Legislature(2003 - 2004)

03/28/2003 03:18 PM House L&C

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
          HOUSE LABOR AND COMMERCE STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                         
                         March 28, 2003                                                                                         
                           3:18 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Tom Anderson, Chair                                                                                              
Representative Bob Lynn, Vice Chair                                                                                             
Representative Nancy Dahlstrom                                                                                                  
Representative Carl Gatto                                                                                                       
Representative Norman Rokeberg                                                                                                  
Representative Harry Crawford                                                                                                   
Representative David Guttenberg                                                                                                 
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 151                                                                                                              
"An Act relating  to claims and court actions for  defects in the                                                               
design,  construction,  and   remodeling  of  certain  dwellings;                                                               
limiting when certain court actions  may be brought; and amending                                                               
Rules 79 and 82, Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure."                                                                              
     - MOVED CSHB 151(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
HOUSE BILL NO. 186                                                                                                              
"An  Act   establishing  the   Radiologic  Technology   Board  of                                                               
Examiners;  requiring   licensure  of  occupations   relating  to                                                               
radiologic  technology, radiation  therapy, and  nuclear medicine                                                               
technology; and providing for an effective date."                                                                               
     - MOVED CSHB 186(L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
HOUSE BILL NO. 13                                                                                                               
"An Act declaring legislative intent  to reject the continuity of                                                               
enterprise  exception  to  the doctrine  of  successor  liability                                                               
adopted in Savage  Arms, Inc. v. Western Auto Supply,  18 P.3d 49                                                               
(Alaska  2001), as  it relates  to products  liability; providing                                                               
that  a  successor  corporation or  other  business  entity  that                                                               
acquires assets  of a predecessor  corporation or  other business                                                               
entity is  subject to liability  for harm to persons  or property                                                               
caused  by  a defective  product  sold  or otherwise  distributed                                                               
commercially  by  the  predecessor  only if  the  acquisition  is                                                               
accompanied  by an  agreement  for the  successor  to assume  the                                                               
liability,  results  from  a   fraudulent  conveyance  to  escape                                                               
liability  for  the  debts or  liabilities  of  the  predecessor,                                                               
constitutes a  consolidation or merger  with the  predecessor, or                                                               
results  in  the  successor's  becoming  a  continuation  of  the                                                               
predecessor; defining  'business entity' that acquires  assets to                                                               
include  a sole  proprietorship;  and applying  this  Act to  the                                                               
sale,  lease,  exchange, or  other  disposition  of assets  by  a                                                               
corporation,  a  limited  liability  company,  a  partnership,  a                                                               
limited  liability partnership,  a  limited  partnership, a  sole                                                               
proprietorship, or other business entity  that occurs on or after                                                               
the effective date of this Act."                                                                                                
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                  
HOUSE BILL NO. 162                                                                                                              
"An  Act increasing  the fee  for a  state business  license; and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
     - BILL HEARING POSTPONED to 04/04/03                                                                                       
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                               
BILL: HB 151                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:DWELLING DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION CLAIMS                                                                                 
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S)MEYER                                                                                              
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
03/05/03     0396       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
03/05/03     0396       (H)        L&C, JUD, FIN                                                                                
03/05/03     0407       (H)        FIN REFERRAL REMOVED                                                                         
03/26/03                (H)        L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                    
03/26/03                (H)        -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                       
03/28/03                (H)        L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                    
BILL: HB 186                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:LICENSING RADIOLOGIC TECHNICIANS                                                                                    
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S)ANDERSON                                                                                           
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
03/12/03     0511       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
03/12/03     0511       (H)        L&C, HES, FIN                                                                                
03/26/03                (H)        L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                    
03/26/03                (H)        -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                       
03/28/03                (H)        L&C AT 3:15 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                    
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MEYER                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   As  sponsor of HB  151, presented  the bill                                                               
and answered questions.                                                                                                         
JOHN BITNEY, Lobbyist                                                                                                           
for Alaska State Homebuilders Association                                                                                       
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in  support of HB 151 and answered                                                               
ALAN WILSON, Legislative Group Co-Chair                                                                                         
Alaska State Homebuilders Association                                                                                           
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Spoke  in support  of  HB 151,  describing                                                               
homebuilders'   difficulty   in   obtaining   general   liability                                                               
TERRY BANNISTER, Attorney                                                                                                       
Legislative Legal Counsel                                                                                                       
Legislative Legal and Research Services                                                                                         
Legislative Affairs Agency                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:   As  drafter of  HB 151,  answered questions                                                               
about changes in Court Rule 82.                                                                                                 
HEATHER BEATY, Staff                                                                                                            
to Representative Tom Anderson                                                                                                  
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Described the changes in  the proposed CSHB
BARBARA HUFF  TUCKNESS, Director of Legislative  and Governmental                                                               
General Teamsters, Local 959, Alaska                                                                                            
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of proposed CSHB 186.                                                                  
CHRISTINE LUNG, Director of Government Relations                                                                                
American Society of Radiologic Technologists (ASRT)                                                                             
Albuquerque, New Mexico                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Spoke in support of HB 186.                                                                              
DONNA RUFSHOLM, President                                                                                                       
Alaska Society of Radiologic Technologists                                                                                      
Homer, Alaska                                                                                                                   
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Described why  her organization  requested                                                               
legislative action in the form of HB 186.                                                                                       
DALE COLLINS, Program Chair                                                                                                     
Radiologic Technology                                                                                                           
Medical Imaging Sciences Department                                                                                             
University of Alaska Anchorage                                                                                                  
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  During the  hearing on HB 186, described the                                                               
current 19-month radiologic technologist program offered at UAA.                                                                
RICK URION, Director                                                                                                            
Division of Occupational Licensing                                                                                              
Department of Community & Economic Development                                                                                  
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION   STATEMENT:      Answered   questions   about   writing                                                               
regulations for HB 186.                                                                                                         
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 03-24, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
CHAIR TOM ANDERSON  called the House Labor  and Commerce Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting  to  order  at   3:18  p.m.    Representatives                                                               
Anderson,  Lynn,   Dahlstrom,  Gatto,  Rokeberg,   Crawford,  and                                                               
Guttenberg were present at the call to order.                                                                                   
HB 151-DWELLING DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION CLAIMS                                                                                    
Number 0050                                                                                                                     
CHAIR ANDERSON announced  that the first order  of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE BILL  NO. 151,  "An Act  relating to  claims and  court                                                               
actions for  defects in the design,  construction, and remodeling                                                               
of certain dwellings; limiting when  certain court actions may be                                                               
brought;  and amending  Rules 79  and 82,  Alaska Rules  of Civil                                                               
Number 0067                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MEYER, Alaska  State Legislature, sponsor of                                                               
HB  151, testified  that this  legislation  gives homeowners  and                                                               
construction  professionals  a  process   to  work  out  building                                                               
defects without going through litigation.   This action is called                                                               
"a notice and opportunity to repair  process."  He said this is a                                                               
national  movement;  20  other  states  are  considering  similar                                                               
legislation;  at least  six states  have  passed it.   This  bill                                                               
requires homeowners to provide a  written notice at least 90 days                                                               
prior to  going into litigation  so that the homebuilder  has the                                                               
opportunity  to fix  the  defects.   In  Alaska, contractors  and                                                               
homebuilders are  required to have  liability insurance.   As the                                                               
result of  some [court] judgments, liability  insurance is harder                                                               
to get  and is very  expensive, he testified,  and unfortunately,                                                               
that  expense gets  passed onto  the  homebuyer.   Representative                                                               
Meyer said  he agreed to  carry HB 151  because it is  a consumer                                                               
protection measure.   The bill  allows for timely  repairs within                                                               
90 days.   Otherwise, if  people have  to go through  the courts,                                                               
resolution  [of the  problem] can  drag on  for years.   He  said                                                               
there is a  lot of motivation by the homebuilders  to get defects                                                               
fixed before the dispute goes to court.                                                                                         
Number 0252                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  moved  to  adopt  the  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute  (CS)  for  HB 151,  Version  23-LS0499\I,  Bannister,                                                               
3/27/03,  as the  working document.   There  being no  objection,                                                               
Version I was before the committee.                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE MEYER explained  the two minor changes  in the CS.                                                               
The language  on page 2,  line 1,  clarifies that the  bill deals                                                               
with a construction defect in  a substantially completed dwelling                                                               
or  a remodeling  job.   He said  the original  language was  too                                                               
vague and  needed to reflect  the wording  on page 2,  lines 6-9,                                                               
paragraph (b)(2).   The second change  is on page 6,  lines 2-18,                                                               
and requires  that statutory language  be added to  the contract.                                                               
This change  gives the consumer  and the  homebuilder information                                                               
on the statute that governs claims brought under this process.                                                                  
Number 0412                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  asked  if  the  "notice  of  claim"  is                                                               
preparatory to a formal court action or is it separate.                                                                         
Number 0472                                                                                                                     
JOHN  BITNEY,   Lobbyist  for   the  Alaska   State  Homebuilders                                                               
Association, replied that HB 151  requires the homeowner to serve                                                               
a notice on or send a certified  letter to the builder.  Once the                                                               
defect is discovered,  the homeowner sends the  notice; this step                                                               
must be done before  a homeowner can file a claim  in court.  The                                                               
process  is found  on page  2,  lines 12-24,  "Notice of  claim."                                                               
Throughout  the whole  process,  if discussions  break down,  the                                                               
homeowner  always has  the option  of  going to  court, he  said.                                                               
Under HB 151, the builder has  the opportunity to get the problem                                                               
fixed before  litigation gets started.   Currently, the homeowner                                                               
is reluctant to  have any work at all done  on the defect because                                                               
it's  evidence  [in a  potential  lawsuit].    If the  defect  is                                                               
unhealthy, for  example, causing a  mold problem in  the person's                                                               
home, it's  important to get  the problem fixed [right  away], he                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE MEYER  said that  when [a  problem arises  with] a                                                               
new house,  the homeowner  calls the  homebuilder, who  will come                                                               
over and  fix it.  There  may be times when  the homebuilder gets                                                               
busy; then  the homeowner  needs to put  the request  in writing.                                                               
Then the  clock starts, and  the homebuilder  has 90 days  to fix                                                               
the problem.  If it's not repaired, it can be litigated.                                                                        
Number 0627                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked when  the one-year clock begins and                                                               
if it includes the 90 days.                                                                                                     
MR.  BITNEY replied  that according  to the  language on  page 1,                                                               
line 13, the claimant must notify  the builder within one year of                                                               
discovering the defect.  That year  must fall within the 10 years                                                               
after the completion of the  construction or remodeling.  The law                                                               
will still have the same 10-year statute of limitation.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  confirmed that the consumer  can bring a                                                               
complaint  within 10  years.   For purposes  of this  statute, he                                                               
only has a year to bring the complaint to the builder.                                                                          
MR. BITNEY reiterated that the  complaint must be reported within                                                               
a  year  after  discovery,  within the  10-year  timeframe.    He                                                               
clarified that  if the defect is  discovered after 9 years  and 2                                                               
months, the consumer  has 10 months to notify the  builder of the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  asked how an unscrupulous  contractor could                                                               
exploit HB 151.                                                                                                                 
Number 0772                                                                                                                     
ALAN   WILSON,   Legislative   Group   Co-Chair,   Alaska   State                                                               
Homebuilders  Association,  replied  that   his  group  does  not                                                               
believe this [bill  gives homebuilders an unfair  advantage].  He                                                               
said that  nothing in HB  151 prevents a homeowner  from bringing                                                               
in an expert  to do further investigative work on  a problem.  If                                                               
the homeowner  asks the  contractor to repair  an item,  and more                                                               
problems  are discovered,  then the  homeowner can  still request                                                               
the contractor to fix additional  things; the homeowner can start                                                               
the process  again and again.   He  testified that a  majority of                                                               
homebuilders are  trying to  deliver a  quality product  and want                                                               
the opportunity to fix the problem rather than go to court.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG  noted  that  this  bill  narrows  the                                                               
options of  buyers and  builders who  are abusers.   He  asked if                                                               
this bill establishes a lemon law for bad homes.                                                                                
MR. WILSON replied [HB 151] does not go that far.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG   asked  Mr.  Wilson  to   describe  the                                                               
insurance  problems in  his industry.   He  noted the  example of                                                               
Chuck   Spinelli,  an   Anchorage  contractor,   whose  insurance                                                               
increased from $50,000 to $400,000 a year.                                                                                      
Number 0933                                                                                                                     
MR. WILSON  said the bigger  issue for the  homebuilding industry                                                               
is insurance -  not so much the cost, as  the availability.  Some                                                               
builders have experienced a 600  percent increase in premiums, he                                                               
testified.  A few years ago,  a business could look elsewhere for                                                               
insurance and find another company  writing the same coverage for                                                               
less money.   Today, he said, there are only  two insurers in the                                                               
state  writing general  liability  policies  for the  homebuilder                                                               
industry.   The builder might get  a policy at a  higher cost but                                                               
with reduced coverage.  He  said that insurance companies are not                                                               
covering  mold  problems;  they're  not  even  willing  to  write                                                               
product  liability  any  longer.   He  said  that  the  insurance                                                               
industry wants  to see  action by  homebuilders that  will reduce                                                               
these lawsuits with high  awards.  He said that HB  151 is a step                                                               
in that direction.                                                                                                              
Number 1004                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  asked whether this  bill is a  mini tort                                                               
reform  or an  alternative dispute  resolution that  benefits the                                                               
consumer.   He  noted  that  HB 151  prevents  the consumer  from                                                               
getting  attorney's fees  in court  if the  consumer rejects  the                                                               
homebuilder's offer  or doesn't  allow the homebuilder  to repair                                                               
the defect.                                                                                                                     
MR. WILSON replied  that HB 151 is a form  of alternative dispute                                                               
resolution.  He said that  experience shows that when these cases                                                               
go  to court,  the repairs  happen years  later; the  damages are                                                               
often greater  than they  were on  day one.   Often,  there's not                                                               
enough  money left  after the  court costs  are paid  to get  the                                                               
problem fixed.   That's unfair  to any  consumer, he said.   This                                                               
bill is really consumer protection legislation, he added.                                                                       
Number 1071                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  asked how HB 151  will help homebuilders                                                               
in their dealings with consumers.                                                                                               
MR. WILSON  replied that  HB 151 forces  clients and  builders to                                                               
communicate, which  should resolve a lot  of issues.  He  said it                                                               
puts  consumers  in a  more  advantageous  position when  they're                                                               
dealing with builders.  The  bill allows consumers to avoid going                                                               
to court, which can be a costly and lengthy process.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO mentioned  that 9  of the  12 letters  from                                                               
contractors  in his  bill packet  are  identical.   He said  this                                                               
looks like a campaign to get legislators to support this bill.                                                                  
MR.  WILSON acknowledged  that his  association  sent out  sample                                                               
letters to its members.                                                                                                         
CHAIR ANDERSON added  that the letters show  that these companies                                                               
endorse the bill.                                                                                                               
Number 1177                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM  asked if HB 151  covers [building] code                                                               
MR.  WILSON replied  that code  violations  are typically  caught                                                               
during  the   construction  phase,  final  inspections,   or  the                                                               
certificate of  occupancy phase.   If a  problem was  missed, the                                                               
homeowner could address that as a defect.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO said that previously  Rule 82, [Alaska Rules                                                               
of Civil Procedure,]  allowed the person prevailing  in a lawsuit                                                               
to collect  20 percent of  the settlement [for  attorney's fees].                                                               
He asked if Rule 82 is modified in HB 151.                                                                                      
Number 1236                                                                                                                     
TERRY   BANNISTER,    Attorney,   Legislative    Legal   Counsel,                                                               
Legislative  Legal  and  Research Services,  Legislative  Affairs                                                               
Agency, drafter of  the bill, confirmed that the title  of HB 151                                                               
amends Rule 82.  Language on  page 7, Section 4, starting on line                                                               
29,  indicates that  AS  09.45.889(b) also  changes  Rule 82  "by                                                               
allowing the court  to deny costs to a claimant  in the situation                                                               
described  in  AS  09.45.889(b),  even if  the  claimant  is  the                                                               
prevailing  party."   It changes  the  rule to  that extent,  she                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  asked if  the  bill  intends to  deny  the                                                               
prevailing party  the usual  right to have  some of  his expenses                                                               
paid by the losing party.                                                                                                       
MS. BANNISTER  explained that  she can't speak  to the  intent of                                                               
the bill.                                                                                                                       
Number 1308                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG asked  about the  language on  page 2,                                                               
line 21, referring to rules of  evidence and discovery.  He noted                                                               
that the legislature is trying  to encourage a resolution between                                                               
a contractor and a builder.                                                                                                     
MS. BANNISTER said  this language describes what  a claimant must                                                               
produce in order to show [the builder] what [the defect is].                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG  asked if  the court rules  of evidence                                                               
are  a higher  standard than  just saying,  "Here's a  picture of                                                               
what I found."                                                                                                                  
MS. BANNISTER  said she doesn't  know if it's a  higher standard;                                                               
it's an ascertainable  standard.  If the rules  of evidence allow                                                               
the information [to be used in  court], the person has to [follow                                                               
that procedure].                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  asked  if   this  is  a  mini-discovery                                                               
Number 1392                                                                                                                     
MS. BANNISTER agreed  that it's a discovery process  and the bill                                                               
uses as the criteria the [Alaska]  Rules of Evidence.  It's about                                                               
what [information] can be produced.                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG  said he  wants  this  to be  an  easy                                                               
process so two  people can say, "The faucet is  broken."  He said                                                               
he wants this  [conversation between consumer and  builder] to go                                                               
smoothly; he  doesn't want to  have somebody come back  later and                                                               
say, "You didn't follow the rules of evidence."                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG said  the sponsor  may want  to look  at                                                               
this issue  of using court rules  of evidence.  He  asked whether                                                               
there's a simpler method of [describing  the defect].  He said he                                                               
prefers that  before the claimant  hires an attorney  and follows                                                               
the court  rules, the person  will call  up the builder  and say,                                                               
"Hey, we've  got a problem."   And  the builder will  say, "Okay,                                                               
I'll come out and fix it."   He suggested this procedure might be                                                               
self-correcting.   He said  he doesn't want  somebody to  have to                                                               
hire an attorney to get the faucet fixed.                                                                                       
Number 1532                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG moved  to report  CSHB 151,  Version 23-                                                               
LS0499\I, Bannister,  3/27/03, out  of committee  with individual                                                               
recommendations  and  the committee  fiscal  notes  that will  be                                                               
provided.  There  being no objection, CSHB  151(L&C) was reported                                                               
from the House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                           
HB 186-LICENSING RADIOLOGIC TECHNICIANS                                                                                       
Number 1576                                                                                                                     
CHAIR ANDERSON announced  that the final order  of business would                                                               
be  HOUSE  BILL NO.  186,  "An  Act establishing  the  Radiologic                                                               
Technology   Board   of   Examiners;   requiring   licensure   of                                                               
occupations   relating   to  radiologic   technology,   radiation                                                               
therapy, and  nuclear medicine technology;  and providing  for an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
Number 1607                                                                                                                     
The committee took an at-ease from 3:47 to 3:48 p.m.                                                                            
Number 1618                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  moved  to  adopt  the  proposed  CSHB  186,                                                               
Version   23-LS0380\S,  Lauterbach,   3/25/03,  as   the  working                                                               
document.   There being  no objection, Version  S was  before the                                                               
Number 1639                                                                                                                     
CHAIR ANDERSON, as the sponsor  of HB 186, explained that members                                                               
of the  [Alaska] Society  of Radiologic  Technologists approached                                                               
him  last summer  about  introducing a  bill  that would  license                                                               
radiologic technicians and create a  board of examiners.  He said                                                               
the bill has been introduced several  times in the past 10 years.                                                               
He  said  he favors  careful  scrutiny  and licensing  of  people                                                               
employed in the health care field.   He stated that an error by a                                                               
technician  doing  a  mammogram,  for example,  could  result  in                                                               
overlooking a case of breast cancer.                                                                                            
Number 1723                                                                                                                     
HEATHER  BEATY,  Staff  to Representative  Tom  Anderson,  Alaska                                                               
State  Legislature,  summarized  the   changes  in  the  proposed                                                               
committee substitute  (CS) for  HB 186.   She said  these changes                                                               
were  discussed  with staff  from  the  Division of  Occupational                                                               
Licensing.   On  page 4,  line 12,  Sec. 08.89.130,  new language                                                               
gives the  Radiologic Technology Board of  Examiners authority to                                                               
evaluate  educational programs  from out  of state.   The  bill's                                                               
original  language   required  that   all  applicants   for  full                                                               
licensure  must  have  graduated  from  an  in-state  educational                                                               
program.  The  proposed CS language provides  for graduation from                                                               
any program  that the board  decides meets the  criteria outlined                                                               
within  the section.    The  change on  page  6,  line 1-4,  Sec.                                                               
08.89.160, makes the same revision.                                                                                             
MS. BEATY explained  that another change on page 7,  line 4, Sec.                                                               
08.89.180, removes language [in  the original bill] pertaining to                                                               
a  lapse  in  licensure.     By  removing  this  subsection,  the                                                               
licensees  would   be  governed  by  the   centralized  licensing                                                               
statute, which allows  for a grace period in  renewal of licenses                                                               
and allows the  board to charge a late penalty  for renewals made                                                               
after  the expiration  date.   The  original language  in HB  186                                                               
would require  a licensee to  begin a new application  process if                                                               
there  were any  lapse in  licensure.   Ms. Beaty  explained that                                                               
this is  consistent with the  way other boards in  Alaska provide                                                               
licensure and  allows for  a small  lapse.  On  page 8,  line 10,                                                               
Sec.  08.89.300, the  words  "holding a  license  or permit"  are                                                               
added after "person."  Sec. 08.89.330  on 8, starting on line 26,                                                               
adds  language  indicating  the  board's  authority  to  deny  an                                                               
application  or renewal  of licensure  for disciplinary  reasons.                                                               
She  explained  that this  change  was  made  at the  request  of                                                               
division officials.   The last change  on page 10, line  13, adds                                                               
"dentists" as  a "licensed  practitioner" qualified  to supervise                                                               
the performance of radiologic examinations by licensees.                                                                        
Number 1929                                                                                                                     
BARBARA HUFF  TUCKNESS, Director of Legislative  and Governmental                                                               
Affairs,  General  Teamsters,  Local 959,  Alaska,  testified  in                                                               
support of HB 186  and the changes in the proposed  CS.  She said                                                               
the Teamsters represent radiologic  technologists at hospitals in                                                               
Homer  and Kodiak.    The members  support  the requirement  that                                                               
individuals working  in the  industry, whether  in a  hospital or                                                               
clinic  setting,  are  certified   and  are  therefore  able  and                                                               
eligible to perform  the tasks, whether it's  mammography, MRI or                                                               
bone density  tests.   The work  is important  because physicians                                                               
use it  to make recommendations  for the next step  in treatment.                                                               
She  said the  Teamsters  also  support the  bill  from a  public                                                               
health  and safety  perspective,  giving  patients the  assurance                                                               
that qualified people are doing the job.                                                                                        
Number 2038                                                                                                                     
CHRISTINE  LUNG,  Director   of  Government  Relations,  American                                                               
Society of  Radiologic Technologists  (ASRT), explained  that her                                                               
professional organization  was founded to promote  the proper and                                                               
safe   delivery  of   medical  imaging   and  radiation   therapy                                                               
procedures.   She  said ASRT  is concerned  about the  risks from                                                               
unnecessary radiation  exposure.  She  stated that 90  percent of                                                               
public  exposure to  radiation results  from medical  procedures,                                                               
primarily   diagnostic  x-ray   exams  performed   by  radiologic                                                               
technologists.   Ms. Lung stated  that the federal Food  and Drug                                                               
Administration, Bureau  of Radiologic  Health, estimates  that 30                                                               
percent of exposures to manmade  radiation are unnecessary, and 5                                                               
to  10  percent  of  unnecessary   exposures  are  attributed  to                                                               
repeated  x-ray exams.   She  said  that ASRT  is concerned  that                                                               
overuse as  well as the improper  use of medical radiation  is an                                                               
ever-increasing health hazard to the public.                                                                                    
MS.  LUNG  testified  that  currently  a  physician  using  x-ray                                                               
equipment in his  practice is under no obligation  to require any                                                               
credential  or specific  education of  the employee  who operates                                                               
medical  imaging or  radiation therapy  equipment.   She said  in                                                               
Alaska, anyone  off the  street can  be hired  in the  morning to                                                               
operate this potentially dangerous  equipment that the afternoon.                                                               
She said  her society  believes that HB  186 will  help alleviate                                                               
this disparity in health care.                                                                                                  
Number 2115                                                                                                                     
MS.  LUNG  said  there  are  over  400  radiologic  technologists                                                               
registered in  the State of  Alaska by a  voluntary certification                                                               
body, the  American Registry of Radiologic  Technologists (ARRT).                                                               
However,  she said,  there's no  way of  knowing how  many people                                                               
with minimal  training and no certification  are operating x-ray,                                                               
radiation  therapy,  and  other   medical  imaging  equipment  in                                                               
Alaska.    These  people are  administering  potentially  harmful                                                               
radiation  without  having   demonstrated  scientific  knowledge,                                                               
technical  understanding,  clinical competency,  or  professional                                                               
responsibility.  She said that  36 other states currently license                                                               
radiologic technologists and radiation  therapists.  She said she                                                               
hopes the State of Alaska will  join these other states in making                                                               
sure that  the people performing  medical imaging  and delivering                                                               
radiation  therapy are  properly  educated  and credentialed,  as                                                               
evidenced by being licensed.                                                                                                    
Number 2172                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  asked  whether  the  federal  Consumer-                                                               
Patient Radiation Health and Safety  Act of 1981 requires workers                                                               
in the field to be certified.                                                                                                   
MS.  LUNG   responded  that  this  federal   law  sets  voluntary                                                               
standards for the states.  She  said that HB 186 would meet these                                                               
voluntary requirements.   She said  that her organization  and 16                                                               
other  national  societies  representing  radiation  and  medical                                                               
imaging personnel are  pursuing an amendment to  the 1981 federal                                                               
law, H.R.  1214.  This  amendment would require states  to comply                                                               
with  the law's  mandates at  the risk  of losing  state Medicaid                                                               
matching funds for radiologic procedures.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  asked questions  about whether  the ASRT                                                               
provides educational courses or certifications.                                                                                 
MS.  LUNG replied  that the  ASRT  does not  provide courses  for                                                               
people  entering  the  profession   but  it  does  do  continuing                                                               
education training for registered  radiologic technologists.  She                                                               
explained  that  it  does not  offer  certifications;  rather  it                                                               
represents  professionals in  the field.   She  explained that  a                                                               
national  agency,   the  ARRT,   provides  the   examination  and                                                               
Number 2289                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GUTTENBERG  asked  if  HB 186  meets  a  national                                                               
standard  or  conforms  to other  state's  norms  for  radiologic                                                               
MS. LUNG replied yes.                                                                                                           
Number 2352                                                                                                                     
DONNA   RUFSHOLM,  President,   Alaska   Society  of   Radiologic                                                               
Technologists, reiterated  why the Alaska  organization requested                                                               
Representative Anderson to sponsor HB 186.   She said that HB 186                                                               
ensures that Alaskans  will have access to  safe and high-quality                                                               
radiologic care without geographical  limitations.  She cited the                                                               
problems  identified in  the written  testimony submitted  by the                                                               
State of  Alaska's radiologic health specialist.   These examples                                                               
included operators exposing patients to  as much as 60 times more                                                               
radiation than  necessary for  medical procedures;  operators who                                                               
practice  by exposing  each other  to x-rays;  unrestricted x-ray                                                               
beams;  inexperienced,  untrained   and  under-trained  personnel                                                               
performing radiologic procedures on patients.                                                                                   
TAPE 03-24, SIDE B                                                                                                            
Number 2379                                                                                                                     
MS.  RUFSHOLM  stated  that  many  patients  assume  that  people                                                               
performing  medical procedures  know what  they are  doing.   She                                                               
said  that  licensure  through  HB 186  will  give  Alaskans  the                                                               
confidence that  they'll have access  to high  quality radiologic                                                               
care whenever they go into a facility for an x-ray.                                                                             
Number 2330                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM asked about the cost of the licensing.                                                                 
CHAIR ANDERSON explained that the  fiscal note would be discussed                                                               
after the witnesses testify.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  inquired   about  the  availability  of                                                               
trained  personnel,  particularly  in  rural Alaska.    He  asked                                                               
whether the  bill allows a  multi-tiered level of  licensure that                                                               
would assist people at the entry level of the profession.                                                                       
MS. RUFSHOLM  explained that the  University of  Alaska Anchorage                                                               
(UAA)  has  a 19-month  associate  degree  program in  radiologic                                                               
technology.   UAA is also working  with the society to  develop a                                                               
program for limited licensure so  that individuals in rural areas                                                               
can perform radiologic procedures safely and with confidence.                                                                   
Number 2238                                                                                                                     
DALE  COLLINS,  Program  Chair,  Radiologic  Technology,  Medical                                                               
Imaging  Sciences  Department,  University of  Alaska  Anchorage,                                                               
described  the  program that  started  in  2001 for  career-entry                                                               
radiographers.    Currently,  27  students are  enrolled  in  the                                                               
program,  seven  of  whom  will  graduate  in  May  as  qualified                                                               
radiographers.   They will have  the education stipulated  by the                                                               
ASRT and  well as the  competency requirements determined  by the                                                               
national registry organization,  the ARRT.  There  are classes at                                                               
UAA and at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.                                                                                  
MR. COLLINS said that UAA  will soon offer a four-month semester-                                                               
long program, which  includes three courses that  would cover all                                                               
the elements  necessary for a  limited scope of  practice license                                                               
developed by the  ARRT.  This program would fill  a training need                                                               
for staff  in rural communities  around the state.   This program                                                               
could be implemented if HB 186 passes the legislature.                                                                          
Number 2135                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  asked whether developing  the four-month                                                               
program depends on passage of this bill.                                                                                        
MR.  COLLINS  explained  that  implementing  this  curriculum  is                                                               
independent of passage of HB 186.                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG   asked  whether  most   health  service                                                               
providers   that  hire   people  in   this  field   require  ARRT                                                               
MR. COLLINS  said that certification of  radiologic technologists                                                               
is usually  required by the providers'  accrediting organization.                                                               
For  example, JCAHO,  the Joint  Commission  on Accreditation  of                                                               
Healthcare  Organizations,  requires  hospitals to  employ  ARRT-                                                               
registered technologists.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked about the  impact of a $543 license                                                               
biennial fee on an entry-level technologist.                                                                                    
Number 2081                                                                                                                     
MR. COLLINS replied  that an entry-level wage  for a radiographer                                                               
ranges from  $36,000 to $40,000.   He  said the graduates  of the                                                               
UAA  program will  earn  a  minimum of  $40,000  annually in  the                                                               
Anchorage area.                                                                                                                 
Number 2002                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM  said she found answers  to her question                                                               
about the  cost of licensing on  the fiscal note.   She noted her                                                               
concerns  about  limited licenses  for  those  practicing in  the                                                               
rural  communities  but  said  she is  confident  that  the  next                                                               
committee  of referral,  the House  Health, Education  and Social                                                               
Services Standing Committee, will carefully review this issues.                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG  asked if the bill  requires the Division                                                               
of  Occupational  Licensing  to  implement  regulations  for  the                                                               
licensing of radiologic technologists.                                                                                          
Number 1967                                                                                                                     
RICK  URION,   Director,  Division  of   Occupational  Licensing,                                                               
Department  of Community  &  Economic  Development, replied  yes.                                                               
When asked whether his staff  has discussed doing advance work on                                                               
these regulations,  given the  bill's effective  date of  July 1,                                                               
2003, he answered no.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG  suggested  that the  division  consider                                                               
such  advance  work,  if  given   authority  to  proceed  by  the                                                               
Legislature.   He suggested that the  bill has not moved  in past                                                               
years  because of  its  large fiscal  note.   He  noted that  its                                                               
chances may  be improved because  a law passed several  years ago                                                               
allowing  license fees  to be  treated as  program receipts.   He                                                               
noted that  the fiscal note and  license fee of $543  is based on                                                               
400  people becoming  licensed.   He  commented that  occupations                                                               
which are regulated by boards generally have high overhead.                                                                     
CHAIR  ANDERSON advised  that members  of the  Alaska Society  of                                                               
Radiologic Technicians agreed to the $543 license fee.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG asked  why HB  186 is  necessary if  the                                                               
ARRT is already certifying radiologic technologists.                                                                            
Number 1800                                                                                                                     
MS.  RUFSHOLM  responded  that   the  registry  is  a  nationally                                                               
recognized board.   Individuals sit for the ARRT  exam after they                                                               
have  finished their  education  and their  clinical training  to                                                               
become radiologic technologists.  This  a voluntary exam, and the                                                               
person must meet  certain educational criteria to be  able to sit                                                               
for  this  exam  and  become  certified.    The  individuals  who                                                               
practice  in   the  rural  areas  without   proper  education  or                                                               
credentialing cannot even consider sitting for the ARRT exam.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG said  he  appreciates  these efforts  to                                                               
protect the  public.  Because  of the realities of  rural Alaska,                                                               
this  bill could  limit services  by medical  providers in  rural                                                               
Number 1725                                                                                                                     
MS.  RUFSHOLM  said her  group's  intent  is  not to  bar  health                                                               
services  in the  rural areas.    She explained  that the  Alaska                                                               
society is  asking that those  individuals who are  taking x-rays                                                               
in the rural areas get some  sort of education so they understand                                                               
what they are doing.   She stated that radiation is accumulative;                                                               
it's  a health  hazard if  not administered  properly.   She said                                                               
that's why the UAA is working  with her society to offer training                                                               
for  a  limited  license.    The intent  is  not  to  require  an                                                               
associate degree for everyone working in the field.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  ROKEBERG asked  if having  every operator  in the                                                               
state register  with the  ARRT would  accomplish the  same thing.                                                               
He  asked  why create  a  board;  why  not require  everyone  who                                                               
operates a machine to be certified.                                                                                             
Number 1646                                                                                                                     
MS.  RUFSHOLM said  there are  other options  besides creating  a                                                               
board.   For  example,  another approach  is  having the  state's                                                               
radiation health office regulate radiologists.                                                                                  
MS. LUNG said that some  states require a radiologic technologist                                                               
to  be   registered  with   the  ARRT,   rather  than   having  a                                                               
professional  board oversee  them.   Another option  is requiring                                                               
regular inspections  of x-ray machines  on a regular basis.   She                                                               
said patients  in outlying  areas of Alaska  are entitled  to the                                                               
same  quality  of  care  that  they would  receive  in  an  urban                                                               
hospital  from   a  registered  radiologic  technologist.     She                                                               
emphasized  that radiologic  procedures are  not only  done in  a                                                               
hospital; 40  percent are done in  an outpatient setting or  in a                                                               
physician's office.   These facilities don't have  the same JCAHO                                                               
requirements of hospitals.                                                                                                      
Number 1516                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  DAHLSTROM moved  to  report the  CS  for HB  186,                                                               
Version 25-LS0380\S,  Lauterbach, 3/25/03, out of  committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  the  accompanying fiscal  notes.                                                               
There being  no objections, CSHB  186(L&C) was reported  from the                                                               
House Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.                                                                                    
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Labor and Commerce Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at                                                                  
4:27 p.m.                                                                                                                       

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