Legislature(1997 - 1998)

02/14/1997 01:30 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                   SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE                                  
                        February 14, 1997                                      
                           1:30 P.M.                                           
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
 Senator Robin Taylor, Chairman                                                
 Senator Drue Pearce, Vice-Chairman                                            
 Senator Mike Miller                                                           
 Senator Sean Parnell                                                          
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
 Senator Johnny Ellis                                                          
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
 SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR SENATE BILL NO. 38                                     
 "An Act relating to anatomical gifts, living wills, and do not                
 resuscitate orders."                                                          
  MOVED CSSSSB 38(JUD) FROM COMMITTEE                                          
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
 SB 38 - See Senate Health, Education & Social Services Committee              
     minutes dated 1/31/97 and 2/3/97.                                         
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
 Mr. Joe Ambrose, Staff                                                        
 Senator Robin Taylor                                                          
 Alaska State Capitol                                                          
 Juneau, AK 99811-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Staff to sponsor of SB 38.                             
 Ms. Fran McNeill                                                              
 P.O. Box 230785                                                               
 Anchorage, AK 99523                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 38.                                       
 Mr. Frances Nolan, Battalion Chief                                            
 Emergency Medical Services Training                                           
 Anchorage Fire Department                                                     
 1140 Airport Hts. Rd.                                                         
 Anchorage, AK 99508                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 38.                                       
 Mr. Mark Johnson, Chief                                                       
 Community Health and Emergency Medical Services                               
 Department of Health and Social Services                                      
 P.O. Box 110616                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-0416                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 38.                                       
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
 TAPE 97-8, SIDE A                                                             
 Number 001                                                                    
        SB  38 ANATOMICAL GIFTS,LIVING WILLS & DNR ORDER                      
  CHAIRMAN ROBIN TAYLOR  called the Judiciary Committee meeting to             
 order at 1:30 p.m. and announced  SB 38  to be up for consideration.          
 Present were Senators Taylor, Pearce and Parnell.                             
  MR. JOE AMBROSE,  staff to Senator Taylor, said this legislation             
 modifies existing statutes dealing with living wills and would add            
 a provision by which those who execute a living will can choose to            
 become organ or tissue donors.  By adding this provision to                   
 statutory language of a living will, the loved ones and health                
 professionals will be more fully informed as to the wishes of                 
 family members and their patients.                                            
  MR. AMBROSE  said there is a much greater demand than supply for             
 tissue and organ donations.  In addition to adding anatomical gifts           
 to the language of a living will, SB 38 would also instruct the               
 Division of Motor Vehicles to indicate on drivers' licenses not               
 only the fact that the bearer has elected to become an organ donor,           
 but also that the individual has a living will.                               
 Other than a nominal expense, this legislation should cost little             
 to enforce, but may become invaluable if it increases Alaska's                
 participation in organ and tissue donation.  Since 1989, 19                   
 Alaskans have received kidney transplants through University                  
 Hospital in Seattle; 12 Alaskans have received liver transplants;             
 and one resident received both a kidney and a pancreas.  To                   
 understand the need to make the organ donation as uncomplicated as            
 possible, Mr. Ambrose pointed out that as of January 24 of this               
 year, there were 20 Alaskans on the waiting list and the United               
 Network for Organ Sharing in Virginia has 68 Alaskans on their                
 waiting list.                                                                 
  MR. AMBROSE  said the bill currently melds two different titles; one         
 addresses living wills and the other addresses organ donations.               
  CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  reiterated that notification is provided to EMTs            
 and others through drivers' licenses.   MR. AMBROSE  added that the           
 importance of notifying an EMT of the existence of a living will              
 strengthens the declaration that the person is also an organ donor            
 and it might alert them to other instructions from someone who was            
 in an accident and incapacitated.                                             
  CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  asked him to explain the amendment.   MR. AMBROSE           
 directed committee members to page 4, line 25, where organ donation           
 declaration to the living will language is added. The process of              
 changing the language on line 30 went too far therefore on line 25            
 the word "declarant" was changed to "at the declarant's direction,"           
 to make it clearer.                                                           
  SENATOR PARNELL  moved to adopt amendment #1, LSO183W.1.  There were         
 no objections therefore the motion carried.                                   
  MS. FRAN MCNEILL,  a family care coordinator with Life Alaska, said          
 she was testifying for the director who had a medical emergency.              
 Life Alaska supports SB 38 because it facilitates the communication           
 of an individual's wishes regarding living wills, do-not-                     
 resuscitate orders, and anatomical gifts.  It supports individual             
 autonomy and self-determination and respects the individual's right           
 to make this very personal decision.  Furthermore, SB 38 ensures              
 that people will have an opportunity to make these choices                    
 independent of crises and encourages them to discuss their                    
 decisions with family members.  The family burden can be eased                
 greatly by knowing what a loved one wants.                                    
 Number 90                                                                     
  MR. FRANCES NOLAN ,   Battalion Chief, Emergency Medical Services            
 Training, supported SB 38; however expressed concern with one area            
 of the bill, AS 13.50.030(d) "person authorized to accept a gift              
 may employ or authorize any surgeon or physician for the purpose of           
 removing,...."  This provision does not reflect the current                   
 standard either in Alaska or nationally.  Organ harvest,                      
 particularly in non-living donors, is routinely performed by organ            
 transplant technicians.  He thought limiting the procurement                  
 process to surgeons and physicians would hamper the existing                  
  CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  appreciated the comment, but noted that language is         
 existing law.  He offered to amend the language if that was the               
 current status.                                                               
  MR. NOLAN  said two issues exist; organ donation and tissue                  
 donation.  A heart, for example, from a live body would be removed            
 by a physician or surgeon.  On the other hand, many other body                
 parts, like bones and skin or corneas, are considered tissue                  
 donations and harvested by technicians.                                       
  MS. MCNEILL  added their director suggested amending the bill to             
 refer to an "appropriate Alaska organ or tissue bank."  An organ              
 bank does employ a group of surgeons who usually come up to Alaska.           
 In the case of tissue, that surgery is done by Life Alaska.  This             
 amendment would cover both situations.                                        
 Number 150                                                                    
  SENATOR PARNELL  moved to adopt a conceptual amendment (#2) on page          
 2, line 6 to insert after the word "any" the phrase "appropriate              
 Alaska organ or tissue bank or."  There were no objections and the            
 amendment was adopted.                                                        
  MR. MARK JOHNSON,  Chief, Community Health and Emergency Medical             
 Services, supported the intent of SB 38.  They had worked with Life           
 Alaska in the past to improve and increase organ and tissue                   
 donations in the State.  He noted his agency has been responsible             
 for implementing the most recent amendments to the statute                    
 regarding do not resuscitate orders.  He said no dollars were                 
 available for public education, but they are trying to increase               
 funding.  He would need to discuss the best way to implement the              
 legislation with his staff.                                                   
  CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  said one of his concerns was the disregarding of            
 advance instructions, such as living wills and orders, that people            
 have placed with their physicians and others regarding do-not-                
 resuscitate.  He hoped they might find a simple way through this              
 vehicle so emergency personnel feel comfortable with the document             
 they have in their hand when responding because serious decisions             
 would be based on it.                                                         
  MR. JOHNSON  agreed with him and displayed the logo used for do-not-         
 resuscitate orders in Alaska.  His agency has notified all doctors            
 in the State of the logo.  Previous legislation required a standard           
 logo be used; that will help as people become more familiar with              
 it.  He said public education is an important part of                         
  CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  said he thought it would be advantageous for all            
 states to come up with one logo.   MR. JOHNSON  said that the                 
 previous legislation required his agency to survey other states               
 which they have done and have found many logos are used.  Another             
 challenge is to help Alaskan doctors identify the logos.   CHAIRMAN           
 TAYLOR  said police officers can read a license number to a                   
 dispatcher and within five seconds receive all the information                
 pertinent to that automobile and driver's license.  The technology            
 is there; it just needs to be applied.                                        
  SENATOR PARNELL  moved to pass CSSSSB 38(JUD) from committee with            
 individual recommendations.  There were no objections and it was so           
  CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  adjourned the meeting at 2:00 p.m.                          

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