fairbanks Memorial Campus.   Although the current CON process                                                               
isn't perfect,  it helps  to protect  against cherry  picking and                                                               
profiteering in  the limited health  care market.   Moreover, the                                                               
CON  process helps  to continue  the excellent  service that  has                                                               
taken 30 years to build up  in Fairbanks.  Mr. Kelly concluded by                                                               
saying HB 407 is bad law.                                                                                                       
Number 1854                                                                                                                     
HARRY  PORTER  testified via  teleconference.    He informed  the                                                               
committee that  he helped create the  Fairbanks Memorial Hospital                                                               
board.   He  noted that  he  has noticed  Fairbanks's failure  to                                                               
change even  though there was  open competition; he  related this                                                               
comment to all types of  business.  (Indiscernible.)  He remarked                                                               
that in  the minutes that  it will take to  vote on HB  407, "you                                                               
could put the  skids under the hospital that it  took 30 years to                                                               
Number 1935                                                                                                                     
SUSAN  McLANE,  Registered  Nurse, Fairbanks  Memorial  Hospital,                                                               
testified via teleconference  in opposition to HB  407.  Although                                                               
she said she  understood the many concerns with  the existing CON                                                               
program, she  agreed it  could be difficult.   However,  she said                                                               
she didn't  understand the  sizable leap  from problems  with the                                                               
process to its complete elimination  in three areas of the state.                                                               
She indicated  the need to double  the tax (indisc.) in  order to                                                               
evaluate   the   effectiveness   of    the   program   and   make                                                               
recommendations for  improvement.   She mentioned  nationwide and                                                               
statewide  shortage of  nurses,  and that  the  emergence of  new                                                               
surgery centers  in Alaska would  further dilute the  labor pool.                                                               
Ms. McLane  closed by suggesting  that a task force  be appointed                                                               
to review this important issue.                                                                                                 
Number 2000                                                                                                                     
JENNIFER HOUSE, Employee,  Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, testified                                                               
via teleconference in  opposition to HB 407.  Ms.  House began by                                                               
saying  that HB  407 is  based on  the erroneous  assumption that                                                               
health care is a free market  and that this legislation will lead                                                               
to  increased  competition and  thus  result  in lower  costs  to                                                               
consumers.   However,  consumers of  health care  aren't informed                                                               
consumers and  have little or  no control over the  services they                                                               
receive.  Physicians  have the control, which is  why there won't                                                               
be a  decrease in the  cost of outpatient services  to consumers.                                                               
She  charged  that there  are  no  incentives for  physicians  to                                                               
provide these services  at lower prices.   However, she suggested                                                               
that  physicians are  likely  to charge  more  than the  hospital                                                               
because the  physician is in  a unique position to  influence the                                                               
patient.   Cost  is  rarely  an important  factor  for a  patient                                                               
determining where  to obtain health care  services.  Furthermore,                                                               
Ms. House said that this  competition won't cause the hospital to                                                               
lower its  prices.  She charged  that it would have  little to no                                                               
impact in retaining patient volume,  but would most likely result                                                               
in  increased  charges  that will  impact  consumers  across  the                                                               
state.  Ms.  House explained that the CON process  is critical in                                                               
ensuring  that  under-  and   over-capacity  in  our  communities                                                               
(indisc.).   [Elimination] of the  CON process will  only benefit                                                               
physicians  and  specialty providers,  not  the  majority of  the                                                               
population "you" represent.                                                                                                     
Number 2090                                                                                                                     
DR.   DAVID   McGUIRE,    Orthopedic   Surgeon,   testified   via                                                               
teleconference in support of HB 407.   He said, "The problem with                                                               
change  is always  that everybody  who  has to  suffer change  is                                                               
opposed to it."  Dr. McGuire remarked  that the CON was a bad law                                                               
to  begin with,  which the  federal government  realized in  1987                                                               
when  it eliminated  it.   The CON  hasn't controlled  costs, but                                                               
rather  has created  another bureaucracy  and the  opportunity to                                                               
maintain a  monopoly.  Dr.  McGuire said Fairbanks is  an example                                                               
of how  a good  law is applied  badly.  He  pointed out  that the                                                               
Fairbanks  Memorial Hospital  was given  permission to  build its                                                               
oncology center  without a CON.   Dr. McGuire stated that  if the                                                               
CON process  is to work,  everyone should  have to apply  [and be                                                               
treated equally under the process].                                                                                             
DR. McGUIRE turned to the  assertion that patients are uninformed                                                               
health care  consumers.  He  said those aren't the  patients that                                                               
he sees.   "I  think, if the  hospitals are as  good as  they say                                                               
they are, then a surgery center  comes to town, nobody's going to                                                               
use it  because they recognize  the hospitals are better.   There                                                               
really shouldn't be a problem,"  he said.  Dr. McGuire reiterated                                                               
that the  CON process is a  bad law that hasn't  worked in Alaska                                                               
and hasn't amounted  to anything positive.   Furthermore, the way                                                               
in which  the CON process is  applied is unfair.   In conclusion,                                                               
Dr. McGuire urged the committee to vote for HB 407.                                                                             
Number 2204                                                                                                                     
ROBERT  GOULD testified  via teleconference  in opposition  to HB
407.   Mr. Gould informed  the committee  that in 2001  the gross                                                               
patient revenue of Fairbanks  Memorial Hospital was approximately                                                               
$147  million and  that  the net  income  was approximately  $1.4                                                               
million,  about 1  percent.   Mr. Gould  said he  would begin  by                                                               
reviewing  two reasons  why competition  won't decrease  costs in                                                               
Alaska.    He  recalled  that   three  years  ago  when  the  CON                                                               
discussions  began, Fairbanks  Memorial Hospital  had the  lowest                                                               
charges for the  most common outpatient surgery.   In those three                                                               
years, those charges haven't changed.   However, during that same                                                               
three  years, charges  [for the  most common  outpatient surgery]                                                               
has increased  22 percent.   Mr. Gould  noted that  Anchorage has                                                               
three  [ambulatory]   surgery  centers  and  thus   is  the  most                                                               
competitive market  in the state,  and yet the prices  are higher                                                               
than in Fairbanks.                                                                                                              
MR.  GOULD turned  to MRI  (magnetic resonance  imaging) charges.                                                               
Recently  in Fairbanks  a clinic  has opened  a good  clinic MRI,                                                               
although  it isn't  a hospital-quality  MRI.   Those clinic  MRIs                                                               
don't produce  the same images nor  are those images as  clear or                                                               
similar  quality to  that  of  the hospital  MRI.   However,  the                                                               
clinic's  charges  are  43  percent   higher  than  the  hospital                                                               
charges.  Therefore,  it's an example of  when physicians control                                                               
patient referrals and thus it doesn't matter what is charged.                                                                   
MR. GOULD  suggested that if  HB 407 passes, the  hospital should                                                               
immediately raise its prices 22 percent  plus the cost of a plane                                                               
ticket  to Anchorage  in order  to compete  with Anchorage.   "We                                                               
won't need to compete with the  physicians if they have their own                                                               
surgery  center because  all you're  going  to do  is divide  the                                                               
market between  who does their  surgeries at which  facility," he                                                               
explained.    Patients  will choose  which  physician  not  which                                                               
facility.    "Immediately, my  prices  don't  matter because  the                                                               
surgeon that  has the share  in their  own surgery center  is not                                                               
going to send  the profitable surgeries, the ones  where we still                                                               
get fair  reimbursement, over to  the hospital; they're  going to                                                               
do them in  their own shop.  That's the  problem with this bill,"                                                               
he said.   Mr.  Gould concluded  by urging  the committee  to not                                                               
throw away  30 years of  community planning  all for the  sake of                                                               
increasing  revenue  to  a few  individual  shareholders.    "The                                                               
reimbursement system is  what's broken, and you're  trying to fix                                                               
it by eliminating the CON legislation," he stated.                                                                              
Number 2333                                                                                                                     
JIM   LYNCH,  Director,   Human  Resources,   Fairbanks  Memorial                                                               
Hospital, testified  via teleconference in opposition  to HB 407.                                                               
Mr. Lynch  urged the committee to  take time to study  this issue                                                               
thoroughly.     He   turned  to   the  workforce   challenges  in                                                               
geographically  remote   locations  such  as  those   in  Alaska,                                                               
specifically, the nursing shortage.                                                                                             
TAPE 02-28, SIDE B                                                                                                              
MR.   LYNCH  stated   that  individuals   such   as  nurses   and                                                               
radiologists   are  hard   to  find,   and  their   salaries  are                                                               
increasing.    If  additional institutions  are  created  without                                                               
being able  to apply the  in-state labor that is  necessary, [the                                                               
state] will  fail miserably at  meeting its health care  needs at                                                               
any reasonable  cost.  He  requested that the  committee consider                                                               
that factor when considering HB 407.                                                                                            
Number 2330                                                                                                                     
BRIAN  SLOCUM,  Administrator,  Tanana Valley  Clinic,  began  by                                                               
informing  the committee  that the  Tanana Valley  Clinic is  the                                                               
largest  entity in  the  state, with  36  health care  providers.                                                               
Tanana Valley Clinic has been  providing patient care since 1959,                                                               
which is ten  years prior to the existence  of Fairbanks Memorial                                                               
Hospital.    Mr. Slocum  said  that  there  have been  some  very                                                               
concerning  claims.   The hospitals  across the  state have  been                                                               
raising the issue of cherry picking.   With respect to the Tanana                                                               
Valley Clinic, everyone who shows up  for care is served.  Due to                                                               
that [policy], the  clinic has lost 11 of its  28 doctors in less                                                               
than two  years.   Those physicians have  left, in  part, because                                                               
they can't make  the living at the clinic that  they could at the                                                               
MR.  SLOCUM  said  24  percent   of  the  clinic's  patients  are                                                               
Medicare/Medicaid patients,  and 9 percent  have no  insurance at                                                               
all; combined, this  is one-third of the patients.   He mentioned                                                               
that  over the  past three  years, the  clinic has  provided over                                                               
$17.7 million  in charity care.   "To  the extent that  the other                                                               
docs in the  community are doing the same thing,  then I'll think                                                               
you'll find  that the  charity care provided  ... by  the doctors                                                               
exceeds the  free care provided  by the  hospital, if you  add it                                                               
up," he  said.  The  clinic can't  continue to provide  that much                                                               
free   care  and   remain  a   taxpaying  for   profit  business.                                                               
Furthermore, such  free care  can't continue in  the face  of the                                                               
4.5 percent Medicare reduction that occurred in January.                                                                        
MR. SLOCUM turned to the charge  that in those states without the                                                               
CON, the  patients receive worse  care.   The only study  that he                                                               
recalled  from testimony  was  a Florida  study  that dealt  with                                                               
cardiac  surgery.    Mr.  Slocum  said  there  is  probably  some                                                               
legitimacy to that  because cardiac surgery shouldn't  be done by                                                               
centers that  only do  a few  each year.   Therefore,  Mr. Slocum                                                               
announced  that no  cardiac surgery  would be  performed in  [the                                                               
clinic's]  ambulatory  care center.    The  center only  performs                                                               
those procedures on the federal  government's approved list.  Mr.                                                               
Slocum  informed  the  committee  that  there  are  studies  that                                                               
[refute the notion] of higher  mortality rates in non-CON states.                                                               
He  noted that  the committee  packet should  include three  such                                                               
studies illustrating  that those  states with  CON laws  or other                                                               
regulations  limiting  the   care  delivered  have  significantly                                                               
higher mortality and morbidity rates.                                                                                           
MR.  SLOCUM pointed  out  that one  of the  letters  sent to  the                                                               
[committee] says,  "If the CON  law is modified, this  could very                                                               
likely  lead to  catastrophic  increases in  cost statewide,  and                                                               
perhaps  even to  the closure  of some  Alaska's most  vulnerable                                                               
hospitals."   However, Mr. Slocum  said that he has  provided the                                                               
committee with two  studies proving that there is  no increase in                                                               
statewide health care  costs and no decrease  in hospital profits                                                               
in  all of  the states  that have  eliminated the  CON laws.   In                                                               
regard  to the  assertion that  the elimination  of the  CON will                                                               
result in  hospitals being  unable to  provide charity  care, the                                                               
studies prove that  there is no decrease in  hospital profits and                                                               
no discernible  decrease in the  amount of charity  care provided                                                               
in the 15  states which have eliminated the CON.   Therefore, Mr.                                                               
Slocum urged the committee to support and pass HB 407.                                                                          
Number 2054                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  inquired as to  the number of  doctors and                                                               
nurses that the  Tanana Valley Clinic employees.   She also asked                                                               
whether the clinic intends to employ more.                                                                                      
MR. SLOCUM  answered that the  clinic has  a total of  28 doctors                                                               
and  10  mid-level  providers  who  are  nurse  practitioners  or                                                               
physicians assistances.   The clinic  is losing two  doctors next                                                               
week who  will be  replaced.  The  clinic recruited  four doctors                                                               
last year and will recruit five  more this year.  He informed the                                                               
committee  that it  costs about  $50,000 per  new doctor  brought                                                               
into the  community.  Without  the clinic providing  these costs,                                                               
the state would be faced with  them.  He explained that there are                                                               
about 1.5  to 2  nurses per  physician.   Those nurses  are often                                                               
brought   in  through   out-of-state   recruitment  and   nursing                                                               
magazines, and locals who come as  part of the Fort Wainwright or                                                               
Eielson  Air  Force Base  contingent.    In further  response  to                                                               
Representative Wilson, Mr. Slocum said,  "We continue to grow ...                                                               
because we seem to be the  only entity other than the hospital in                                                               
Fairbanks that continues  to be able to step up  to the plate and                                                               
deal with  these issues."   He mentioned that  nurses assistants,                                                               
medical assistants, LPNs, RNs, et cetera are utilized as well.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  pointed out  that the nursing  shortage is                                                               
the  biggest workforce  shortage in  the state  now.   Therefore,                                                               
[the  nursing  shortage]  might dilute  the  situation  as  well.                                                               
Representative Wilson  indicated that  she is conflicted  on this                                                               
MR.  SLOCUM  acknowledged  that  he  has  often  heard  that  the                                                               
[clinic] shouldn't  offer new services to  the patient population                                                               
in the community because of  a lack of technical clinical people.                                                               
At its simplest the [question]  becomes whether doctors should be                                                               
brought  in to  provide  health care  services  to the  community                                                               
[even  though there  is  a] struggle  to find  nurses.   To  that                                                               
question, the  answer is yes; the  doctors need to be  brought in                                                               
to serve the needs of those leaving doctors.                                                                                    
Number 1930                                                                                                                     
MIKE   POWERS,  Fairbanks   Memorial   Hospital,  testified   via                                                               
teleconference.   Mr.  Powers commented  on  the difficulty  with                                                               
this issue in that professional  friends are on opposite sides of                                                               
this economic  issue.   This is tearing  apart the  community, he                                                               
said.  Mr.  Powers acknowledged that the Tanana  Valley Clinic is                                                               
a good neighbor in that  it takes Medicare and Medicaid patients,                                                               
which  not  every physician  in  Fairbanks  does.   However,  the                                                               
Tanana  Valley Clinic  isn't the  largest  property taxpayer  but                                                               
rather  the Greater  Fairbanks Community  Hospital Foundation  is                                                               
with its  physician office building.   He stressed that  there is                                                               
no profit  in the  foundation as  there are  considerable capital                                                               
costs associated.                                                                                                               
MR. POWERS  turned to the  testimony regarding the  Tanana Valley                                                               
Clinic's mention  of a 4.5-percent  reduction in  Medicare, while                                                               
the hospital faces  a 17-percent reduction this year.   In regard                                                               
to  the Florida  study, Mr.  Powers explained  that the  study is                                                               
important relative  to the CON  because in states that  with CONs                                                               
there is higher efficiency, efficacy,  and equality.  With regard                                                               
to unreimbursed care, Fairbanks  Memorial Hospital provided $34.5                                                               
million in  unreimbursed care.   He  pointed out  that of  the 37                                                               
states that  have CONs,  two of those  states that  have repealed                                                               
the CONs brought  them back due to a  proliferation of ambulatory                                                               
surgery centers and cherry picking.                                                                                             
MR.  POWERS concluded  by saying  that  this is  a very  divisive                                                               
issue and that the community needs  to work together to develop a                                                               
health plan  and recruit physicians.   This  is all an  effort to                                                               
eliminate barriers  so that physicians  can do what they  do best                                                               
while  [allowing] hospitals  to provide  technical components  of                                                               
services that  no one  else provides.   Mr. Powers  stressed that                                                               
[Alaska]  is in  a fragile  state because  every community,  save                                                               
Anchorage,   has  one   hospital.     The  numbers   alone  don't                                                               
substantiate the  need for  fundamental changes  to the  CON law.                                                               
Therefore, Mr.  Powers urged the  committee give this  much study                                                               
in  order to  develop a  CON law  that addresses  the needs  of a                                                               
rural state.                                                                                                                    
Number 1757                                                                                                                     
MR. LINDSTROM  commented that  Version O  is an  improvement over                                                               
the previous  [versions].  Mr.  Lindstrom noted  his appreciation                                                               
of the changes in Section 1  relative to conversion.  However, he                                                               
continued  to  express reservations  about  the  basic notion  of                                                               
dividing  the  state  into  communities  larger  than  55,000  or                                                               
smaller.   There  is  no  data to  determine  whether such  makes                                                               
sense.   He referred to page  2, lines 3-10, subsection  (e), and                                                               
said he  didn't understand the  language.  He related  his belief                                                               
that  subsection  (e) appears  to  be  contradictory or  subsumed                                                               
within  subsection  (d).   Section  2  regarding the  ability  to                                                               
replace a  facility without  going through a  CON is  still cause                                                               
for concern, particularly in smaller communities.                                                                               
MR. LINDSTROM  indicated he also  didn't understand  the language                                                               
on  page 2,  lines 30-31,  and page  3, lines  1-2.   Although he                                                               
wasn't sure  it would allay  all of the  [department's] concerns,                                                               
Mr. Lindstrom suggested that the  language could say that nursing                                                               
home  or psychiatric  beds couldn't  be replaced  without a  CON.                                                               
That  language  would get  at  the  department's issue  with  the                                                               
department  being  the  primary  payer  of  those  two  types  of                                                               
MR. LINDSTROM informed  the committee that he had  a draft fiscal                                                               
note  to  Version  J,  which  he  believes  remains  relevant  to                                                               
Version O.   He  noted that  some of  the verbiage  would require                                                               
change, and thus those changes would  be made and the fiscal note                                                               
resubmitted.  The  estimated costs are significant.   He directed                                                               
attention to  page 3 of  the fiscal note, which  identifies those                                                               
facilities  that the  department  believes  might generate  those                                                               
additional costs.   Mr.  Lindstrom said,  "I cannot  stand before                                                               
you and say  that I have any high degree  of confidence that this                                                               
is the exact  number for a fiscal note, because  on all of these,                                                               
it  assumes  that  we  know  what a  Providence  or  a  Fairbanks                                                               
Memorial ...  are ultimately  going to do  as their  own business                                                               
decisions."   However, Mr. Lindstrom  related his belief  that HB
407  will  have   a  significant  impact  as   has  been  related                                                               
throughout the testimony.                                                                                                       
Number 1555                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON asked  if  the bill  will  proceed to  the                                                               
House Finance Committee since a fiscal note has been attached.                                                                  
CHAIR DYSON informed the committee  that the committee can accept                                                               
the department's fiscal  note or zero it out, or  can forward the                                                               
bill with  several fiscal notes.   In regard to the  latter case,                                                               
the  Speaker of  the  House  has the  authority  to decide  which                                                               
fiscal  note  the  legislation  has.   Chair  Dyson  related  his                                                               
understanding  that legislation  with  a fiscal  note mandates  a                                                               
Finance Committee referral.                                                                                                     
The committee took an at-ease from 4:10 p.m. to 4:12 p.m.                                                                       
CHAIR DYSON  announced that the vote  on HB 407 would  be delayed                                                               
until Thursday, per the request of  the bill sponsor.  He further                                                               
informed the committee that there  will be discussions with those                                                               
carrying the companion  bill to HB 407, in order  to develop some                                                               
congruence between the bills.  [HB 407 was held over.]                                                                          
The committee took an at-ease from 4:13 p.m. to 4:18 p.m.                                                                       
HB 408-STUDENT QUESTIONNAIRES AND SURVEYS                                                                                     
CHAIR DYSON  announced that the  next order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO. 408,  "An  Act  relating to  questionnaires  and                                                               
surveys administered in the public schools."                                                                                    
Number 1397                                                                                                                     
APRIL  HOTCHKISS,  Substance  Abuse Counselor  at  Juneau-Douglas                                                               
High  School   (JDHS),  Juneau   Youth  Services,   informed  the                                                               
committee that  although she  usually doesn't  become politically                                                               
involved, this legislation  impacts how well she can  do her job.                                                               
Ms. Hotchkiss announced  her support of HB 408  because it allows                                                               
the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS)  to be done.  She explained                                                               
that she  attends many meetings  with parents, teachers,  and the                                                               
community.   At [those meetings],  one of the major  questions is                                                               
in regard to the drug  situation at [Juneau-Douglas High School].                                                               
She said  she couldn't comfortably  answer that  question because                                                               
she would  be guessing the answer,  since there is no  proof with                                                               
regard to  how JDHS is doing  with the drug problem.   Also, this                                                               
is   problematic  because   it   leaves  Ms.   Hotchkiss,  as   a                                                               
professional, guessing  what [the  students] need.   For example,                                                               
she  informed the  committee  that  she has  heard  a rumor  that                                                               
cocaine  is  "big" at  JDHS  now.    With that  information,  she                                                               
redirected  her  focus  on  cocaine  awareness  education.    She                                                               
reiterated that she is just guessing.                                                                                           
MS.  HOTCHKISS informed  the committee  that many  kids she  sees                                                               
aren't  drug users,  but only  look like  them.   Therefore, many                                                               
assumptions are being  made.  She said, "People tend  to assume a                                                               
lot.   And without an anonymous  test to know where  we stand and                                                               
what we do need to focus on,  we tend to be spinning our wheels."                                                               
In  summary, Ms.  Hotchkiss said,  "Without identifying  what the                                                               
problem is, it is hard to be able to work the solution out."                                                                    
Number 1290                                                                                                                     
JESSICA PARIS,  High School Teacher, Juneau-Douglas  High School,                                                               
testified in  support of HB  408.  Ms.  Paris said she  felt that                                                               
society is  often naive about  the problems youth are  facing and                                                               
the  risky  behaviors  in  which   they  choose  to  participate.                                                               
Without the  1999 YRBS,  Ms. Paris said  that she  would've never                                                               
thought that about half of the  juniors and seniors and about one                                                               
in four freshmen at JDHS are  having sex.  She expressed the need                                                               
to  do a  better job  of educating  [students] how  to say  "No."                                                               
Although  there  are  programs that  attempt  to  confront  these                                                               
issues,  there  need  to  be  accurate  statistics  in  order  to                                                               
evaluate  the  need  and  effectiveness of  the  programs.    The                                                               
current law has  hampered the [school's] ability  to administer a                                                               
survey  that will  judge whether  these  programs are  effective.                                                               
Under HB  408, parents  will still be  able to  refuse permission                                                               
for  their  child  to  participate in  an  anonymous  survey  and                                                               
students  will  maintain  the right  to  refuse  to  participate.                                                               
Under the current law, parents  of students and students who want                                                               
to  participate  in an  anonymous  survey  can't if  the  student                                                               
doesn't remember  to return  the consent form,  which is  a large                                                               
Number 1145                                                                                                                     
ANDREE  McLEOD, testifying  via teleconference,  began by  saying                                                               
that committee members have asked  her ways, other than the YRBS,                                                               
that  this information  could  be obtained  from  students.   Ms.                                                               
McLeod  said that  although she  didn't have  the wherewithal  to                                                               
answer  [this  question],  the  Department  of  Health  &  Social                                                               
Services  (DHSS)  and  EED  both have  the  financial  and  human                                                               
resources to  answer this  question.  She  suggested using  a key                                                               
informant  survey or  a random  stratified sampling  to find  out                                                               
[more  accurate results].   Ms.  McLeod  felt that  a 10  percent                                                               
[response] from surveys  isn't so bad; the  [current response] is                                                               
at  30 percent.   Ms.  McLeod related  her belief  that surveying                                                               
minors  without written  parental  consent is  a  form of  abuse,                                                               
which is  unacceptable.  Ms.  McLeod requested that DHSS  and EED                                                               
find  other ways  to gather  this information.   She  charged the                                                               
departments with negligence in not doing so before now.                                                                         
Number 0897                                                                                                                     
BILL  DIEBELS, JR.,  Parent, informed  the committee  that he  is                                                               
moderately  involved  in  support  activities  at  school.    Mr.                                                               
Diebels noted  that he  recently learned how  difficult it  is to                                                               
gather  statistically  valid  data  on  drug,  alcohol,  and  sex                                                               
problems due  to the logistical  nightmare of  obtaining parental                                                               
consent  before  conducting  anonymous  surveys.    Without  this                                                               
information,  Mr. Diebels  related that  one can't  be sure  that                                                               
resources  are   being  targeted   where  they're   most  needed.                                                               
Furthermore,  the   effectiveness  of   the  programs   can't  be                                                               
measured.  Mr. Diebels announced his  support of HB 408 and urged                                                               
the adoption  of its  intent.  However,  Mr. Diebels  pointed out                                                               
that Section 2  says in part, "the school  district shall provide                                                               
each  student's  parent  or legal  guardian  the  opportunity  to                                                               
submit to the school principal  a written denial of permission to                                                               
take the questionnaire or survey."                                                                                              
MR.  DIEBELS  said it  would  be  a  shame for  future  arguments                                                               
regarding what  constitutes "opportunity" to diminish  the intent                                                               
of  this  legislation.   Therefore,  he  suggested the  following                                                               
     If   a  school   district   administers  an   anonymous                                                                    
     questionnaire  or  survey,  written permission  from  a                                                                    
     student's  parent or  legal guardian  is not  required,                                                                    
     but the  school district shall  not ask any  student to                                                                    
     participate in  such a survey if  that student's parent                                                                    
     or  legal   guardian  has   submitted  to   the  school                                                                    
     principal a  written denial of  permission to  take the                                                                    
     questionnaire or survey.                                                                                                   
Number 0785                                                                                                                     
RICHARD  BLOCK, Christian  Science Committee  on Publication  for                                                               
the State of  Alaska, testified via teleconference.   He informed                                                               
the committee  that the federal  law [20 U.S.C. Section  1832 and                                                               
20  U.S.C.  1232h]  has  a  direct  bearing  on  [HB  408].    He                                                               
characterized the thrust  of those laws as the  parental right to                                                               
be  informed  with regard  to  what's  going  on in  school  with                                                               
respect to  the curriculum, surveys, and  questionnaires, as well                                                               
as  the  right   of  parents  to  prevent   their  children  from                                                               
participating in these  surveys.  Therefore, he  found it curious                                                               
that there  have been  grants that  were denied  on the  basis of                                                               
failing   to   provide   information  [obtained   through   these                                                               
questionnaires and surveys].                                                                                                    
MR. BLOCK reported that in  researching this claim, he discovered                                                               
that one  of the grants  that was applied  for was denied  not by                                                               
the federal government but rather  by EED, because of the failure                                                               
to provide  data supporting  [the need  for the  grant].   In his                                                               
discussion  with  the  department, any  data  substantiating  the                                                               
[grant]  request  would've  been satisfactory;  the  data  didn't                                                               
necessarily have  to result  from a  questionnaire.   He recalled                                                               
Ms.  McLeod's testimony  that this  data could  be gathered  from                                                               
police reports,  absentee reports, and disciplinary  reports from                                                               
the schools.  He informed  the committee that through his inquiry                                                               
of these  surveys as they relate  to grant requests he  could see                                                               
that there is  probably a value to these surveys.   Therefore, an                                                               
absolute  barring  of  these  surveys  may not  be  in  the  best                                                               
interest of the  schools.  However, he recognized why  there is a                                                               
great  deal  of concern  with  regard  to  the content  of  these                                                               
surveys, including the YRBS.                                                                                                    
MR.  BLOCK turned  to  his  view as  a  parent,  and related  his                                                               
concern that  the content of  the survey may be  inappropriate in                                                               
the eyes  of some parents  because the questions seem  to propose                                                               
that there's  a certain amount  of propriety to the  things being                                                               
asked.   In conclusion, Mr.  Block specified that his  concern is                                                               
not in  regard to whether  surveys should  be given or  not given                                                               
but  rather  that parents  be  adequately  informed in  order  to                                                               
provide sound judgment.   Therefore, he proposed  an amendment to                                                               
tighten the  notice provisions  by requiring  that the  notice be                                                               
mailed directly to the parent.   The amendment specifies that the                                                               
notice be mailed two weeks in advance via First Class mail.                                                                     
Number 0456                                                                                                                     
KATHRYN ARLEN, Member,  Board of Directors, Youth  on the Streets                                                               
Action  Group; Member,  Meeting the  Challenge Advocacy  Program;                                                               
Volunteer,  Detention,  Johnson  Youth Center,  noted  [that  the                                                               
committee  packet should  include]  her written  testimony.   Ms.                                                               
Arlen also  noted her  agreement with  Mr. Block's  suggestion to                                                               
provide parental notification via the  mail.  She highlighted her                                                               
agreement that  every parent  should be  informed.   However, she                                                               
noted  her  concern  with regard  to  "active"  versus  "passive"                                                               
parental consent.                                                                                                               
MS. ARLEN  turned to her  experiences through volunteering.   She                                                               
informed the  committee that  a great deal  of young  people come                                                               
from "fractured,  rearranged, repartnered families."   Therefore,                                                               
she questioned  who the parent  would be [that would  be charged]                                                               
with  signing and  returning the  parental consent  notification.                                                               
Ms.  Arlen related  her  experiences with  young  people who  are                                                               
suffering the  consequences of  risky behavior.   She  noted that                                                               
the young  people with  whom she works  requested that  she relay                                                               
the following  message:  "We need  to get things off  our chests.                                                               
We  need to  have the  right to  answer questions  just like  our                                                               
parents do and a lot of times  ... our parents don't care or they                                                               
don't want  everyone else to know  what's really going on."   Ms.                                                               
Arlen said that she strongly urged the passage of HB 408.                                                                       
Number 0146                                                                                                                     
RIC IANNOLINO, Chair,  Youth on the Street,  testified in support                                                               
of HB  408.  He commented  that any survey that  is anonymous and                                                               
voluntary  does not  violate either  the  protection of  people's                                                               
rights,  known  as the  Buckley  Amendment,  or family  education                                                               
rights and the Privacy Act of 1974.                                                                                             
TAPE 02-29, SIDE A                                                                                                              
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
MARY  TONSMEIRE,  Nurse,   Adolescent  Health  Care  Coordinator,                                                               
Juneau-Douglas High School,  began by saying that  there are many                                                               
angles  she  could take  in  supporting  HB  408.   Although  she                                                               
expressed the  importance of  parent notification,  she [conveyed                                                               
the need for passage of HB 408]  in order to obtain a true cross-                                                               
section  of  the population  that  would  afford the  ability  to                                                               
determine  the  trends  in  JDHS  as well  as  the  state.    Ms.                                                               
Tonsmeire informed the  committee that last year  the high school                                                               
started the Postponing Sexual Involvement  (PSI) program in which                                                               
peer  educators are  trained.   This program  comes out  of Emory                                                               
University  in Atlanta,  Georgia.   The  statistics from  Atlanta                                                               
illustrate that  there should be  some significant  reductions in                                                               
attitudes toward becoming sexually involved  at an early age.  At                                                               
this point,  there is no  mechanism by which to  evaluate whether                                                               
that is  true.   Therefore, Ms. Tonsmeire  expressed the  need to                                                               
see whether  the youth hold  the lessons that their  peers taught                                                               
them a  year or two earlier.   Ms. Tonsmeire concluded  by saying                                                               
that is merely one of many issues.                                                                                              
Number 0177                                                                                                                     
LISA  TORKELSON, Full-time  Parent, testified  via teleconference                                                               
in opposition to  HB 408.  Ms. Torkelson  emphasized that passive                                                               
consent isn't consent at the  bank, school, or the grocery store.                                                               
"Only our  signatures are consent," she  highlighted.  Therefore,                                                               
surveys  shouldn't be  treated any  differently.   Ms.  Torkelson                                                               
pointed out  that students  can't go  on a  field trip  or obtain                                                               
aspirin without parental permission  and surveys shouldn't be any                                                               
different.  She informed the  committee that there are sources of                                                               
documented evidence  that anonymity doesn't exist  when surveying                                                               
students in  school.  Furthermore,  she said  there is a  list of                                                               
places  where reliable  data can  be  obtained without  surveying                                                               
students.   Ms.  Torkelson  related that  the federal  government                                                               
doesn't  make money  contingent upon  the provisions  of specific                                                               
survey data.   Moreover,  federal law  also prohibits  making the                                                               
sharing  of personal  data mandatory  when tied  to grants.   She                                                               
stressed that self-reported data isn't reliable.                                                                                
MS.  TORKELSON  said  that  if  HB  408  passes,  [Alaska  school                                                               
districts] will  be open to  potential lawsuits.   Currently, New                                                               
Jersey is  facing this issue  in court.   Lawsuits are  much more                                                               
expensive than  most grants.   Ms. Torkelson pointed out  that HB
408  doesn't limit  questions to  those  in the  YRBS.   "There's                                                               
documented  evidence that  any topic  is  and has  been open  for                                                               
discussion  within  the confines  of  the  survey," she  charged.                                                               
Although she acknowledged  that those in support of  HB 408 speak                                                               
of the importance  of parental notification, she  said she hasn't                                                               
found  where [parental  notification] would  occur under  HB 408.                                                               
She concluded  by urging  the committee to  protect the  right to                                                               
privacy and thus she suggested not passing HB 408.                                                                              
Number 0385                                                                                                                     
BARBARA  BONNER,  Teacher,  CHOICE, Juneau-Douglas  High  School;                                                               
Member, Youth on the Streets,  informed the committee that CHOICE                                                               
is  a program  for at-risk  students.   Ms. Bonner  announced her                                                               
support of HB  408.  Ms. Bonner informed the  committee that JDHS                                                               
conducted a survey last year  for which parental permission forms                                                               
were sent  home for  the parents  to sign.   Only  those students                                                               
returning the permission forms were able  to take the survey.  In                                                               
her classroom of  27 sophomores, there was one  student who could                                                               
take the  survey.  That  one student doesn't represent  the other                                                               
students in  the classroom, which  included some of  the neediest                                                               
students  in the  district.   If  surveys are  conducted in  this                                                               
manner, it's not representative of  what is really happening with                                                               
the  youth.   Therefore, she  urged the  committee to  support HB
Number 0468                                                                                                                     
DEE HUBBARD testified  via teleconference.  She  pointed out that                                                               
HB  70 didn't  say  that  surveys couldn't  be  done; rather,  it                                                               
specified that parents must be  asked first.  Ms. Hubbard related                                                               
a quote  from Carol Nunn (ph)  in North Carolina regarding  a New                                                               
Jersey statute that "married" 20 U.S.C. Section 1232h:                                                                          
     A parent's silence should never  constitute consent.  A                                                                    
     school district should never  second-guess why a parent                                                                    
     has not sent  back a consent form.   Passive consent is                                                                    
     an oxymoron,  and only  a moron  would rely  on passive                                                                    
     consent  when surveying  minor  children without  their                                                                    
     parent's informed, active, and written consent.                                                                            
Number 0579                                                                                                                     
SAM TRIVETTE,  Parent, informed the  committee that his  son took                                                               
these surveys  when they were  still permitted.  His  son related                                                               
to  him that  he  and  his friends  were  fairly thoughtful  when                                                               
taking  the   survey  and,  in   fact,  answered   the  questions                                                               
truthfully  because the  survey  was anonymous.   Therefore,  Mr.                                                               
Trivette  related  that  he didn't  believe  these  surveys  were                                                               
problematic if they  are anonymous.  He noted that  he worked for                                                               
the Department of Corrections for  33 years and was involved with                                                               
surveys, and  therefore he  said he understood  the need  to have                                                               
good information  to make good  decisions on  educational issues.                                                               
It is critical to obtain  this information.  Mr. Trivette related                                                               
that the  parents who attended  a parent group meeting  [at JDHS]                                                               
were all supportive of these surveys.                                                                                           
Number 0708                                                                                                                     
KAREN McCARTHY,  Staff to Representative Con  Bunde, Alaska State                                                               
Legislature,  speaking  as  the  committee  aide  for  the  House                                                               
Special  Committee on  Education, sponsor  of HB  408, reiterated                                                               
that this  is a  voluntary, anonymous survey,  which is  in sharp                                                               
contrast to the  New Jersey court case and the  federal law.  Ms.                                                               
McCarthy pointed out  that 20 U.S.C. Section  1232h [protects the                                                               
rights of  parents and  students] because  it says  that "schools                                                               
and contractors  have to obtain  written parental  consent before                                                               
the minor  students are required  to participate."   However, the                                                               
survey  in  HB 408  is  completely  voluntary.    As the  law  is                                                               
written, school districts and social  service agencies are losing                                                               
grants that are  meant to help prevent and  combat risky behavior                                                               
in young people.   That situation needs to be  changed, she said.                                                               
The students  who are at  most risk  for such behavior  are those                                                               
whose  parents aren't  involved  in their  children's lives,  and                                                               
those parents  don't return active-consent  forms.   Ms. McCarthy                                                               
concluded  by relating  Representative Bunde's  hope that  HB 408                                                               
would move from this committee today.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS recalled  hearing  that school  districts                                                               
can decide whether to conduct these surveys via questionnaire.                                                                  
MS. McCARTHY answered that such  was her understanding, and added                                                               
that  it's   completely  voluntary.    In   further  response  to                                                               
Representative  Stevens, she  agreed  that taking  the survey  is                                                               
also voluntary  with regard to the  child.  She specified  that a                                                               
child may  review the survey  in total and  refuse to take  it or                                                               
the child may decide not to answer a particular question.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE inquired  as to the penalties  for breach of                                                               
Number 0899                                                                                                                     
KRISTEN  BOMENGEN,  Assistant  Attorney General,  Human  Services                                                               
Section,  Civil Division  (Juneau), Department  of Law,  answered                                                               
that  she  didn't  know  what  the  specific  penalty  would  be.                                                               
However, she said that a number  of methods for recovery would be                                                               
available   for  individuals   if  [breach   of  confidentiality]                                                               
resulted in individual  privacy issues.  She  surmised that using                                                               
confidential information  would be in violation  of an employment                                                               
contract.  She  noted that there may other  specific penalties in                                                               
federal education law and state law of which she is not aware.                                                                  
Number 0954                                                                                                                     
ELMER   LINDSTROM,    Deputy   Commissioner,   Office    of   the                                                               
Commissioner,  Department of  Health  &  Social Services  (DHSS),                                                               
related his  belief that EED  and DHSS both have  clear statutory                                                               
obligations relative to the preservation  of confidentiality.  He                                                               
deferred to  Tammy Green, Epidemiology  Section, who  agreed with                                                               
Ms.  Bomengen's  comments.   Mr.  Lindstrom  said that  he  could                                                               
provide the committee with a written response tomorrow.                                                                         
MS.  McCARTHY,  in   regard  to  the  penalties   for  breach  of                                                               
confidentiality, informed  the committee that a  complaint can be                                                               
filed  with   the  Professional  Teaching   Practices  Commission                                                               
(PTPC).    Furthermore, federal  law  [20  U.S.C. Section  1232h]                                                               
     (d) Enforcement                                                                                                            
     The Secretary  shall take such action  as the Secretary                                                                    
     determines appropriate to  enforce this section, except                                                                    
     that action  to terminate assistance provided  under an                                                                    
     applicable program determines that                                                                                         
        (1) there has been a failure to comply with such                                                                        
     section; and                                                                                                               
           (2) compliance with such section cannot be                                                                           
     secured by voluntary means.                                                                                                
MS. McCARTHY summarized  that per federal law  the U.S. Secretary                                                               
of Education could cut off funding to the school district.                                                                      
CHAIR  DYSON,  upon  determining  that  no  one  else  wished  to                                                               
testify, closed the public hearing on HB 408.                                                                                   
Number 1071                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE   WILSON   recalled  her   nine-and-a-half   years                                                               
teaching in  a school system  of 4,000 students, and  remarked on                                                               
how  few  of  the  permission slips  are  returned  [for  various                                                               
things].    Therefore,  [the school  district]  went  to  passive                                                               
permission.   She emphasized the  importance of having  proof [of                                                               
the effectiveness] in  regard to what is  taught.  Representative                                                               
Wilson urged everyone to vote for HB 408.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS recalled  testimony  that  the denial  of                                                               
grants isn't really  an issue because one of the  grants that was                                                               
denied  was denied  by  EED.   However,  the  testimony from  the                                                               
professionals is  that there are  numerous grants that  have been                                                               
lost due to the lack of information.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA,  as a parent  and foster  parent, remarked                                                               
that one can only find out  what teenagers are thinking by asking                                                               
them.    Furthermore,  [the  school  districts/the  state]  can't                                                               
afford to pay for programs  unless there is knowledge with regard                                                               
to what and how those programs are doing.                                                                                       
CHAIR DYSON recalled that Version  C [22-LS1458\C, Ford, 3/21/02]                                                               
was adopted [March 26, 2002].                                                                                                   
Number 1238                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE  said that  he would like  an answer  to his                                                               
question regarding the penalties for  breach of contract, even if                                                               
that answer  comes after HB 408  has moved to the  next committee                                                               
of  referral.   Representative  Joule related  the importance  of                                                               
obtaining a  snapshot of what  students are facing [in  order] to                                                               
make adjustments and review [those  adjustments that have already                                                               
been made].  However, Representative  Joule remained concern with                                                               
regard to  anonymity.  He  related his belief that  the penalties                                                               
for breach of confidentiality would be fairly severe.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL remarked that  in the smaller communities,                                                               
anonymity would  be even more important.   Representative Coghill                                                               
said although he understands the  need to know, he struggles with                                                               
the societal question of whether  the school should [have to] fix                                                               
[problems  related] to  family  struggles.   He  didn't view  the                                                               
school  as   fixing  these  problems.     Representative  Coghill                                                               
questioned whether [HB  408] is about dollars or  families.  That                                                               
is, when  is it more  important for  the parents to  acquiesce so                                                               
that  the survey  can be  done in  order to  obtain grants  to do                                                               
social engineering.   "At what point does  the government [public                                                               
schools] have to fix it all," he  asked.  He noted his refusal to                                                               
believe that the school is the  only place to fix these problems.                                                               
Therefore, Representative Coghill informed  the committee that he                                                               
wouldn't be  supporting HB 408.   He stressed the need  to obtain                                                               
active permission.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  JOULE said  he didn't  necessarily  view this  as                                                               
[something] the government  should fix.  Once  the information is                                                               
obtained by the  school districts, the schools should  be able to                                                               
review the  information in order  to inform the community  of the                                                               
results.   Therefore,  [there  would be]  the  type of  community                                                               
involvement    to   which    Representative   Coghill    alluded.                                                               
Representative  Joule said  he didn't  view HB  408 as  a way  in                                                               
which  to obtain  grant money.   He  encouraged the  local school                                                               
districts    to   bring    [the    information   obtained    from                                                               
questionnaires] back to their local school councils.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  STEVENS   remarked  that  he  would   agree  with                                                               
Representative Coghill  if this  were a  perfect world  and every                                                               
child  had two  supportive  and active  parents  in their  lives.                                                               
However, there are children that  are falling through the cracks,                                                               
and [the  state] has an obligation  to those children as  well as                                                               
those with active parents.   He reiterated earlier testimony that                                                               
these [surveys] are voluntary.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL agreed that  there are "some broken places                                                               
in society."   However,  he charged that  just because  there are                                                               
parents who  don't participate, "we"  are going to turn  a "blind                                                               
eye" to  those parents  who are  involved.  In  so many  areas of                                                               
law, everyone pays the price  for the broken portions of society.                                                               
The voluntariness is being taken out  of the hands of the parents                                                               
[under HB 408].                                                                                                                 
Number 1610                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  KOHRING noted  his agreement  with Representative                                                               
Coghill's remarks.  Representative  Kohring related the following                                                               
from Lisa  Torkelson's e-mail:   "In  conclusion, House  Bill 408                                                               
when it  comes up for a  vote, please retain parental  rights and                                                               
vote 'Do  Not Pass.'   After all,  isn't it the  school districts                                                               
who  say  they  desperately  want parental  involvement?"    With                                                               
regard  to   funding,  Representative  Kohring  said   he  wasn't                                                               
convinced [the legislature] should  be concerned with the passage                                                               
of measures tied to the funding of grants.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON echoed  earlier  testimony  that [HB  408]                                                               
isn't  just  about obtaining  grants,  but  is about  the  school                                                               
system's trying to determine whether its [programs] are working.                                                                
Number 1672                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  DYSON informed  the committee  that  a few  years ago  the                                                               
legislature passed HB 70 with a 39-0  vote in the House and a 19-                                                               
1  vote  in  the  Senate,  and  was  immediately  signed  by  the                                                               
governor.  That  legislation was viewed as  a major strengthening                                                               
of  parental  rights with  regard  to  the invasive  and  private                                                               
questions  that a  school can  ask.   He  said that  some of  the                                                               
questions  [that  are  asked] are  outrageous,  and  there  isn't                                                               
anything  in HB  408  that  limits the  scope  of the  outrageous                                                               
questions  that  might  be  asked.   When  the  Anchorage  School                                                               
District came  forward because it  couldn't obtain  enough active                                                               
parental permission to obtain the  data necessary to know what is                                                               
happening  with  the students  and  to  evaluate the  efforts  to                                                               
remediate, he agreed to hear the bill.                                                                                          
CHAIR DYSON noted that he has  a letter from the president of the                                                               
Anchorage  Parent  Teacher  Association (PTA),  which  says  they                                                               
never even  heard about [HB  408].  In  the past, the  Council of                                                               
PTAs   has  been   opposed   to   passive  parental   permission.                                                               
Furthermore,  the Anchorage  School District's  web site  doesn't                                                               
mention the problem either.                                                                                                     
CHAIR DYSON  emphasized that  passage of  HB 408  merely requires                                                               
notification of anonymous surveys.   There is no specification as                                                               
to how the  notification will occur.  Therefore,  a student could                                                               
still be  given a  form to  take home and  return to  the school.                                                               
Chair Dyson  noted his  strong objection  to that.   Furthermore,                                                               
Chair Dyson  noted his belief  that by-and-large HB 408  is about                                                               
money.   He echoed earlier  testimony that federal  law prohibits                                                               
disqualification from grants if there  is a problem with parental                                                               
consent.    Therefore,   he  didn't  view  that   as  a  problem.                                                               
Furthermore,  the federal  law says  that  questions violating  a                                                               
child's Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment  [rights] can't be asked.                                                               
Children can't be asked to incriminate themselves.                                                                              
CHAIR DYSON said he interpreted the  New Jersey case to mean that                                                               
it's  not voluntary  when  a  voluntary survey  is  given to  the                                                               
students and  [those administrating  the survey] stress  the need                                                               
[for the students to take the  survey] and everyone else is doing                                                               
it.   Such a situation  is compelled  speech in violation  of the                                                               
First  Amendment.   He  informed  the  committee that  under  the                                                               
federal law [individuals] may not  be asked [questions regarding]                                                               
their political  affiliation; mental and  psychological problems;                                                               
sex  behavior  and  attitudes;  illegal,  antisocial,  and  self-                                                               
incriminating  or  demeaning  behavior;  critical  appraisals  of                                                               
other  individuals; legally  recognized  privileged or  analogous                                                               
relationships;  and income.   Furthermore,  the New  Jersey Third                                                               
Circuit Court of Appeals decision  dated December 10, 2001, seems                                                               
to  mean that  if  [HB 408]  passes  as written,  it  will be  in                                                               
violation of federal law.                                                                                                       
CHAIR DYSON turned to the issue  of anonymity.  He said that very                                                               
experienced teachers  have related to  him that there is  no such                                                               
thing as  anonymity with a survey  conducted in a classroom.   He                                                               
expressed  his hope  that  these surveys  would  be conducted  in                                                               
large groups in  order to minimize the loss of  anonymity.  Chair                                                               
Dyson  pointed  out  that   information  pertaining  to  specific                                                               
children  won't  be  available  because  of  the  anonymity,  and                                                               
furthermore street kids  don't take surveys.   Although he agreed                                                               
that "we" want  to know what is going on  in society, he stressed                                                               
that those  willing to  vote in  favor of HB  408 are  willing to                                                               
sacrifice  the parents'  rights  in order  to  obtain more  data.                                                               
Chair Dyson  informed the  committee that he  has had  some high-                                                               
ranking educators  come into his  office and tell him  that their                                                               
districts are in favor of HB  408, but they, as parents, weren't.                                                               
Chair Dyson announced that he would be voting against HB 408.                                                                   
Number 2008                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA  asked, "Did I  understand you to  say that                                                               
if  I don't  vote the  way you  think, I  am violating  someone's                                                               
rights because that's the way you think?"                                                                                       
CHAIR  DYSON replied  no, and  said that  if he'd  said that,  he                                                               
didn't mean  it.  He clarified  that from his reading  of the New                                                               
Jersey decision,  the law  would be in  violation of  the federal                                                               
law and that passage of HB  408 will result in no good definition                                                               
of notification.   Furthermore, HB 408 guts  many protections put                                                               
in place by HB 70.                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON related  her understanding  that currently                                                               
parents can inform  the school that their children  cannot take a                                                               
survey  without  the parents'  permission,  and  that this  would                                                               
continue under HB 408.                                                                                                          
CHAIR DYSON  said he  believes that  is true.   He  recalled that                                                               
during the  passage of  HB 70,  it was  clear that  [the schools]                                                               
could obtain  blanket permission, perhaps with  an additional box                                                               
on an  existing form that is  vital to enrollment.   This has not                                                               
been done.                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON specified that such  is done in some school                                                               
CHAIR  DYSON  clarified   that  it  isn't  done   in  the  school                                                               
[district] in his area.                                                                                                         
Number 2151                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA related  her  understanding  that a  child                                                               
could  choose, as  he/she is  taking  the survey,  not to  answer                                                               
specific questions.   She asked  whether being forced  to respond                                                               
is different from having a paper full of questions.                                                                             
CHAIR DYSON said  he wasn't the best person to  ask the question,                                                               
but reminded everyone that the  public testimony had been closed.                                                               
However, he  clarified that the  argument in New Jersey  is [that                                                               
being forced to respond isn't  different than having a paper full                                                               
of questions].                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA related  the following  [information] from                                                               
Mr. Iannolino:  "First, the  situation in New Jersey was entirely                                                               
different.   The New  Jersey school  district used  federal funds                                                               
for  a   survey  in  which   at  least  some   students  believed                                                               
participation was  mandatory.  However,  the order to  remand the                                                               
case  back to  the district  court was  based on  the plaintiff's                                                               
inability to conduct discovery, and  that the main parties in the                                                               
suit could be sued."  Therefore,  the New Jersey case seems to be                                                               
a different  situation from that in  Alaska, were HB 408  to pass                                                               
and perhaps even before.                                                                                                        
CHAIR DYSON  said that in  the New  Jersey case they  argued that                                                               
due  to  the manner  in  which  the  survey was  conducted,  some                                                               
students felt  compelled.  Although  the defense argued  that the                                                               
survey was voluntary  and the students were informed  as such, it                                                               
was  determined   that  it  wasn't   adequate.     Therefore,  he                                                               
understood  the ruling  to  have been  that  there was  compelled                                                               
speech.   Therefore, HB  408 relies upon  the school  district to                                                               
ensure that  every student understands  that they have  the right                                                               
to refuse to take the survey/questionnaire.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA said,  "I'm assuming  that ...  our votes:                                                               
we can  feel as  if they're  not mandatory and  that we  have the                                                               
freedom to answer in the way we feel."                                                                                          
CHAIR DYSON replied yes.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  remarked  that  it  comes  down  to  the                                                               
convenience of  the schools [over]  parental rights, to  which he                                                               
Number 2255                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE  moved to  report CSHB  408, Version  C [22-                                                               
LS1458\C,  Ford,  3/21/02],  out  of  committee  with  individual                                                               
recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL objected.                                                                                                
A roll  call vote  was taken.   Representatives  Stevens, Cissna,                                                               
Joule, and  Wilson voted to  report CSHB  408, Version C,  out of                                                               
committee.   Representatives  Coghill, Kohring,  and Dyson  voted                                                               
against it.   Therefore,  CSHB 408(HES) was  reported out  of the                                                               
House Health,  Education and  Social Services  Standing Committee                                                               
by a vote of 4-3.                                                                                                               
HCR 23-LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEES:SPLIT HOUSE HESS                                                                                
CHAIR DYSON  announced that HOUSE  CONCURRENT RESOLUTION  NO. 23,                                                               
Proposing  amendments to  Uniform  Rule 20  of  the Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature;  and  providing  for   an  effective  date  for  the                                                               
amendments, would be taken up on Thursday, April 11, 2002.                                                                      
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Health, Education and Social  Services Standing Committee meeting                                                               
was adjourned at 5:28 p.m.                                                                                                      

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