Legislature(2019 - 2020)KODIAK LIO

12/28/2020 02:00 PM Senate LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL

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Audio Topic
02:00:11 PM Start
04:00:46 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
- Q&A Session with Dr. Anne Zink and Beacon
Occupational Health & Safety Services
- COVID Enforcement Policy
-- Teleconference Listen Only --
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
                        LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                                                                   
                         DECEMBER 28, 2020                                                                                    
                              2:00 PM                                                                                         
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                             
  Senator Gary Stevens, Chair                                                                                                 
  Representative Louise Stutes, Vice Chair                                                                                    
  Senator Tom Begich                                                                                                          
  Senator John Coghill                                                                                                        
  Senator Cathy Giessel                                                                                                       
  Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                       
  Senator Bert Stedman                                                                                                        
  Senator Natasha von Imhof                                                                                                   
  Representative Bryce Edgmon                                                                                                 
  Representative Neal Foster                                                                                                  
  Representative DeLena Johnson                                                                                               
  Representative Jennifer Johnston                                                                                            
  Representative Chuck Kopp                                                                                                   
  Representative Steve Thompson                                                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                              
  OTHER MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                       
  Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson                                                                                                   
  Senator Jesse Kiehl                                                                                                         
  Senator Peter Micciche                                                                                                      
  Representative Kelly Merrick                                                                                                
  Representative Matt Claman                                                                                                  
  APPROVAL OF AGENDA                                                                                                          
  COMMITTEE BUSINESS                                                                                                          
     1. Q&A Session with Dr. Anne Zink and Beacon Health & Safety                                                           
     2. COVID Enforcement Policy                                                                                            
     3. Safe Floor Session Policy                                                                                           
  SPEAKER REGISTER                                                                                                            
  Jessica Geary, Executive Director, LAA                                                                                      
  Megan Wallace, Legal Services Director                                                                                      
  Dr. Anne Zink, Chief Medical Officer, HSS                                                                                   
  Amanda Johnson, CEO, Beacon                                                                                                 
                         I N D E X                                                                                            
I.        Call to Order - Roll Call                   5                                                                       
II.       Approval of Agenda                          8                                                                       
III.      Committee Business                                                                                                  
     A.  Q&A Session with Dr. Anne Zink and           8                                                                       
         Beacon Health & Safety Services                                                                                      
     B.  COVID Enforcement Policy                    56                                                                       
     C.  Safe Floor Session Policy                   74                                                                       
IV.  Adjourn                                         85                                                                       
       2:00:11 PM                                                                                                           
I. CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                              
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Good afternoon, everyone.  This is Gary.                                                               
 I'm here in Kodiak.  I hope everyone is going to make it to this                                                             
 meeting.  I see several of you are online already.  Thank you                                                                
 for being with us.  I hope you had a great Christmas.                                                                        
           So without further ado, I will call this meeting to                                                                
 order.  It is December 28, 2020.                                                                                             
           Jessica Geary, if you are there, can you call the                                                                  
 roll, please?                                                                                                                
       MS. GEARY:  Good morning, Chair Stevens.  I'm not sure if                                                              
  we have a quorum yet.  Do you want to wait just another minute,                                                             
 or do you want me to go ahead and call roll?                                                                                 
       CHAIR STEVENS:  No, you're right.  Let's wait and make                                                                 
 sure we have a quorum.  So we need eight people; right?                                                                      
       MS. GEARY:  Correct.                                                                                                   
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Okay.  We'll wait till we get eight.                                                                   
       MS. GEARY:  Okay.  Thank you.                                                                                          
       MS. GEARY:  All right, Chair Stevens.  I think I can call                                                              
 the roll if you're ready.                                                                                                    
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Okay.  I just see neither of the presiding                                                             
 officers are on yet, are they?                                                                                               
       MS. GEARY:  Senator Giessel is on.                                                                                     
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Yes.  Okay.                                                                                            
       MS. GEARY:  Let's see.  I don't see --                                                                                 
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Let's wait just for a minute for --                                                                    
       MS. GEARY:  Okay.                                                                                                      
    CHAIR STEVENS:  -- the Speaker.  It's important that he be                                                                
 here as well.                                                                                                                
       MS. GEARY:  Okay.                                                                                                      
       SENATOR BEGICH:  Gary, can you hear me?                                                                                
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Yes, I can.  Who is that?                                                                              
      SENATOR BEGICH:  Senator Begich.  I just wanted to make                                                                 
 sure I wasn't on mute anymore.                                                                                               
      CHAIR STEVENS:  Nope, we got you.  We got you, Senator.                                                                 
 Thank you.                                                                                                                   
      REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON:  Yeah.  This is Representative                                                                 
 Thompson.  I didn't hear you call roll or anything.                                                                          
       CHAIR STEVENS:  No, we haven't done that yet.  We're                                                                   
 waiting for a few more people to show up, and we'll call roll in                                                             
 just a minute.                                                                                                               
    CHAIR STEVENS:  We're just waiting for the Speaker to come                                                                
 on.  He's on hold right now and waiting to be put through.                                                                   
    CHAIR STEVENS:  Okay.  I think we'd better go ahead.  I've                                                                
 called the meeting to order, and we still have a few more people                                                             
 that are on their way to showing up.                                                                                         
           But, Jessica Geary, if you would call the roll, then,                                                              
       2:04:56 PM                                                                                                           
       MS. GEARY:  Okay.  Good morning.  Senator Begich?                                                                      
       SENATOR BEGICH:  Here.                                                                                                 
       MS. GEARY:  Senator Coghill?                                                                                           
       SENATOR COGHILL:  Here.                                                                                                
       MS. GEARY:  Senate President Giessel?                                                                                  
       SENATOR GIESSEL:  Here.                                                                                                
       MS. GEARY:  Senator Hoffman?                                                                                           
       SENATOR HOFFMAN:  Here.                                                                                                
       MS. GEARY:  Senator Stedman?                                                                                           
       SENATOR STEDMAN:  Here.                                                                                                
       MS. GEARY:  Senator von Imhof?  Senator von Imhof?                                                                     
           Speaker Edgmon?                                                                                                    
           Representative Foster?                                                                                             
       REPRESENTATIVE FOSTER:  Here.                                                                                          
       MS. GEARY:  Representative DeLena Johnson?                                                                             
       REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON:  Here.                                                                                         
       MS. GEARY:  Representative Johnston?                                                                                   
       REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON:  Here.                                                                                        
       MS. GEARY:  Representative Kopp?                                                                                       
           Representative Thompson?                                                                                           
       REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON:  Here.                                                                                        
    MS. GEARY:  Let's go back up.  Speaker Edgmon, are you on?                                                                
           Senator von Imhof, are you here on?                                                                                
       SENATOR VON IMHOF:  I'm here.                                                                                          
       MS. GEARY:  Okay.                                                                                                      
           Vice-Chair Stutes?                                                                                                 
       VICE-CHAIR STUTES:  Here.                                                                                              
       MS. GEARY:  Chair Stevens?                                                                                             
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Here.                                                                                                  
       MS. GEARY:  And just a brief moment.  There's an issue                                                                 
 with the Speaker trying to be taken off mute, so --                                                                          
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Okay.  Sure.                                                                                           
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Okay.  I think we'd better proceed.  We                                                                
 have a lot to do today, and hopefully the others will come                                                                   
 online.  And as soon as they do, we'll know that they're here.                                                               
           So, Jessica, you have called the roll, and I believe                                                               
 there were 11 people present; is that right?                                                                                 
       MS. GEARY:  There are 12 members present.                                                                              
     CHAIR STEVENS:  12 members.  Okay.  And who was the 12th                                                                 
     MS. GEARY:  Senator -- you were the 12th one, and Senator                                                                
 von Imhof joined.                                                                                                            
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Okay.  Great.                                                                                          
       SENATOR GIESSEL:  Mr. Chairman?  Mr. Chairman?                                                                         
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Yes, please.  Go ahead.                                                                                
       SENATOR GIESSEL:  This is Cathy Giessel.  I just got a                                                                 
 text from Suzanne Cunningham that Dr. Zink is on hold, and it                                                                
 appears that she also has been muted.                                                                                        
       VICE-CHAIR STUTES:  Same thing with the Speaker.                                                                       
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Okay.  And part of that is what happened                                                               
 with the Speaker as well.                                                                                                    
           Jessica, can you look into that?                                                                                   
       MS. GEARY:  Absolutely.                                                                                                
       SPEAKER EDGMON:  Mr. Chairman, this is Representative                                                                  
 Edgmon.  I'm online after all.  Thanks.                                                                                      
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Oh, thank you, Mr. Speaker.  I'm glad                                                                  
 you're with us.                                                                                                              
           So Jessica will show that the Speaker, Representative                                                              
 Edgmon, is with us.                                                                                                          
       MS. GEARY:  Yes, that is correct.  So we have 13 members                                                               
 present, and I believe Dr. Zink should be back online and able                                                               
 to participate.                                                                                                              
*Representative Kopp was present, but muted.                                                                                  
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Okay.                                                                                                  
       DR. ZINK:  Yes, I am back.  Thank you.  Sorry about that.                                                              
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you for being with us, Dr. Zink.  I                                                              
 appreciate -- I know you have a very busy schedule, but I                                                                    
 appreciate you could find some time for us.                                                                                  
II. APPROVAL OF AGENDA                                                                                                        
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Let's move on to the approval of the                                                                   
 agenda.  Representative Stutes, can we have a motion, please?                                                                
       VICE-CHAIR STUTES:  Certainly, Mr. Chair.                                                                              
           2:09:53 PM                                                                                                       
           I move and ask unanimous consent that Legislative                                                                  
 Council approve the agenda as presented.                                                                                     
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you.  Are there any objections or                                                                
 changes that anyone cares to make at this time?  If not, the                                                                 
 agenda is approved as read.                                                                                                  
III. COMMITTEE BUSINESS                                                                                                       
     A. Q&A SESSION WITH DR. ANNE ZINK AND BEACON OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH &                                                       
     SAFETY SERVICES                                                                                                          
       CHAIR STEVENS:  We'll move right on to committee business.                                                             
 And, again, I really appreciate Dr. Anne Zink being with us.  We                                                             
 also have Beacon Occupational Health & Safety Services with us.                                                              
           Just to let you know what happened, I thought that we                                                              
 had had our last Legislative Council meeting for a while, but                                                                
 there's some unfinished business that we really need to deal                                                                 
 with brought up by Senator Giessel and Representative Edgmon.                                                                
           They requested a meeting as a follow-up to our last                                                                
 meeting, and their concern, quite legitimately, is the                                                                       
 enforcement policy.  And we had a very vague enforcement policy,                                                             
  leaving it up to individual legislators; but, of course, in the                                                             
  meantime I've had a lot of comments from various staff members,                                                             
 both personal staff as well as legislative staff, as well as                                                                 
 members of the Legislature, members of the House and Senate, who                                                             
 have some serious concerns about being in the Senate chamber and                                                             
 the House chamber in a very tight space with people that may not                                                             
 be masked.  That's the primary concern.                                                                                      
           And so I think it's legitimate that we revisit that                                                                
 enforcement policy, and that's why we've asked Dr. Zink and                                                                  
 Beacon to be here to answer any questions.                                                                                   
           Who do we have from Beacon with us, Jessica?                                                                       
       MS. GEARY:  We have Amanda Johnson.  She's the chief                                                                   
 operating officer.                                                                                                           
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thanks so much.  Glad you're with us as                                                                
 well, Amanda.                                                                                                                
           So let's go right into some questions.  I know the                                                                 
  staff has some questions.  And, I guess, to me, Dr. Zink, if I                                                              
 could deliver this question to you, does masking help, or, as we                                                             
 keep hearing from some people, it's a waste of time and doesn't                                                              
 work.  So that's a very basic, fundamental question.  I'd                                                                    
 appreciate your giving us some advice on that.                                                                               
       DR. ZINK:  Yes.  No, I appreciate that question, sir.                                                                  
           Yes, masking helps to reduce both the transmission of                                                              
  COVID-19 as well as there's some evidence that a mask may help                                                              
 minimize how ill you get, that you may be more likely to be                                                                  
 asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic by you wearing a mask.  So it                                                             
 both protects other people in the room and it also helps to                                                                  
 protect you.                                                                                                                 
           Early on in this disease we were really trying to                                                                  
 understand how it was transmitted and what different mitigation                                                              
 tools that we have, but the large body of evidence for masking                                                               
 has become pretty profound.  There's a lot of information on the                                                             
 CDC, and that masks are an important tool to minimize the spread                                                             
 of COVID-19, particularly when people are indoors, and                                                                       
 particularly when there's more people, and especially when                                                                   
 people have a harder time distancing amongst each other.                                                                     
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you, Dr. Zink.  So you know our                                                                  
 building well.  I know you've been in it, and you have seen how                                                              
 crowded it is, how -- the tight spaces, particularly in the                                                                  
 House and Senate chamber, where we meet.  And this may beyond                                                                
 your purview.  If it is, let me know, but would it be your                                                                   
 recommendation that we require everyone to wear masks when in                                                                
 the Capitol Building?                                                                                                        
     DR. ZINK:  So that is beyond my purview.  I can speak to                                                                 
 the science about the different aspects of mitigation, that the                                                              
 safest thing that people can do is work remotely, being able to                                                              
 do teleconference, Zoom, things like that, so that people don't                                                              
 have to actually be in the same space.                                                                                       
           But there are some times when we need to be in the                                                                 
 same space with others and, as a result, there's a series of                                                                 
 steps that you can to, including minimizing the number of people                                                             
 in the building, minimizing ins and outs, exits and entrances,                                                               
 increasing mask-wearing, washing hands, increasing ventilation.                                                              
  There's a lot of really great guidance on the CDC and others on                                                             
 office space and building spaces, and masking is a tool in a                                                                 
 series of other tools that can help to reduce the viral                                                                      
 transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID.                                                                     
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you, Dr. Zink.  And I appreciate the                                                             
  position you're in.  We want to avoid any questions that you do                                                             
 not feel comfortable answering, but I do appreciate your                                                                     
 comments, specifically on masking.  And I also want to thank you                                                             
 for your work with our staff, with Jessica Geary and others as                                                               
 we've worked through this process.                                                                                           
           So let me ask you -- and maybe there are other                                                                     
  questions.  Does anybody have a question they'd like to pose to                                                             
 Dr. Zink at this time?                                                                                                       
       SENATOR GIESSEL:  Mr. Chairman, this is Senator Giessel.                                                               
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Yes, Senator Giessel.  Please go ahead.                                                                
       SENATOR GIESSEL:  Dr. Zink, some people have asserted that                                                             
 they have already had an infection with COVID-19 and therefore                                                               
 are immune and don't need to take any precautionary measures.                                                                
 Could you speak to immunity that is conferred by infection?  And                                                             
  you could even segue into that immunity we believe conferred by                                                             
       DR. ZINK:  Yes.  Thank you for the question, Senator.                                                                  
           That is an area of a lot of consideration, a lot of                                                                
 discussion.  In fact, the CDC call this morning was talking just                                                             
 about immunity as well as reinfection.                                                                                       
           We believe that people get a degree of immunity both                                                               
 from natural infection as well as the vaccine.  We have a much                                                               
 better understanding of it associated with the vaccine than we                                                               
 do with natural infection simply because people have different                                                               
 responses to natural infection.                                                                                              
           We do think that people within that first 90 days of                                                               
 infection have a lower risk of getting COVID-19 again, getting                                                               
 the virus, SARS-CoV-2, that causes COVID-19.  As a result, we do                                                             
 not require, you know, testing prior to travel if someone is                                                                 
 within that 90 days.  If someone has been exposed to someone                                                                 
 else that has COVID-19, they do not have to quarantine as long                                                               
 as they're asymptomatic.                                                                                                     
           There have been cases within that 90 days, but they                                                                
 have been very rare, and that's the reason for that 90-day                                                                   
 recommendation.  Right now, at 90 days, everyone kind of starts                                                              
 back to square one because the rates of reinfection start to                                                                 
 increase at that time.  We don't know if the CDC will extend                                                                 
 that out or not, but at this time it is that 90-day window.  And                                                             
 after that, it's kind of back to square one and we start with                                                                
           We have had reinfections in the state of Alaska and                                                                
 continue to follow those.  And it is our recommendation that                                                                 
 people continue to wear masks, continue to distance, continue to                                                             
 do hand hygiene regardless if they have had infection or not,                                                                
 partially after that reinfection component, but then also we                                                                 
 don't fully understand the ability for someone to potentially                                                                
 get a small amount of the disease and spread to it others even                                                               
 in that window.                                                                                                              
           And that's what really then gets into vaccines.                                                                    
  Vaccines were studied to look at severe infection of COVID-19.                                                              
 They were not currently -- they were not studied in the previous                                                             
 trials.  They are currently undergoing studies to look at the                                                                
 ability to transmit disease.                                                                                                 
           So at this time we're not changing any of our                                                                      
 recommendations based on vaccines as far as mask-wearing,                                                                    
 distance, healthcare providers working in the healthcare                                                                     
 scenario -- again, it looks to help prevent you from getting                                                                 
  seriously ill, but there is still a chance that you may get the                                                             
 virus, be able to have it replicate in your upper airway, and                                                                
 spread it to others even if you've been vaccinated.                                                                          
           We're hoping that the data will show that you have a                                                               
  less likelihood to transmit it, but we don't have that data as                                                              
 of yet and, as a result, are not making any recommendations to                                                               
 change these additional precautions even post-vaccine at this                                                                
        CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you, Dr. Zink.  And just as a                                                                   
 correlation with that, what about people who say they have                                                                   
 antibodies and they're beyond infecting others.  How does that                                                               
 work into this?                                                                                                              
       DR. ZINK:  Yeah.  Thank you for that question.                                                                         
           Antibodies are a part of the immune response.  They                                                                
 are not the full picture of the immune response.  There are very                                                             
 different tests for antibodies, and the antibody tests are the                                                               
 tests that we are more concerned about having false positives,                                                               
 testing positive for a different coronavirus and not for                                                                     
 SARS-CoV-2, the one that causes COVID-19.                                                                                    
           And so depending on what we call the pretest                                                                       
 probability, how much COVID is circulating, as well as the test                                                              
 specifically itself, those antibody tests can be varied, and                                                                 
 antibodies wait over time.  So someone may test positive for                                                                 
 antibodies, you know, let's say, six weeks after an infection,                                                               
 and then those antibodies -- which are more like your short-term                                                             
 memory.  They're your short-term immune response -- can wane                                                                 
 over time, and other parts of your immune system, called your                                                                
 innate immune response, including your T cells, are more                                                                     
 important for long-term immunity.                                                                                            
         So at this time we are not recommending antibody                                                                     
 testing prior to vaccines.  We are not recommending antibody                                                                 
 testing as a part of travel or no travel or testing or no                                                                    
 testing.  There's so much variability on what type of antibody                                                               
 people test for, what type of test that was done, the timing of                                                              
 the test, and that very what we call polymorphic response of the                                                             
 immune system, the very different types of cell lines that are                                                               
 used in the response that an antibody test doesn't really                                                                    
 capture, that we do not see that as a useful tool to                                                                         
 understanding the protection that someone may have from either                                                               
 natural infection and/or vaccination.                                                                                        
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Well, thank you very much for that answer.                                                             
           Senator Giessel, did you have a follow-up or further                                                               
       SENATOR GIESSEL:  Not at the moment.  Thank you so much,                                                               
 Mr. Chairman.                                                                                                                
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you, Madam President.                                                                            
           Anybody else have any questions or comments or                                                                     
 thoughts at this time?                                                                                                       
       REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON:  This is Representative Johnson.                                                               
 I have a question.                                                                                                           
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Yes, Representative Johnson, please go                                                                 
       REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON:  Would you comment on if someone                                                               
 has tested positive within -- I don't know how long it is, but                                                               
 how long do they continue to have a positive test result?  Can                                                               
 it be for months?  I mean, are we going to test people that have                                                             
 already had the virus but may not be contagious and they turn                                                                
 out to be positive?                                                                                                          
       DR. ZINK:  Yeah.  No, I really appreciate that question.                                                               
           And, yes, some people can test positive even when                                                                  
 they're no longer thought to be replicating the live virus.                                                                  
 It's for this reason that we don't recommend a test for                                                                      
 clearance from infection, that we really only recommend using                                                                
 the CDC guidance for clearance based on symptom screening.                                                                   
           And so there are kind of two different criteria that                                                               
 we use for clearance once someone has been infected with                                                                     
 COVID-19.  One is for most healthy individuals, and that                                                                     
 includes three things.  That's 10 days from onset of symptoms                                                                
 and symptoms rapidly improving and being fever-free with no                                                                  
 fever-reducing medication for 24 hours.                                                                                      
           So if someone meets all three of those                                                                             
 criteria -- and that's most healthy individuals -- then 10 days                                                              
 after the onset of their infection, they're thought to no longer                                                             
 be actively infectious with COVID-19.  And at that point, we                                                                 
 don't recommend repeat testing, including pre-procedural or                                                                  
 travel testing, because we don't want to take up cases that kind                                                             
 of have these remnant RNA but don't represent actual infectious                                                              
 people.  And the reason for that is they were unable to grow out                                                             
 live virus past nine days in healthy individuals.                                                                            
           The exception to that is people who are                                                                            
 immunocompromised or immunosuppressed, including those who                                                                   
 receive Epidron for being severely ill, and then it goes out to                                                              
 20 days.                                                                                                                     
           So you can see some countries have just opted to go                                                                
 for the 20-day clearance rather than kind of the nuance between                                                              
 those.  But, again, it's for that reason that we use the                                                                     
  clinical-based criteria rather than the test-based criteria to                                                              
 make sure that we're using these tests to really identify                                                                    
 actively infectious people and don't recommend regular screening                                                             
 for 90 days after infection.                                                                                                 
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Okay.  Thank you.                                                                                      
           Representative Johnson, any follow-up?                                                                             
       REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON:  Well, I'm still trying to wrap my                                                             
 head around the -- if you show up and you test positive, but you                                                             
 have a positive test result in the past; right?  So you've                                                                   
 already had tested positive.  And then it's like -- I'm trying                                                               
  to get my mind figured out where -- and the Legislature here is                                                             
 trying to -- unless you have a doctor's note as well; is that                                                                
 correct?  Is that what the policy is right now?                                                                              
       DR. ZINK:  To say that you don't have -- that you've                                                                   
 tested positive?                                                                                                             
       SENATOR GIESSEL:  I guess what I'm trying to clarify is                                                                
 that if someone has a positive test result in the                                                                            
 past -- because there's a number of people in the legislature                                                                
  who have positive test results, have had it.  If we can show up                                                             
 with a positive test result but yet we test negative, are we                                                                 
 still going to -- I mean, a negative -- well, we should test                                                                 
 negative because it's been a while ago since the original                                                                    
 positive test, but the test -- if we continue to do these repeat                                                             
 tests and have the potential for showing a false positive, how                                                               
 are we going to deal with that?                                                                                              
       DR. ZINK:  And that's a --                                                                                             
     REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON:  I know, Dr. Zink, that you can't                                                                
 really answer that; it's just something that we're going to have                                                             
 to determine, I think.                                                                                                       
       DR. ZINK:  What we do at the airport testing is we                                                                     
 essentially say, "You need to show your proof of a positive test                                                             
 and your letter of clearance from public health or whoever else                                                              
 that you're no longer infectious."  And as long as that's within                                                             
 the 90 days, that is counted for like your travel testing, your                                                              
 pre-procedural testing.  So it's that letter of clearance plus                                                               
 that PCR test that you were identified as having COVID-19, and                                                               
 you're within that 90 days.                                                                                                  
           So I'm not sure how you guys want to work it from a                                                                
 legislative perspective, but that is what we have done from a                                                                
 travel and a procedural standpoint to make sure that we're not                                                               
 doing screening testing on people who are very likely to not be                                                              
           The caveat to that is if someone is symptomatic.  If                                                               
 someone is symptomatic at any point they should get repeat                                                                   
       MS. AMANDA JOHNSON:  And, Dr. Zink, this is Amanda with                                                                
           To add on to that question, that is correct.  The                                                                  
 plan is to not test anyone if they are within that 90 days from                                                              
 their time of positive test.  They would be required to show                                                                 
  proof of that medical release or release from public health, as                                                             
 well as that positive test and the date of that positive test.                                                               
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you, Amanda.  I was just about to                                                                
 call on you because you are the one who will be figuring out how                                                             
 all this works.  So I appreciate you're being with us.  So you                                                               
 think -- you have a clear grasp of how this is going to work in                                                              
 the Legislature, in the Capitol Building?                                                                                    
       MS. AMANDA JOHNSON:  Yes.  We're very familiar with the                                                                
  state requirements around travelers, and that, in fact, is what                                                             
 is carrying over to this session.  And we will -- we also have a                                                             
 plan in place for, given the length of the session, realizing                                                                
 that some people will move beyond that 90-day post-infection                                                                 
 during the session, and therefore we will begin a testing                                                                    
  protocol, or they will fold into the testing protocol as usual.                                                             
  And then there's some additional follow-up testing if they were                                                             
 to test positive on a PCR test to do some additional antigen                                                                 
 testing to determine if that is a live virus, as Dr. Zink is                                                                 
 reviewing.  And we are reviewing with epidemiology on that                                                                   
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you, Amanda.                                                                                     
           Okay.  Any further questions anybody has, thoughts,                                                                
 either questions to Dr. Zink or Amanda from Beacon?                                                                          
       SENATOR GIESSEL:  Mr. Chairman, this is Senator Giessel                                                                
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Yes?                                                                                                   
    SENATOR GIESSEL:  I wanted to just close the loop.  So the                                                                
 question was asked:  What about people that have tested                                                                      
 positive?  Dr. Zink has clearly articulated that 90-day window                                                               
 and a letter of clearance.  Could we clarify with Dr. Zink that                                                              
 despite the fact that they are in a 90-day period of time after                                                              
 a positive test, they still need to maintain the masking, social                                                             
 distancing, and hand sanitizing protocols.                                                                                   
           Dr. Zink, could you clarify that?                                                                                  
       DR. ZINK:  Yeah.  I appreciate it, Senator.                                                                            
           Yes, that is still our recommendation even within                                                                  
 that 90-day period, that people continue to mask, distance, and                                                              
 hand-wash, continue to do those mitigation steps as they are                                                                 
 additional important tools moving forward.                                                                                   
       SENATOR GIESSEL:  Thank you.                                                                                           
    CHAIR STEVENS:  So thank you.  Thank you, Senator Giessel.                                                                
           So I take from that that there should be nobody in                                                                 
 that building who is not wearing a mask.  Is that your                                                                       
 understanding, Senator Giessel?                                                                                              
       SENATOR GIESSEL:  That's how I understand it.  I wanted                                                                
 Dr. Zink to clarify that.                                                                                                    
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Good.  Okay.  Thank you.                                                                               
           Did someone else have a question or comment?  I may                                                                
 have missed them.  It's an opportunity to speak -- I was going                                                               
 to say to hear from the horse's mouth, but that's not a very                                                                 
  appropriate thing to say.  But it's an opportunity to hear from                                                             
 the experts on what's going to happen and how it's going to                                                                  
           So I guess maybe I would ask Amanda, considering                                                                   
 this, if you've tested positive, you're supposed to wear a mask.                                                             
  Are you confident that we can create a safe environment for our                                                             
 staff and our employees and ourselves in that building?                                                                      
       MS. AMANDA JOHNSON:  Absolutely.  I think that you guys                                                                
 have some strategies in place already with sneeze guards, the                                                                
 mask-wearing, the hand sanitation protocols that we'll have, you                                                             
 know, throughout the facility.                                                                                               
           As Dr. Zink mentioned, you know, the best practice                                                                 
 right now is certainly, you know, social distancing, which                                                                   
 includes remote work as much as possible.  Yes, there is                                                                     
 business to conduct, and certainly we're working very closely,                                                               
  as Dr. Zink is, with critical infrastructure and having created                                                             
 save environments across the state, working within those                                                                     
 critical infrastructures.                                                                                                    
           So we're certainly confident, with the testing as                                                                  
  well as the practices that Dr. Zink mentioned that are part of                                                              
 the program, that we can certainly create a safe environment.                                                                
       SENATOR BEGICH:  Mr. Chairman?                                                                                         
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Yes, Senator.  Go ahead.                                                                               
       SENATOR BEGICH:  This is Senator Begich.                                                                               
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Senator Begich.                                                                                        
       SENATOR BEGICH:  Just to follow up on the comment that was                                                             
 just made, so how safe is the environment if people that are in                                                              
 the building refuse to wear a mask?  Did you hear my question?                                                               
     MS. AMANDA JOHNSON:  Yes.  This is Amanda.  I heard your                                                                 
 question as related to how safe it could be if folks refused to                                                              
 wear masks, and I believe that maybe later in this session you                                                               
 are going to review a code of conduct protocol which really                                                                  
 encourages and, in some regards, is requiring mask-wearing.  But                                                             
 I'll refer to Jessica to confirm that.                                                                                       
     SENATOR BEGICH:  Yeah.  Amanda, before you go there -- if                                                                
 I may, Mr. Chairman, follow up?                                                                                              
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Yes.  Please go ahead, Senator Begich.                                                                 
     SENATOR BEGICH:  What I'm getting at here is that whether                                                                
 we have a protocol in place or not, some people may refuse                                                                   
 to -- you know, elected officials may refuse to acknowledge the                                                              
 protocol.  What does that -- what is the impact that that may                                                                
 have on the safety of the environment?  That's what I'm getting                                                              
 at.  I want to just put the elephant on the -- if you will, the                                                              
 elephant in the room, I want to acknowledge it.                                                                              
       DR. ZINK:  This is Dr. Zink, and I can take a stab at it.                                                              
           I have -- for me, safe versus nonsafe is always a                                                                  
 continuum, and it's not a dichotomous one versus the other.                                                                  
 Again, the safer you are, the more people are distanced, the                                                                 
 more they are in separate places, the more they're meeting                                                                   
 telephonically or via Zoom and not in person.  Once people are                                                               
 starting to be in the same building and the same air space                                                                   
  together, particularly for prolonged periods of time, there's a                                                             
 series of things that will make an area more likely to have                                                                  
 COVID transmission or less likely.                                                                                           
           So if someone is symptomatic, if they're not feeling                                                               
 well, they are more likely to be coughing, sneezing, and that                                                                
 helps to spread the particles more readily.  If they are not                                                                 
 wearing a mask, again that spreads the virus more quickly,                                                                   
 particularly in a confined space.  The longer they are there,                                                                
  the more people that are there, all of those things kind of add                                                             
 to that, as well as the ventilation.                                                                                         
           So it's hard to say if someone is not wearing a mask                                                               
 what percent or what sort of risk that confers.  It clearly is                                                               
 more risk, being clearly on the CDC website and others.  You                                                                 
 know, masks help prevent you from getting and spreading the                                                                  
 virus.  Masks are an important tool.  They are not the only                                                                  
 tool.  And so it depends on how they are being used in                                                                       
 combination with other tools, as well as if that person has been                                                             
 tested recently, if they're symptomatic or if they're not                                                                    
 symptomatic, how many other people are in the room, the length                                                               
 of time as well as proximity that you spend with that person.                                                                
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you, Dr. Zink.                                                                                   
           Senator Begich, any follow-up there?                                                                               
       SENATOR BEGICH:  Yeah, just a -- first, that does                                                                      
  predominantly answer my question.  And I just want to reiterate                                                             
 a question that was brought up earlier and just to get a                                                                     
 definitive answer again.                                                                                                     
           There are increasingly -- I'm reading on the web, and                                                              
 I get these notes from people telling me that masking doesn't                                                                
 work, that there's data that proves that it doesn't work.  Could                                                             
 you please address that once and for all?                                                                                    
       DR. ZINK:  Yes.  I appreciate the question.                                                                            
           I also get many of the same e-mails, and there is a                                                                
 preponderance of evidence that masking helps to reduce the                                                                   
 transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID, as well                                                             
 as some evidence that it helps to minimize your chance of                                                                    
 getting sick with COVID.  That is by far the summary of the                                                                  
 evidence to date on this subject.  Really, the subject matter                                                                
 experts in this field all really stand behind that.                                                                          
           People pick and choose different parts of the data                                                                 
 set -- a Dutch study, when people were already on lockdown.  And                                                             
 even there masks showed a little bit of benefit, but it wasn't                                                               
 huge because everyone was in their own houses separately and not                                                             
 getting together because the entire country was on lockdown.  So                                                             
 I think it's important to take the studies in consideration of                                                               
 where they're used and how they were used and look at the full                                                               
           There is a ton of information on the CDC as well as                                                                
 other websites, and it is by far the clinical consensus at this                                                              
 time that a mask helps prevent you from getting or spreading the                                                             
 virus that causes COVID-19.                                                                                                  
        SENATOR BEGICH:  Thank you.  Dr. Zink, as our chief                                                                   
 medical officer, I take that as the definitive answer, and I                                                                 
 appreciate that.  Thank you.                                                                                                 
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you, Senator Begich.  It could not                                                               
  be more clear that masking is -- the preponderance of evidence                                                              
 is that masking works, it seems, and everything I have read                                                                  
 seems to prove that, though you read things occasionally that                                                                
 object to it.  But I appreciate your comments on that, Dr. Zink.                                                             
           Any further questions of Dr. Zink?  And, let's see,                                                                
 before we go -- I know there may be some questions                                                                           
 that -- Jessica, you had some questions that we had talked about                                                             
 earlier.  Do you want to go ahead with what you were concerned                                                               
       MS. GEARY:  Chair Stevens, thank you.                                                                                  
           My questions are for Dr. Zink.  One is:  Alaska seems                                                              
 to be on the downward trend as far as case counts go.  Do you                                                                
 anticipate the large influx predicted around the nation during                                                               
 the time we convene in mid-January?                                                                                          
       DR. ZINK:  Thank you for that question.                                                                                
           We did spend some time, actually, with the epi team                                                                
 talking about that just this morning.  We do see about                                                                       
 33 percent of the jurisdictions are  on an upward swing right                                                                
  now.  We, fortunately, are on a downward swing right now, which                                                             
 is fantastic to see.                                                                                                         
           I think a lot is going to depend on what Alaskans do                                                               
 after the holiday, after travel, and as people are getting                                                                   
 together.  I would suspect that, like other travel and other                                                                 
 gatherings, we would also get a bump with additional cases after                                                             
 the holiday, after people have traveled and moved, but we did                                                                
 not have a huge influx after Thanksgiving.  We continued to see                                                              
 a downward trend after that, and so we'll have to see what this                                                              
 holiday season looks like and what happens.                                                                                  
           But in general, our team is, I guess, bracing for,                                                                 
 kind of end of January, beginning of February, a potential surge                                                             
 in cases, particularly holidays with people being tired, not                                                                 
 enough vaccines out yet to really make a big difference in the                                                               
 overall disease process.  And we really want to do what we can                                                               
 to keep those cases down and encourage Alaskans to mitigate the                                                              
 disease until we have widespread vaccine available.                                                                          
       MS. GEARY:  Thank you.                                                                                                 
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you, Jessica.                                                                                    
           Was there a question?                                                                                              
       REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON:  Chair Stevens?                                                                                
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Yes.  Yes, please, go ahead.                                                                           
     REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON:  This is Representative Johnson.                                                                 
 Thank you.  Representative Johnson here.                                                                                     
           I have a question just on the vaccine plan, if there                                                               
 is one for legislators at all, which would potentially protect                                                               
 some of the people in the Legislature.  But how long does it                                                                 
 take for those to go into effect, and if there is a plan in                                                                  
 place.  And then I have another question as well.                                                                            
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you.  Actually, I might direct that                                                              
 to the President.  I know she has sent a letter to officials                                                                 
 requesting that.  It's always a problem.  I know, even at our                                                                
  federal level, Congressmen who have sort of jumped the line and                                                             
 have been criticized heavily about it.                                                                                       
           But, Madam President, do you have any thoughts on                                                                  
 that before we go maybe to Dr. Zink?                                                                                         
       SENATOR GIESSEL:  Well, the reason that the Speaker and I                                                              
 sent that letter is because of the critical need for the                                                                     
 Legislature to be functional, to pass a budget.  That's our one                                                              
 constitutional responsibility.  Consequently, we -- the Speaker                                                              
 and I joined together, sent a joint letter to the committee that                                                             
 determines the distribution of the vaccine here in Alaska.                                                                   
           Dr. Zink is aware of that letter, and I'll let her                                                                 
   carry this baton forward and answer the rest of the question.                                                              
           Dr. Zink?                                                                                                          
       DR. ZINK:  Yeah.  I appreciate that, Madam President.                                                                  
           And, yes, we did receive your letter and appreciate                                                                
 the feedback.  It is a challenging space right now not to have                                                               
 enough vaccine available to everyone who wants it, and I                                                                     
 desperately wish that we did.  The ACIP, the Advisory Council on                                                             
 Immunization Practices that advises the CDC, did put -- they                                                                 
  didn't specifically call out legislators, but they did call out                                                             
 public health workers and other critical infrastructure workers                                                              
 kind of in the 1c category, which would not be in January or                                                                 
 February.  It would be a little bit later than that.  Exactly                                                                
 when really depends on production and updates.  That                                                                         
 conversation is still being had with advisory committees.                                                                    
          I would just note that on a federal level, the                                                                      
 federal government was able to allocate vaccines for subgroups                                                               
 outside of state allocations.  They did this with the federal                                                                
 prisons.  They did this with IHS, DOD, VA, as well as a subset                                                               
 of federal legislators and others.                                                                                           
         The state allocation is kind of within the state                                                                     
 allocation committee, and given the very critical nature of the                                                              
 work you guys do, we're asking the committee on where they're                                                                
 going to weigh in on that.  They have not yet weighed in on                                                                  
 that.  Legislators were not part of 1a, but we're working                                                                    
 through the 1b and potentially 1c category.                                                                                  
          I would also just state that it probably takes                                                                      
 between five to six weeks to really build up the robust immunity                                                             
 that these vaccines provide, which is much longer than things                                                                
 like influenza.  So it's important to also take into account                                                                 
 that length time in combination with the vaccine itself when                                                                 
 thinking about timing for different groups and that immunity                                                                 
 that's needed.                                                                                                               
       CHAIR STEVENS:  So, Dr. Zink, if the vaccine were to                                                                   
 become available for critical workers, as you say, possibly                                                                  
  legislators, would that be provided to Beacon to do that, those                                                             
        DR. ZINK:  Yeah.  Thank you for that question, sir.                                                                   
           So there is a series of different ways that it gets                                                                
  out.  We have what we call closed pods, pods that are the point                                                             
 of dispensing, and we have open pods.  And there would be a                                                                  
 series of different ways that people could access the vaccine.                                                               
           Sometimes we do -- like in the hospitals, they were                                                                
 closed pods where the hospitals were doing them.  For our Tier 3                                                             
  healthcare workers, which are kind of the next group that's up,                                                             
 some of those are being administered at clinics.  Some are                                                                   
 registering online for an appointment time and getting                                                                       
 vaccinated at like a local pharmacy, to be able to do that.  And                                                             
 so I would imagine a similar sort of process, but we can -- we                                                               
 can work with all sorts of people, including people like Beacon,                                                             
 to go ahead and administer that if that comes out.  It just will                                                             
 really depend on timing and what works best to action that.                                                                  
       CHAIR STEVENS:  And should that happen, Amanda, then, is                                                               
 Beacon ready and authorized to do that?                                                                                      
       MS. AMANDA JOHNSON:  Yes, we are an authorized provider to                                                             
 receive the vaccine as well as administer it.  So if, in fact,                                                               
 that becomes available and we're the mechanism for delivery,                                                                 
 we'll partner with the state accordingly.                                                                                    
       CHAIR STEVENS:  All right.  Thank you.  Thank you, Amanda.                                                             
           Further questions anybody has of --                                                                                
       REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON:  Chair Stevens?                                                                                
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Yes.  Go ahead.                                                                                        
     REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON:  I had one more question.  I had                                                                 
 one more question, Chair Stevens.                                                                                            
     CHAIR STEVENS:  Representative Johnson, please go ahead.                                                                 
     REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON:  Yeah.  So this is for Dr. Zink.                                                                 
 And I know that legislators are encouraged to quarantine for two                                                             
 weeks before we go to Juneau, or after we get to Juneau.  How                                                                
 important is it for legislators or others that are in the                                                                    
 Legislature to minimize travel home on the weekends?  Should we                                                              
 encourage -- be encouraging that?                                                                                            
     DR. ZINK:  Yeah.  So this is Dr. Zink.  I appreciate that                                                                
           We do see that travel is one of the major                                                                          
 accelerators of the spread of COVID-19, and so every time                                                                    
 someone gets on a plane or interacts with other people, it is a                                                              
 chance for spread.                                                                                                           
           It's a little bit hard to know what percent of people                                                              
 on a plane and in travel will be positive and what that exposure                                                             
 will look like.  I will tell you that our airport testing had                                                                
 been about 1 percent of the people coming into the airport were                                                              
 testing positive, and then it shot up to almost 6 percent.  And                                                              
 it's come down a little bit now, meaning that, you know,                                                                     
 somewhere between, you know, one in 10, one in 16, one in 20,                                                                
 depending on the timing of people on the plane were likely                                                                   
 positive with COVID-19 at that time.                                                                                         
           We're also seeing similar travel recommendations from                                                              
 the CDC -- actually going into effect today -- which include                                                                 
  requirements to get tested prior to travel from the U.K., given                                                             
 this new variant.  And the CDC has pretty good recommendations                                                               
 based on a lot of modeling that recommends a test as close as                                                                
 possible to travel, but ideally no more than three days, as well                                                             
 as staying home for seven days after travel and getting a second                                                             
 test somewhere between -- before that seven days, so somewhere                                                               
 between like around day five.  Their wording is a little bit                                                                 
 different on their website.                                                                                                  
           So I would encourage legislators to take a look at                                                                 
  those, both the international and national travel guidance, and                                                             
 we continue to see travel as an accelerating course within the                                                               
 state.  And part of the reason there have been the requirements                                                              
 for testing as well as staying home and not interacting with                                                                 
 others, that strict social distancing after travel, is to                                                                    
 minimize the spread of COVID-19.                                                                                             
       CHAIR STEVENS:  All right.  Thank you.                                                                                 
           I think most legislators -- there might be a few                                                                   
 exceptions -- will travel by air to get to Juneau.  There's                                                                  
 hardly any other way, but some may be able to take a ferry or                                                                
 fly in their own planes.                                                                                                     
           Do you fly yourself, Dr. Zink?                                                                                     
       DR. ZINK:  Once upon a time I did fly.  I'm not against                                                                
 flying, but I have flown once since this pandemic started, and                                                               
 that was for my family.  And this was in the summer, and I have                                                              
 not flown since, nor do I have any plans to fly anytime soon.  I                                                             
 do think that minimizing that risk of flying -- I think people                                                               
 do fly for different reasons.  And if you do fly, then having                                                                
 those restrictions before and afterwards can help minimize the                                                               
 chance that you spread it to others during that time, and if you                                                             
 happen to accidentally pick it up before you spread it to                                                                    
           So, again, I would just really encourage people to                                                                 
 follow the CDC guidance regarding testing, as well as                                                                        
 quarantining before and after, to minimize their risk of flying                                                              
 and its transmission.                                                                                                        
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Sure.  Thank you, Dr. Zink.                                                                            
           Jessica, did you have some more questions there?                                                                   
     MS. GEARY:  Thank you, Chair Stevens.  I just have just a                                                                
 couple more questions, and these are mostly questions that I've                                                              
 received and didn't quite know how to answer.                                                                                
           I've seen some fluctuation and maybe some confusion                                                                
 with the 14-day quarantine versus the 10-day quarantine and when                                                             
 those are applicable.  Can you explain that, please, Dr. Zink?                                                               
     DR. ZINK:  Yes.  Thank you.  It is a challenging -- it's                                                                 
 been unclear to be able to articulate well, so I appreciate you                                                              
 asking about it.                                                                                                             
           A couple different things.  Quarantine versus                                                                      
 isolation are separate.  Isolation is for illness, and so that                                                               
 is when someone is sick, how long they need to be away from                                                                  
 others.  And it may be "sick" in terms of they're physically                                                                 
 sick, or it may be that they're just infectious with the virus                                                               
 but are asymptomatic.  And that is that 10 days plus their                                                                   
 symptoms resolving, no fever, that I had talked about earlier.                                                               
           The reason that that is shorter than a quarantine                                                                  
 period is a quarantine is more like a question.  Am I going to                                                               
 get COVID-19?  And it takes a while for the virus to replicate                                                               
 to see if someone actually has it.  So the traditional                                                                       
 quarantine has been a 14-day period because the incubation                                                                   
 period, the time it takes from someone's exposure to the time                                                                
  that they could show disease, is anywhere from two to 14 days.                                                              
           So people won't -- if, you know, I saw -- you know,                                                                
 if I saw Amanda today, and she was COVID positive, I wouldn't                                                                
 get tested tomorrow because the incubation period is two to 14                                                               
 days.  I need to give it some time for that virus to replicate                                                               
 to see if I truly was positive.  Again, it can be anywhere from                                                              
 two to 14 days, but most people start to pick up in their viral                                                              
 shedding around day five to 10, in that time period.  And then                                                               
 most people start to become symptomatic, if they're going to                                                                 
 become symptomatic, somewhere around day 10.  So the traditional                                                             
 quarantine period is 14 days.                                                                                                
           The CDC did put out guidance on ways that you could                                                                
 potentially consider shortening that quarantine period with a                                                                
 test and with closely watching symptoms.  The safest thing to do                                                             
 is to still do that full 14 days of quarantine because the                                                                   
 incubation period has not changed.  That incubation period is                                                                
 still 14 days.  They still recommend symptom checking, as well                                                               
 as minimizing your interactions for those full 14 days.  But, as                                                             
 mentioned, most people become symptomatic by day 10, and if you                                                              
 do 10 and a test, then you really reduce that chance of having                                                               
 COVID-19 and potentially spreading it to others quite                                                                        
 significantly, pretty similar to a full 14-day quarantine                                                                    
 without a test.                                                                                                              
           There is another strategy, which is seven days plus a                                                              
 test, but then it increases your chance of missing cases of                                                                  
 COVID-19 anywhere from about one to 10 percent, depending on the                                                             
 modeling of the studies that you look at.  On our testing                                                                    
 guidance on the DHSS website, it lists out like a chart,                                                                     
 including kind of the risk of testing for quarantine at any of                                                               
 those realms.                                                                                                                
          And these are all different than strict social                                                                      
 distancing, which is what we ask people to do after they travel.                                                             
 And, again, that's because they're not a known, confirmed close                                                              
 contact to an exposed COVID-positive patient, but they did                                                                   
 something that was higher risk.  They traveled during that time                                                              
 and, as a result, asking people to take some extra precautions,                                                              
 including that staying home for seven days and getting tested                                                                
 somewhere between days five and seven.  It's all a series of                                                                 
 balancing risk with all of these things that really impact                                                                   
 people's lives and trying to use testing to help minimize the                                                                
 length of quarantine.                                                                                                        
           For most organizations and for communities, they will                                                              
 oftentimes say 10 and a test is probably a very reasonable                                                                   
 alternative to the 14-day quarantine.  That 10 and a test gets                                                               
  you pretty similar data to a full 14-day quarantine, instead of                                                             
 doing the full 14 days.                                                                                                      
       MS. GEARY:  Thank you for that.                                                                                        
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you.                                                                                             
       SENATOR BEGICH:  Mr. Chair?                                                                                            
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Yeah, Jessica.  I think you had another                                                                
 question there?                                                                                                              
       MS. GEARY:  I think Senator Begich might have been trying                                                              
 to ask a question.                                                                                                           
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Okay.  I'm sorry.  Senator Begich, go                                                                  
       SENATOR BEGICH:  I just wonder if I could just get kind of                                                             
 a preliminary game plan from Dr. Zink.                                                                                       
           So, Dr. Zink, if I were planning to fly, say, on the                                                               
  6th of January down to Juneau, when would I do my prelim test,                                                              
 and would you then want me to test two days after I arrived in                                                               
 Juneau, or when would you want me to do that test while                                                                      
 remaining in isolation until, you know, the start of the                                                                     
       DR. ZINK:  Yeah.  So thank you for that question.                                                                      
           We would recommend that you get tested one to three                                                                
 days prior to traveling and as close to travel as possible.  So,                                                             
 for example, if you were traveling on the 6th, if you could get                                                              
 tested on the 5th, that would be ideal, if you could get that                                                                
 turnaround time.  It depends on your location and if that                                                                    
 turnaround can be within that time.  So one to three days prior                                                              
 to the 6th.                                                                                                                  
           And then following the CDC guidance, it asks people                                                                
 to stay at home for seven days after travel and getting tested                                                               
 somewhere between days like five to seven.  So if you -- I can                                                               
 pull up a calendar here.  If you traveled on the 6th, not                                                                    
 interacting with other people until the 13th, and getting tested                                                             
 somewhere around the 12th or 13th to make sure that's negative.                                                              
 And then on the 14th on just doing the distancing, masking,                                                                  
 hand-washing per normal.                                                                                                     
       SENATOR BEGICH:  I appreciate that.  Thank you.                                                                        
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you, Senator Begich.                                                                             
           Yes.  Who was that?                                                                                                
    SENATOR VON IMHOF:  Senator Stevens, this is Natasha.  Can                                                                
 I ask a question?                                                                                                            
    CHAIR STEVENS:  Yes, please, Senator von Imhof.  Go ahead.                                                                
       SENATOR VON IMHOF:  Thank you.                                                                                         
           So, Dr. Zink, did you clarify whether the travel is                                                                
 in state versus out of state?                                                                                                
       DR. ZINK:  Yeah.  So I appreciate that question, Senator.                                                              
           The travel requirements as part of the EUA -- or,                                                                  
 excuse me, the health order is people traveling from out of                                                                  
 state into state, as well as traveling off the road system.                                                                  
  However, we do encourage people who are traveling in general in                                                             
 Alaska to follow the same guidance.  The health order does not                                                               
 apply to on-road-to-on-road, but in general we are encouraging                                                               
 people to follow the same guidance if they're flying in-state.                                                               
        SENATOR VON IMHOF:  So, Senator Stevens, can I do a                                                                   
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Yes, please.  Go ahead, Senator.                                                                       
       SENATOR VON IMHOF:  Okay.  So, Dr. Zink, if a legislator                                                               
 comes down to Juneau, and they leave for the weekend for less                                                                
 than -- I mean, technically for less than 72 hours, let's just                                                               
 say, just to follow -- you know, to really split hairs there.                                                                
 But if a Senator goes home to Anchorage or somewhere, to                                                                     
 Fairbanks or on the road system, goes home for the weekend and                                                               
 comes back, are you suggesting that the Senator do not go into                                                               
 the Capitol Building for the full seven days?  Is that what                                                                  
 you're saying?                                                                                                               
       DR. ZINK:  So it's all kind of a matter of risk/benefit,                                                               
 and so that's where, really, you all have to -- and this is what                                                             
 we had to do with emergency orders as well, to say:  How much                                                                
 additional risk is there?  There's less risk for 24 hours than                                                               
 there are 72.  There's less risk with 72 hours compared to a                                                                 
 week.  If you go to a bar and party, there's going to be a lot                                                               
 more risk than if you are at home by yourself.  And so finding                                                               
 that risk/benefit for the Legislature is something that you guys                                                             
 are unfortunately challenged with having to figure out.                                                                      
           But the CDC recommendations don't -- they just say                                                                 
 travel in general.  If someone is traveling by flight, they                                                                  
 recommend, again, the testing beforehand, staying home for seven                                                             
 days afterwards, and testing at the end.  I'm happy to send                                                                  
 those to you if you guys would like to see those travel                                                                      
      SENATOR VON IMHOF:  No, thank you.  I appreciate that.                                                                  
         I think that the Legislature will have to make a                                                                     
 decision collectively about travel, I would imagine, Senator                                                                 
 Stevens, and knowing that people do need to see their                                                                        
 constituents, that there are people that have families outside                                                               
 of Juneau that can't bring their families down, and that we need                                                             
 to have -- we need to do what Dr. Zink stated, which is balance                                                              
 the risk versus the reward.                                                                                                  
         And I think that if we have with Beacon a robust                                                                     
 testing system, as what they're doing in colleges and other                                                                  
 locations where you're tested on a frequent basis, on a                                                                      
 scheduled basis, I think that ought to pick up, you know, any                                                                
 type of potential exposure, just as long as people are diligent                                                              
 at all times, both on the airplanes, in their home districts,                                                                
 et cetera.  But to have people, I think, to stay -- to come to                                                               
 Juneau and stay in Juneau for three months is unrealistic and                                                                
 personally not mentally healthy.                                                                                             
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you, Senator.  I appreciate your                                                                 
  comments.  You know, I think you make a good point, that people                                                             
 who stay in Juneau and go to the bars at night are probably                                                                  
 taking a greater risk than someone maybe going home and being                                                                
  isolated while they're at home.  So certainly that's an issue.                                                              
 Travel is an issue we need to talk about.                                                                                    
           I think, more importantly, the main issue -- it seems                                                              
  to me to be masking, but travel is certainly an issue for us to                                                             
 consider.  Thank you, Senator.                                                                                               
           Any further -- Jessica, I don't think we quite                                                                     
 finished the questions you had from your staff and from folks in                                                             
 the building.                                                                                                                
       MS. GEARY:  Yeah.  Thank you, Chair Stevens.  Just a                                                                   
 couple quick questions.                                                                                                      
           So we had the question about the exposure risk for                                                                 
 passing notes, for example, during the floor session.                                                                        
 Legislators communicate by having pages pass notes back and                                                                  
 forth, and I guess that kind of ties into the exposure risk from                                                             
 touching inanimate objects.  So do you have any advice as                                                                    
 to -- or data, perhaps, as to how the virus is transmitted on                                                                
 objects such as paper and door handles and other things like                                                                 
       DR. ZINK:  Yes.  I appreciate that question.                                                                           
           So, in general, it lived on surfaces longer if it's                                                                
 hard surfaces -- metal, plastic, things like that.  In general,                                                              
 in cool temperatures and things that are not cleaned regularly                                                               
 it also lasts longer on, including multiple days.                                                                            
           It is destroyed very easily by soap and water, as                                                                  
 well as with most cleaning detergents, agents, and supplies, and                                                             
 there's a large list of those on both the EPA as well as the CDC                                                             
 website on things that destroy the virus.  So with its structure                                                             
 of the outside, it's pretty easily destroyed by those cleaning                                                               
           Initially we were very concerned with what we call                                                                 
 fomite transmission, moving the virus from person to person from                                                             
 things like paper.  It appears to be that that is less of a                                                                  
 concern, definitely not a bureau concern, and that is part of                                                                
 the reason why we still highly recommend things like                                                                         
 hand-washing and not touching your face.  So people that are                                                                 
 passing material back and forth, having stations where people                                                                
 can regularly wash their hands, having hand sanitizer right                                                                  
 there so people can wash their hands after touching paper are                                                                
 all tools that can be used to minimize the risk of transmission                                                              
 via fomite, from touching one object to another.                                                                             
         But, in general, it's less of a concern than our                                                                     
 initial thoughts when we were very first learning about this                                                                 
       MS. GEARY:  Thank you for that.                                                                                        
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Okay.  Thank you.                                                                                      
           Anything else anyone has?  Jessica, any questions,                                                                 
 anymore questions you have from your staff?                                                                                  
       MS. GEARY:  Chair Stevens, I think most of them have been                                                              
 answered, and some of them are kind of -- I don't think I'll ask                                                             
 some of these.                                                                                                               
           I just wanted to make a general comment that we have                                                               
  added self-sanitizing surfaces.  We've increased the filters in                                                             
 all of our HVAC systems, and we've added HEPA air purifiers to                                                               
 our committee rooms and chambers.  And I know those are all                                                                  
  recommended by -- and researching a bit on the CDC website.  Is                                                             
 there anything else you would recommend?                                                                                     
           One other thing I might note is within the chambers                                                                
 we've added plexiglass in between all of the desks.  Members                                                                 
 will be asked to wear masks, but we do recognize that                                                                        
 congregating in a room such as that for a long period of time                                                                
 does carry a bit of risk.                                                                                                    
           So I guess I was just looking for, you know,                                                                       
 suggestions or a rubber stamp or something along those lines,                                                                
 Dr. Zink.                                                                                                                    
       DR. ZINK:  Yeah.  I appreciate the question.                                                                           
           Unfortunately, no rubber stamp because we aren't                                                                   
 approving or disapproving of any plans.  But what I would                                                                    
 say -- it sounds like you are already looking on the CDC                                                                     
 website, and kind of a general framework that we use for                                                                     
 mitigation is thinking administrative, environmental, and then                                                               
 down to personal.                                                                                                            
           So administrative, being able to do things in                                                                      
 separate rooms, online, not having as many people in the same                                                                
 room, entrances and exits being separate, all of those things.                                                               
           And then environmental includes like airflow filters,                                                              
 increasing the air exchange rate.  That's why outside is so much                                                             
 safer than inside.  It's about the air exchange.  And really                                                                 
 using your maintenance people to take a look at that because,                                                                
 depending on what sort of filter is on the air exchange and                                                                  
 where the air moves, you want to make sure that that is done                                                                 
 thoughtfully and mindfully overall.                                                                                          
         And then the personal mitigation.  And so that's                                                                     
 where masking comes in, hand-washing, distancing, minimizing the                                                             
 number of people in the space, making sure people don't come to                                                              
 work while they're sick, making sure people are truly isolating                                                              
 and quarantining -- so if someone is diagnosed with COVID-19,                                                                
 that they are not coming into the building, that they are truly                                                              
 isolating; and anyone who is a close contact to that person, has                                                             
 been exposed for 15 minutes or more within six feet cumulatively                                                             
 over a 24-hour period, truly does quarantine for that period of                                                              
 time, either 10 days and a test, or that 14-day period and not                                                               
 coming in.  So those are other additional things that I would                                                                
 encourage people to take a look at.                                                                                          
           There's some pretty good school and business                                                                       
 guidance.  I couldn't find any  legislative-specific business on                                                             
 the CDC website when I was looking earlier, but the business                                                                 
 ones -- I think that many of the same things that you've been                                                                
 mentioning and talking about.  And, again, it's kind of like                                                                 
 going outside in the cold.  The more you can layer these things                                                              
 together, the more protected staff and legislators and others in                                                             
 the building will be.                                                                                                        
       CHAIR STEVENS:  So, Dr. Zink, we have an unusual situation                                                             
 here.  I don't know anything quite like it in the state of                                                                   
 Alaska, where somewhere under 300 people are coming together                                                                 
 into one building from all parts of the state, whether there's                                                               
 low caseloads where they're coming from or high caseloads, from                                                              
 all over the state.  Would you be at all surprised to learn that                                                             
 there have been quarantines and isolation during our time in                                                                 
       DR. ZINK:  So as you kind of bring up in your questioning,                                                             
 numbers are a big factor in this.  And the more people you have                                                              
 gathering from more different places, particularly places with a                                                             
 lot of transmission, that's just a higher risk for someone being                                                             
 asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic or pre-symptomatic and                                                                    
 accidentally spreading it to others.                                                                                         
           I will note that wearing a mask does not change the                                                                
 need to quarantine at this time.  So even if, you know, you have                                                             
 two legislators in the same room, if they had been there for an                                                              
 extended period of time together, or they'd been within six feet                                                             
 for 15 minutes or more, and one of those legislators tests                                                                   
 positive for COVID-19, two days prior to their symptom onset or                                                              
 they test positive, anyone they've  spent that time with needs                                                               
 to quarantine for either 10 days and a test or that 14-day                                                                   
 period, as we had talked about previously.                                                                                   
           That's really been the limitation on, for example,                                                                 
 schools, is just a lot of kids needing to isolate and quarantine                                                             
 as transmission can occur in those settings.  What we do see in                                                              
 schools and other places is that mitigation helps significantly.                                                             
 A lot of those kids don't end up testing positive, but it's not                                                              
 zero.  But that quarantine and isolation really helps to prevent                                                             
 the ongoing transmission.                                                                                                    
          So 300 people from all over the state in close                                                                      
 quarters, there's a definitely higher risk than two people                                                                   
 meeting on Zoom or 300 people meeting on Zoom.  And part of the                                                              
 reason our department, for example, is almost fully online                                                                   
 except for, again, the very few things that have to be done in                                                               
 person, such as running the lab itself, where you have to be in                                                              
 person to actually run the machines, things like that.                                                                       
    CHAIR STEVENS:  Right.  Right.  Well, thank you very much,                                                                
 Dr. Zink.                                                                                                                    
         We're about to wrap up here.  Any final question                                                                     
 anybody has at this time?                                                                                                    
       REPRESENTATIVE FOSTER:  Chair Stevens?                                                                                 
     CHAIR STEVENS:  Yes.  Please go ahead.  I'm not sure who                                                                 
 was speaking, but identify yourself.                                                                                         
       REPRESENTATIVE FOSTER:  Thank you.  This is Neal.                                                                      
           Amanda with Beacon, it looks like Curative Labs is                                                                 
 currently administering the tests at the Anchorage airport                                                                   
 there, and I understand Beacon will be there.  I don't know if                                                               
 you're working with Curative or -- and if not, are you setting                                                               
 up your own site there at the airport?  And, if so, will it be                                                               
 on the -- I guess which floor and what day will you be setting                                                               
           And then also has the location been determined for                                                                 
 when we arrive in Juneau where we get to get our COVID test?                                                                 
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you, Representative Foster.  That's                                                              
 a really good question because I think many of us will be                                                                    
 traveling -- well, almost all of us will be traveling.  Well,                                                                
  not all of us.  A lot of us are traveling through the Anchorage                                                             
 airport and are coming from places where it's pretty hard to get                                                             
           So could someone answer Representative Foster's                                                                    
 question?  Where and when in the Anchorage airport?                                                                          
       MS. AMANDA JOHNSON:  Yes.  This is Amanda with Beacon, and                                                             
  we are set up in the Anchorage airport.  There are two programs                                                             
 currently at the Anchorage airport.  There's Capstone that's                                                                 
 running the traveler program for the State of Alaska, which they                                                             
 do use Curative.  So if you're traveling, you do have that                                                                   
 option as a traveler for compliance with the health order that                                                               
 Dr. Zink had mentioned as it relate to intrastate travel.                                                                    
           In addition, Beacon does have an operation set up at                                                               
 the airport.  It is on the ticketing or departure level, the                                                                 
 opposite end of the airport from Alaska Airlines ticketing area,                                                             
 which is down Gate A.  And at that place, at that location we                                                                
 will have availability of testing.  We will have a combination,                                                              
 depending on your timing of coming in, of rapid testing as well                                                              
 as lab-based testing.  We use a lab called Color, very similar                                                               
 to Curative as it relates to the program setup and things for                                                                
 resulting.  As well as timeliness of results.                                                                                
           And then, again, we have rapid testing in                                                                          
 places -- well, and we also have a location in Fairbanks for                                                                 
 those traveling through Fairbanks, where Beacon is supporting                                                                
 the State of Alaska with the travel program for the intrastate                                                               
 travel as well as interstate travel.  And we also have some                                                                  
 availability to support this contract from that location.  At                                                                
 that location, we are located at Baggage Claim 2 on the main                                                                 
 level of the airport there.                                                                                                  
           In addition, we will have a location here in Juneau.                                                               
 We'll have a couple locations.  We will have a small setup for                                                               
 testing at the capitol for anyone who comes in with their                                                                    
 screening and has an immediate need for testing and/or primarily                                                             
 located there for their regular cycle testing.                                                                               
           We are, however, also working with the airport as                                                                  
 well at a local hotel to secure space for the cycle testing                                                                  
 and/or your arrival testing for a convenient location so that we                                                             
 minimize the crowd and the activity of testing at the capitol as                                                             
 much as possible for the specific needs of capitol testing, and                                                              
 then have those available options.  And we are finalizing that,                                                              
 as well as working specifically with Jessica during that -- for                                                              
 that process, for the location at the capitol.  So that should                                                               
 be forthcoming here in the next day or so.                                                                                   
       CHAIR STEVENS:  So to Representative Foster's question,                                                                
 and then also the answer that was given to Senator Begich, to                                                                
 test one to two days before and then test on the fifth through                                                               
 the seventh day, what you're saying to Representative Foster is,                                                             
 if he can't get a test in Nome, he should get a test, I assume,                                                              
 in the Anchorage airport, and then day five or seven after that.                                                             
 Is that true?  Do I have that right?                                                                                         
       MS. AMANDA JOHNSON:  Yes.  If he is unable to test in                                                                  
 Nome, for example, he would test at the Anchorage airport prior                                                              
 to his connection, and we do have a protocol in place that                                                                   
 individuals will test.  If you test the one to three days prior,                                                             
  as Dr. Zink mentioned, which is in line with the health order,                                                              
 then, in fact, we also have a testing protocol in place to test                                                              
 within 24 hours of entry to the capitol and then again that                                                                  
 three to four days later, hitting that five-day mark, again, as                                                              
 Dr. Zink has outlined.                                                                                                       
           And so we do have that testing schedule.  We are                                                                   
 finalizing that into various categories, which are, you know,                                                                
 those that are Juneau-based, those that are coming in to Juneau                                                              
 for 90 days, and those that intend to travel throughout the                                                                  
 session and maybe leave Juneau multiple times, and what                                                                      
 that -- what you should expect from a testing protocol, so to                                                                
 speak.  And we're finalizing that as of some conversations late                                                              
 last week, and we'll release that out to everyone with updated                                                               
 frequently-asked-questions here in the next day or so.                                                                       
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Well, I appreciate that, Amanda, and                                                                   
 you'll be coming with those recommendations.                                                                                 
           Representative Foster, is that understandable to you?                                                              
 Does that make sense, that -- can you get tested in Nome, or do                                                              
 you have to get tested in Anchorage?                                                                                         
       REPRESENTATIVE FOSTER:  Oh, she answered my question                                                                   
 perfectly.  Thank you.                                                                                                       
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Yes.  Okay.  Great.  Thank you.                                                                        
           So we do need to move on.  It's been an hour, and I                                                                
 really appreciate your spending your time with us.  But before                                                               
 we do conclude, are there any other questions anyone would like                                                              
 to pose at this time?                                                                                                        
       SENATOR GIESSEL:  Mr. Chairman?                                                                                        
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Yes?                                                                                                   
       SENATOR GIESSEL:  This is Senator Giessel.                                                                             
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Senator Giessel, please go ahead.                                                                      
     SENATOR GIESSEL:  Mr. Chairman, I wanted to have Dr. Zink                                                                
 comment on the virus variants that are cropping up.  Last week                                                               
 the news carried a story about a variant of the COVID virus that                                                             
 was occurring in South Africa that appeared to have higher                                                                   
 mortality.  Today I read about the U.K., which has a variant                                                                 
 emerging, and it has cropped up in Canada due to travel,                                                                     
 apparently in Quebec and also in British Columbia, folks that                                                                
  had been in the U.K. over the holidays, traveled home, and were                                                             
 carrying the virus.                                                                                                          
           I just wanted to offer Dr. Zink an opportunity to                                                                  
 comment on that.                                                                                                             
       DR. ZINK:  Yes.  Thank you, Senator.  I appreciate the                                                                 
           We do see that this virus continues to change.  We                                                                 
  have seen variants previously that look like it had become more                                                             
 contagious, however not more lethal, not more likely to cause                                                                
 more deaths from the disease.  We are following these variants                                                               
 closely.  In fact, the CDC reporting on the U.K. one was                                                                     
  extensive this morning, and they do have a website up about it.                                                             
 Both the South Africa as well as the U.K. variant appear to                                                                  
 spread more easily, yet, again, don't cause higher rates of                                                                  
           The U.K. variant causes what we call an S-dropout, so                                                              
 one of the testing components, that you lose a little bit of                                                                 
 that arm.  However, what we see right now is it does not appear                                                              
 to impact the vaccine's effectiveness, so that is being studied,                                                             
 as well as other things like the monoclonal antibodies.  It may                                                              
 affect convalescent plasma, so trying to understand that better.                                                             
           The federal government did require a test prior to                                                                 
 traveling from the U.K. starting today.  It rolled out today.                                                                
 And there was messaging from the CDC about, again, using a                                                                   
 two-test strategy, a test prior to traveling as well as a test                                                               
 after travel, in combination with staying home as a way to                                                                   
 decrease the transmission associated with this virus, given that                                                             
 it's a new, more contagious spread -- a new contagious strain                                                                
 that we're seeing in the U.K. right now.                                                                                     
           So we're continuing to follow it closely, and we're                                                                
 internally discussing just about what that looks like in the                                                                 
 U.K.  And, as you mentioned, it's been seen in Canada.  There's                                                              
 a lot of genetic sequencing going on continue U.S. right now.  I                                                             
 don't think any of us would be surprised if it was in the U.S.                                                               
 at this time.  However, it has not yet been identified, and we                                                               
 are also looking through both our S-dropout cases as well as                                                                 
 genetic sequencing to see if it's appeared here in Alaska.  At                                                               
 this time we have no evidence that it has.                                                                                   
       SENATOR GIESSEL:  Thank you, Dr. Zink, for emphasizing                                                                 
 masking and constraining our travel.                                                                                         
           Thank you, Mr. Chairman.                                                                                           
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you, Senator Giessel.                                                                            
       SENATOR HOFFMAN:  This is Senator Hoffman.                                                                             
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Senator Hoffman, please go ahead.                                                                      
     SENATOR HOFFMAN:  Yes.  Dr. Zink, I'm planning to have my                                                                
 first shot probably within the next 10 days, and then three                                                                  
 weeks after that my second shot.  So as the Legislature                                                                      
 transitions to getting their virus shots, what, if any,                                                                      
 different protocols do they have to follow or that are                                                                       
 recommended by the department between -- after the first shot                                                                
  and then after the second shot?  Are there different protocols?                                                             
       DR. ZINK:  Thank you for that question, sir.                                                                           
           At this time, no.  These vaccines were studied for                                                                 
 how significantly they made you ill, not on your ability to                                                                  
 spread the disease to others.  Some early data out of Moderna                                                                
 suggested they may decrease transmission, and that is being                                                                  
 actively studied for both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, but                                                               
 at this time we do not have data to say it's time to stop                                                                    
  mask-wearing, distancing, minimizing your interactions based on                                                             
 these vaccines at this time.                                                                                                 
           We're hopeful that more data will come out soon that                                                               
  will show that are you less likely to transmit the disease, but                                                             
 we do not have that as of yet.  So at this time no change in                                                                 
 recommendations for travel, masking, distancing, or anything                                                                 
 like that post-vaccine versus pre-vaccine.                                                                                   
       SENATOR HOFFMAN:  Thank you.                                                                                           
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you.                                                                                             
       REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON:  I have a question.                                                                           
       CHAIR STEVENS:  And who is that?                                                                                       
       REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON:  This is Representative Thompson.                                                             
    CHAIR STEVENS:  Representative Thompson?  Please go ahead,                                                                
 Representative Thompson.                                                                                                     
       REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON:  Yeah.  I have a question for                                                                 
 Beacon.  I'm curious.  About a month and a half ago my family                                                                
 and I had to travel to Arizona for a family funeral, and upon                                                                
 returning we got tested at the airport.  And we quarantined                                                                  
 completely out of town, and seven days after we returned, we                                                                 
 drove back to the airport and had our second test.  We hadn't                                                                
 got the results of the first test yet.                                                                                       
           So the next day, which was eight days after our first                                                              
 test, my wife and son got their results that they were negative                                                              
 at that time.  And this is eight days after my test, they came                                                               
 back and said, "Sorry, we broke your vial.  You need to test                                                                 
           Well, we had gone back after seven days.  The day                                                                  
 before that we did our second test.  It took another eight days                                                              
 for me to get -- all three of us to get the results of our                                                                   
 second test.  I was wondering about the length of time and the                                                               
 length of waiting for these results.                                                                                         
       MS. AMANDA JOHNSON:  Yes.  Thank you for that question,                                                                
 and certainly the clarification.                                                                                             
           We have had some challenges throughout this pandemic                                                               
 with some of the resulting and timeliness of that resulting.                                                                 
 What has taken place is -- and, Dr. Zink, you can correct me as                                                              
 you wish here.  The traveler program, which is what you                                                                      
 experienced at that time for the Fairbanks airport, is a                                                                     
  partnership with the State of Alaska, and we are leveraging the                                                             
 virology lab there in Fairbanks using the BTM that that lab                                                                  
 produces, as well as using them for resulting.                                                                               
           And so there have been a few times in the series of                                                                
 this program where there's been significant increases in                                                                     
 testing, which results in delays of receiving those results from                                                             
 the virology lab.                                                                                                            
           In addition, there was a batch -- or have been a few                                                               
 batches of the vials that have been compromised, as those are                                                                
 chilled and frozen vials.  And they, in the field, break, you                                                                
 know, when they're thawing out that last time in the virology                                                                
 lab.  So we have continued to work very closely on that.                                                                     
           What I will advise -- and I'll pause there if                                                                      
 Dr. Zink wants to correct me on anything.  The real situation                                                                
 there is when the lab gets, you know, an influx of testing, it                                                               
 has a trickle effect on how quickly we're receiving those and                                                                
 resulting those, and then using state resources as much as                                                                   
 possible during these times.                                                                                                 
           So, Dr. Zink, do you want to correct me on anything                                                                
 in that statement and in that experience?                                                                                    
       DR. ZINK:  I appreciate the question.  First of all, you                                                               
 know, I'm really sorry that you had that experience.  Turnaround                                                             
 time is essential to try and make sure we identify cases early.                                                              
 There have been some significant challenges, and I think Amanda                                                              
 pointed out many of those, and I appreciate that.                                                                            
           I would echo her statement that many of those things                                                               
 have been worked out.  We encourage people to continue to check                                                              
 their spam box, because it's impressive how many times that's                                                                
 still where they go.                                                                                                         
           The turnaround time has radically improved, partially                                                              
 because of a lot of effort and time for IC in trying to                                                                      
 streamline the process, as well as the fact that as we've had a                                                              
 decrease in cases around the state, as well as increasing                                                                    
 testing options, including private options that weren't                                                                      
 available, our turnaround time has significantly improved since                                                              
           I think what we'll continue to see is if our cases                                                                 
 continue to decline, our turnaround time will stay quick.                                                                    
 However, if our cases start to increase again, everything just                                                               
 kind of gets gummed up through the entire system, and things                                                                 
 take a lot longer.                                                                                                           
           So looking at the state turnaround time right now,                                                                 
 1.5 days, facility turnaround time is .7 days, and commercial                                                                
 turnaround time is 1.4 days. that all publicly displayed on our                                                              
 dashboard because that turnaround time is essential to make sure                                                             
 people get notified as quickly as possible to their test                                                                     
       REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON:  Thank you very much.                                                                         
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you, Representative Thompson.                                                                    
       MS. AMANDA JOHNSON:  I'll add to that just for                                                                         
  clarification.  For this program in supporting the legislative                                                              
 group, we are using a commercial solution.  So as Dr. Zink                                                                   
 outlined those turnaround times, we are using a commercial                                                                   
 solution for this testing support mechanism.                                                                                 
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you, Amanda, Dr. Zink, and                                                                       
 Representative Thompson.                                                                                                     
           A final question, I think.  Representative Stutes.                                                                 
       VICE-CHAIR STUTES:  Thank you, Mr. Chair.                                                                              
           And this might be for Jessica.  I'm not sure, but                                                                  
 I've heard a lot of talk about the protocols for the legislators                                                             
 and their staff.  Are there any protocols in place for spouses                                                               
 or family members coming to Juneau?                                                                                          
       MS. GEARY:  Thank you.  Through the Chair, Representative                                                              
 Stutes, the way that the policy was looked at was that anybody                                                               
 covered under the Legislative Council moving and travel policy,                                                              
 which is otherwise known as the relocation policy, does include                                                              
 spouses and dependents.  So anybody outside of that would be                                                                 
 responsible for paying for their own test or, in the case of                                                                 
  right now, they're not allowed in the capitol.  But, I mean, to                                                             
 answer your specific question, spouses and dependents would be                                                               
 covered under this protocol.                                                                                                 
       VICE-CHAIR STUTES:  Follow up?                                                                                         
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Yes, a follow-up, please.                                                                              
       VICE-CHAIR STUTES:  Thank you.                                                                                         
          So they would be able to be tested through the                                                                      
 company we have in place, and then they would be allowed to come                                                             
 into the capitol; is that correct?                                                                                           
    MS. GEARY:  Through the Chair, Representative Stutes, yes,                                                                
 that is the intent.                                                                                                          
       VICE-CHAIR STUTES:  Thank you.                                                                                         
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Okay.  Well, thank you all for your                                                                    
 questions.  Thank you, Dr. Zink and Amanda.  We certainly have                                                               
 the greatest respect -- I want to thank you on the part of                                                                   
 Legislature for what you are doing and treating all people.  I                                                               
 know you are an emergency doctor as well, Dr. Zink, and I know                                                               
 that's got to be another taxing part of your job.  But I                                                                     
 think -- I really want to appreciate -- I really want to express                                                             
 my appreciation for your being with us, for taking the time.                                                                 
 And if we have further questions, we will contact you probably                                                               
 through Jessica.                                                                                                             
           But, again, thank you very much, both Dr. Zink and                                                                 
 Amanda, for being here with us today.                                                                                        
       DR. ZINK:  Thank you so much for the time, sir, and I'm                                                                
 always happy to come back and answer any other questions.  I                                                                 
 appreciate all that you all are doing.                                                                                       
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Well, thank you.                                                                                       
B.  COVID ENFORCEMENT POLICY                                                                                                  
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Let's move on, then, to the COVID                                                                      
 Enforcement Policy.  I'd ask Representative Stutes for a motion.                                                             
       VICE-CHAIR STUTES:  Certainly, Mr. Chair.                                                                              
           3:16:17 PM                                                                                                       
           I move that Legislative Council approve the COVID                                                                  
 Enforcement Policy.                                                                                                          
       CHAIR STEVENS:  And I'll object for purposes of discussion                                                             
 and maybe to explain that we have been asked what our rules are,                                                             
 our enforcement.  We left them pretty vague, saying it was up to                                                             
 individual legislators.  Both the President and the Speaker have                                                             
 pointed out how vague that is and have requested this meeting so                                                             
 we could revisit that enforcement policy.                                                                                    
           So we have prepared this COVID Enforcement Policy.                                                                 
 We've had a chance to read through it.  I've asked both Megan                                                                
 and Jessica to look at it carefully, and I appreciate their                                                                  
 efforts here.                                                                                                                
           You know, it's not their policy; it's really our                                                                   
  policy, and so I just ask Jessica and Megan, if you could begin                                                             
 by walking through that document.  And it's the COVID                                                                        
 Enforcement Policy, and it's very specific.  It begins with "A                                                               
 member who refuses."                                                                                                         
           So, Jessica, could you and Megan take us through the                                                               
 steps of this policy?                                                                                                        
       MS. GEARY:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  For the record,                                                                  
 Jessica Geary, executive director of Legislative Affairs.  And I                                                             
 think I will start out, and then I will let Megan add any                                                                    
 comments that she wishes to add.                                                                                             
          So as was mentioned, this policy really became                                                                      
 necessary because, as we started looking at session beginning                                                                
 January 19th, both bodies are not yet organized, and, really,                                                                
 these protocols will take effect as soon as legislators and                                                                  
 staff start arriving in Juneau and undergoing the testing and                                                                
 screening protocol.                                                                                                          
           So just simply going through these little bullets,                                                                 
 the first one is:  Any member who refuses to have their                                                                      
 temperature taken or answer the health screening questions will                                                              
 be denied entrance to the capitol.                                                                                           
           Any member who refuses to wear a face covering will                                                                
 be escorted by the contractor to their individual office, where                                                              
 they shall remain.                                                                                                           
           Any member who refuses to undergo testing will be                                                                  
 reported to the presiding officer and rules chair of their                                                                   
 respective body, as well as the LAA executive director for                                                                   
 appropriate action, if any.                                                                                                  
           Any member who screens positive for symptoms will be                                                               
 escorted to the on-site testing location for further screening                                                               
 and testing.  A member who tests positive for the virus may not                                                              
 gain access to the capitol until their quarantine period is                                                                  
 over, as prescribed by Beacon.                                                                                               
           Any member who is identified as a close contact of a                                                               
   known positive will self-quarantine, as prescribed by Beacon.                                                              
           It is the intent of Legislative Council that a member                                                              
 quarantining shall be excused from the call of the House under                                                               
  Uniform Rules 15 and 16.  In the absence of a presiding officer                                                             
 or a presumptive presiding officer on the first day of the first                                                             
 session of the 32nd Legislature, this policy will be enforced by                                                             
 the sergeant-at-arms and/or legislative security.                                                                            
           Megan, do you have anything to add before it's opened                                                              
 up for questions?                                                                                                            
       MS. WALLACE:  Sorry.  I was on mute.  For the record, this                                                             
 is Megan Wallace, Legal Services director.                                                                                   
           Jessica, I don't have too much to add.  I would just                                                               
 emphasize that when these policies need to begin being enforced,                                                             
  we will still be within the 31st Alaska State Legislature.  And                                                             
 so, in my opinion, it is appropriate that this group, and the                                                                
 current presiding officers, make policy decisions about how                                                                  
  these policies that Legislative Council has already passed will                                                             
 be enforced amongst members as we approach the next session.                                                                 
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you, Jessica and Megan.                                                                          
           So keep focused on the idea that this is interim.                                                                  
 This is only -- these rules only apply until we have a new                                                                   
  President and a Speaker.  It is pretty extraordinary, but, you                                                              
 know, we know the fears that many of our employees have,                                                                     
  concerns they have, the questioned health conditions that they                                                              
 have that we may not even be aware of, that people are concerned                                                             
 about what may happen to them and even are considering maybe not                                                             
 working for us if they don't feel safe.                                                                                      
           So I'd appreciate any discussion on this to see what                                                               
 anybody has to say.  Please go ahead.                                                                                        
     SENATOR GIESSEL:  Mr. Chairman, this is Senator Giessel.                                                                 
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Senator Giessel?                                                                                       
       SENATOR GIESSEL:  So it might be important, perhaps, to                                                                
 lay a groundwork for everyone on the call to have considered the                                                             
 document entitled In Support of Safe Session and Enforcement                                                                 
 Policies.  I want to thank Jessica and Megan, who worked on this                                                             
           One of the things that we talked about in our last                                                                 
 Legislative Council meeting was the legal issues to placing                                                                  
 constraints on legislators.  And one of the things that the                                                                  
 Speaker and I discussed after that meeting was the fact that we                                                              
 are employers, and as employers we have a responsibility to                                                                  
 provide a safe workplace.  And that was really the seed that                                                                 
 began this document In Support of Safe Session and Enforcement                                                               
         So maybe it would be helpful to talk about these                                                                     
 before we go into the enforcement part, talk about the why                                                                   
 before we get to the how.                                                                                                    
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Sure.  That's a good point.  We have                                                                   
 not -- we don't have that on the agenda, but it fits right in                                                                
 here.  It's a two-page document that you have.  The title is In                                                              
 Support of Safe Session and Enforcement Policies, and it goes                                                                
 into great detail.                                                                                                           
           Maybe, Megan, could you run us through that document?                                                              
       MS. WALLACE:  Certainly.  Again, just for the record,                                                                  
 Megan Wallace, Legal Services director.                                                                                      
           So the document that Senator Giessel just referenced                                                               
 that we're looking at titled In Support of Safe Session and                                                                  
 Enforcement Policies -- so what this document does is provide                                                                
 some information that has recently come out or has information                                                               
  that has evolved as we've gone through this pandemic, you know,                                                             
 almost, I think, nine -- almost 10 months at this point.                                                                     
           And so what you're going to see in this document is                                                                
  information from the CDC, and starting in the fourth paragraph                                                              
 there is updated information from the Equal Employment                                                                       
 Opportunity Commission, or the EEOC.  And so that is information                                                             
 regarding how, from a legal perspective, testing requirements or                                                             
 allowable exceptions work from an employment perspective.                                                                    
           And so the paragraphs that follow there -- and I                                                                   
 won't go into any detail unless anyone has any questions, but it                                                             
 just explains that there are serious EEOC, you know, Title VII                                                               
  civil rights issues that have been examined, and we are getting                                                             
 federal guidance from EEOC as well as OSHA and other agencies                                                                
 about how to properly administer and enforce mitigation policies                                                             
 similar to the ones that are before this body, whether it                                                                    
 relates to testing requirements or mask requirements.                                                                        
           And it's at least noteworthy to note that many or                                                                  
 almost every critical work industry has mitigation procedures                                                                
 that are required because, from an employment and legal                                                                      
 standpoint, there are duties that employers have to take some                                                                
 steps to ensure that workers are in a safe environment when they                                                             
 report to work, and that they are at least doing their due                                                                   
 diligence in ensuring that they won't be infected at work.                                                                   
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you, Megan.  A very important                                                                    
           It honestly reminds me of when my son went to camp                                                                 
 and he was asked if he was allergic to anything.  And he said he                                                             
 was allergic to dishwashing, and then he signed his mother's                                                                 
 name to it.                                                                                                                  
           So that's one thing that bothers me about it, is that                                                              
 health is not just an out for anybody who doesn't want to wear a                                                             
 mask.  Can we assure that this is not just a safe out for people                                                             
 that don't want to follow the rules?  And that's a question to                                                               
 you, Megan.                                                                                                                  
    MS. WALLACE:  So the rules that apply for these mitigation                                                                
 requirements, whether it's testing or mask-wearing, they aren't                                                              
 necessarily intended -- they're intended to protect all                                                                      
 employees, both the mask-wearer and the other people that are                                                                
 employed in the same building, to ensure that everyone stays                                                                 
 protected.  And if you have, you know, potentially, as I think                                                               
 the health experts just went through -- that those                                                                           
 protections -- if not everyone is participating, the risks to                                                                
 those other employees arguably, from a legal perspective, are                                                                
 infringed upon.                                                                                                              
       MS. GEARY:  And I think I might add to that, if I could.                                                               
 This is Jessica Geary again.                                                                                                 
           I think perhaps what you're referring to is somebody                                                               
 saying, "Well, I, you know, have this certain religion, so I                                                                 
 don't want to wear a mask," or something along those lines.  And                                                             
 I think -- you know, I met with Skiff Lobaugh, our human                                                                     
 resources manager, earlier, and we talked about the                                                                          
 investigating that goes into ADA compliance.  He is our ADA                                                                  
 compliance coordinator.                                                                                                      
           And so I think the religious exemption is a little                                                                 
 different.  We see it at schools.  Doctors see it for, you know,                                                             
 avoiding getting their children vaccinated, and that's a very                                                                
  specific form that they would have to sign.  And then as far as                                                             
 the ADA, that would be -- they would report something to HR, who                                                             
 would begin an investigation.  And so he's working on forms                                                                  
 right now which we would provide to the contractors.                                                                         
           So I don't -- it won't be as simple as "I don't want                                                               
 to do this."  There will have to be actual reasons                                                                           
 behind -- legitimate reasons behind why a certain person does                                                                
 not want to follow the protocols.                                                                                            
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Okay.  Thank you.  So it's a serious                                                                   
 issue, not to be taken lightly, and it has to be explained and                                                               
 approved.  And then there will have to be discussion to                                                                      
 determine if there is an accommodation possible.  Okay.  Thank                                                               
 you so much.                                                                                                                 
           So we've gone through this In Support of Safe Session                                                              
 and Enforcement Policies.  Is there any question on that                                                                     
 document before we get back to the document in front of us?                                                                  
           Thank you, Senator Giessel, for bringing this up.  Do                                                              
 you have any further thoughts before we go on?                                                                               
       SENATOR GIESSEL:  Well, Mr. Chairman, one of the                                                                       
 paragraphs in this document that was helpful to me starts out by                                                             
 saying, "Historically, members have been denied access to the                                                                
 floor for failing to be in proper attire, having perceived                                                                   
 improper dress as a violation in floor decorum."                                                                             
           One of the things I know this committee has wrestled                                                               
 with, and certainly the Speaker and I have wrestled with, is                                                                 
 denying someone access to the floor if they don't have a mask                                                                
 on.  But in this scenario that we're living in right now, a mask                                                             
 is part of floor decorum, and so I appreciated that paragraph,                                                               
 Mr. Chairman.                                                                                                                
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you, Senator Giessel.  Right on.                                                                 
    REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON:  Mr. Chair, DeLena Johnson.  May I                                                                
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Representative Johnson, yes, please go                                                                 
     REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON:  Well, first of all, when we talk                                                                
 about masks, I think it's a whole lot different to talk about                                                                
 someone's tie than whether they're wearing a mask.  And if we                                                                
 are talking about this as a health issue, that's one thing.  But                                                             
 the chambers belong to the Speaker or the President as far as                                                                
 establishing the decorum.  What I'm hearing excluded from this                                                               
  discussion is the need and our huge responsibility to make sure                                                             
 that we're not disenfranchising people by not allowing their                                                                 
 legislators to vote.                                                                                                         
           And I think that that's something that -- now, we may                                                              
 be, you know, careful about all of these things.  We also may                                                                
 need to help people identify when they are at risk and when they                                                             
 may need to exclude themselves, if necessary.  But when we start                                                             
 making exclusions, we have to be very, very, very careful,                                                                   
 especially before -- when we're talking about this Legislature                                                               
 making rules for a Legislature that has not yet formed,                                                                      
 especially when the driving force probably -- may or may not                                                                 
 actually be participating in the future.                                                                                     
           So I want to be cognizant that it's the Speaker's                                                                  
 chambers, it's the President's chambers, and they will make                                                                  
 their rules about their chambers.                                                                                            
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Oh, absolutely.  And so right from the                                                                 
 beginning we have talked about how important it is that you                                                                  
 realize that we're just dealing with this Legislature, which                                                                 
  ends in January when the next Legislature -- the next President                                                             
  and Speaker are elected.  So we are in no way telling them what                                                             
 they have to do, but we are giving them an option and some                                                                   
 opportunities and some direction they can choose, should they                                                                
 want to.                                                                                                                     
           So the issue of voting -- that is an important one,                                                                
 and we have talked about that a lot.                                                                                         
           Megan, we have talked at one point about if someone                                                                
 was excluded from the floor -- maybe they have COVID and they're                                                             
 in their office or in their home.  They could -- we were talking                                                             
 about finding a way to let them vote.  Can you talk about that a                                                             
 little bit, maybe letting them be in their office if they refuse                                                             
 to wear a mask and vote from their office?  Do you have any                                                                  
 thoughts on that?                                                                                                            
    MS. WALLACE:  Sure.  Again, for the record, Megan Wallace,                                                                
 Legal Services director.                                                                                                     
           So, you know, the concept of denying access to the                                                                 
 floor is something that should not be taken lightly, but the                                                                 
 mask requirement in the midst of a pandemic -- it's                                                                          
 difficult -- certainly we don't have any -- you know, this issue                                                             
 has never come up in Alaska.                                                                                                 
           If this body adopts this enforcement policy or takes                                                               
 this step, it wouldn't be unique amongst legislatures.  The U.S.                                                             
 House, for example, has a mask mandate, and you must wear a mask                                                             
 to get on the U.S. House of Representatives floor.  I believe                                                                
 that other states have adopted similar requirements.  I don't                                                                
 have an active list to give you, but this is a debate that is                                                                
 being had around the country, and a lot of legislatures are                                                                  
 struggling to decide this question that is before you.                                                                       
           And, really, it's a policy decision in terms of                                                                    
 whether you recommend to exclude or to not exclude someone based                                                             
 on whether they're wearing a mask.  But from my perspective,                                                                 
 while it's difficult to predict, there's always a risk that if                                                               
 someone were denied access to the floor, that there would be a                                                               
 legal challenge.  But doing my best to assess, you know, risks                                                               
 and whatnot, it's my opinion that the mask requirement would                                                                 
  likely stand legal challenge; but just, again, reiterating that                                                             
 it would be a matter of first impression here in Alaska.                                                                     
       SENATOR BEGICH:  Mr. Chairman?                                                                                         
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you, Megan.                                                                                      
           Yes, Senator Begich?                                                                                               
       SENATOR BEGICH:  Yeah.  Just a couple comments I want to                                                               
 make in regards to this whole sort of segment of the                                                                         
 conversation.  First off, right now, if I were to show up on the                                                             
 floor of the Senate without proper clothing and decorum, I could                                                             
 be removed from the chamber, and I would obviously not have the                                                              
 opportunity to vote, whereas under these guidelines, if you were                                                             
 removed from the chamber for not wearing a mask, you actually                                                                
 would still have the opportunity potentially to vote from your                                                               
 own office.                                                                                                                  
           So in that regard, it's actually less restrictive                                                                  
  than the current dress code requirements that would ostensibly                                                              
 keep one from voting their constituents' needs.  So right now                                                                
 we're already under a stricter limit.                                                                                        
         Second, there is a difference, as Representative                                                                     
 Johnson points out, between wearing a mask and wearing a tie.                                                                
 If I don't wear a tie, I'm not likely to either infect or                                                                    
 potentially put at risk my fellow legislators.  However, if I                                                                
 don't wear a mask, I am more likely to pose that risk.  So it                                                                
 seems to me that one is actually of a higher level than the                                                                  
           So I just wanted to really lay out what is odd about                                                               
 this conversation.  Today, if I showed up in bare feet and no                                                                
 tie and no jacket, I would be asked to leave the chamber.  And                                                               
 that, to me, would deny that right to vote, and that is                                                                      
 something we have all accepted for literally decades.  So the                                                                
 idea that not wearing a mask would somehow create a greater                                                                  
 burden than that -- I mean, wearing a mask could create a                                                                    
 greater burden than that, I just don't -- I don't see it, and so                                                             
 I'm fully in support of these policies.                                                                                      
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you, Senator Begich.  If you just                                                                
 wore a mask -- I was going to say if you just wore a mask and no                                                             
 clothes, you'd still be ejected.                                                                                             
         So somebody else has a comment there.  Go ahead.                                                                     
    REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON:  Well, I guess it depends on where                                                                
 you wear the mask, but let's -- I guess my concern -- I go                                                                   
 back -- if we're going to follow CDC guidelines and we're going                                                              
 to talk about excluding travel from our discussion, we're                                                                    
 picking and choosing the mask.  And, you know, I'm not -- I                                                                  
 don't have opinions myself on the mask and a -- where I have a                                                               
 concern about.                                                                                                               
           I actually have more concern about people traveling                                                                
 home and infecting other communities or picking up infections                                                                
 and bringing them back to the capitol.  I think we're more at                                                                
 risk from that than if we keep our Legislature -- I mean, I                                                                  
 think discouraging travel, whether we can -- whether we can                                                                  
  discourage it or whether we can prohibit it is one thing.  But,                                                             
 I mean, this seems like we're picking and choosing CDC                                                                       
 guidelines.  That's all I want to say.                                                                                       
           I think there's numerous things that we have to be                                                                 
  very, very careful with.  I'm taking this under advisement.  We                                                             
 have a new -- we have a new Legislature coming in.  Things are                                                               
 changing on a day-to-day basis, and I just clearly wanted to                                                                 
 make sure that this doesn't -- I'm going in with an open mind                                                                
 for the Legislature when it convenes, and I think that's                                                                     
 important for us to do.  This is a three-week --                                                                             
       REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON:  Mr. Chairman --                                                                                
       REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON:  This is really three weeks of                                                                 
        CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you, Representative Johnson.                                                                    
           And is that Senator Begich?                                                                                        
       REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON:  Mr. Chairman, Representative                                                                   
 Edgmon here.                                                                                                                 
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Oh, I'm sorry.  Representative Edgmon,                                                                 
 please, go ahead.                                                                                                            
       REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON:  I just want to point out that I                                                                
 think the body itself, both the House or the Senate, has the                                                                 
 ability to make the decision about removing a member based on                                                                
 decorum reasons.  And I don't have the Mason's rule right in                                                                 
 front of me, but maybe I can ask Megan to address that, because                                                              
 I remember we came very close to doing that in the House on at                                                               
 least one or two occasions, having a vote, having a rules                                                                    
 chairman stand up and make a motion, and then just sort of                                                                   
 collectively making that decision, as opposed to the presiding                                                               
 officer having to be the arbitrator on something that -- I                                                                   
 completely align myself with Senator Begich's comments.  This is                                                             
 bizarre that we're even making these comparisons --                                                                          
       REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON:  -- between clothing items and                                                                  
 wearing a face mask, for God's sake.  But can we get our Leg                                                                 
 Legal director to opine on that, please?                                                                                     
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Sure.  Thank you, Mr. Speaker.  I                                                                      
 appreciate the question.                                                                                                     
           And, Megan, can you remind us of what needs to take                                                                
 place to remove a member from the floor?                                                                                     
       MS. WALLACE:  Sure.  So what potentially we are talking                                                                
 about is a member to be denied access to the floor before a                                                                  
 session has really even been called to order.  So potentially if                                                             
  a member is not wearing a mask, the sergeant-at-arms, you know,                                                             
 would let that member know that they're not permitted to enter                                                               
 the floor until, you know, they have a mask on and they abide by                                                             
 this enforcement policy.                                                                                                     
           But in terms of general rules for removal of a member                                                              
 from the floor, there are certain sections in Mason's that                                                                   
 govern decorum, which starts at Section 120 of Mason's and goes                                                              
 through Section 126.  And so -- forgive me.  It's been a little                                                              
 while since I've looked through those, and I don't want to keep                                                              
 you paused while I sit here and read through them to make sure                                                               
 that I'm articulating them correctly, but there generally are                                                                
  procedural motions that are going to be available, whether they                                                             
 come from a rules chair or another member, asking permission                                                                 
 from the body that the member be asked to leave the chamber,                                                                 
 whether it's for decorum or some other rules violation.                                                                      
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Okay.  Thank you, Megan.                                                                               
           Jessica, one issue, of course, is we do not want to                                                                
 disenfranchise anybody.  We want to make sure everyone has a                                                                 
 chance to vote.  Now, we have talked about allowing people to                                                                
 vote from their office.  Is that still an option for us?                                                                     
       MS. GEARY:  Chair Stevens, again, for the record, Jessica                                                              
           So there are some issues with remote voting.  So,                                                                  
 yes, technically it can be done.  It does require a rule change,                                                             
 and there's a couple different mechanisms in which members could                                                             
 remote vote.  So I think that's a policy decision that hasn't                                                                
 been fully made yet, but the short answer is, yes, it is                                                                     
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Okay.  Thank you.                                                                                      
         So we need to move on.  We've got this document,                                                                     
 two-page document, In Support of Safe Session and Enforcement                                                                
 Policies.  We've gone to that as we were discussing the issue                                                                
 ahead of us, which is enforcement of Legislative Council                                                                     
 mitigation policies.  Is there anything further anybody has to                                                               
 say about that, In Support of Safe Session and Enforcement                                                                   
     SENATOR GIESSEL:  Mr. Chairman, this is Senator Giessel.                                                                 
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Yes, Senator Giessel?                                                                                  
       SENATOR GIESSEL:  I apologize.  This feels like it's                                                                   
 beating a dead horse here, but the fact of the matter is, I'm                                                                
 going to go back to our responsibility to provide a safe                                                                     
 workplace, and to have legislators disregarding those safe                                                                   
 workplace policies creates quite a dilemma for our staff, not                                                                
 only the staff on the floor but the staff in our offices who                                                                 
 could have these legislators walking in, unmasked.  This                                                                     
 is -- we have a dual responsibility here.  I fully appreciate                                                                
 the fact that people have a right to come onto the floor, but in                                                             
 this scenario of a pandemic with rather serious illnesses and                                                                
 potential side effects, we have to look at our responsibility as                                                             
 employers and each of us looking after each other.                                                                           
           Thank you, Mr. Chairman.                                                                                           
        CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you, Madam President.  You're                                                                   
 absolutely right.  We have an enormous responsibility to our                                                                 
 employees.  We have to provide them with a safe workplace, and                                                               
  particularly if they are -- some have compromised immune system                                                             
 concerns about their health--then we have to provide -- make                                                                 
 sure that they can confidently come to work.                                                                                 
           So if there's nothing else on this document that we                                                                
 have been looking at, In Support of Safe Session and Enforcement                                                             
 Policies, let's return to the enforcement of Legislative Council                                                             
 mitigation policies.  We have that motion before us.  Any                                                                    
 comments or questions before we take action on that?                                                                         
             Jessica, can we have a roll call, please?                                                                        
       MS. GEARY:  Senator Begich?                                                                                            
       SENATOR BEGICH:  Yes.                                                                                                  
       MS. GEARY:  Senator Coghill?                                                                                           
           Senate President Giessel?                                                                                          
       SENATOR GIESSEL:  Yes.                                                                                                 
       MS. GEARY:  Senator Hoffman?                                                                                           
       SENATOR HOFFMAN:  Yes.                                                                                                 
       MS. GEARY:  Senator Stedman?                                                                                           
       SENATOR STEDMAN:  Yes.                                                                                                 
       MS. GEARY:  Senator von Imhof?                                                                                         
       SENATOR VON IMHOF:  Yes.                                                                                               
       MS. GEARY:  Speaker Edgmon?                                                                                            
       REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON:  Yes.                                                                                           
       MS. GEARY:  Representative Foster?                                                                                     
       REPRESENTATIVE FOSTER:  Yes.                                                                                           
       MS. GEARY:  Representative DeLena Johnson?                                                                             
       REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON:  No.                                                                                           
       MS. GEARY:  Representative Jennifer Johnston?                                                                          
       REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON:  Yes.                                                                                         
       MS. GEARY:  Representative Thompson?                                                                                   
       REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON:  Yes.                                                                                         
       MS. GEARY:  Senator Coghill?                                                                                           
           Vice-Chair Stutes?                                                                                                 
       VICE-CHAIR STUTES:  Yes.                                                                                               
       MS. GEARY:  Chair Stevens?                                                                                             
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Yes.                                                                                                   
       MS. GEARY:  11 yeas, one nay.                                                                                          
     CHAIR STEVENS:  Well, thank you.  We have -- by a vote of                                                                
 11 to one, we have passed the enforcement policy, and I thank                                                                
 you all for that.  I know this has not been easy, but, again,                                                                
 I'll remind you that this is just in effect until we have                                                                    
 elected a President and a Speaker, but might be of some                                                                      
 importance to them as they begin to organize the next session.                                                               
C. SAFE FLOOR SESSION POLICY                                                                                                  
       CHAIR STEVENS:  So let's move on to our second issue,                                                                  
 which is the Safe Floor Session Policy.                                                                                      
           Representative Stutes, a motion, please?                                                                           
       3:46:25 PM                                                                                                           
       VICE-CHAIR STUTES:  Certainly, Mr. Chair.                                                                              
           I move that Legislative Council approve the Safe                                                                   
 Floor Session Policy.                                                                                                        
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you.  I'll object for purposes of                                                                
           And Jessica or Megan, would you go over that                                                                       
 document?  It's the Safe Floor Session Policy.                                                                               
       MS. GEARY:  Thank you.  Again, Jessica Geary, executive                                                                
 director, Legislative Affairs Agency.                                                                                        
           This policy is in the spirit of the other policy and                                                               
 allows for the sergeant-at-arms and floor staff to be able to                                                                
 accomplish their duties in the absence of having a permanent                                                                 
 presiding officer.  So the statement that begins this policy is:                                                             
 Until the election of a permanent presiding officer, the                                                                     
 following Safe Session procedures will be carried out by the                                                                 
           So the first point is that, with the exception of the                                                              
 presiding officer -- the current presiding officer's desk,                                                                   
 members will be temporarily assigned the same desk they occupied                                                             
 on the last day of the 31st Legislature.  New members will                                                                   
 occupy the desk of the previous member from that district.                                                                   
           Members must request permission before approaching                                                                 
 the dais and shall not congregate.                                                                                           
           Plexiglass dividers will be sanitized on a regular                                                                 
 basis, and brief at-eases will be routinely called for                                                                       
 electrostatic disinfection.                                                                                                  
           Floor staff will not refill water glasses for                                                                      
 members.  Water will be available for self-service.                                                                          
           A member who stands to be recognized must sit before                                                               
 making remarks.  Members must remain seated when giving floor                                                                
 remarks and testimony.                                                                                                       
           And other than when speaking and voting, a member who                                                              
 wishes to increase social distancing may relocate within their                                                               
 respective chamber.                                                                                                          
           The last point I'll mention is during this interim                                                                 
 period, press may not enter the chamber or the gallery.  Floor                                                               
 sessions will be broadcast live throughout the capitol.                                                                      
         And this policy will remain in effect during the                                                                     
 first session of the 32nd Legislature until a permanent                                                                      
 presiding officer is elected in both houses.                                                                                 
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you, Jessica.                                                                                    
           So again, very clearly, this is only this interim                                                                  
 period until we have a President and a Speaker.                                                                              
           As to the issue of the press, I have contacted all of                                                              
 them, not spoken with all of our press, our press corps that                                                                 
 normally comes to Juneau, but I've spoken with them and told                                                                 
 them the situation that we're considering.  They were not all                                                                
 happy about it.  They don't -- they prefer to be on the -- in                                                                
  the gallery rather than watching it on television.  But, again,                                                             
 this is only for the interim period, and I think they understood                                                             
 when I talked about -- explained to them how important it is                                                                 
 that we respect everyone's safety in terms of health.                                                                        
           Any questions on this Safe Floor Session Policy?  Any                                                              
       SENATOR STEDMAN:  This is Senator Stedman.                                                                             
       SENATOR VON IMHOF:  Mr. Chair, this is Senator von Imhof.                                                              
       CHAIR STEVENS:  So Senator Stedman and then Senator von                                                                
       SENATOR STEDMAN:  Yeah.  I'm not so sure on having the                                                                 
 speakers on the floors sit versus stand.  I don't know what                                                                  
 benefit that really is when we -- with all these other protocols                                                             
  that we're going through, if that's not going a little too far.                                                             
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Jessica, can you --                                                                                    
       SENATOR GIESSEL:  Mr. Chairman?                                                                                        
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Yes.  Go ahead.                                                                                        
        SENATOR GIESSEL:  This is Senator Giessel.  Could I                                                                   
 respond to that question?                                                                                                    
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Yes.  Yes, please.                                                                                     
       SENATOR GIESSEL:  We discussed this at our last meeting.                                                               
 The plexiglass barriers don't extend to the ceiling, and even                                                                
 wearing the mask, some particles do extend through, and the size                                                             
 of those particles are such that they travel the farthest.  So                                                               
 it's actually more protective if the person is sitting down.                                                                 
 The plexiglass then provides additional -- what should I call                                                                
 it? -- spray protection.  I guess that's kind of graphic, but                                                                
 that's the purpose of the sitting-down part ever it.                                                                         
           Thank you, Mr. Chairman.                                                                                           
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Well, thank you, Madam President.  And,                                                                
 actually, the way it works on the Senate floor is you raise your                                                             
 microphone, and you're recognized.  You don't even have to stand                                                             
 up.  Maybe that could be -- no reason for that, even.                                                                        
           Any further comments?                                                                                              
       SENATOR VON IMHOF:  Yeah.  Senator von Imhof.                                                                          
       REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON:  Chair Stevens?                                                                               
     CHAIR STEVENS:  I'm sorry.  We'll go to Senator von Imhof                                                                
 next, and then somebody else spoke up?                                                                                       
       REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON:  Yes.  This is Jennifer Johnston.                                                             
 I just wanted to say that --                                                                                                 
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Okay.                                                                                                  
     REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON:  -- Representative Kopp has been                                                                
 online, and he's been muted the whole time.  And he wanted to                                                                
 make sure that his vote was recorded.                                                                                        
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Okay.  Thank you.  I'm very sorry that                                                                 
 he's been muted, and did he vote in favor of the last motion?                                                                
     REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON:  Yes.  Let me get back to you on                                                                
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Okay.  We'll confirm that and -- yeah.                                                                 
           So let's go to Senator von Imhof at this time.                                                                     
       SENATOR VON IMHOF:  Thank you, Chair Stevens.                                                                          
           My question also was the same as Senator Stedman's,                                                                
 is that I feel that sitting while we're speaking is not the best                                                             
 choice.  I understand Senator Giessel's explanation, but I would                                                             
 like to offer that we are a body of the public, and if the                                                                   
 public is not allowed on the floor, and this whole thing is                                                                  
  going to be televised, I think it's important that we stand and                                                             
 we can be recognized, and we can be audible.  We are already                                                                 
 going to be wearing a mask and muted in that function -- a                                                                   
 double-ply mask, I might add, that controls -- Dr. Zink said                                                                 
  that earlier.  It controls -- if two people are wearing a mask,                                                             
 it controls pretty much a pretty significant transmission of the                                                             
           And for us to be sitting down I think is not good                                                                  
  policy.  We need to be available to -- for folks to see us, to                                                              
  hear us, to recognize us.  We work for the people.  And I think                                                             
 by having a mask, sitting behind plexiglass -- I mean, we are                                                                
  doing pretty much everything that we possibly can.  And I think                                                             
 sitting down is not the right call.  I just want to state that                                                               
 for the record.  Thank you.                                                                                                  
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you, Senator von Imhof.  I'd be glad                                                             
 to entertain a motion to amend if anyone cares to make that                                                                  
 motion to amend and make it allowed to stand and speak.  Is                                                                  
 there such a motion?                                                                                                         
      SENATOR STEDMAN:  Mr. Chairman, Senator Stedman.  Yeah,                                                                 
 I'd like to make a motion that we just remove this sitting                                                                   
      CHAIR STEVENS:  And that would be:  Members must remain                                                                 
 seated while giving floor remarks and testimony.  Your motion                                                                
 would be to remove that sentence; right?                                                                                     
       SENATOR STEDMAN:  Seating; correct.                                                                                    
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Okay.  All right.  Thank you.                                                                          
           We have an amendment before us.  Let's do a roll call                                                              
 on the amendment, unless there is any other debate on that                                                                   
 amendment to remain -- or to be able to stand when you speak.                                                                
 Any further debate on that?                                                                                                  
       MS. WALLACE:  Mr. Chair?                                                                                               
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Yes, please.                                                                                           
       MS. WALLACE:  This is Megan Wallace, Legal Services                                                                    
           In just want to note that the sentence that precedes                                                               
 that says:  A member who stands to be recognized must sit before                                                             
 making remarks.  So those two sentences likely go together.  I                                                               
 would just point out that technicality.                                                                                      
     CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you.  Thank you for catching that,                                                                 
 Megan.  You're absolutely right.  Those two sentences go                                                                     
 together, so the amendment would change those two sentences.                                                                 
    REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON:  Well, Mr. Chair -- Mr. Chair, may                                                                
 I ask -- I'm sorry.  May I ask the -- I don't know how -- I                                                                  
 mean, there are numbers of things in here that I                                                                             
 don't -- doesn't seem like it follows, but if we don't have a                                                                
 presiding officer -- well, it says "permanent presiding                                                                      
 officer," not "temporary presiding officer."                                                                                 
        CHAIR STEVENS:  Okay.  Let's deal -- Representative                                                                   
 Johnston, let's --                                                                                                           
       REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON:  But this has to do with being                                                                 
  recognized, which is in that sentence.  It says you have to be                                                              
 recognized.  By whom are you recognized by?                                                                                  
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Okay.  Let's deal with one of them at a                                                                
 time.  But "A member who stands to be recognized" -- well, let's                                                             
 see.  So we've taken out the "Must sit before making remarks,"                                                               
 and "Members must remain seated when giving floor remarks and                                                                
 testimony."  I assume that we'd have to change that -- "A member                                                             
 must stand to be recognized."                                                                                                
           Does that make sense, Megan?                                                                                       
       MS. WALLACE:  Mr. Chair, you could amend those sentences                                                               
 or, to the extent that you want to remove the concept of it                                                                  
 being required to sit while you make remarks, you                                                                            
  could -- another option would be to delete those two sentences.                                                             
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Yeah, that makes sense.                                                                                
           Senator Stedman, is that the motion you care to make,                                                              
 to delete those two sentences?                                                                                               
       SENATOR STEDMAN:  Yes, that would be fine.                                                                             
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Okay.  Thank you.                                                                                      
           Any further discussion specifically on this                                                                        
           Very well.  Let's have a roll call on the amendment                                                                
 to remove those two sentences.                                                                                               
       MS. GEARY:  Senator Begich?                                                                                            
       SENATOR BEGICH:  Yes.                                                                                                  
       MS. GEARY:  Senator Coghill?                                                                                           
           Senate President Giessel?                                                                                          
     SENATOR GIESSEL:  Pardon me.  I had -- I was muted.  No.                                                                 
       MS. GEARY:  Senator Hoffman?                                                                                           
       SENATOR HOFFMAN:  Yes.                                                                                                 
       MS. GEARY:  Senator Stedman?                                                                                           
       SENATOR STEDMAN:  Yes.                                                                                                 
       MS. GEARY:  Senator von Imhof?                                                                                         
       SENATOR VON IMHOF:  Yes.                                                                                               
       MS. GEARY:  Speaker Edgmon?                                                                                            
       REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON:  No.                                                                                            
       MS. GEARY:  Representative Foster?                                                                                     
       REPRESENTATIVE FOSTER:  No.                                                                                            
       MS. GEARY:  Representative DeLena Johnson?                                                                             
       REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON:  Yes.                                                                                          
       MS. GEARY:  Representative Jennifer Johnston?                                                                          
       REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON:  No.                                                                                          
       MS. GEARY:  Representative Kopp?  Representative Kopp?                                                                 
           Representative Thompson?                                                                                           
       REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON:  No.                                                                                          
       MS. GEARY:  Vice-Chair Stutes?                                                                                         
       VICE-CHAIR STUTES:  No.                                                                                                
       MS. GEARY:  Chair Stevens?                                                                                             
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Yes.                                                                                                   
       MS. GEARY:  Representative Kopp?                                                                                       
           We have six yeas and six nays.                                                                                     
       CHAIR STEVENS:  So the motion fails.  We need eight to                                                                 
  pass anything.  So let's move on to -- we have that amendment.                                                              
 We've taken care of that.  Let's move on to the entire question,                                                             
 then, that is before us, which is Safe Floor Session Policy.                                                                 
 Any further discussion on this policy?                                                                                       
           Then I will remove my objection and ask for a roll                                                                 
 call on the policy.                                                                                                          
             Jessica, could you call the roll, please?                                                                        
       REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON:  And just for the record,                                                                     
 Representative Kopp is still muted.                                                                                          
       MS. GEARY:  Thank you.  That is what I was trying to                                                                   
 figure -- figure that out.  I can go ahead and call the roll,                                                                
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Thank you.                                                                                             
       MS. GEARY:  Senator Begich?                                                                                            
       SENATOR BEGICH:  Yes.                                                                                                  
       MS. GEARY:  Senator Coghill?                                                                                           
           Senate President Giessel?                                                                                          
       SENATOR GIESSEL:  Yes.                                                                                                 
       MS. GEARY:  Senator Hoffman?                                                                                           
       SENATOR HOFFMAN:  Yes.                                                                                                 
       MS. GEARY:  Senator Stedman?                                                                                           
       SENATOR STEDMAN:  Yes.                                                                                                 
       MS. GEARY:  Senator von Imhof?                                                                                         
       SENATOR VON IMHOF:  Yes.                                                                                               
       MS. GEARY:  Speaker Edgmon?                                                                                            
       REPRESENTATIVE EDGMON:  Yes.                                                                                           
       MS. GEARY:  Representative Foster?                                                                                     
       REPRESENTATIVE FOSTER:  Yes.                                                                                           
       MS. GEARY:  Representative DeLena Johnson?                                                                             
       REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSON:  No.                                                                                           
       MS. GEARY:  Representative Johnston?                                                                                   
       REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON:  Yes.                                                                                         
       MS. GEARY:  Representative Kopp?                                                                                       
           Representative Thompson?                                                                                           
       REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON:  Yes.                                                                                         
       MS. GEARY:  Vice-Chair Stutes?                                                                                         
       VICE-CHAIR STUTES:  Yes.                                                                                               
       MS. GEARY:  Chair Stevens?                                                                                             
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Yes.                                                                                                   
    VICE-CHAIR STUTES:  Gary, Chuck Kopp is still muted and he                                                                
 wants to vote.                                                                                                               
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Jessica, was Chuck Kopp able to vote?                                                                  
       VICE-CHAIR STUTES:  He's still blocked he says.                                                                        
       MS. GEARY:  He is still muted.  I'm trying to work on that                                                             
 with the LIO moderator.  We're not sure what's going on.                                                                     
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Okay.  Well, I'm sorry about that, but we                                                              
 do have a vote by a vote of 10 to one; right?  11 to one; is                                                                 
 that right?                                                                                                                  
       MS. GEARY:  11 to one.                                                                                                 
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Jessica, was that 11 to one?                                                                           
       MS. GEARY:  Yes.                                                                                                       
       REPRESENTATIVE JOHNSTON:  And I'm not sure if you can take                                                             
 this by text, but Representative Kopp has voted yes on both.                                                                 
       CHAIR STEVENS:  Okay.  Thank you.                                                                                      
           So by a vote of 11 to one or possibly 12 to one, we                                                                
 have passed this policy.                                                                                                     
IV. ADJOURN                                                                                                                   
       CHAIR STEVENS:  So, again, I want to thank you all.  This                                                              
 has been, I know, a difficult time for us, but I think we've                                                                 
 made some major steps forward.  And I want to wish you all a                                                                 
 very happy new year.                                                                                                         
           And if there is nothing further to come before us at                                                               
 this time, then we are adjourned at 4:00pm.                                                                                  
4:00:46 PM                                                                                                                  

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Safe Session Statement FINAL.docx JLEC 12/28/2020 2:00:00 PM
12.28.20 Leg. Council Documents
LEC Enforcement Policy Final.docx JLEC 12/28/2020 2:00:00 PM
12.28.20 Leg. Council Documents
LEC Safe Floor Session Policy Final.docx JLEC 12/28/2020 2:00:00 PM
12.28.20 Leg. Council Documents
Re_ Response to Rep. Kopp.pdf JLEC 12/28/2020 2:00:00 PM
Rep. Kopp
Rep Kopp_ Safety Policies in the Capitol.pdf JLEC 12/28/2020 2:00:00 PM
Rep. Kopp