Legislature(1999 - 2000)

03/20/2000 01:33 PM Senate HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
      SENATE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES COMMITTEE                                                                    
                          March 20, 2000                                                                                        
                            1:33 p.m.                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                                 
Senator Mike Miller, Chairman                                                                                                   
Senator Gary Wilken                                                                                                             
Senator Drue Pearce                                                                                                             
Senator Kim Elton                                                                                                               
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                  
Senator Pete Kelly, Vice-Chairman                                                                                               
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                              
SENATE BILL NO. 261                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to needle stick and sharps injury protections and                                                              
the use of safe needles by health care facilities and health care                                                               
professionals; and providing for an effective date."                                                                            
     -MOVED CSSB 261(HES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                      
SENATE BILL NO. 275                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to the school year for purposes of the                                                                         
postsecondary student loan program; and providing for an effective                                                              
     -MOVED CSSB 275(HES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                      
PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                
SB 261 - See HESS minutes dated 3/8/00.                                                                                         
SB 275 - No previous action to report.                                                                                          
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                                
Ms. Wanda Katiszki                                                                                                              
Alaska Nurses Association                                                                                                       
237 E 3rd                                                                                                                       
Anchorage, AK  99501                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports SB 261                                                                                            
Ms. Donna Thompson                                                                                                              
No Address Provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports SB 261                                                                                            
Mr. Cle Wade                                                                                                                    
Alaskan Chapter of American Industrial Hygienists                                                                               
3301 Eagle St.                                                                                                                  
Anchorage, AK 99510                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports SB 261                                                                                            
Mr. Tim Bundy                                                                                                                   
Assistant Chief                                                                                                                 
Occupational Safety & Health                                                                                                    
Alaska Department of Labor                                                                                                      
PO Box 107022                                                                                                                   
Anchorage, AK  99510-7022                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:  Available to answer questions                                                                              
Ms. Maggie Flannagan                                                                                                            
1722 Bellevue Loop                                                                                                              
Anchorage, AK  99515                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports SB 261                                                                                            
Ms. Donna Libal                                                                                                                 
PO Box 1071                                                                                                                     
Homer, AK  99603                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports SB 261                                                                                            
Ms. Karen Willows                                                                                                               
51305 Raven Canyon                                                                                                              
Homer, AK   99603                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports SB 261                                                                                            
Mr. Jake Mater                                                                                                                  
Government Affairs                                                                                                              
Aventis Pharmaceuticals                                                                                                         
PO Box 490                                                                                                                      
Folsom, CA  95630                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Noted Aventis's concern about prefilled                                                                     
Mr. Paul Neilsen                                                                                                                
Pharmacia (ph)                                                                                                                  
No Address Provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Noted concern about prefilled syringes                                                                     
Mr. Elmer Lindstrom                                                                                                             
Special Assistant                                                                                                               
Department of Health and Social Services                                                                                        
PO Box 110601                                                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska  99811-0601                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 261                                                                                         
Mr. Milt Byrd                                                                                                                   
Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education                                                                                    
3030 Vintage Blvd.                                                                                                              
Juneau, Alaska  99801-7109                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports SB 275                                                                                            
Ms. Diane Barrans                                                                                                               
Executive Director                                                                                                              
Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education                                                                                    
3030 Vintage Blvd.                                                                                                              
Juneau, Alaska  99801-7109                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports SB 275                                                                                            
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                                
TAPE 00-11, SIDE A                                                                                                              
Number 001                                                                                                                      
CHAIRMAN MILLER called the Senate Health, Education and Social                                                                  
Services (HESS) Committee to order at 1:33 p.m.  Present were                                                                   
Senators Pearce, Elton, Wilken, and Chairman Miller.  The first                                                                 
order of business to come before the committee was SB 261.                                                                      
        SB 261-PROTECTION FROM NEEDLE & SHARPS INJURIES                                                                         
CHAIRMAN MILLER announced his intention to move SB 261 today.  He                                                               
asked those wishing to testify to keep their testimony concise so                                                               
that all participants can testify.                                                                                              
MS. WANDA KATINSZKY, President of the Alaska Nurses Association                                                                 
(ANA), said the ANA represents a bargaining unit for the Central                                                                
Peninsula General Hospital and the Providence Alaska Medical                                                                    
Center.  She is also speaking to the committee on behalf of 6,000                                                               
registered nurses throughout Alaska.  Ms. Katinszky gave the                                                                    
following testimony.                                                                                                            
     First of all, I am a registered nurse and I was an Infection                                                               
     Control Practitioner at the time the initial federal OSHA                                                                  
     guidelines on blood borne pathogens was published. I                                                                       
     implemented the first needleless devices at Elmendorf Hospital                                                             
     in 1992, so I speak from first-hand experience.                                                                            
     I wish to also thank Senator Kim Elton and his staff member,                                                               
     Angie Schmitz, for spearheading this issue on behalf of all                                                                
     health care workers.  They have truly done their homework, and                                                             
     we are very grateful for their proactive stance on our behalf.                                                             
     Your first question, most likely, is "Why do we need this                                                                  
     bill?"  I wish we didn't.  However, by an informal survey of                                                               
     different facilities throughout Alaska this past couple of                                                                 
     weeks, we found wide variations in availability of safe needle                                                             
     products.  I applaud those facilities who have done a good job                                                             
     implementing the federal guidelines, but what about those                                                                  
     health care workers who do not have employers who have been                                                                
     responsive to these guidelines?                                                                                            
     It is due to the lack of response by employers that the                                                                    
     American Nurses Association has championed this cause at a                                                                 
     national level, six states have already passed legislation,                                                                
     and 20 other states are in some stage of enacting legislation.                                                             
     This problem of compliance was highlighted in the executive                                                                
     summary of the Maryland Study Group on Health Care Worker                                                                  
     Safety which states "Although the OSHA blood borne pathogen                                                                
     standard includes language on the use of engineered sharps                                                                 
     protection, it has not been an effective tool in promoting                                                                 
     widespread use of engineered sharps injury protection."  The                                                               
     outcome of this study group was to recommend passing state                                                                 
     legislation there, which was enacted in 1999.                                                                              
     Now, health care workers [indisc.] statistics that health care                                                             
     workers suffer annually between 600,000 and one million                                                                    
     injuries from conventional needles and sharps, and nurses                                                                  
     suffer the majority of these.  We have to ask ourselves why                                                                
     this is allowed to happen when 80 percent of needle stick                                                                  
     injuries are preventable with use of safer devices.                                                                        
     Nationwide less than 15 percent of facilities have employed                                                                
     the use of these safer devices, even though they have been                                                                 
     available since the 1970's and with the blood borne pathogen                                                               
     standards issued in the 80's, they've really proliferated and                                                              
     there are over 250 products on the market right now.  We think                                                             
     it will take strong state legislation, instead of compliance                                                               
     directives, which is what we currently have, to protect health                                                             
     care workers.                                                                                                              
     A lot of people will say, well, we already have standards at                                                               
     the national level, why are we doing this at the state level.                                                              
     Part of that is because compliance directives are                                                                          
     interpretations of standards that can come and go with the                                                                 
     administration that's there so we need a permanent solution                                                                
     which this legislation will provide.  Passing a state law will                                                             
     set the standard in stone, so to speak, and remove the                                                                     
     ambiguity of compliance directives.                                                                                        
     I think this bill makes good business sense.  It does not                                                                  
     require the employer to purchase any and all safety devices,                                                               
     but rather requires them to evaluate products, using front                                                                 
     line workers to determine what works best in their facility.                                                               
     A scientific approach should be used by assessing the needle                                                               
     stick trends that they are having, then evaluate products to                                                               
     decrease the incidence of needle stick injuries that are                                                                   
     occurring.  If done correctly, the cost of implementing these                                                              
     devices will decrease over time due to cost savings realized                                                               
     from reduced exposure follow-up and treatment.  Each hospital                                                              
     should already have this needle stick injury data.  It's also                                                              
     been shown by Kaiser in California that the cost of needle                                                                 
     stick devices has gone down and they've been able to decrease                                                              
     the amount of money they spent on post-exposure follow-up so                                                               
     there is data to support this.                                                                                             
     Now one of the things that I do want to bring up - there's                                                                 
     some criticisms of this bill as far as the length of time that                                                             
     is required to evaluate products which is six months.  Now,                                                                
     speaking from experience, I believe this trial period -                                                                    
     anything less than this trial period of six months is                                                                      
     shortsighted.  This evaluation period does not mandate a                                                                   
     device be used for six months, rather the evaluation period                                                                
     should be six months.  That evaluation period would begin when                                                             
     you accept the needs of the service or that department based                                                               
     on the information you have of your current needle stick                                                                   
     injury amounts or that the level of injury that you have -                                                                 
     then you get other potential alternative products - you decide                                                             
     which ones you are going to trial.                                                                                         
     Another criticism that I heard was, well we don't want to                                                                  
     trial period for six months if we know it doesn't work.  Well,                                                             
     the bill doesn't say that.  It just says, within that six                                                                  
     month period, you want to be evaluating the products and part                                                              
     of that evaluation will be actually using the product.                                                                     
     Another thing that I can speak from - from experience, is that                                                             
     if you don't include every department, you really will                                                                     
     increase your costs so it's very important that those users at                                                             
     the table represent every nook and cranny of the hospital                                                                  
     where a patient may start into the hospital - whether the ER                                                               
     or the doctor's office, and go through until they are                                                                      
     discharged.  Every player needs to be available to discuss                                                                 
     this.  So that's another very, very important part of this                                                                 
     As you know, and you are going to hear from some health care                                                               
     workers, once they have exposure to blood and body fluids,                                                                 
     they must treat their personal relations with significant                                                                  
     others as if they are carriers of blood borne pathogens.  Now                                                              
     their exposure risks extend to their families as well.  This                                                               
     can produce much fear and stress within the nuclear family and                                                             
     it interferes with their privacy on different levels.  It                                                                  
     includes taking measures to prevent transmission to disease to                                                             
     their spouse and children.  I again ask, why do health care                                                                
     workers have to undergo this type of stress when we have                                                                   
     products available and yet they're not being accessible to the                                                             
     health care workers?                                                                                                       
     Of those health care workers who will contract a disease, the                                                              
     emotional and health concerns are much graver.  It is                                                                      
     estimated that 1000 workers annually will become infected, and                                                             
     I saw one statistic that said 5,000 health care workers every                                                              
     year contract either HIV, Hepatitis C, or Hepatitis B.                                                                     
     According to the American Hospital Association, one serious                                                                
     infection by blood borne pathogens can add up to $1 million or                                                             
     more.  Another nurse will hopefully be on to attest to a liver                                                             
     transplant that she received as the result of exposure to                                                                  
     blood borne pathogens.  Again, who will intervene for us to                                                                
     help prevent these serious infections?  We believe now is the                                                              
     time to end this threat to our profession.                                                                                 
     So, on behalf of the nurses of the State of Alaska, I express                                                              
     our gratitude for your consideration of this bill.  We believe                                                             
     it is a protection long overdue to all health care workers and                                                             
     we urge you to pass this legislation to protect not only our                                                               
     safety, but the safety of our families as well.  I appreciate                                                              
     your time.                                                                                                                 
There being no questions of Ms. Katinszky, CHAIRMAN MILLER asked                                                                
Donna Thompson to testify.                                                                                                      
MS. DONNA THOMPSON, a registered nurse, gave the following                                                                      
testimony via teleconference.  In December of 1989, while working                                                               
at a hospital in Anchorage, she contracted non-A, non-B, non-C                                                                  
Hepatitis.  In March of 1990, she was in a coma and was transported                                                             
to Seattle for a liver transplant.  During those three months, she                                                              
had to have her children immunized and she had them stay at                                                                     
friends' homes for fear of transmitting the disease to them.  She                                                               
was unable to work due to profound weakness and an inability to                                                                 
eat.  She returned to work in May of 1991, after a battle with the                                                              
facility.  Her medication costs about $600 per month.  In 1992, she                                                             
received a needle stick while administering medication to a                                                                     
patient.  In 1998 she was diagnosed again with recurring Hepatitis,                                                             
the same variety she was diagnosed with in 1989.  She has since had                                                             
two liver biopsies since then and is scheduled for a third next                                                                 
month.  It has been a very difficult time for her family.  Her                                                                  
oldest daughter had to quit college to care for her after her liver                                                             
transplant.  She said a safe needle policy is of utmost importance.                                                             
Many nurses that she knows have received needle stick injuries -                                                                
some are reported, many are not.  The emotional and psychological                                                               
stress a person goes through when they are facing an organ                                                                      
transplant is enormous. She stressed the importance of protecting                                                               
health care workers in high risk areas.                                                                                         
Number 1030                                                                                                                     
MR. CLE WADE, President of the Alaska Chapter of the American                                                                   
Industrial Hygiene Association, said his professional purpose as an                                                             
industrial hygienist is to minimize and, if possible, prevent                                                                   
occupational illnesses.  No one can debate the fact that exposure                                                               
to blood borne diseases by needle stick is a significant hazard -                                                               
not just to the employee, but to the employee's loved ones at home.                                                             
It is a hazard that his organization is committed to minimizing.                                                                
The Alaska Chapter supports SB 261.                                                                                             
MR. TIM BUNDY, Assistant Chief of Consultation and Training, for                                                                
the State of Alaska's OSHA Program, said he was available to answer                                                             
MS. MAGGIE FLANAGAN, a registered nurse and the health and safety                                                               
officer for her union which represents nurses and a huge health                                                                 
care facility in Alaska, said that everyday that her co-workers go                                                              
to work, they face deadly risks from dangerous needles.  These                                                                  
risks are unnecessary and could be prevented with safer needle                                                                  
devices.  Needle stick injuries are a serious problem at our                                                                    
facilities but this problem already has a solution in safer                                                                     
devices.  Nurses are angry that in the facility where she works,                                                                
one person in authority can block hundreds of health care workers                                                               
from having the protection offered by these devices.  These devices                                                             
are on site, but some health care workers do not have access to                                                                 
them.  SB 261 will give nurses the chance to participate in an                                                                  
evaluation committee that includes participation with front line                                                                
workers of all medical specialties at her facility.  SB 261 will                                                                
provide for a better tracking system for needle stick injuries with                                                             
a well defined sharps injury log.  More data will be collected and                                                              
facilitate the identification of high-risk situations or procedures                                                             
which will enable supervisors to reduce or eliminate such hazards.                                                              
Needle stick injuries are a silent epidemic.  For the most part,                                                                
you will not see the health care workers at Providence that have                                                                
had the most serious consequences from these injuries.  These                                                                   
people have had their lives devastated from acquiring diseases and                                                              
they will not testify in public about their personal tragedies.  To                                                             
testify and go public with this only furthers their pain.  She                                                                  
asked committee members to hear their voices through her words.                                                                 
Many of these people have suffered the consequences of their                                                                    
injuries in silence.  They are afraid to tell their friends, their                                                              
co-workers and their family members.  It is known that 20 diseases                                                              
can be transmitted through these types of exposures.  The amount of                                                             
personal suffering is unimaginable.  There is a waiting time of                                                                 
months to see if a disease has been transmitted.  Nurses worry                                                                  
about transmitting these diseases to their family members, a                                                                    
terrifying situation.  Since talking to co-workers about this bill                                                              
in the past couple of weeks, many have come to her in confidence                                                                
and told her about pregnancies they have lost mid-term after                                                                    
contracting Hepatitis C from a needle stick.  She has had transport                                                             
nurses tell her they received needle stick injuries from                                                                        
transporting patients.                                                                                                          
Safer products also protect health care consumers.  In Anchorage in                                                             
December, a young child was exposed by a contaminated needle when                                                               
a school nurse accidentally reused a needle on her.  Had the safer                                                              
needle device been used, that could not have happened.                                                                          
MS. FLANAGAN noted, as an ICU nurse for 19 years in several                                                                     
hospitals, she has found infants with needles in their beds,                                                                    
infants laying under bare needles, and needles in blankets with                                                                 
children.  None of those incidences would have occurred with safer                                                              
devices.  In her unit, it is considered safe practice to tape                                                                   
needles into their IV lines when giving medication.  The tape is                                                                
not enough as this system fails with the best technique.  Other                                                                 
patients at risk for these injuries are those who are sedated,                                                                  
confused, combative or having seizures.  In the mental health                                                                   
setting, needs can be used as potential weapons against health care                                                             
In talking with her co-workers, she has heard stories of people                                                                 
being injured through needle sticks through no fault of their own.                                                              
She asks that the blaming stop, no matter what the cause of the                                                                 
exposure.  She has had a high-risk needle stick injury when drawing                                                             
blood from an infant of a known IV drug abuser.  She has had other                                                              
near misses and she has had people tell her they have been                                                                      
reluctant to report these injuries.  She asked committee members to                                                             
support SB 261.                                                                                                                 
Number 1396                                                                                                                     
MS. DONNA LIBAL made the following comments in support of SB 261                                                                
via teleconference from Homer.  She has worked in the nursing                                                                   
profession for over 35 years and has been employed at South                                                                     
Peninsula Hospital for the past four years as an employee health                                                                
nurse and infectious control nurse.  She is also a member of                                                                    
Teamsters Local 959.  Fortunately, the administration at South                                                                  
Peninsula Hospital is reactive and proactive in its concern about                                                               
needle stick and sharps injuries.  Its program evolved both in                                                                  
response to incidents and by considering the potential for                                                                      
injuries.  Two years ago, the hospital found that manipulating                                                                  
needle "piggy-backing" connections for IV set ups was one of the                                                                
major causes of needle sticks.  They went to a needleless system.                                                               
The South Peninsula Hospital is a small facility and between 5 to                                                               
8 exposures are reported each year, and half of those are due to                                                                
needle sticks and sharps.  Although the hospital does not have a                                                                
reduction of big numbers to show a remarkable improvement,                                                                      
percentage-wise the picture is not worthy.  Since 1996, there has                                                               
been a 60 percent reduction in overall needle sticks and a 100                                                                  
percent reduction in needle sticks due to piggy-backed IVs.                                                                     
MS. LIBAL said she has been asked about the need for SB 261 in                                                                  
light of the blood borne pathogen standards and whether the bill                                                                
duplicates what is already in place.  This is a matter of                                                                       
perspective.  The OSHA blood borne pathogen standards address                                                                   
safety devices but the sections on engineering controls and                                                                     
workplace practices need enhancement and revision.  To fully                                                                    
understand what OSHA expects, one would have to go to the federal                                                               
enforcement directives.   Regarding duplication, page 4 of the new                                                              
OSHA directives is applicable.  It states, "Although adoption of                                                                
this instruction is not required, states are expected to have                                                                   
standards, enforcement policies and procedures which are at least                                                               
as objective as those of federal OSHA."  SB 261 will change lives,                                                              
and that is the bottom line.                                                                                                    
Number 1536                                                                                                                     
MS. KAREN WILLOWS, a registered nurse since 1975, a South Peninsula                                                             
Hospital employee for eight years, and a member of Teamsters Local                                                              
959, made the following comments via teleconference from Homer.                                                                 
She cares for many patients who are potential sources of blood                                                                  
borne pathogens.  Since South Peninsula Hospital began using a                                                                  
needle-less IV system, nurses have been impressed with the ease of                                                              
the transition and the general improvement of worker safety.  It is                                                             
now hard for nurses to imagine not using the safer system.  Even                                                                
though most IV needle sticks are relatively clean compared to                                                                   
intramuscular injections, the use of the needleless system when                                                                 
dealing with chemotherapy is essential to protect the nurse.  Some                                                              
of these medications used to combat cancer are so caustic that they                                                             
require surgery and tissue removal if they leak out of the                                                                      
injection site or are inadvertently injected outside the vein.  She                                                             
encouraged members to pass a needle stick protection law.                                                                       
MR. JAKE MATER, Aventis Pharmaceuticals, informed committee members                                                             
that he testified at a previous hearing but noted his company's                                                                 
exception to prefilled syringes.  He pointed out an amendment had                                                               
been proposed to address that concern.                                                                                          
MR. PAUL NEILSEN, representing Pharmacia (ph), an Upjohn Company,                                                               
noted he shares Mr. Mater's concern.  He added that his wife is a                                                               
nurse and she has had needle sticks - he believes this is an                                                                    
important issue.                                                                                                                
Number 1675                                                                                                                     
SENATOR ELTON commented that because OSHA is making new                                                                         
requirements, DHSS's fiscal note will probably have to be adjusted.                                                             
MR. ELMER LINDSTROM, Special Assistant to the Department of Health                                                              
and Social Services, informed committee members that when SB 261                                                                
was introduced, DHSS was not fully aware of pending OSHA                                                                        
regulations.  After DHSS spoke to Mr. Bundy, it re-evaluated the                                                                
fiscal impact of SB 261.  Depending on the adoption of the proposed                                                             
amendments, it is likely the fiscal impact will be reduced                                                                      
significantly, if not to zero.  DHSS is concerned about a statement                                                             
on page 1, line 12, regarding the production evaluation period of                                                               
at least six months.  The suggestion that the statement does not                                                                
require that an item be in use for six months if it is deemed                                                                   
unsuitable in a shorter time period is not self evident.  DHSS's                                                                
understanding was that the product must be in use for at least six                                                              
months in order to be evaluated.  He asked for clarification of                                                                 
that language or that it be deleted.                                                                                            
CHAIRMAN MILLER noted that no one else wished to testify on this                                                                
legislation.  He asked Senator Elton to give a brief explanation of                                                             
the proposed amendments.                                                                                                        
Number 1776                                                                                                                     
SENATOR ELTON explained that Amendment 1 addresses, on page 4, the                                                              
concerns of the manufacturers of prefilled needles.  The amendment                                                              
provides for a three year period of time before the standards                                                                   
envisioned in SB 261 apply to prefilled needles. Amendment 1 reads                                                              
as follows.                                                                                                                     
                       A M E N D M E N T  1                                                                                     
OFFERED IN THE SENATE                            BY SENATOR ELTON                                                               
     TO:  SB 261                                                                                                                
Page 4, following line 7:                                                                                                       
     Insert a new subsection to read:                                                                                           
          "(g)  Standards adopted under (b) of this section do not                                                              
     apply to the use of a drug or biologic prepackaged within an                                                               
     administration system or used in a prefilled syringe that is                                                               
     approved for commercial distribution or investigational use by                                                             
     the federal Food and Drug Administration if the standards                                                                  
     exceed the requirements of the comparable Occupational Safety                                                              
     and Health Administration standards."                                                                                      
Page 5, following line 12:                                                                                                      
     Insert a new bill section to read:                                                                                         
   "* Sec. 2.  AS 18.60.880(g) is repealed December 31, 2003."                                                                  
Renumber the following bill section accordingly.                                                                                
SENATOR ELTON moved to adopt Amendment 1.  There being no                                                                       
objection, the motion carried.                                                                                                  
SENATOR ELTON explained that Amendment 2 speaks to the requirements                                                             
of the Department of Labor.  After speaking to staff at the                                                                     
Department of Labor, it was decided that a requirement that they                                                                
compile and maintain a list of safer device information is                                                                      
unnecessary because other entities already do that.  Amendment 2                                                                
requires the department to  compile a list of sources of that                                                                   
information and reference them rather than to maintain its own                                                                  
list.  A few of the entities that maintain these lists are the                                                                  
University of Virginia, the Food and Drug Administration, and the                                                               
Centers for Disease Control.                                                                                                    
SENATOR ELTON moved to adopt Amendment 2 which reads as follows.                                                                
                       A M E N D M E N T  2                                                                                     
OFFERED IN THE SENATE                            BY SENATOR ELTON                                                               
     TO:  SB 261                                                                                                                
Page 3, line 28, following "of":                                                                                                
     Insert "sources of information on"                                                                                         
Page 3, line 31, through page 4, line 3:                                                                                        
     Delete "The list may be developed from existing sources of                                                                 
information, including the federal Food and Drug Administration,                                                                
the federal Centers for Disease Control, the National Institute of                                                              
Occupational Safety and Health, and the United States Department of                                                             
Veterans Affairs."                                                                                                              
There being no objection, CHAIRMAN MILLER announced that Amendment                                                              
2 was adopted.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR ELTON explained that Amendment 3 makes a technical change                                                               
suggested by the bill's drafter.  The provision that provides for                                                               
the vaccination of health care workers was not covered in the title                                                             
of the bill so Amendment 3 adds a short statement to the title and                                                              
better defines the language.                                                                                                    
SENATOR ELTON moved to adopt Amendment 3 which reads as follows.                                                                
                      A M E N D M E N T   3                                                                                     
OFFERED IN THE SENATE                            BY SENATOR ELTON                                                               
     TO:  SB 261                                                                                                                
Page 1, line 2, following ";":                                                                                                  
     Insert "relating to the vaccination of health care workers                                                                 
against diseases transmitted by blood borne pathogens;"                                                                         
Page 3, line 24:                                                                                                                
     Delete "increase vaccinations"                                                                                             
     Insert "encourage the vaccination of health care workers                                                                   
against diseases transmitted by blood borne pathogens"                                                                          
There being no objection, CHAIRMAN MILLER announced Amendment 3 was                                                             
SENATOR ELTON moved SB 261 as amended with the attached and                                                                     
hopefully changing fiscal note.  There being no objection, CSSB 261                                                             
(HES) moved from committee.                                                                                                     
          SB 275-POSTSECONDARY LOAN PROGRAM:SCHOOL YR                                                                           
CHAIRMAN MILLER noted SB 275 was introduced by the Senate HESS                                                                  
Committee.  The bill changes the definition of the school year to                                                               
provide student loans for students attending schools that offer a                                                               
two year degree within a 15 month time period.  Charter College                                                                 
offers such a degree, and it is working on a four year degree                                                                   
program that a student could earn in 2+ years. SB 275 changes the                                                               
requirement that loans be granted only according to the traditional                                                             
school year.                                                                                                                    
MR. MILT BYRD, President of Charter College and a member of the                                                                 
Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education (ACPE), explained that                                                             
the modification of the definition of a school year is consistent                                                               
with the definition of the U.S. Department of Education.                                                                        
Historically, colleges and universities have offered two semesters                                                              
of 15 weeks each or three quarters of ten weeks for a total of 30                                                               
weeks for the academic year.  Language in the current statute                                                                   
assumes that students will go to school for nine months of the year                                                             
to achieve 30 weeks of instruction.  One can put together a fast                                                                
track program whereby the 30 week instructional year can be offered                                                             
in about 7+ months.  That permits a student to complete a four year                                                             
degree in 30 months or 2+ years.  Charter College uses that                                                                     
structure.  Currently, it offers a two-year degree and plans to                                                                 
develop into a four year institution.  Charter College is concerned                                                             
that students will need to pay four years of tuition for the fast                                                               
track program but will be unable to get four years of loans.  The                                                               
modification of the current statute will simply provide that a 30                                                               
week period of academic instruction constitutes a full year and                                                                 
provides for one full loan.                                                                                                     
MR. BYRD said the House companion bill was slightly modified.  The                                                              
word "occurs" was changed to "begins"  on page 1, line 6, to allow                                                              
students who are on a fast track program to apply for two loans                                                                 
during the period from September 1 to August 31.  That change was                                                               
approved by the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education at its                                                             
meeting last Thursday.                                                                                                          
SENATOR ELTON asked, if the word "begins" is used, why the dates of                                                             
September 1 and August 31 are necessary.  He asked if the bill                                                                  
could say that a school year means an academic period that is a                                                                 
minimum of 30 weeks of instruction time.                                                                                        
MR. BYRD replied that would be fine from his point of view, but                                                                 
ACPE staff is concerned that the additional loan year be part of                                                                
the record for reasons unrelated to this particular change.                                                                     
MS. DIANE BARRANS, Executive Director of the Alaska Commission on                                                               
Postsecondary Education, forwarded to the committee the endorsement                                                             
taken by the ACPE the previous week.  In regard to Senator Elton's                                                              
question, she said the terms and conditions for each school year                                                                
are set and disclosed within the Alaska Student Loan Corporation's                                                              
official statement.  In order to accurately track those terms and                                                               
conditions from one year to the next, a time period is set that                                                                 
they will apply to - the reason the dates are needed in SB 275.                                                                 
There being no further testimony on SB 275, CHAIRMAN MILLER moved                                                               
to replace the word "occurs" with "begins" on page 1, line 6.                                                                   
There being no objection, the motion carried.                                                                                   
SENATOR WILKEN moved CSSB 275(HES) from committee with individual                                                               
recommendations and its zero fiscal note.  There being no                                                                       
objection, it was so ordered.  CHAIRMAN MILLER noted the bill has                                                               
no fiscal note.                                                                                                                 
MS. BARRANS told committee members the bill has no fiscal impact                                                                
but that she would provide a zero fiscal note for the next                                                                      
committee of referral.                                                                                                          
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
CHAIRMAN MILLER adjourned the meeting at 2:20 p.m.                                                                              

Document Name Date/Time Subjects