Legislature(1997 - 1998)

02/19/1998 09:11 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
       HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                  
                 February 19, 1998                                             
                     9:11 a.m.                                                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                
                                                                               
Representative Jeannette James, Chair                                          
Representative Ivan Ivan, Vice Chairman                                        
Representative Ethan Berkowitz                                                 
Representative Fred Dyson                                                      
Representative Kim Elton                                                       
Representative Mark Hodgins                                                    
Representative Al Vezey                                                        
                                                                               
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                 
                                                                               
Representative Al Vezey                                                        
                                                                               
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                             
                                                                               
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 105(FIN) am                                             
"An Act relating to legislative and executive branch ethics;                   
relating to campaign finances for candidates for state office;                 
relating to the conduct and regulation of lobbyists with respect to            
public officials; relating to the filing of disclosures by certain             
state employees and officials; making a conforming amendment to the            
definition of `public official' for employment security statutes;              
and providing for an effective date."                                          
                                                                               
     - ASSIGNED TO SUBCOMMITTEE                                                
                                                                               
SENATE BILL NO. 122                                                            
"An Act relating to unfair discrimination under a group health                 
insurance policy for services provided by marital and family                   
therapists; and providing for an effective date."                              
                                                                               
     - MOVED HCSSB 122(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                   
                                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO. 168                                                             
"An Act relating to use of traditional means of access to assist in            
taking game or fish and to traditional means of access for                     
traditional outdoor activities on land and water set aside for fish            
and game purposes; and providing for an effective date."                       
                                                                               
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                          
                                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO. 377                                                             
"An Act relating to filling a vacancy in the office of United                  
States senator or in an office in the state legislature."                      
                                                                               
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                 
                                                                               
(* First public hearing)                                                       
                                                                               
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                
                                                                               
BILL: SB 105                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: ETHICS/LOBBYING/CAMPAIGN FINANCE                                  
SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF LEGISLATIVE ETHICS COMMITTEE                   
                                                                               
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                          
02/25/97       494     (S)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  
02/25/97       494     (S)  STATE AFFAIRS, FINANCE                             
03/11/97               (S)  STA AT  3:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211                     
03/11/97               (S)  MINUTE(STA)                                        
03/13/97               (S)  STA AT  3:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211                     
03/13/97               (S)  MINUTE(STA)                                        
03/18/97               (S)  MINUTE(STA)                                        
03/25/97               (S)  STA AT  3:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211                     
03/25/97               (S)  MINUTE(STA)                                        
03/26/97       873     (S)  STA RPT  CS  3DP          NEW TITLE                
03/26/97       873     (S)  DP: GREEN, MILLER, WARD                            
03/26/97       873     (S)  FISCAL NOTE TO SB (ADM)                            
03/26/97       873     (S)  ZERO FISCAL NOTE TO SB (LAA)                       
03/26/97       873     (S)  FISCAL NOTE TO CS (ADM)                            
04/10/97               (S)  FIN AT  5:00 PM SENATE FINANCE 532                 
04/10/97               (S)  MINUTE(FIN)                                        
04/10/97               (S)  MINUTE(FIN)                                        
04/15/97               (S)  FIN AT  8:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                 
04/15/97               (S)  MINUTE(FIN)                                        
04/16/97               (S)  FIN AT  8:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                 
04/16/97               (S)  MINUTE(FIN)                                        
04/16/97               (S)  MINUTE(FIN)                                        
04/16/97      1163     (S)  FIN RPT  CS  2DP 5NR      NEW TITLE                
04/16/97      1163     (S)  DP: PEARCE; DP IF AM: PHILLIPS                     
04/16/97      1163     (S)  NR: SHARP, PARNELL, ADAMS, TORGERSON,              
04/16/97      1163     (S)  DONLEY                                             
04/16/97      1163     (S)  PREVIOUS ZERO FN APPLIES (LAA)                     
04/16/97      1163     (S)  ZERO FNS TO CS (LABOR, LAW)                        
04/16/97      1163     (S)  PREVIOUS ZERO FN APPLIES (LAA)                     
04/18/97               (S)  RLS AT 10:45 AM FAHRENKAMP RM 203                  
04/18/97               (S)  MINUTE(RLS)                                        
04/18/97      1276     (S)  RULES TO CALENDAR & 1NR     4/18/97                
04/18/97      1279     (S)  READ THE SECOND TIME                               
04/18/97      1279     (S)  FIN  CS ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT                       
04/18/97      1280     (S)  AM NO  1     OFFERED AND WITHDRAWN                 
04/18/97      1281     (S)  AM NO  2     FAILED Y4 N13 E3                      
04/18/97      1282     (S)  AM NO  3     FAILED Y4 N13 E3                      
04/18/97      1283     (S)  AMENDMENTS 4, 5 NOT OFFERED                        
04/18/97      1283     (S)  AM NO  6     ADOPTED Y12 N5 E3                     
04/18/97      1285     (S)  AM NO  7     FAILED Y7 N10 E3                      
04/18/97      1286     (S)  AM NO  8     FAILED Y5 N12 E3                      
04/18/97      1287     (S)  AM NO  9     ADOPTED Y17 N- E3                     
04/18/97      1291     (S)  ADVANCED TO THIRD READING UNAN                     
                            CONSENT                                            
04/18/97      1291     (S)  READ THE THIRD TIME  CSSB 105(FIN) AM              
04/18/97      1292     (S)  PASSED Y15 N2 E3                                   
04/18/97      1292     (S)  EFFECTIVE DATE(S) SAME AS PASSAGE                  
04/18/97      1292     (S)  LINCOLN  NOTICE OF RECONSIDERATION                 
04/21/97      1334     (S)  RECON TAKEN UP - IN THIRD READING                  
04/21/97      1335     (S)  RETURN TO SECOND FOR AM 10 UNAN                    
                            CONSENT                                            
04/21/97      1335     (S)  AM NO 10     ADOPTED Y14 N5 E1                     
04/21/97      1336     (S)  AUTOMATICALLY IN THIRD READING                     
04/21/97      1337     (S)  PASSED ON RECONSIDERATION Y17 N2 E1                
04/21/97      1337     (S)  EFFECTIVE DATE(S) SAME AS PASSAGE                  
04/21/97      1370     (S)  TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                 
04/22/97      1232     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  
04/22/97      1233     (H)  STATE AFFAIRS, FINANCE                             
02/05/98               (H)  STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                        
02/05/98               (H)  MINUTE(STA)                                        
02/12/98               (H)  STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                        
02/17/98               (H)  STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                        
                                                                               
BILL: SB 122                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: INS.COVERAGE:MARRIAGE & FAMILY THERAPIST                          
SPONSOR(S): LABOR & COMMERCE BY REQUEST                                        
                                                                               
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                          
03/06/97       597     (S)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  
03/06/97       597     (S)  L&C, HES                                           
04/08/97               (S)  L&C AT  1:30 PM FAHRENKAMP RM 203                  
04/08/97               (S)  MINUTE(L&C)                                        
04/09/97      1049     (S)  L&C RPT  CS  1DP 3NR      SAME TITLE               
04/09/97      1049     (S)  DP: LEMAN; NR: KELLY, MACKIE, MILLER               
04/09/97      1049     (S)  ZERO FN TO SB & CS (DCED)                          
04/16/97               (S)  HES AT  9:00 AM BUTROVICH ROOM 205                 
04/16/97               (S)  MINUTE(HES)                                        
04/16/97      1164     (S)  HES RPT  3DP 2NR (L&C)CS                           
04/16/97      1164     (S)  DP: WARD, LEMAN, ELLIS NR: GREEN,                  
                            WILKEN                                             
04/16/97      1164     (S)  PREVIOUS ZERO FN (DCED)                            
04/21/97               (S)  RLS AT 10:45 AM FAHRENKAMP RM 203                  
04/21/97               (S)  MINUTE(RLS)                                        
04/21/97      1331     (S)  RULES TO CALENDAR  4/21/97                         
04/21/97      1344     (S)  READ THE SECOND TIME                               
04/21/97      1344     (S)  L&C  CS ADOPTED Y15 N4 E1                          
04/21/97      1344     (S)  ADVANCED TO THIRD READING UNAN                     
                            CONSENT                                            
04/21/97      1344     (S)  READ THE THIRD TIME  CSSB 122(L&C)                 
04/21/97      1345     (S)  PASSED Y13 N6 E1                                   
04/21/97      1345     (S)  EFFECTIVE DATE PASSED Y15 N4 E1                    
04/21/97      1345     (S)  DUNCAN  NOTICE OF RECONSIDERATION                  
04/22/97      1420     (S)  RECON TAKEN UP - IN THIRD READING                  
04/22/97      1420     (S)  PLACED AT BOTTOM OF CALENDAR                       
04/22/97      1429     (S)  HELD ON RECONSIDERATION TO 4/23                    
                            CALENDAR                                           
04/23/97      1452     (S)  BEFORE THE SENATE ON RECONSIDERATION               
04/23/97      1452     (S)  RETURN TO RLS  COMMITTEE                           
05/08/97               (S)  RLS AT  8:25 PM FAHRENKAMP RM 203                  
05/08/97               (S)  MINUTE(RLS)                                        
05/09/97      1891     (S)  RULES TO CAL ON RECONSIDERATION                    
                            IN 3RD                                             
05/09/97      1923     (S)  IN THIRD READING ON RECONSIDERATION                
05/09/97      1923     (S)  RTN 2ND RESCIND PREVIOUS ACTION                    
                            UAN CON                                            
05/09/97      1924     (S)  RESCINDED ADOPTING L&C CS Y13 N6 E1                
05/09/97      1924     (S)  FAILED TO ADOPT L&C  CS Y4 N15 E1                  
05/09/97      1924     (S)  AUTOMATICALLY IN THIRD READING SB 122              
05/09/97      1925     (S)  LETTER OF INTENT FAILED    Y7 N12 E1               
05/09/97      1926     (S)  PASSED ON RECONSIDERATION Y15 N4 E1                
05/09/97      1926     (S)  EFFECTIVE DATE(S) SAME AS PASSAGE                  
05/09/97      1932     (S)  TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                 
05/09/97      1786     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  
05/09/97      1786     (H)  STATE AFFAIRS, L&C, WTR                            
02/19/98               (H)  STA AT  9:05 AM CAPITOL 102                        
                                                                               
BILL: HB 168                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: TRADITIONAL ACCESS FOR TRADITIONAL ACTIVI                         
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) MASEK, Kohring                                  
                                                                               
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                          
03/05/97       543     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  
03/05/97       543     (H)  RESOURCES, STATE AFFAIRS                           
02/05/98               (H)  RES AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                        
02/05/98               (H)  MINUTE(RES)                                        
02/06/98      2232     (H)  RES RPT  CS(RES) 3DP 2DNP 2NR                      
02/06/98      2232     (H)  DP: MASEK, OGAN, DYSON;  DNP: JOULE                
02/06/98      2232     (H)  NICHOLIA;  NR: HUDSON, GREEN                       
02/06/98      2233     (H)  ZERO FISCAL NOTE (F&G)                             
02/19/98               (H)  STA AT  9:05 AM CAPITOL 102                        
                                                                               
WITNESS REGISTER                                                               
                                                                               
BEVERLY LINDELL, Past President and                                            
  Current Legislative Chair                                                    
Alaska Association for Marriage                                                
  and Family Therapy                                                           
P.O. Box 32481                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska                                                                 
Telephone:  (907) 790-3202                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSSB 122(L&C).                    
                                                                               
MICHAEL WEINGARTEN, Board Member                                               
Alaska Association for Marriage                                                
  and Family Therapy                                                           
Human Relations Center                                                         
1709 South Bragaw, Suite A                                                     
Anchorage, Alaska 99508                                                        
Telephone:  (907) 272-5500                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSSB 122(L&C).                    
                                                                               
VIVIAN FINDLAY                                                                 
Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist                                         
P.O. Box 872433                                                                
Wasilla, Alaska 99687                                                          
Telephone:  (907) 373-6006                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSSB 122(L&C).                    
                                                                               
ELAINE WILLIAMS, Public Member                                                 
Board of Marital and Family Therapy                                            
Division of Occupational Licensing                                             
Department of Commerce and Economic Development                                
2206 Peters Lane                                                               
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 463-5247                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSSB 122(L&C).                    
                                                                               
PAM WAATS, President                                                           
American Counseling Association of Alaska;                                     
  and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist                                 
P.O. Box 240594                                                                
Douglas, Alaska 99824                                                          
Telephone:  (907) 5861547                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSSB 122(L&C).                    
                                                                               
DIXIE HOOD, Marriage and Family Therapist                                      
9350 View Drive                                                                
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 586-2200                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSSB 122(L&C).                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BEVERLY MASEK                                                   
Alaska State Legislature                                                       
Capitol Building, Room 432                                                     
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-2679                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of HB 168.                                        
                                                                               
EDDIE GRASSER, Legislative Assistant                                           
  to Representative Beverly Masek                                              
Alaska State Legislature                                                       
Capitol Building, Room 432                                                     
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 465-2679                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions regarding of HB 168.                   
                                                                               
DON SHERWOOD                                                                   
Alaska Boating Association                                                     
1640 Brink Drive                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska 99504                                                        
Telephone:  (907) 333-6268                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 168.                           
                                                                               
MICHAEL EASTHAM                                                                
Homer Anchor Point Snow Machine Club                                           
Box 475                                                                        
Homer, Alaska 99603                                                            
Telephone:  (907) 235-2603                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 168.                           
                                                                               
BILL EASTHAM, President                                                        
Mat-Su Motor Mushers                                                           
HC 03, Box 8286                                                                
Palmer, Alaska 99745                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 245-3043                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 168.                           
                                                                               
WALTER "RED" DECKER                                                            
HC 01, Box 6486D                                                               
Palmer, Alaska 99645                                                           
Telephone:  (907) 745-6784                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 168.                           
                                                                               
LEONARD HAIRE                                                                  
P.O. Box 879030                                                                
Wasilla, Alaska 99687                                                          
Telephone:  (907) 373-6183                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 168.                           
                                                                               
CLIFF JUDKINS, President                                                       
Alaska Boating Association                                                     
P.O. Box 871310                                                                
Wasilla, Alaska 99687                                                          
Telephone:  (907) 373-3591                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 168.                           
                                                                               
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                               
                                                                               
TAPE 98-20, SIDE A                                                             
Number 0001                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JEANNETTE JAMES called the House State Affairs Standing                  
Committee meeting to order at 9:11 a.m.  Members present at the                
call to order were Representatives James, Berkowitz, Dyson and                 
Ivan.  Representatives Elton and Hodgins arrived as the meeting was            
in progress.                                                                   
                                                                               
CSSB 105(FIN) AM - ETHICS/LOBBYING/CAMPAIGN FINANCE                            
                                                                               
Number 082                                                                     
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES announced to the committee members that she has put                
CSSB 105(FIN) am, "An Act relating to legislative and executive                
branch ethics; relating to campaign finances for candidates for                
state office; relating to the conduct and regulation of lobbyists              
with respect to public officials; relating to the filing of                    
disclosures by certain state employees and officials; making a                 
conforming amendment to the definition of `public official' for                
employment security statutes; and providing for an effective date,"            
into a subcommittee.  The subcommittee members are Representatives             
James, Ivan and Berkowitz.  She informed the committee that the                
first meeting of the subcommittee will be held on Tuesday, February            
24, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.                                                
                                                                               
SB 122 - INS.COVERAGE:MARRIAGE & FAMILY THERAPIST                              
                                                                               
Number 0142                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES announced the committee would hear SB 122, "An Act                 
relating to unfair discrimination under a group health insurance               
policy for services provided by marital and family therapists; and             
providing for an effective date."  She informed the committee                  
members that the bill was introduced by the Senate Labor and                   
Commerce Committee by request of the Alaska Association for                    
Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT).  She asked Ms. Lindell of the             
association to present the bill.                                               
                                                                               
Number 0196                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE FRED DYSON noted for the record that he has a                   
conflict of interest as his wife is a licensed marriage and family             
counselor and would significantly benefit if the legislation                   
becomes law.                                                                   
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES asked if there was an objection to Representative Dyson            
having a conflict.  She noted he would be expected to vote.                    
                                                                               
Number 0222                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE IVAN IVAN said there are no objections.                         
                                                                               
Number 0258                                                                    
                                                                               
BEVERLY LINDELL, Past President, Current Legislative Chair, Alaska             
Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, came before the                   
committee.  Ms. Lindell explained that the bill adds licensed                  
marriage and family therapists to the list of providers against                
whom insurers cannot discriminate.  She stated they are one of the             
identified five core mental health providers as identified by the              
National Institute of Mental Health.  The other groups, social                 
workers, psychologists, psychiatric (indisc.) and psychiatrists are            
already covered under this bill.  Ms. Lindell said it is a fairness            
issue for her group because they would like to be at the table with            
their peers in this matter.  They are a licensed group.  She stated            
that is also important for consumers in that it gives them a                   
greater access to services.  A recent national survey showed that              
consumers more often refer to marriage and family therapists when              
given the choice.  Ms. Lindell said there are other people who wish            
to testify as to the importance of their services.                             
                                                                               
Number 0400                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE IVAN asked how many people were involved in this                
effort.                                                                        
                                                                               
MS. LINDELL explained that the AAMFT has approximately 80 members.             
In addition, there are about 150 licensed marriage and family                  
therapists in the state.                                                       
                                                                               
Number 0443                                                                    
                                                                               
MICHAEL WEINGARTEN, Board Member, Alaska Association for Marriage              
and Family Therapy, testified via teleconference from Anchorage.               
He informed the committee members that he is a licensed marriage               
and family therapist.  He said he has lived in Alaska for 20 years             
and has been working in the mental health field for the past 23                
years.  He said marriage and family therapists treat a variety of              
difficult problems and cases.  Mr. Weingarten stated that his case             
load includes cases of child abuse, school and work problems,                  
sexual abuse, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse,                       
delinquency, divorce and major depression.  He said he would like              
to emphasize that the bill does not require insurers to add mental             
health coverage.  He pointed out that the bill supports the                    
public's free choice of licensed qualified providers.  Marriage and            
family therapists are very cost effective.  They can treat several             
members of a family simultaneously.  They are located throughout               
the state of Alaska.  They do preventative work and have high                  
professional standards.  Mr. Weingarten referred to the bill and               
stated that they are not requiring anybody to pay any more for                 
coverage and aren't requiring anybody to cover any new service,                
condition or procedure that they're not already covering.  He                  
stated that the bill doesn't create an incentive for clients to                
spend more and it doesn't create a reason for insurance companies              
to spend more.  The public will have greater access to a variety of            
professional licensed mental health providers.  This means access              
to the provider of your choice.  There would be more choices for               
the consumer without costing them more money and it means there                
will be more competition amongst providers in the marketplace.  Mr.            
Weingarten said the people would have greater access to a variety              
of professional licensed mental health providers.  Access to                   
quality mental health care is good public policy, it decreases                 
lateness and absenteeism on the job, it decreases unnecessary                  
physical health care, it decreases employee disability costs, it               
decreases public financial assistance rates, it decreases workers'             
compensation claims and it increases job-related productivity.  He             
encouraged the committee to support the legislation.                           
                                                                               
Number 0655                                                                    
                                                                               
VIVIAN FINDLAY, Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, testified              
from the Mat-Su Legislative Information Office (LIO).  She said she            
has been in the mental health field for 22 years and in Alaska for             
almost 15 years.  She said she has had her own practice for about              
11 years.  Ms. Findlay stated that she is very much in support of              
the legislation for the reasons that Ms. Lindell and Mr. Weingarten            
have mentioned.  She said, "I just wanted to add that we along with            
the other mental health professionals who are already licensed and             
are already included as providers for insurance purposes do very               
similar kinds of work, but we have a slightly different orientation            
of marriage and family therapists.  And I do agree that there seems            
to be no reason that we should be excluded because we do provide               
excellent services.  Thank you."                                               
                                                                               
Number 0720                                                                    
                                                                               
ELAINE WILLIAMS, Public Member, Board of Marital and Family                    
Therapy, Division of Occupational Licensing, Department of Commerce            
and Economic Development, came before the committee to testify in              
support of SB 122.  She said that as a public member, she would                
like to be able to choose who she would see if she needed  some                
sort of therapy.  This legislation offers that opportunity with                
whatever insurance carrier she has.                                            
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES noted there is a proposed State Affairs committee                  
substitute, Version H, dated 2/17/98.                                          
                                                                               
Number 0775                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE KIM ELTON made a motion to adopt the proposed                   
committee substitute, Version H, before the committee.  There being            
no objection, that version was before the committee.                           
                                                                               
Number 0795                                                                    
                                                                               
PAM WAATS, President, American Counseling Association of Alaska;               
and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, came before the                  
committee to testify.  She said as a state of Alaska licensed                  
behavioral health care provider, marriage and family therapists                
provide therapeutic services within the scope of their license and             
their expertise.  As such, it would not only be discriminatory to              
this group of mental health service providers for third party                  
payers to refuse payment for professional services, but it also                
limits the choice of consumers to select qualified professionals               
who would best meet their needs.  She said she would strongly                  
encourage the committee to support parity for the Alaska marriage              
and family therapists.                                                         
                                                                               
Number 0857                                                                    
                                                                               
DIXIE HOOD, Marriage and Family Therapist, came before the                     
committee to testify.  She informed the committee that she has been            
in Alaska for 23 years and has been in private practice as a                   
marriage and family therapist for the last 12 years.  She said she             
would discuss how the present situation has impacted her work in               
negative ways as a self-employed person.  She said until licensure             
was attained for marriage and family therapists, it was very                   
difficult to get insurance reimbursement without having supervision            
by a medical doctor documented.  When licensure occurred, it helped            
things as AETNA no longer had any problem with reimbursement.  She             
informed the committee that there are a number of insurance                    
companies that will not reimburse in Alaska even though they do in             
California and other states.  They won't in Alaska because they can            
get away with it.  Ms. Hood told the committee that one insurance              
company that has impacted her is Blue Cross.  In Juneau, all of the            
city employees have Blue Cross insurance coverage.  She said she is            
cut out of providing services to the city employees unless people              
are willing to self-pay and give up the possibility of                         
compensation.  Ms. Hood stated that last year she had a young women            
from Ketchikan, who is in her early 20s who had been severely                  
injured in an accident.  That woman's attorney had contacted her               
about providing services.  Ms. Hood stated that she did provide                
services to the woman as she was extremely depressed and will be               
disabled for the rest of her life.  Ms. Hood said she did provide              
services and the young woman was able to pay her out of a                      
settlement from the accident, but she had expected to be reimbursed            
by Blue Cross.  Ms. Hood said she and the young woman received a               
document back from Blue Cross that said, "Services by this provider            
are not covered."  The amount was for $1,467.  She urged the                   
committee to pass the legislation.                                             
                                                                               
Number 1064                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE MARK HODGINS made a motion to move HCSSB 122(STA)               
from committee with individual recommendations and with the                    
attached fiscal note.  There being no objection, HCSSB 122(STA)                
moved out of the State Affairs Standing Committee.                             
                                                                               
HB 168 - TRADITIONAL ACCESS FOR TRADITIONAL ACTIVITIES                         
                                                                               
Number 1149                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES announced the committee would address HB 168, "An Act              
relating to use of traditional means of access to assist in taking             
game or fish and to traditional means of access for traditional                
outdoor activities on land and water set aside for fish and game               
purposes; and providing for an effective date," sponsored by                   
Representative Masek.                                                          
                                                                               
An at-ease was taken to await the arrival of the sponsor.                      
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE BEVERLY MASEK came before the committee and read the            
following statement into the record:                                           
                                                                               
"House Bill 168 was introduced as a companion measure to access                
bills, HB 23 and SB 35, which was passed by the legislature last               
year.  Public access to the resources they own has been one of my              
primary areas of concern and I believe this bill completes the                 
effort I began three years ago.                                                
                                                                               
"Since the passage of ANILCA [Alaska National Interest Lands                   
Conservation Act] in 1980, Madam Chairman, the land tied up in                 
conservation units in Alaska, both on federal and state land, makes            
up a large percentage of public lands.  Many of these lands are                
either restricted by law or by some sort of features dealing with              
the conservation aspect.  Furthermore, there are millions of acres             
of private land where access has been restricted.  If we are going             
to consider further restrictions it seems to me they should take               
into account the amount of land set aside already for restricted               
use, and whether the restriction is for truly necessary reasons or             
at the request of a special interest group.                                    
                                                                               
"The previous hearing on this bill brought out some concerns that              
appeared to be generated by misconceptions.  I would like to try to            
clear up those misunderstandings, Madam Chairman.                              
                                                                               
"House Bill 168 grandfathers in all of the existing controlled use             
areas in the establishment of refuges and critical habitat areas               
has always been by legislative action.  Secondly, House Bill 168               
specifically allows the board to act without legislative                       
intervention if a biological concern is evident.  So this bill will            
not give the Board of Fish or Game the authority to close public               
lands only unless it was a biological factor, which I think is very            
important.  Last and most importantly, Madam Chairman, House Bill              
168 does not prevent the boards from creating controlled use areas             
with access restrictions if it lasts more than 2.5 months a year               
and or a larger parcel of 640 acres or more.                                   
                                                                               
"Once again, Madam Chairman, thank you for this opportunity to                 
discuss House Bill 168 before your committee and I look forward to             
working with you to put this final piece of legislation in place to            
protect the ability of Alaskans to access the resource they own."              
                                                                               
Number 1366                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES asked what effect, if any, does this legislation have              
on private property.                                                           
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE MASEK stated that the bill does not deal with                   
private property.                                                              
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES said the bill would only affect state and federal lands            
that are designated other than by the Bureau of Land Management                
(BLM).                                                                         
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE MASEK responded that it only affects state lands.               
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES asked if it affects state lands if they are designated             
as parks or refuges.                                                           
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE MASEK stated, "That was one provision that is not in            
the bill as DNR [Department of Natural Resources], so that would               
not affect any of the state parks or the national refuges."                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES asked if there will be a mapping of the traditional                
access routes so that we know that they will be preserved.  She                
said her concern is if some of this land is sold or is transferred             
in any way to private ownership, would the legislation establish a             
history for a route so that the route can't be erased.                         
                                                                               
Number 1446                                                                    
                                                                               
EDDIE GRASSER, Legislative Assistant to Representative Beverly                 
Masek, Alaska State Legislature, came before the committee to                  
respond to the question.  He stated the bill doesn't pertain to                
that.  It only deals with the Board of Game and Board of Fisheries             
regulations which deal with hunting and fishing.  Access routes                
(indisc.) and access across land are DNR prerogative as far as                 
mapping the trails.  The bill only deals with regulation of hunters            
and fishermen as they access the resources that they're targeting.             
                                                                               
Number 1479                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES asked, "Would you kind of tell me what these kinds of              
traditional access - means of access might be?"                                
                                                                               
MR. GRASSER responded that one of the more utilized areas for                  
access off road system is unit 13 in the Nelchina Basin just north             
of Anchorage or south of Fairbanks.  Both the population of                    
Anchorage and Fairbanks utilizes this area a great deal.  Mr.                  
Grasser pointed out that there is a large network of trail systems             
that go into unit 13.  Snow machiners, hikers, horseback riders,               
cross country skiers and all terrain vehicles all access this area.            
He referred to hunting and said it wouldn't be practical to close              
an area like this because it is 80 miles from the nearest highway              
to the Oshetna River.  Most of the people who are accessing this               
area for hunting are either hunting moose or caribou.  He indicated            
that he has spent a great deal of time hunting professionally and              
said it would be physically impossible for anybody to hunt the                 
Oshetna River without having some kind of motorized access to get              
there.                                                                         
                                                                               
Number 1559                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON informed the committee that he sees a                     
potential conflict which is repeated twice in Section 1 of the                 
bill.  He said the Board of Fisheries or the Board of Game cannot              
ban the use of traditional means of access "unless" the ban is                 
temporary in nature and effective cumulatively less than 8 months              
in a 3-year period.  He said another exception under the "unless"              
provision is unless it's biologically essential for the protection             
of the game resource or a fish resource.  Representative Elton said            
it seems to him that those two provisions may be in conflict.  If              
it is necessary or biologically essential for the protection of the            
game resource, that necessity may be for longer than an 8-month                
period.  He asked which clause is a pre-eminent clause.  He asked              
if it could be longer than 8 months in a 3-year period if it is                
biologically necessary or is the pre-eminent clause unless it's                
temporary in nature....                                                        
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES interjected, "I guess underneath (4) it says 'or'.  So             
I think those are all 'ors' not 'ands.'"                                       
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON said that it seems to him that the two                    
provisions may be in conflict.                                                 
                                                                               
Number 1633                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE MASEK said, "This provision here, if you take a look            
at the history in the state here, there have not been any closures             
of any type.  For emergency purposes, it has been closed more than             
the given time here.  What we're trying to do here pretty much                 
gives the opportunity for the Board of Game if let's say there is              
a salmon problem and they close it down.  With our seasons in                  
Alaska, it's very uncommon to see something that's shut down for a             
longer period of time, but if it's for a biological reason then                
this bill would give that opportunity for them to care for that                
matter."                                                                       
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES referred to number (3), "biologically essential for the            
protection of a game resource or of fish or game habitat;".  She               
asked what would happen if there was a four-wheeler trail and the              
use of that trail was so extensive that there are ruts forming and             
runoff occurring to where it was affecting a stream or some other              
habitat.  She asked if the evidence is there, could they restrict              
four-wheelers from going over the trail.  She also asked if they               
could do it for more than 8 months out of 3 years.                             
                                                                               
Number 1707                                                                    
                                                                               
MR. GRASSER informed the committee that the Board of Fisheries and             
the Board of Game only have the authority to enact restrictions on             
access as it pertains to actual hunting or fishing.  He explained              
that the Department of Natural Resources has the ultimate authority            
over those types of access issues.  He pointed out that the issue              
was raised during the discussion of unit 13 at the November board              
meeting.  It was pointed out to the board by their attorney that               
they only have the opportunity to restrict access as it pertained              
to people actually hunting.  He said if people were recreationally             
riding their ORV (off-road vehicles), the Board of Game did not                
have the authority to restrict that.  They would have to go to DNR             
and get concurrence for that type of restriction.                              
                                                                               
Number 1768                                                                    
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked what would happen if the Board of                   
Fisheries made a decision that the catch impact at a remote river              
is too high and one way of reducing that catch impact is to                    
restrict motorized access.  He said it would be a management                   
decision to protect a biological resource.  If they made that                  
decision, they would then be restricted to only allow that decision            
to stand for no longer than 8 months out of a 3-year period.                   
                                                                               
MR. GRASSER responded, "I think part of the problem with that type             
of discussion is people's lack of understanding of actual - like               
season on -- that could happen on say a rainbow trout fishery, but             
if you're talking about a salmon fishery then you're probably                  
talking about a restriction that could take place in 2 months every            
year.  You'd still take care of the problem because you have a weak            
run.  You want to close the fishery down.  You want to restrict                
access.  You could do that forever.  You'd never have to come to               
the legislature for approval because you'd meet the 8-month test.              
And you basically have targeted the prime fishing area of the                  
summer months - that when a motor boat could be used."                         
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE ELTON pointed out that it could also be winter                  
months.  There could be snow machine access for ice fishing.  He               
said you wouldn't necessarily be talking about a seasonal fishery              
unless you're talking about a migratory species.                               
                                                                               
Number 1855                                                                    
                                                                               
MR. GRASSER said that is correct.  He said, "There again you'd have            
to -- like on a snow machine going out for ice fishing, the board              
would have to probably use some other tool because, again, DNR                 
would have the ultimate authority over whether or not people could             
actually snow machine in that area unless they were fishing."                  
                                                                               
Number 1900                                                                    
                                                                               
DON SHERWOOD, Alaska Boating Association, testified via                        
teleconference from Anchorage in support of HB 168.  He explained              
the association is made up of motorized and nonmotorized users with            
100 percent of hunters and fisher persons.  If the legislation is              
passed, we can be assured of management for all users of                       
traditional means of access.  He indicated that there are special              
interest groups that are misinforming the public and referred to a             
specific letter from Kay Brown of the Alaska Conservation                      
(Indisc.).  He referred to page 2, line 11, "biologically essential            
for the protection of a fishery resource or of fish and game                   
habitat;", and said if this isn't as plain as it can be written, he            
doesn't know what is.  Mr. Sherwood informed the committee that his            
organization has been adamant about the protection of our habitat.             
He urged that the bill be passed.  Mr. Sherwood also asked the                 
committee to consider passing HJR 39.                                          
                                                                               
Number 2000                                                                    
                                                                               
MICHAEL EASTHAM, Homer Anchor Point Snow Machine Club, testified               
via teleconference from Homer in support of HB 168.  He said the               
bill does not discriminate against any type of user group.  This               
means that any user group could use and have access of state lands             
including handicapped people who can't hike or ski.  Mr. Eastham               
pointed out that the Department of Fish and Game always has the                
alternative to close a fishing or hunting season to protect the                
resource.  They could also shorten bag limits.  By closing or                  
having shortened bag limits, it will cut down on the number of                 
people who actually use the resource.  The bill guarantees equal               
access to the opportunity to hunt or fish by leaving it open to                
everyone.  Mr. Eastham referred to a state park survey and said                
over 94 percent of Alaskans recreate in some form in the outdoors.             
This is the highest per capita in United States.  He said he                   
believes it would be criminal to close state lands to select user              
groups by restricting the ORVs of traditional use.                             
                                                                               
Number 2077                                                                    
                                                                               
BILL EASTHAM, President, Mat-Su Motor Mushers, testified from the              
Mat-Su LIO.  He said he would echo the comments of his brother,                
Michael Eastham.  He concluded that the Mat-Su Motor Mushers                   
supports HB 168.                                                               
                                                                               
Number 2094                                                                    
                                                                               
WALTER "RED" DECKER testified via teleconference from the Mat-Su               
Legislative Information Office.  He informed the committee he has              
spoken with many people around the state regarding HB 168.  Mr.                
Decker referred the committee to Article VIII,   1, of the                     
Constitution of Alaska, "Section 1. Statement of Policy.  It is the            
policy of the state to encourage the settlement of its land and the            
development of its resources by making them available for maximum              
use consistent with the public interest."   He said, "And then it              
says, 'The commissioner shall allow traditional access to the                  
Nelchina public use area by motorized or nonmotorized means of                 
transportation to private land interests and private land and in               
the lawful sport and subsistence hunting, fishing, trapping and                
recreational purposes in the manner compatible with the purpose                
specified in AS 41.23.010.'"  Mr. Decker stated that this is a                 
constitutional amendment which was revised on November 12, 1971.               
He said what he has gathered from this is there is a special                   
interest group priority preference, conflict of interest and                   
neglect of representation.  He said that HB 168 should have been               
passed a long time ago.  Mr. Decker said, "To start with, (indisc.)            
how things are spread out so much.  You've got the Governor, he                
fights like hell for the tourism business and for the million                  
dollars from the Canadian government suit over the Malaspina and               
the fishermen in the canneries and don't mention -- not to mention             
the tour buses that tour through this state, but has done nothing              
for the people inland of the state.  We the people that live inland            
depend on the natural resources and wildlife to put meat on the                
table to families.  We are required to take one moose, 50 inches,              
or (indisc.) and one caribou.  But here we go, the federal                     
government gives rural residents special permits to take any moose             
and as many caribou necessary for subsistence in Glennallen, Paxson            
and Delta area.  This is prejudice and a conflict of interest to               
other residents of the state.  Unit 13 is bordered by the Denali               
Highway and 90 percent of the people want it unimproved and left               
alone just the way it is.  That's what makes the Denali Highway                
what it is.  But now they sent out a questionnaire asking the                  
public, in other words, what they should do with it.  Well this                
happens to be in unit 13, the part that we're talking about right              
now is the Nelchina caribou herd."  Mr. Decker continued by saying             
that there are thousands of miles of road in the state and in the              
valley that need repair and they want to pave the Denali Highway.              
They don't have the backing of the people, but they're going to do             
it anyway.  He stated that how things have been run is a conflict              
of interest.  Mr. Decker continued to give testimony in support of             
HB 168.                                                                        
                                                                               
Number 2359                                                                    
                                                                               
LEONARD HAIRE was next to testified from the Mat-Su LIO.  He                   
informed the committee that he is a boat manufacturer and resident             
of Mat-Su.  He also noted he is a member of the Alaska Boating                 
Association, the Alaska Outdoor Council and is an avid hunter and              
fisherman.  Mr. Haire said he strongly supports HB 168.  The bill              
has been needed for a long time.  The Board of Game needs to spend             
their time on the protection of game and game habitat, and less                
time on trying to handle people problems.  He referred to the                  
phrases "quality of experience" and "quality of the hunt" and said             
those phrases could be defined in 1,000 different ways.  He thanked            
Representative Masek for introducing the bill and urged its                    
passage.                                                                       
                                                                               
Number 2417                                                                    
                                                                               
CLIFF JUDKINS, President, Alaska Boating Association, was the last             
person to testify from the Mat-Su LIO.  He stated that he lives in             
Wasilla and is a 36-year resident of Alaska.  Mr. Judkins noted he             
is also a member of the Alaska Outdoor Council.  He stated he                  
strongly supports HB 168.  The restriction of access to hunting and            
fishing, motorized or otherwise, should be based on sound                      
biological data and not on the emotions or personal likes and                  
dislikes of a particular individual.  The option of HB 168 will                
give needed direction to the Board of Fisheries and the Board of               
Game who are currently spending many hours listening to proposals              
and debate concerning motorized access that have nothing to do with            
fish and game management.  He said there will always be a debate               
between those that favor efficient modern technology and those that            
favor the old ways.  That debate should not be carried on in the               
arena of wildlife management.  There are many management techniques            
that do not require restriction of the means of access to the                  
hunting area.  He thanked the committee for listening to him.                  
                                                                               
TAPE 98-20, SIDE B                                                             
Number 0001                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES stated that she would close the public testimony on HB
168 with the exception of Wayne Regelin of the Department of Fish              
and Game.   She stated the committee would hear from Mr. Regelin at            
the next hearing on HB 168.  House Bill 168 was held for further               
consideration.                                                                 
                                                                               
ADJOURNMENT                                                                    
                                                                               
Number 0011                                                                    
                                                                               
CHAIR JAMES adjourned the House State Affairs Standing Committee               
meeting at 10:00 a.m.                                                          

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