Legislature(1993 - 1994)
04/21/1993 01:45 PM Senate HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE April 21, 1993 1:45 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Steve Rieger, Chairman Senator Bert Sharp, Vice-Chairman Senator Loren Leman Senator Mike Miller Senator Jim Duncan MEMBERS ABSENT Senator Johnny Ellis Senator Judy Salo COMMITTEE CALENDAR HOUSE BILL NO. 3 "An Act relating to public home care providers; and providing for an effective date." CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 4(JUD) "An Act relating to failure to report harm or assaults of the elderly or disabled." CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 137(JUD) "An Act authorizing special medical parole for terminally ill prisoners." CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 171(FIN) "An Act providing coverage for hospice care under the Medicaid program; reordering the priorities given to optional services under the Medicaid program; and providing for an effective date." CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 136(FIN) "An Act relating to revocation of and limitations on a driver's license; to the offenses of driving while intoxicated and refusal to submit to a breath test; imposing a limited license fee; amending Alaska Rule of Civil Procedure 32(b); and providing for an effective date." CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 235(FIN) "An Act relating to educational programs and services for children with disabilities and other exceptional children and to persons with a handicap; and providing for an effective date." PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION HB 3 - No previous action to record. HB 4 - No previous action to record. HB 137 - No previous action to record. HB 171 - No previous action to record. HB 136 - No previous action to record. HB 235 - See State Affairs minutes dated 4/14/93 & 4/19/93. WITNESS REGISTER Representative Jerry Mackie State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Prime Sponsor of HB 3 & HB 4 Representative Eldon Mulder State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Prime Sponsor of HB 136 & HB 137 Judy Mathis, Staff to Representative Ron Larson State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Offered information on HB 171 Ritchie Sonner, Executive Director Hospice & Home Care of Juneau 3200 Hospital Drive, #100 Juneau, AK 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports HB 171 Myra Howe, State Director of Special Education Department of Education 800 W. 10th St., Suite 200 Juneau, AK 99801-1894 POSITION STATEMENT: Offered information on HB 235 Juanita Hensley Division of Motor Vehicles Department of Public Safety P.O. Box 20020 Juneau, AK 99802-0020 POSITION STATEMENT: Present to respond to questions on HB 235 Chris Christensen, Legal Counsel Alaska Court System 300 K St. Anchorage, AK 99501-2084 POSITION STATEMENT: Suggested amendment to HB 235 Marc Grober Nenana, AK POSITION STATEMENT: Suggested changes to HB 235 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 93-38, SIDE A Number 001 CHAIRMAN RIEGER called the Senate Health, Education and Social Services (HESS) Committee to order at 1:45 p.m. He introduced HB 3 (REGULATION OF HOME CARE PROVIDERS) and CSHB 4(JUD) (PROTECT ELDERLY AND DISABLED ADULTS) as the first order of business. REPRESENTATIVE JERRY MACKIE, prime sponsor of HB 3 and HB 4, explained the legislation restricts the ability of a home care provider to assume power of attorney and requires criminal background checks on any individual providing home care services paid for with public funds for elderly or disabled persons. These groups are particularly vulnerable to abuse because of age, illness, disability and the isolation of being at home alone with a care giver. The bill also requires background checks on home care providers paid through Older Alaskan Commission grants and respite care providers paid through the Division of Family & Youth Services. An important aspect of HB 3 is that the Department of Health and Social Services is required to implement regulations identifying actions to be taken upon reports of harm by a home care provider. It also protects the due process rights of the provider. Representative Mackie said CSHB 4(JUD) provides that conviction of a person licensed, certified or regulated by a board or the Department of Commerce for abuse of an elderly or disabled person may be considered grounds for disciplinary proceedings and sanctions. There being no further testimony on HB 3 and CSHB 4(JUD), CHAIRMAN RIEGER asked for the pleasure of the committee. SENATOR LEMAN moved that HB 3, along with the accompanying fiscal notes, be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. SENATOR MILLER moved that CSHB 4(JUD), along with the accompanying fiscal notes, be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. Number 110 CHAIRMAN RIEGER introduced CSHB 137(JUD) (PAROLE OF TERMINALLY ILL PRISONERS) as the next order of business. REPRESENTATIVE ELDON MULDER, prime sponsor of HB 137, said the legislation is a byproduct of the Sentencing Commission's recommendation that an allowance for special medical parole for terminally ill patients be placed in statute. This would allow the department and the parole board an additional tool whereby they could save dollars when evaluating people for parole who have not been eligible for parole in the past. SENATOR LEMAN asked if there was a definition for "terminally ill." REPRESENTATIVE MULDER responded that it was left open because "terminally ill" varies so much and it is impossible to anticipate all the circumstances or occasions. The parole board recommended leaving that definition in that form, knowing that they are going to very conservatively, if ever, use this. It would be used only in those instances where the board felt that the person being paroled was not a danger to society, which is a requirement that was put into the bill. There being no further testimony on CSHB 137(JUD), CHAIRMAN RIEGER asked for the pleasure of the committee. SENATOR MILLER moved that CSHB 137(JUD), along with the accompanying fiscal notes, be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. Number 175 CHAIRMAN RIEGER introduced CSHB 171(FIN) (MEDICAID COVERAGE FOR HOSPICE CARE) as the next order of business. JUDY MATHIS, staff to Representative Ron Larson, prime sponsor of HB 171, explained the legislation will extend coverage of hospice service to Medicaid eligible adults who do not qualify for Medicare. Hospice care is already a Medicaid covered service for children and is available to people who qualify for Medicare. Number 190 RITCHIE SONNER, Executive Director of Hospice & Home Care of Juneau, voiced her support for HB 171, saying the hospice method of care is a cost-effective way of treating people who are terminally ill. There being no further testimony on HB 171, CHAIRMAN RIEGER asked for the pleasure of the committee. SENATOR MILLER moved that CSHB 171(FIN), along with the accompanying fiscal notes, be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. Number 220 CHAIRMAN RIEGER introduced CSHB 136(FIN) (DRUNK DRIVING AND BREATH TEST OFFENSES) as the next order of business. REPRESENTATIVE ELDON MULDER, prime sponsor of HB 136, said the Sentencing Commission report called for alternative sentencing for individuals convicted of DWI's, but it left open what, in fact, they wanted or desired. In working with the Department of Corrections, the Department of Law, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the Department of Public Safety, HB 136 was crafted. It provides that those individuals convicted of DWI would serve their time in half-way homes, they would be required to pay for their time in half-way homes, and while they are in half-way homes, they will be required to do community service. The provision applies to those individuals convicted for the first and second time. Representative Mulder said that it is estimated that over a period of time the legislation will save the state a substantial amount of money, and it will also diminish the backlog which currently exists in relation to people waiting to serve their time. HB 136 also restricts the issuance of limited licenses and provides that only after a first DWI is an individual allowed to make application for a limited license. Currently, an individual convicted of DWI is eligible to apply for a limited license up to the sixth conviction. CHAIRMAN RIEGER referred to page 6, line 14, and asked for the reasoning for having a uniform average cost of imprisonment rather than having direct costs. REPRESENTATIVE MULDER answered that if there is not a half-way house or CRC established within a community, the commissioner can make allowance for designating another facility which is appropriate. The costs throughout the state are going to vary tremendously, and it was determined that in order to be equitable and fair that there be an average cost so that one person would not pay a greater cost than another person. Chairman Rieger then referred to page 6, line 13 and the language "varying levels of restrictions," which he thought was too broad, and he suggested changing the phrase to "provides a restrictive environment." Representative Mulder stated that he would have no problem with making that change. JUANITA HENSLEY, Division of Motor Vehicles, Department of Public Safety, noted that she was present to respond to questions regarding the limited licenses portion of the bill. Number 260 CHAIRMAN RIEGER moved that on page 6, line 13 and on page 7, line 13, delete the phrase "varying levels of restriction" and replace them with "a restrictive environment." Hearing no objection, the motion carried. SENATOR MILLER moved that SCS CSHB 136(HES), along with the accompanying fiscal notes, be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. Number 275 CHAIRMAN RIEGER introduced CSHB 235(FIN) (SPECIAL EDUCATION & RELATED SERVICES) as the final order of business. MYRA HOWE, State Director of Special Education, Department of Education, said the legislation was introduced upon request of the Department of Education to bring the state into compliance with federal law. At present, the department has a two-year conditional approval of its state plan. The conditional approval will expire July 1 of this year, and it has been indicated that if Alaska does not come into compliance with federal law by that date, funds in the amount of $8,344,517 for FY 94 will be withheld. Ms. Howe outlined sections of the bill that address changes required by the U.S. Department of Education. Ms. Howe directed attention to a suggested amendment to Senate State Affairs SCS. The amendment on page 2, line 18 to Section 6, which relates to independent evaluations, would add the phrase "from the list provided by the district" after the word "choosing." She said the department requires that the school district maintain a list of independent evaluators and provide that to the parent upon request if the parent disagrees with the evaluation provided by the school district. She added that it would not restrict parents as far as sticking to that list, but that it is the starting point for considering who is qualified and who isn't to provide an independent evaluation. Number 335 CHRIS CHRISTENSEN, Legal Counsel, Judicial Branch, stated the court system takes no position on the legislation, but they have a suggested amendment to the State Affairs SCS. The amendment would be to paragraph (e) on page 4, which relates to an indigent person being provided with a court appointed attorney at public expense, and it clarifies that this function is assigned to the Office of Public Advocacy. Number 355 MARC GROBER, testifying from Nenana, said the State Affairs committee substitute does not really resolve the problems he sees with CSHB 235(FIN), and he has submitted a suggested committee substitute. Mr. Grober contends that neither the state nor the legislature has ever received a letter or any other documentation that says that HB 235 has to be passed or the state looses $8 million. What has been said is that the state has been out of compliance allegedly because there is no process to override a parent's refusal. He said Alaska can meet the federal requirements simply by telling the federal government that our existing statutes meets these issues, and the federal regulations specifically recognize that court proceedings that resolve these issues are adequate to meet the federal regulations. Mr. Grober outlined the following areas of concern with the legislation: (1) Despite the "so-called training" for hearing officers, he has appeared before a number of these hearing officers and they are by and large not qualified. He suggests the state implement examination requirements that he has recommended. (2) Districts do not maintain lists of qualified individuals to conduct independent evaluations. (3) The Office of Public Advocacy regularly represents the child, and there could be a conflict if the same office were to represent the indigent parent. (4) The bill does not identify what the impact of withdrawal of consent is, as well as what the definition of "consent" means. (5) The proposed definition of "educational records" goes way beyond what is at issue. Concluding his comments, Mr. Grober said the committee substitute he has offered meets every single point raised by the Department of Education without any disenfranchisement of any parent. Number 450 CHAIRMAN RIEGER offered the following amendment to page 1, line 14: delete the phrase "have the right to" and replace it with the phrase "may be provided." Hearing no objection, the amendment was adopted. Number 475 There was extensive discussion between committee members and Ms. Howe on the Department of Education's suggested amendment to page 2, line 18, adding the phrase "from the list provided by the district." SENATOR SALO offered, for discussion purposes, an amendment to page 2, line 17, which after the word "by" and before the word "person," adds the words "an available qualified." Following brief discussion, the amendment was withdrawn. TAPE 93-38, SIDE B Number 055 SENATOR SALO moved the department's amendment to page 2, line 18: After "choosing" add "from the list provided by the district." SENATOR LEMAN objected. The roll was taken with the following result: Senators Rieger, Salo and Sharp voted "Yea" and Senators Miller and Leman voted "Nay." The Chair stated the motion carried. Number 075 CHAIRMAN RIEGER referred to page 3, line 22, and the language "the parent's lack of consent to evaluation" and suggested replacing "consent to" with "participation in." He said that all that can really be documented is the parent's lack of participation rather than to document the parent's state of mind. He then moved his suggested change as an amendment to page 3, line 22. Hearing no objection, the amendment was adopted. CHAIRMAN RIEGER referred to paragraph (e) on page 4, lines 20 through 22, and stated he was uncomfortable with the language. SENATOR LEMAN explained that it was added in the State Affairs Committee and it provides that an indigent will be provided with an attorney if someone else brings suit against that person. It levels the playing field to provide that if that person appeals to the court that they will be provided with an attorney. CHAIRMAN RIEGER moved to delete all of the language on lines 20 through 22 on page 4. SENATOR LEMAN objected. The roll was taken with the following result: Senators Rieger and Sharp voted "Yea," and Senators Salo, Leman and Miller voted "Nay." The Chair stated the motion failed. Number 155 CHAIRMAN RIEGER then moved the amendment suggested by the court system to page 4, lines 20 through 22, to add language that empowers the Office of Public Advocacy to provide legal representation referenced in AS 14.31.095. Hearing no objection, the motion carried. Number 195 SENATOR SALO referred to the language in Section 12 on the top of page 5, and questioned if it was necessary to insert the same language that was suggested by the Department of Education and added to Section 6 on page 2. She then moved that on page 5, line 2, after the word "choosing" insert "from the list provided by the district." SENATOR LEMAN objected. The roll was taken with the following result: Senators Rieger, Sharp and Salo voted "Yea," and Senators Leman and Miller voted "Nay." The Chair stated the motion carried. Number 220 SENATOR LEMAN pointed out that the Office of Public Advocacy had originally submitted a zero fiscal note on the bill, and he suggested that since the amendment suggested by the court system has been adopted, they be asked to revisit that fiscal note. There being no further amendments or testimony to HB 235, CHAIRMAN RIEGER asked for the pleasure of the committee. Number 230 SENATOR SALO moved that SCS CSHB 235(HES), along with the accompanying fiscal notes be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. There being no further business to come before the committee, the meeting was adjourned at 2:50 p.m.