Legislature(1997 - 1998)

03/21/1997 03:19 PM L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
          HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                          
                         March 21, 1997                                        
                           3:19 p.m.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
                                                                               
 Representative Norman Rokeberg, Chairman                                      
 Representative John Cowdery, Vice Chairman                                    
 Representative Joe Ryan                                                       
 Representative Tom Brice                                                      
                                                                               
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                
                                                                               
 Representative Bill Hudson                                                    
 Representative Jerry Sanders                                                  
 Representative Gene Kubina                                                    
                                                                               
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
                                                                               
 *HOUSE BILL NO. 135                                                           
 "An Act relating to dental licensing; extending the termination               
 date of the Board of Dental Examiners; and providing for an                   
 effective date."                                                              
                                                                               
      - MOVED CSHB 135(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                   
                                                                               
 *HOUSE BILL NO. 137                                                           
 "An Act relating to veterinarians; extending the termination date             
 of the Board of Veterinary Examiners; and providing for an                    
 effective date."                                                              
                                                                               
      - HEARD AND HELD                                                         
                                                                               
 *HOUSE BILL NO. 136                                                           
 "An Act relating to the regulation of physical therapists and                 
 physical therapy assistants; extending the termination date of the            
 State Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Board; and                    
 providing for an effective date."                                             
                                                                               
      - HEARD AND HELD                                                         
                                                                               
 *HOUSE BILL NO. 134                                                           
 "An Act relating to regulation of barbers and hairdressers;                   
 extending the termination date of the Board of Barbers and                    
 Hairdressers; and providing for an effective date."                           
                                                                               
      - HEARD AND HELD                                                         
                                                                               
 (* First public hearing)                                                      
                                                                               
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
                                                                               
 BILL:  HB 135                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: DENTISTS: LICENSING & EXTEND EXAMINING BD                        
 SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF BUDGET AND AUDIT COMMITTEE                    
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE      JRN-PG               ACTION                                     
 02/13/97       334    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/13/97       334    (H)   LABOR & COMMERCE                                  
 03/21/97              (H)   L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                        
                                                                               
 BILL:  HB 137                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: BOARD OF VETERINARY EXAMINERS; LICENSE                           
 SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF BUDGET AND AUDIT COMMITTEE                    
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE      JRN-PG               ACTION                                     
 02/13/97       334    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/13/97       334    (H)   LABOR & COMMERCE                                  
 03/21/97              (H)   L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                        
                                                                               
 BILL:  HB 136                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: PHYSICAL THERAPY AND OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY                        
 SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF BUDGET AND AUDIT COMMITTEE                    
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE      JRN-PG               ACTION                                     
 02/13/97       334    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/13/97       334    (H)   LABOR & COMMERCE                                  
 03/21/97              (H)   L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                        
                                                                               
 BILL:  HB 134                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: BARBERS AND HAIRDRESSERS                                         
 SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF BUDGET AND AUDIT COMMITTEE                    
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE      JRN-PG               ACTION                                     
 02/13/97       333    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/13/97       333    (H)   LABOR & COMMERCE                                  
 03/21/97              (H)   L&C AT  3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                        
                                                                               
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
                                                                               
 CATHERINE REARDON, Director                                                   
 Division of Occupational Licensing                                            
 Department of Commerce and                                                    
   Economic Development                                                        
 P.O. Box 110806                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0806                                                     
 Telephone:  (907) 465-2538                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions regarding HB 135, HB 137.             
                                                                               
 KENNETH L. CROOKS, DDS                                                        
 Chairman, Board of Dental Examiners                                           
 P.O. Box 1610                                                                 
 Dillingham, Alaska 99576                                                      
 Telephone:  Not provided                                                      
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 135.                                     
                                                                               
 ROBERT WARREN, DDS                                                            
 625 East 34th Avenue, Suite 202                                               
 Anchorage, Alaska 99703                                                       
 Telephone:  (907) 274-7691                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 135.                          
                                                                               
 RICHARD COOK, DDS                                                             
 President of the Juneau                                                       
   Dental Society                                                              
 712 West 12th Street                                                          
 Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 586-1188                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 135.                                     
                                                                               
 RANDY WELKER, Legislative Auditor                                             
 Legislative Audit Division                                                    
 P.O. Box 113300                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska 99811-3300                                                     
 Telephone:  (907) 465-2347                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Explained HB 137 and HB 136.                             
                                                                               
 PAM TUOMI, DVM                                                                
 Alaska State Veterinary                                                       
   and Medical Association                                                     
 2036 East Northern Lights Boulevard                                           
 Anchorage, Alaska                                                             
 Telephone:  (907) 274-5623                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 137.                                     
                                                                               
 DEANNA THORNELL, DVM                                                          
 P.O. Box 61263                                                                
 Fairbanks, Alaska 99706                                                       
 Telephone:  (907) 479-2800                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 137.                                     
                                                                               
 PAULINE BENNETT-GANNON, President                                             
 Alaska Occupational Therapy Association                                       
 1076 Willow Grouse Road                                                       
 Fairbanks, Alaska 99712                                                       
 Telephone:  (907) 457-6127                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 136.                                     
                                                                               
 MARY MELISSA ROBINSON, Therapist                                              
 Committee Chair, Licensing Committee                                          
 Alaska Occupational Therapy Association                                       
 13350 Westwind Drive                                                          
 Anchorage, Alaska 99516                                                       
 Telephone:  (907) 345-1004                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 136.                                     
                                                                               
 MARY VAIL, Physical Therapist                                                 
 Legislative Liaison for the Alaska Chapter                                    
   of the American Physical Therapy Association                                
 Address and telephone number were not provided                                
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 136.                                     
                                                                               
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
                                                                               
 TAPE 97-26, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN NORMAN ROKEBERG called the House Labor and Commerce                  
 Standing Committee to order at 3:19 p.m.  Members present at the              
 call to order were Representatives Rokeberg, Cowdery, Ryan and                
 Brice.                                                                        
                                                                               
 HB 135 - DENTISTS: LICENSING & EXTEND EXAMINING BD                          
                                                                               
 Number 137                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced the first order of business would be HB
 135, "An Act relating to dental licensing; extending the                      
 termination date of the Board of Dental Examiners; and providing              
 for an effective date."                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 168                                                                    
                                                                               
 CATHERINE REARDON, Director, Division of Occupational Licensing,              
 Department of Commerce and Economic Development, was first to come            
 before the committee.  She said the bill was introduced by the                
 Legislative Budget and Audit Committee (LB&A).  She explained all             
 the bills the committee would deal with today contain elements of             
 legislative audit recommendations in addition to the extension of             
 the board's sunset dates.  She said while the department agrees               
 with most of the suggested changes, the ideas were brought forward            
 from LB&A rather than initiated by the Department of Commerce and             
 Economic Development.  She said HB 135 extends the sunset date to             
 2003, but it is her understanding that four years is what is                  
 probably considered more appropriate by the Senate.                           
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON informed the committee members that Section 2 increases           
 the number of public members on the board and decreases the number            
 of dentists.  This was a recommendation of the legislative audit,             
 as Mr. Welker testified to in the Senate the previous week.  The              
 purpose was that with a nine member board, it was the feeling of              
 the auditor that two members might bring a more effective public              
 voice to the board and that perhaps in other times in history they            
 might have benefited from more public voice.  She said currently              
 there are six dentists, two hygienists and one public member on the           
 board.  The bill would make it five dentists, two hygienists and              
 two public members.                                                           
                                                                               
 Number 358                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON referred to Section 3 and said it removes a requirement           
 that the photograph submitted with an application be autographed.             
 She said it is good idea to remove that requirement since the                 
 application forms are signed anyway.                                          
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON referred to Section 4 and said it gives the board more            
 leeway in allowing dentists to come in by credentials, these are              
 people who are licensed in other states as dentists.  The current             
 law says that the other state in which the person is licensed has             
 to have licensing requirements, that are generally equivalent to              
 those of this state.  She said the issue has come up that Alaska is           
 part of the Western Regional Examining Board, they give what is               
 called the "WREB" dental exam.  There are also several other                  
 regional exams in the country that are not identical.  She said she           
 believes California has its own exam.  When it comes to determining           
 what is equivalent, there are occasions where someone may be coming           
 from another state and the test they took doesn't have the same               
 elements as the WREB that Alaska uses, and therefore, the person              
 isn't eligible for coming in by credentialing.  The new language on           
 page 2, starting on line 20, says that if the reason that the                 
 licensing requirements aren't equivalent because something was                
 missing on the other state's test that the board may allow the                
 person to come in for licensure if they demonstrate that they've              
 had continuing education or hold specialty certification or provide           
 proof of successful practice in those areas, so as to not exclude             
 people from practice in Alaska unnecessarily.  Ms. Reardon                    
 explained the board currently has a regulation out for public                 
 notice which would give some leeway to the situation.  She noted              
 the public comment period ends June 6.                                        
                                                                               
 Number 517                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON said Section 5 is a transition section which deals with           
 the replacement of one of the dentists by a public member.  The               
 transition section says that the next dentist whose term expires              
 will be replaced by a public member instead of kicking someone off            
 the board for immediate replacement.  Ms. Reardon informed the                
 committee the bill has a zero fiscal note and was done slightly               
 different than in the past for board sunset extensions due to a               
 request from the Senate.  She said the department used to show the            
 ongoing costs of programs.  There were usually positive fiscal                
 notes that showed the money was already in the budget, but was                
 leading to the necessity of Finance Committee referrals.  The                 
 department is doing fiscal notes and it is shown in the analysis              
 that there is an ongoing cost of regulating dentists which is                 
 already in the budget.  Ms. Reardon said in this case, the                    
 department is saying the cost is about $163,200 a year for                    
 licensing dentists.                                                           
                                                                               
 Number 592                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE JOE RYAN asked if dental hygienists are licensed.              
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON indicated dental hygienists are licensed under the                
 Board of Dental Examiners.                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE RYAN asked if they have to meet national criteria.             
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON explained there is a national exam.  The licensing is             
 similar to the one set up for real estate or dentists where in                
 statute there are qualifications for training and examination.  It            
 is very similar to all of their licensing sections.                           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE RYAN explained the reason he is asking is he has               
 some friends that are dentists and a circumstance he has heard is             
 that they were having to pay a lot of people a lot of money who               
 they didn't feel were qualified to do the job.  They wanted more              
 qualifications and expertise.                                                 
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE RYAN said a common complaint from people in Alaska             
 was that there weren't enough dentists or enough competition and              
 the prices are very high.  A lot of people go to Whitehorse or                
 Seattle.  The board is very restrictive in allowing other people to           
 come into the state.  Representative Ryan noted a friend of his in            
 Fairbanks, Dr. Helmbrick, after six or seven times of taking the              
 exam before he could qualify, graduated from an accredited school.            
 He felt it was a case of an old Alaskan tradition, "I'm here, close           
 the door, don't let anybody else in."  He asked if there has been             
 anything to eliminate that.                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON said she wasn't sure what time period Representative              
 Ryan's friend was having this difficulty.  She said she believes              
 the committee would see in some previous audits and legislative               
 committee hearings regarding credentialing or licensure that there            
 have been similar concerns expressed.  She said she thinks that               
 some of the board members, who are on-line, would say that is not             
 their perspective or way of behaving and that they have been trying           
 to find ways within their statute to let in qualified people.  Ms.            
 Reardon said if the test his friend was taking was the Western                
 Regional exam, that is a test that involves not just Alaska, but is           
 written for all states.  She noted the Dental Board members                   
 participate in meetings and examinations by the Western Regional              
 and are familiar with how the test is written.                                
                                                                               
 Number 847                                                                    
                                                                               
 KENNETH L. CROOKS, DDS, Chairman, Board of Dental Examiners,                  
 testified via teleconference.  Dr. Crooks informed the committee              
 members he has been practicing dentistry since 1971.  He said he              
 left private practice in California in 1977.  He then moved to                
 Alaska and has spent the last 20 years with the Indian Health Care,           
 Bristol Bay Health Corporation, Dillingham.  He was appointed to              
 the Board of Dental Examiners in February, 1995, and was elected              
 chairman in December, 1996.  Dr. Crooks referred to HB 135                    
 regarding the addition of a second public member and said the board           
 has discussed this and they are in favor of the idea.  He noted the           
 board has experienced problems with the single public member not              
 being able to attend all of the meetings.  Prior to that person's             
 resignation, she had difficulty making it to half of the meetings.            
 Dr. Crooks said personally, he was not aware of reducing the number           
 of dentists on the board in order to add a second public member and           
 he doesn't believe that any of the current board members realize              
 that was even a possibility.  Dr. Crooks suggested an additional              
 position be created in order to add a second public member.  He               
 said he would further suggest that in the last two years, they have           
 had a budgetary (indisc.) which would make this possible without              
 any additional funding.  He said he knows there was a fee reduction           
 this year which Catherine Reardon could speak to.  Dr. Crooks said            
 he believes that even with the fee reduction, they could still                
 (indisc.) being able to pay the travel costs or whatever is                   
 involved with an additional board member.                                     
                                                                               
 DR. CROOKS said as far as the second change to the statute dealing            
 with the problem of the definition of "generally equivalent" in               
 offering statutory relief from some dilemmas they've had he feels             
 the current board would embrace this change.  It is sympathetic or            
 symbiotic with the regulation change that they proposed at their              
 December board meeting.  He said, "I think they're fully compatible           
 and are designed to accomplish the same purpose which is to get out           
 of a situation where we have had to actually -- within the last               
 year we have tabled applications from at couple of dentists, at               
 least two, because we felt that by all our standards and our                  
 background check that these were qualified dentists, eligible for             
 licensure by credential, but because of the language of the                   
 statutes and regulations, we were not able to grant licensure.                
 We've tabled those licenses rather than deny them in the hope that            
 changes could be made.  We envisioned it through regulation in                
 order to all them to get licensure."                                          
                                                                               
 Number 1124                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if the change would satisfy the problem.              
                                                                               
 DR. CROOKS indicated he would like to see both things happen.  He             
 said he thinks the statute would certainly help, but if the                   
 regulation change goes through it would make more things black and            
 white where it wouldn't be up to the board to make value                      
 judgements.  He said, "The language where (indisc.) demonstration             
 of continuing education or proof of satisfactory successful                   
 practice involved, no matter how you look at it that calls for                
 subjective judgement."                                                        
 Number 1192                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said there has been some discussion of                      
 prohibiting the use of amalgam fillings.  He asked Dr. Crooks to              
 comment.                                                                      
                                                                               
 DR. CROOKS said the board has not had discussion about prohibiting            
 the use of amalgam fillings, but would be confident that the board            
 would be unanimously against any idea like that.  It is the best              
 material available for a lot of common dental restoration needs.              
                                                                               
 Number 1254                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE RYAN said a couple of dentists have felt that the              
 qualifications of dental hygienists weren't up to speed for what              
 they were having to pay them in that they weren't professional                
 enough.  They felt though there should be some stricter standards             
 set for hygienist's educational background.                                   
                                                                               
 DR. CROOKS said the licensure for hygienists in Alaska is very                
 similar in process to the licensure for dentists, including the               
 fact that they use a component of the Western Regional Examination            
 Board for testing of hygienists.  He said if the dentists have                
 questions about the standards of the exams or reviewing, he would             
 like to hear from them.  Dr. Crooks said as far as the specifics of           
 the Western Regional exam, Dr. Warren who is also on-line, is much            
 more familiar with the make-up of that exam.                                  
                                                                               
 Number 1338                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE RYAN said it was a concern that was expressed to him           
 and he wanted to bring it to Dr. Crooks' attention.  He noted he              
 doesn't know that much about the profession.  Representative Ryan             
 informed the committee he has received complaints from the public             
 that it is extremely difficult for people who want to come to                 
 Alaska and practice to get licensed.  The public opinion is that              
 there is an "old boy network," kind of protecting the territory.              
 He said he knows a lot of people in Alaska who have gone somewhere            
 else where the fee for service was tremendously less expensive than           
 it is in Alaska.                                                              
                                                                               
 DR. CROOKS said, "This board, and I'm speaking of the people who              
 have been there the last two years, were appointed, most of them              
 anyway, were appointed by the current governor, with the                      
 understanding that the law is -- we could expect (indisc.) to                 
 follow it as closely as possible and the credentialing was a                  
 process that we were encouraged to develop.  And as I heard you               
 say, we have tabled two licensure applications purely because we              
 could not find it in ourselves to deny licenses to these people who           
 have appeared qualified.  I do not believe that there is any sort             
 of protection being exercised by the Board of Dental Examiners in             
 the state."                                                                   
 Number 1455                                                                   
                                                                               
 ROBERT WARREN, DDS, testified via teleconference from Anchorage.              
 He said he is a practicing dentist and has been in practice for 21            
 years.  He was appointed, under the Sheffield Administration, to              
 the Board of Dental Examiners in 1981, to fill an unexpired term              
 and then was reappointed for two additional terms.  He noted his              
 last term expired in 1991.  Dr. Warren said he was chairman of the            
 board in 1987, when Alaska joined the Western Regional Examining              
 Board.  Recently, he has been involved in the American Association            
 of Dental Examiners which is the national organization that                   
 Alaska's board queries when there are disciplinary questions about            
 credentialing candidate for licensure.  He noted he is the                    
 president-elect.  He said the national organization was the                   
 clearinghouse for disciplinary information as it is the agency that           
 all licensing agencies in the United States report to.  Dr. Warren            
 said he is in favor of the legislature extending the termination              
 date for the board, but would strongly suggest that if the numbers            
 on the board have to be changed to make room for a public member              
 that the board be increased by a member rather than eliminating an            
 existing dentist position.  Dr. Warren explained he was the                   
 president of the board when Alaska joined Western Regional. The               
 legislative audit report of 1986 and 1987 strongly urged that                 
 Alaska stop giving their own state licensing exam which they had              
 done for a decade before statehood and since statehood.  He said he           
 believes that is where the Dental Board got "the good old boys"               
 reputation.                                                                   
                                                                               
 DR. WARREN explained that to affiliate the Dental Board with the              
 Western Regional Examining Board took statutory changes.                      
 Representative Curt Menard, a dentist from Wasilla, was in the                
 House at the time and his staff and Dr. Warren helped write the               
 current statute.  He explained what they elected to do, aside from            
 putting the WREB language in the statute, was to increase the board           
 of seven members, five dentists, one hygienist and one public                 
 member, to nine members adding another dentist and hygienist.  Dr.            
 Warren said, "The reason for it at the time was in the past we'd              
 given the examination here in Anchorage.  Now our members, because            
 we are a member of Western Regional, were being asked to be in the            
 WREB examining pool.  And by that, what I mean is at the time the             
 members of WREB were Arizona, Utah, Montana, Idaho and then also              
 Alaska, and then New Mexico joined.  And at the time, there were              
 six states and none of these states had dental schools, so the                
 board members were asked to give the examination on a rotating                
 basis.  Frequently, these exams are two to three days from the day            
 of travel so it meant as much as a week out of the office, out of             
 your productive time in your office, if you volunteer to give these           
 exams out of state.  They were frequently given in states that had            
 dental schools like Loma (Indisc.) in Southern California or                  
 University of Oregon.  And so we felt the time constraints on the             
 Dental Board members, be the hygienists, who also had to get exams            
 out of state or dentists who (indisc.) out of state.  We needed a             
 few more people to kind of spread that load a little bit more                 
 equally.  I think it has served the public well and the citizens of           
 the state well for a decade and I can see no reason why to change             
 it at this time."                                                             
                                                                               
 DR. WARREN informed the committee that WREB has now expanded to ten           
 states.  Several years ago Oregon rejoined.  The state of                     
 Washington is currently a member of WREB.  The latest states that             
 have joined are Texas and Oklahoma which almost doubled the amount            
 of candidates.  Dr. Warren said in response to Representative                 
 Ryan's question, this year the WREB is going to examine 1,000                 
 candidates in 12 different exams meaning that if 1,000 pass, they             
 will be eligible to apply for a new license in Alaska.  Dr. Warren            
 explained Dr. Crooks has been involved in the credentialing process           
 longer than he has.  He said they were just transitioning into the            
 process when the original statute was written.                                
                                                                               
 Number 1747                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE RYAN indicated that he is having his amalgam                   
 fillings replaced with plastic as he has read several articles                
 discussing different diseases that amalgam fillings can cause.  He            
 said a few years ago he can remember an appointment to the board              
 when Representative Menard was in the House and this person thought           
 along the same lines as he does.  There was opposition to this                
 person's appointment because he dared breach the orthodoxy at the             
 time.  He asked Dr. Warren if there is going to be a move again to            
 chastise people who want an alternative replacement rather than               
 using a mercury based product in their mouth.                                 
                                                                               
 DR. WARREN explained that one of the originators of this philosophy           
 was a Dr. Hal Hungens from Colorado.  He said this past year, Dr.             
 Hungens' license was revoked by the state of Colorado and after               
 that the Colorado State Medical Board of Examiners filed a                    
 complaint against a physician (indisc.) and she voluntarily                   
 surrendered her medical license and moved to Alaska.  There has               
 also been a revocation of a license of a dentist in Minnesota doing           
 the same thing.  Dr. Warren said that there has been historical               
 judgement in California where a California superior court judge               
 would not receive any testimony portraying that dental amalgam was            
 a serious health threat.  A researcher at the University of                   
 Nebraska has found that there is no evidence to link Alzheimer's              
 disease to amalgam.  He said there is a lot of anecdotal evidence             
 out there regarding amalgam fillings.                                         
                                                                               
 Number 1895                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE RYAN said, "My concern is that I would like to see             
 an individual option be allowed and I would hate to see that anyone           
 who is practicing and offered this service to the public that there           
 would be people ganging up on them."                                          
                                                                               
 Number 1920                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked Dr. Warren if he would prefer that the                
 committee amend the bill to the year 2001, for a four year cycle              
 and then return to the six licensed dentists and one public member.           
                                                                               
 DR. WARREN said he would recommend that.                                      
                                                                               
 Number 1993                                                                   
                                                                               
 RICHARD COOK, Dentist, President of the Juneau Dental Society, said           
 he thinks most dentists, in general, support the bill as written or           
 with the modifications.  He said he personally doesn't have strong            
 feelings if another public member is added or not.                            
                                                                               
 Number 2026                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG closed the public hearing on HB 135.  He said he            
 would like to make an amendment to change the date of 2003 back to            
 2001.  He said he would also like to maintain the six dental                  
 members because of the importance of them being in the (indisc.)              
 for the actual examination process and maintain the one public                
 member.                                                                       
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE COWDERY moved the amendment.                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked if there was an objection to the amendment.           
 Hearing none, the amendment was adopted.                                      
                                                                               
 Number 2075                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON moved and asked unanimous consent to move HB
 135, as amended, out of committee with individual recommendations             
 and a zero fiscal note.  Hearing no objection, CSHB 135(L&C) was              
 moved out of the House Labor and Commerce Committee.                          
                                                                               
 HB 137 - BOARD OF VETERINARY EXAMINERS; LICENSE                             
                                                                               
 Number 2102                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced the next order of business would be HB
 137, "An Act relating to veterinarians; extending the termination             
 date of the Board of Veterinary Examiners; and providing for an               
 effective date."  He asked Mr. Welker to come forward and explain             
 the bill.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 2125                                                                   
                                                                               
 RANDY WELKER, Legislative Auditor, Legislative Audit Division came            
 before the committee.  He said HB 137 works on two sections of                
 statute.  The first relates to the extension date of 2003.  He                
 indicated he expects the committee to amend that for consistency.             
 The second section of the bill addresses concerns raised on                   
 credentialing.  Mr. Welker said the language in HB 137 needs some             
 work.  He said in the Senate Labor and Commerce Committee they                
 found out that there were more intricacies in credentialing.  Mr.             
 Welker said, "We're at the decision point now of making a policy              
 call of elevating the standards and the tests that we require of              
 applicants for credentialing.  As it sits now in statute, it is a             
 very difficult match of requirements in the state you were licensed           
 in equal to requirements in this state at the time you are                    
 licensed.  So it's a very difficult process of matching up                    
 requirements.  The board is headed more towards the requirement of            
 passage of national examinations for continued competency type of             
 tests.  I don't have any problem with that.  There is some language           
 that is being worked on.  I don't know whether it has gotten to               
 you, Mr. Chairman, yet, but there is probably some preferable                 
 language for substituting in this section that would better                   
 address, I think, the needs of credential applicants and also the             
 concerns of the board."                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 2229                                                                   
                                                                               
 PAM TUOMI, Member, Alaska State Veterinary and Medical Association,           
 testified via teleconference from Anchorage.  She said she found              
 the wording relating accrediting awkward.  The members of the                 
 Anchorage veterinary community that she has spoke with have all               
 expressed concern about the elimination of requirements for                   
 graduation from an accredited school of veterinary medicine.  She             
 said they are sympathetic with the need to make the process more              
 uniform and to recognize the use of the national board's                      
 examinations.  She said they feel that the wording in the present             
 Senate bill is considerably simpler and addresses the credentialing           
 problem as well as cleaning up (indisc.) in the basic license                 
 provisions.  Dr. Tuomi explained a Veterinary Medical Association             
 meeting is scheduled for the following Tuesday.  She said they are            
 hoping to poll those members and give further testimony at a later            
 date.  Dr. Tuomi said, "We should continue to include the                     
 requirement for graduation from a school of veterinary medicine.              
 Entirely conceivable, a good academic student might be able to get            
 sufficient information from (indisc.) medical classes and reading             
 old tests and other information to pass the national board exam,              
 but accredited schools of veterinary medicine add the requirement             
 that those individuals will have had clinical experience and                  
 actually had an opportunity to do surgery and medicine under                  
 supervision.  Eliminating that requirement might mean that someone            
 could simply have book knowledge would be allowed to have a                   
 license."                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 2410                                                                   
                                                                               
 DEANNA THORNELL, Veterinarian, testified via teleconference from              
 Fairbanks.  She said she agrees that the Senate bill is much                  
 better, but there are also some flaws in it.  Dr. Thornell said she           
 agrees that all veterinarians should graduate from an accredited              
 veterinary school.  That process needs to be kept intact and we               
 shouldn't step backwards in our qualifications.  She discussed the            
 difficulties with researching a person's credentials that had                 
 graduated in the 1960s.                                                       
                                                                               
 TAPE 97-26, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 025                                                                    
                                                                               
 DR. THORNELL explained the National Examination Committee is                  
 actually trying to design clinical competency tests that are                  
 species specific and they should be available by the year 2000.               
 Dr. Thornell said, "We were feeling that the people that come in              
 here with credentials should graduate from an accredited school,              
 pass the NVE and also pass (indisc.) competency test on top of                
 having some kind of clinical experience or (indisc.) years for                
 credentials."                                                                 
                                                                               
 DR. THORNELL referred to page 3, line 3, of the Senate's version of           
 the bill, "Pass a written examination of the state," and said they            
 need to take the state exam.  She said she was hoping that they               
 would be required to have taken NVE, CVT and have practiced for the           
 last five or seven years.  There will be a few people who have not            
 taken the clinical competency test who graduated prior to 1981.               
 She indicated she would be more than willing to work with the                 
 committee on the bill.                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 137                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if the bill would impact temporary                 
 licenses for veterinarians who come to Alaska for the Iditarod for            
 the Yukon Quest.                                                              
                                                                               
 DR. THORNELL said it won't.  These are courtesy licenses.  The                
 organizer of the race usually handles the lists of the                        
 veterinarians that they have coming up.  She said they are required           
 to have a current license in another state or in Canada and that              
 they haven't any disciplinary actions against them.                           
                                                                               
 Number 166                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked how a veterinarian can practice in                
 Alaska if they are from Washington.                                           
                                                                               
 DR. THORNELL explained they would get a courtesy license.  She said           
 the reason they came up with the courtesy licenses is because of              
 the Exxon oil spill.  There were veterinarians coming into the                
 state that were high priced and really weren't qualified and they             
 had a lot of disciplinary action in other states.  She noted there            
 weren't a lot.  There were very good qualified people that also               
 came.                                                                         
 DR. THORNELL said, "If you (indisc.) outside and want to come up              
 and come to one of the races, it's pretty easy not to go ahead and            
 get one of the courtesy licenses.  (Indisc.) know that you're not             
 any disciplinary action and we'll allow you to come up here and               
 work.  If you want to actually come up and practice in the state of           
 Alaska and you've practiced in the state of Montana for 20 years,             
 this is the credentials we're looking at in this particular House             
 bill.  In the past, the wording was so confusing.  If you were in             
 Montana and graduated from veterinary school back in 1970, our                
 statutes stated that we had to go back to 1970, look up what our              
 state regulations were on licensing veterinarians at that time and            
 then that's how you got in.  It's whatever the state required at              
 that time.  The problem is nobody put it on record, what 1970                 
 (indisc.) are and the archives are having a difficult time looking            
 it up.  So it's very difficult to answer folks that are calling up            
 here for credentials exactly what they have to do before they get             
 up here.  So what we're trying to do is make it very simple and               
 easy and just say have your NVE scores, which everybody has passed            
 if they are already practicing in another state.  If you graduated            
 from a veterinary school, that's very important.  Once again,                 
 everybody should have done is pass the clinical competency test               
 which everyone is required now from here on out, will be required             
 from veterinary schools to take, and also have practiced in the               
 last five or seven years."                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 319                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG informed Dr. Thornell that he was reading the               
 statute and didn't see anything regarding the courtesy license.  He           
 asked if it is in regulation.                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 342                                                                    
                                                                               
 CATHERINE REARDON, Director, Division of Occupational Licensing,              
 Department of Commerce and Economic Development, came before the              
 committee.  She explained the centralized licensing statute says              
 that boards may set up systems for courtesy licenses if they choose           
 to, by regulation, and this board has.  She noted other boards may            
 not have chosen to set up curtesy licensing systems.                          
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said there is temporary permit provision                    
 currently in statute that is different.                                       
                                                                               
 DR. THORNELL explained a temporary permit is designed for someone             
 that is coming out of school, hasn't taken a national board exam,             
 are waiting to take our state exam and they have employment here.             
 She noted the state exam is only offered twice a year, so it's very           
 difficult for them to wait six months before they start work.  If             
 they have a veterinarian that's going to employ them, the temporary           
 permit will allow them work until the next test is available for              
 them to take.  That's mainly designed for graduating students just            
 out of school where they have a way to practice until the exam is             
 given.                                                                        
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked Dr. Tuomi and Dr. Thornell to provide some            
 written comments, particularly relating to CSSB 92.  He closed the            
 public hearing and said it is not the intention of the Chair to               
 move HB 137 at this time.                                                     
                                                                               
 HB 136 - PHYSICAL THERAPY AND OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY                          
                                                                               
 Number 425                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced the next order of business would be HB
 136, "An Act relating to the regulation of physical therapists and            
 physical therapy assistants; extending the termination date of the            
 State Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Board; and                    
 providing for an effective date."                                             
                                                                               
 Number 456                                                                    
                                                                               
 RANDY WELKER, Legislative Auditor, Legislative Audit Division,                
 explained HB 136 addresses two elements of statute.  The first is             
 the sunset extension date in Section 1.  He explained Section 2 is            
 a provision that requires applicants to pass an oral examination              
 administered by the board.  When this was put into place, it was              
 put in to basically demonstrate an ability to speak English.  He              
 said we were often times being mandated to give an oral examination           
 to Canadians who were very capable of speaking English.  Mr. Welker           
 said at a minimum it has been changed to, "at the discretion of the           
 board."  An option would be to simply delete this requirement as we           
 don't require doctors and others to demonstrate that they have the            
 ability to speak English, but we are requiring it of the physical             
 therapists and occupational therapists.  He sat they felt at a                
 minimum, it would be best left to the discretion of the board on              
 the various applicants.                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 539                                                                    
                                                                               
 PAULINE BENNETT-GANNON, President, Alaska Occupational Therapy                
 Association, testified via teleconference from Fairbanks.  She said           
 she is testifying to amend HB 136 and has also testified earlier in           
 the week to amend the Senate's version of the bill.  She said she             
 believes the Senate has a committee substitute which incorporates             
 her suggestions.  Ms. Bennett-Gannon said the suggestions that she            
 will make are in addition to the changes that the committee already           
 has made.  She said the word "or" would be changed to "and" when              
 speaking of the agency that approves curriculum for occupational              
 therapists.  Ms. Bennett-Gannon said the statute relating to                  
 occupational therapists in this area had "and," whereas statutes              
 relating to physical therapists, which has very similar wording had           
 "or."  She said, "The reason for this is that in the past, say when           
 I went to school, the AMA (American Medical Association) was                  
 involved in certifying all their (indisc.) professional curriculums           
 and it is no longer that professional agencies dealing with                   
 (indisc.) professions has -- part of their organization that does             
 that credentialing and so we really aren't doing `and' because                
 `and' really isn't available."                                                
                                                                               
 MS. BENNETT-GANNON explained that under AS 08.84.030, section                 
 (b)(1), "and" should be changed to "or."  She noted on the                    
 committee substitute there is something left off.                             
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated the committee doesn't have the Senate             
 version of the bill and asked Ms. Bennett-Gannon to address the               
 House bill.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 584                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. BENNETT-GANNON said her suggestion was that the wording about             
 the discretion of the board that foreign trade therapists                     
 demonstrate the ability to speak effective English during an                  
 interview also be included for occupational therapists.  Currently,           
 it is only located in the language of the statute that refers to              
 physical therapists.  She referred to discussion earlier in the               
 meeting about another board and said they have a lot of physical              
 and occupational therapy foreign schools that do send people to the           
 United States and they have concerns about whether or not training            
 is adequate.  Ms. Bennett-Gannon said in the past when she served             
 on the Physical Therapists and Occupational Therapist Licensing               
 Board they had a case where a foreign-trained therapist was doing             
 her interview that we require and did not have that ability to                
 understand an English prescription written by a doctor, etc., and             
 wasn't able to finish her internship.  That (indisc.) would require           
 some renumbering on that page.  She suggested the wording "under              
 this chapter" be added where it speaks of being licensed as an                
 occupational therapist.  There was a case where someone licensed in           
 a different health profession decided that what they were doing               
 could be constituted as occupational therapy.  The new wording                
 would help clarify that situation.                                            
                                                                               
 MS. BENNETT-GANNON said, "I also believe that in addition to this             
 (indisc.) of the board by the (indisc.) trained therapists for                
 English that perhaps wording to the effect that "testing could be             
 done if necessary" might be useful.  Again, when I served on the              
 board, it was sometimes frustrating not to adopt a regulation and             
 not be able to because there wasn't a place to hook it on in the              
 language in the state."                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 852                                                                    
                                                                               
 MARY MELISSA ROBINSON, Therapist, Committee Chair, Licensing                  
 Committee, Alaska Occupational Therapy Association, testified via             
 teleconference from Anchorage.  She indicated she is in favor of              
 the extension of the Licensing Board.  The present copy of HB 136             
 states that the extension would be 2003 and she prefers that date.            
 She said her organization would be in favor of extending the board            
 even if it was changed to 2001.  Ms. Robinson said she also                   
 supports the change in the language for the effective speaking of             
 English which is very important when you're relating to a patient's           
 need when they are describing symptoms.  They need to relate not              
 only to other medical personnel, but to the client and that is an             
 important piece of being competent in a profession.  She said she             
 would also like to support some of the items outlined in SB 91 (B).           
 The additional language indicates that a person may not provide               
 occupational therapy services without being licensed under this               
 chapter seems self explanatory, but perhaps it is not without the             
 addition of that under this chapter.  She said it couldn't be a               
 driver's license, they have to be licensed as an occupational                 
 therapist.  She said she would like to support the change that                
 would identify that the American Medical Association no longer is             
 part of the curriculum approval with the American Occupational                
 Therapy Association.  Although that was in the past, it no longer             
 is and hasn't been for a few years.  She thanked the committee for            
 listening to her.                                                             
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked Ms. Robinson to explain the difference                
 between physical therapists and occupational therapists.                      
                                                                               
 MS. ROBINSON explained physical therapists treat physical                     
 disabilities differently than occupational therapists do.  The                
 philosophy of an occupational therapist requires they use                     
 adaptation.  She they look at what a person is occupied with during           
 the day.  Ms. Robinson said, "The word `occupational therapy' comes           
 from the things which occupy their day and looks specifically at              
 what it is in their day that they need assistance to be modified,             
 to be remediated, to be relieved, to be more functional.  We take             
 a very very functional approach rather than total exercise or                 
 (indisc.) who work with the person of need is one reason why it's             
 very critical to be able to (indisc.) the receiver of the services            
 to know what his needs are and how that applies to his life, not              
 what our goals are, but what the client's needs are."                         
                                                                               
 Number 1159                                                                   
                                                                               
 MARY VAIL, Physical Therapist, Legislative Liaison for the Alaska             
 Chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association, came before             
 the committee to testify on HB 136.  She said she would like to               
 endorse the extension of the termination date which she believes              
 will be 2001 in the final version of the bill.  Ms. Vail said she             
 would also like to support the proposed changes by the occupational           
 therapists.  She said so much of what she does is education as she            
 needs to educate people on how to take care of themselves and she             
 does feel that English is a strong part of their communication to             
 teach patients in what they need to do.  Ms. Vail said she agrees             
 to the changes in the Senate bill.                                            
                                                                               
 Number 1224                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated HB 136 would be held to await the                 
 adoption of changes from the occupational therapists.                         
                                                                               
 HB 134 - BARBERS AND HAIRDRESSERS                                           
                                                                               
 Number 1230                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG announced the committee would address HB 134, "An           
 Act relating to regulation of barbers and hairdressers; extending             
 the termination date of the Board of Barbers and Hairdressers; and            
 providing for an effective date."                                             
                                                                               
 Number 1246                                                                   
                                                                               
 RANDY WELKER, Legislative Auditor, Legislative Audit Division, came           
 before the committee to explain HB 134.  He informed the committee            
 members that the bill makes two changes to statutes.  Section 1               
 relates to the sunset extension date.  Mr. Welker said in Section             
 2 requests a change in the make-up of the board to delete one of              
 the barber members and replace it with a cosmetologist.  Currently,           
 the board regulates barbers, hairdressers and cosmetologists and              
 there is no representation on the board from the cosmetology                  
 profession.  He said as of June 30, 1996, there were 260 licensed             
 barbers, 482 licensed cosmetologists and 2,127 licensed                       
 hairdressers.  So with almost a two to one ratio between                      
 cosmetologists and barbers, they did not think it was unreasonable            
 to reduce the current two barber members to one and provide for a             
 cosmetologist member.  There is a transitional section that would             
 allow for the current barber member to continue until a term                  
 expires or when there is a vacancy for the appointment of a                   
 cosmetologist.                                                                
                                                                               
 Number 1336                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said, "Mr. Welker, I'm trying to look at the                
 audit.  The figures you gave about the various members..."                    
                                                                               
 MR. WELKER explained they are not in the audit.  He said he got the           
 futures from the Division of Occupational Licensing's FY 96 annual            
 report.                                                                       
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG referred changing the membership from a barber to           
 a cosmetologist and asked if he has received any input from the               
 board.                                                                        
                                                                               
 MR. WELKER said he would defer the question to Ms. Reardon.                   
                                                                               
 CATHERINE REARDON, Director, Division of Occupational Licensing               
 Department of Commerce and Economic Development, informed the                 
 committee that the board discussed this at their last meeting.                
 They agreed it would be a good idea to have a cosmetologist on the            
 board, but they would prefer to achieve that in another manner.               
 She said as she understands their preference is to retain the two             
 barbers, but require that one of the two hairdressers also be a               
 cosmetologist.  There are a number of licensees that are both                 
 hairdressers and cosmetologists.  She said in this case                       
 "cosmetologist" means the care of the skin, facials, etc.  The                
 board thought they could retain their two barbers, keep their one             
 public member and have one of their two hairdressers serve the duel           
 role of being both the cosmetologist and the hairdresser.                     
                                                                               
 Number 1456                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG questioned what the name of the board is.  He               
 asked if it is Board of Barbers and the Board of Hairdressers and             
 Beauty Culture Examiners.                                                     
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON responded that it is called the Board of Barbers and              
 Hairdressers.                                                                 
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said, "That is what it is now, but also it does             
 the licensure for cosmetologists?"                                            
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON answered, "It does, skin care as well."                           
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said, "Representative Brice is not here.  Maybe             
 even eventually manicurists - trying to get that bill through."               
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON said, "There is specifically in statute right now a               
 prohibition against the board moving into the area of licensing               
 manicurists.  That bill would have changed that instead of                    
 licensure of manicurists."                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated there seems to be some controversy                
 about the nature of the bill and the recommendation of the board.             
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON said she doesn't know if it is a major controversy                
 because she doesn't know how strongly Mr. Welker feels about the              
 need to actually remove a barber.  She said she thinks both the               
 board and the sponsor agrees that having a cosmetologist on the               
 board to offer the expertise about skin care and help with testing            
 of that subject would be a good thing.  She said it hasn't erupted            
 into a major controversy at this point.                                       
                                                                               
 Number 1570                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said he has a copy of the January 27 and 28,                
 1997, minutes from the board where they say that the board felt               
 that a member could hold both a cosmetologist and a hairdressers              
 license.  Therefore, the board would have two hairdressers, two               
 barbers and a cosmetologist without losing a barber or hairdresser.           
 He said there would be two hairdresser, two barbers and a                     
 cosmetologist.                                                                
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON pointed out one of the hairdressers would also be the             
 identical person as the cosmetologist.  She said if she were to               
 draft an amendment, on page 1, line 12, it might be changed to                
 read, "one person licensed as a hairdresser under this chapter."              
 Then line 13 could read, "one person licensed as both, a                      
 cosmetologist and a hairdresser under this chapter."                          
                                                                               
 Number 1642                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said he was looking at the reason why we have           
 this board in the state and asked if the state assumes any kind of            
 a liability for all of the occupational licenses.  He said if                 
 somebody meets the statutory standards and they turn out be                   
 somebody really dangerous, would the state have any liability.                
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON responded somebody from the Department of Law could               
 best answer that.  She said her belief is that the state wouldn't             
 be liable as long as we are, in good faith, carrying out the                  
 statute or attempting to carry out the statute and aren't being               
 grossly negligent in our behavior.  Ms. Reardon noted that issue              
 has come up in marine pilotage because much more money is at stake.           
 When a cruse ship is involved in an accident, the insurance company           
 and the cruse ship company have raised the issue that perhaps the             
 state is liable for having given the license and required us to               
 take on this person who was not competent.  She said Gail Horetski            
 has had to look into that topic in more detail.  Ms. Reardon said             
 the state has never been held liable for that purpose to this                 
 point.                                                                        
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON suggested maybe that should be included in              
 statute.  He said he would presume that all of the boards                     
 essentially pay for themselves.  He asked Ms. Reardon how her costs           
 in administrating the program are covered.                                    
                                                                               
 Number 1810                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON said they have both a centralized licensing statute and           
 individual chapters for each occupation.  The centralized licensing           
 statute applies to all of them.  Ms. Reardon said AS 08.01.065,               
 which is the centralized statute, says that each occupation will              
 pay for itself.  She read from the statute, "The department shall             
 establish fees so that the total amount of fees collected for an              
 occupation approximately equals the actual regulatory costs of the            
 occupation."  It then goes on to say that the division will review            
 and move the fees up and down.  She said in this section,                     
 regulatory costs means the costs of the department that are                   
 attributable to regulation of an occupation plus all the expenses             
 of the board.  Ms. Reardon explained that previous to FY 93, there            
 used to be some general fund support - oil money, and that's all              
 been withdrawn over time as budget realities hit.  So at this                 
 point, the division tracks and bills programs for everything from             
 attorney general costs of reviewing regulations to the actual board           
 meeting, travel costs, and the cost of employing her and her entire           
 division.  Ms. Reardon explained the costs of her salary are billed           
 out on a per capita basis to each of the 35,000 licensees.  The               
 people who actually do more specific work on a specific board area,           
 such as licensing examiners, keep time sheets.  When long distance            
 phone calls are made, they key in what occupation they are making             
 the call on.  She said it is true that over time the sense of what            
 costs are caused by regulating occupations has been expanding.                
 Attorney General regulation review costs used to be something that            
 was paid out of pure general fund oil money and now it is all                 
 program receipt user fees.  The costs of the computer system in the           
 Division of Administrative Services and some of the costs of the              
 commissioner's office are being billed out to occupations.  That is           
 a sore part with some of them because some of them feel that the              
 public protection that is provided, perhaps by enforcement                    
 activities such as legal fees, are not fairly placed on just those            
 licensees because everyone was protected when they removed an                 
 unsafe doctor.  She said the licensees covers all of those costs              
 and it is about a $5 million budget.  Ms. Reardon discussed charts            
 that she had given the committee members.  She noted she would say            
 that probably an average of four professions come to the                      
 legislature every two years wanting to be licensed.                           
                                                                               
 Number 2038                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked how many people are in Division of                
 Occupational Licensing.                                                       
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON responded approximately 62 people.  A fair number of              
 those people are involved in business licensing, which is a tax               
 that generates surplus.  The fee for that is set in statute at $50            
 every two years.  She explained ten people are involved in                    
 investigations of citizen complaints of competence and that type of           
 things.                                                                       
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON referred to when people are investigated and            
 asked if there is a penalty structure.                                        
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON informed the committee that in every occupation there             
 is grounds for disciplinary sanctions which varies occupation to              
 occupation.  They use the Attorney General to review a charge                 
 document and represent the division in administrative hearings.               
 She noted they can be appealed to the superior court.  Ms. Reardon            
 said unlicensed activity is a criminal matter because the boards              
 don't have jurisdiction over people who aren't licensees.  If it is           
 a matter where the division finds out that somebody is practicing             
 without a license, the district attorney would take the case                  
 through a criminal misdemeanor.  If it is a licensee who is                   
 performing incompetently, then it is through the Civil Section of             
 the Attorney General's office with the department's hearing officer           
 and the board ultimately decides.                                             
                                                                               
 Number 2420                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON said the division has a lot of regulations.  She said             
 they follow the APA for their disciplinary procedures.  In terms of           
 each profession, there are a substantial number of regulations                
 fleshing out requirements, definitions, etc.                                  
                                                                               
 TAPE 97-27, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said, "...I presume at any rate they pretty             
 much, again, preview the regulations and make certain that the                
 standards and the procedures and all that type of stuff are ones              
 that they want, but do you find any complaints against the                    
 regulatory regimen and the various licensures?"                               
                                                                               
 Number 041                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON responded, "When there is a board, we have 35 programs,           
 20 of them have boards, 15 we run on our own and make all the                 
 licensing decisions without the benefit of boards.  When there are            
 boards, it's the board itself that has the regulation writing                 
 adoption authority the department just has a ministerial role and,            
 so there it's always what the board wanted because they wrote it,             
 except sometimes the AG's office says `no.'  But I suspect that in            
 every profession there are people out there who don't agree with              
 all the regulations the way they are written.  There are 35,000               
 licensees.  In general, our statutes are very specific meaning -              
 compared to something like the Department of Health and Social                
 Services where they might have something saying `You can adopt                
 regulations to promote the health and welfare of the citizenry of             
 Alaska,' and they can set up whole programs like AFDC through their           
 reg authority.  With ours, if you look at them, almost always the             
 legislature has been very specific about exactly what exams people            
 have to pass, exactly what kind of education they need.  So there             
 really isn't too much leeway to decide there will be new                      
 requirements to be a real estate agent, for example.  So we don't             
 have the opportunity to perhaps go way overboard and overstep                 
 legislative intent the way you might be able to in another area.              
 But I'm sure that there are people who don't believe credentialing            
 statute requirements or the regs that go with them are right for              
 different programs.  You think that the wrong amount of education             
 is being required -- all this type of thing.  And in general, if              
 there is a frustration with the system, I must say it's probably              
 that people believe our investigations and disciplinary actions are           
 too slow, not enough disciplinary action."                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON asked, "Is that because you don't have enough           
 people?"                                                                      
 MS. REARDON responded, "What bureaucrat would not say `yes' to that           
 question."                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said, "It seems to me like you can draw your            
 own revenues.  I mean we've given you (indisc.) authority to go               
 ahead and increase -- in most cases."                                         
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON said that although it's true that the department could            
 choose to raise fees and generate $10 million, the check is that              
 the legislature sets their expenditure authority.  If the                     
 legislature says she can spend $5 million, there is no good reason            
 for her to collect $10 million.  She said that is where the check             
 is.  Ms. Reardon explained that in the Governor's budget, a new               
 medical investigator has been requested.  She hope that will be               
 approved because the division has about 140 open complaints at any            
 one time.  They receive between 500 and 600 new complaints every              
 years for all of the licensees.  Ms. Reardon explained there are              
 two things that seem to be slowing things.  One is investigations             
 and the other is attorney general time.  It has evolved into a                
 process where most people are accused of things have attorneys                
 representing them and it becomes a full blown legal process.                  
                                                                               
 Number 340                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG asked Ms. Reardon to provide the committee with             
 the numbers of complaints by the boards and the numbers of license            
 revocation actions.  He also asked to provide numbers on the how              
 many barbers, hairdressers, etc., there are.                                  
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON said she would forward the information to the                     
 committee.                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said he would also like sort of a budget                
 breakdown.  He asked how much of the total collection goes to the             
 citizen board member's activities at board meetings.  He also asked           
 how much is paid out in per diem.  Representative Hudson said if              
 the division collects $6 million, how much of that goes towards               
 board meetings, etc.                                                          
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON said she would also provide that information.  Ms.                
 Reardon said, "If I could mention one small issue which I will deal           
 with in the Senate and then perhaps come to you.  When it came to             
 the issue of disciplinary action, in the barbers and hairdressers             
 statute there is very little language about grounds for                       
 disciplining any licensee.  We have this whole structure and very             
 little enforcement capability for incompetence so -- in fact what             
 it says is the board may suspend or revoke a license - another type           
 of permit, for failure to comply with the chapter, but then the               
 chapter just requires licensing.  So I would propose that we add              
 `or incompetent or unsafe practice' because for example, when                 
 someone comes, which doesn't happen often, but says `I was burned             
 by some chemical' or something, you look and say well `what part of           
 the chapter did it say be safe' and legally, it starts crumbling in           
 front of you.  And so if we're going to license 3,000 people and              
 have this whole set up, I think it might be a good time to                    
 just...."                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 526                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG said he has been reviewing Title 8 and is a                 
 little bit disturbed because some of the penalty provisions for               
 revocations, board memberships and removal of boards, there are a             
 lot of inconsistencies.  There are certain sections in the front              
 part of the chapter that provides for some general things that                
 could apply to almost all of the boards and commission.  Some of              
 them have redundant provisions.  He said the whole chapter could              
 use some review.                                                              
                                                                               
 MS. REARDON said because they way that Title 8 has been developed             
 with each occupation coming with its own bill over 20 or 30 years,            
 there are a great number of inconsistencies within it.  She                   
 informed Chairman Rokeberg that she does have a draft omnibus                 
 occupational licensing bill in which they are looking for a sponsor           
 for.  She said the bill provides for about 50 percent clean-up.               
                                                                               
 Number 685                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HUDSON said, "I would just like to say that I                  
 believe of all the testimony that I have heard in the                         
 Administration that this young lady is the most forthcoming honest            
 and easy to work with that I've run into and I really appreciate              
 that."                                                                        
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG indicated HB 134 would be held.                             
                                                                               
 ADJOURNMENT                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 728                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN ROKEBERG adjourned the House Labor and Commerce Standing             
 Committee meeting at 5:05 p.m.                                                
                                                                               

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