Legislature(2009 - 2010)HOUSE FINANCE 519

04/12/2010 01:30 PM House FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
--Recessed to Call of Chair to 4/13/10--
Moved HCS CSSB 110(FIN) Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 324(FIN) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 283(FIN) Out of Committee
<Bill Held Over from 8:00 Meeting>
Moved CSHB 126(FIN) Out of Committee
<Bill Held Over from 8:00 Meeting>
HOUSE BILL NO. 126                                                                                                            
     "An  Act relating  to continuing  the secondary  public                                                                    
     education  of  a  homeless  student;  relating  to  the                                                                    
     purpose  of certain  laws as  they relate  to children;                                                                    
     relating  to   tuition  waivers,  loans,   and  medical                                                                    
     assistance for  a child placed  in out-of-home  care by                                                                    
     the  state;  relating  to   foster  care;  relating  to                                                                    
     children  in  need  of aid;  relating  to  foster  care                                                                    
     transition  to  independent  living;  and  relating  to                                                                    
     juvenile programs and institutions."                                                                                       
4:24:57 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Hawker  moved  to   adopt  CSHB  126  26-LS0309\Q,                                                                    
Mishel, 4/9/10. Co-Chair Stoltze OBJECTED.                                                                                      
Representative  Gara  informed  that HB  126  increases  the                                                                    
chance for the approximately 2000  foster youth in the state                                                                    
to  succeed   in  greater  numbers.  Similar   efforts  have                                                                    
occurred in many states. President  Bush signed a law called                                                                    
the   Fostering   Connections   Act   in   2008.   Fostering                                                                    
connections  recognized that  the former  foster care  model                                                                    
was  ineffective.  Some foster  youth  are  not prepared  to                                                                    
leave the  home environment  as early  as those  from stable                                                                    
families. The effort  in HB 126 is to extend  foster care to                                                                    
age  21   where  it  is   in  the  child's   best  interest.                                                                    
Educational  achievement  in  states providing  foster  care                                                                    
until a child  is 21 are twice as high  as those states that                                                                    
provide  foster care  until 18  years  of age.  He shared  a                                                                    
story  about  foster  youth  leaving home  at  age  19  with                                                                    
unsavory results. The cost for  extending foster care to age                                                                    
21  will  equal $470  thousand  per  year. Matching  federal                                                                    
funds are available under the Fostering Connections Act.                                                                        
4:28:26 PM     AT EASE                                                                                                        
4:53:41 PM     RECONVENE                                                                                                      
Representative Gara  discussed other provision in  the bill,                                                                    
which came  out of the  HESS committee. The co-chair  of the                                                                    
HESS  committee worked  on language  under Section  2. If  a                                                                    
foster child  has opted out  of state custody after  age 16,                                                                    
but  then desires  reentry the  standards in  Section 2  are                                                                    
used. He  pointed out  that a young  person must  prove that                                                                    
they are  in need of foster  care to avoid personal  harm or                                                                    
homelessness  or  to  enhance  the ability  to  continue  in                                                                    
education  or  successful  transition.  The  department  may                                                                    
request conditions prior to  reentry. Reasonable terms might                                                                    
include  an education  plan, a  job training  plan or  other                                                                    
reasonable terms deemed  so by the court. He  stated that he                                                                    
endeavored  to  expedite  the  process  by  eliminating  the                                                                    
requirement of  annual court status reports.  The Department                                                                    
of Law  opined that it was  best to retain the  annual court                                                                    
status reports.  He mentioned a  separate bill  section that                                                                    
is since unnecessary as is passed  as a separate bill on the                                                                    
House floor recently.                                                                                                           
4:57:56 PM                                                                                                                    
AMANDA  METIVIER,   FACING  FOSTER   CARE  IN   ALASKA  (via                                                                    
teleconference), stated  that for  youth who exceed  the age                                                                    
requirement  for  care  in  Alaska,  forty  percent  end  up                                                                    
homeless,  thirty percent  end up  incarcerated, and  a high                                                                    
rate  of early  pregnancy exists.  He explained  that foster                                                                    
care  extensions   beyond  age  18  create   better  overall                                                                    
outcomes  and those  children are  more  likely to  graduate                                                                    
high   school  and   receive  postsecondary   education  and                                                                    
training.  The  program  helps  youth  reenter  foster  care                                                                    
Co-Chair  Stoltze acknowledged  the substantial  support for                                                                    
the program.                                                                                                                    
5:01:43 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Fairclough   asked  about   the  differences                                                                    
between the  CS and  the original bill.  Representative Gara                                                                    
discussed  an additional  provision  in  which the  Covenant                                                                    
House  faced a  problem  with federal  funding because  they                                                                    
housed greater than 20 people  and under federal law a state                                                                    
law must certify  that more than 20 people can  be housed. A                                                                    
separate  piece  of  legislation  was filed  by  the  Senate                                                                    
Health  and Social  Services (HSS)  committee, which  led to                                                                    
deletion of the issue from the CS.                                                                                              
Co-Chair  Stoltze  asked  which   section  of  the  bill  (Z                                                                    
version)  passed  the  HSS  committee.  Representative  Gara                                                                    
responded Page 3, Lines 14-18.                                                                                                  
Representative  Fairclough asked  about  Page 2  of the  HSS                                                                    
version  beginning  on  Lines 3-23,  which  appears  as  new                                                                    
language.   Representative Gara responded that  the language                                                                    
is included  in the  CS currently  before the  committee. In                                                                    
the  Z version  of the  bill, the  court's one  year renewal                                                                    
period was  inadvertently removed but the  Q version inserts                                                                    
them. Beginning on  Line 9, Page 2 the  provision to reenter                                                                    
foster care  is found.  Specific language  listing standards                                                                    
was requested. He  stated that the language on  Page 3, Line                                                                    
2 of the current bill clearly  states "you're in need of out                                                                    
of home  care to avoid  personal harm or homelessness  or to                                                                    
enhance  the  person's  ability  to  continue  the  person's                                                                    
education  or training  or  otherwise  improve the  person's                                                                    
successful   transition  to   independent   living  and   if                                                                    
requested by  the department agrees to  reasonable terms for                                                                    
resuming state custody that may  include matters relating to                                                                    
the person's education, attainment of  a job, or life skills                                                                    
or other  terms found by the  court to be reasonable  and in                                                                    
the person's  best interest."   He noted that  DOL requested                                                                    
the use  of the word resume  to make clear that  the section                                                                    
referred to reentry into foster care.                                                                                           
5:06:39 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Fairclough pointed  out that  Page three  of                                                                    
the Z version  shows bolded type different  from the version                                                                    
presented  to the  committee. She  noticed  words that  were                                                                    
removed,  but  she  did  not know  the  consequence  of  the                                                                    
removal  as compared  to the  recommendations  from the  HSS                                                                    
Representative Gara informed  that on Page 2, Line  9 of the                                                                    
Z version, the language, except  for the words "resume care"                                                                    
is the  same as the  new version  beginning on Page  2, Line                                                                    
14-24. One  change is some  language from Page 2,  Lines 4-6                                                                    
which addressed the old procedure  of the yearly hearing. He                                                                    
stated  that  the annual  review  for  younger children  was                                                                    
Representative  Fairclough requested  an explanation  of the                                                                    
difference on  Page 2, Line 11.  Representative Gara replied                                                                    
that  the language  between the  two  sections includes  the                                                                    
definition of  youth who left  care and wish to  reenter. He                                                                    
noted that DOL recommended new  language to define the group                                                                    
as people who  resume care. Before the  youth were described                                                                    
as "persons released  for a reason other  than court ordered                                                                    
reunification with  person's parent." The new  language asks                                                                    
if  the  children were  released  to  their own  custody  as                                                                    
stated on Page 2, Line 31.                                                                                                      
Representative  Fairclough  noted  that  the  HSS  committee                                                                    
recommended that  the new language provides  an exception if                                                                    
the foster child were removed due to a court order.                                                                             
5:11:25 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Gara explained that  there was no substantive                                                                    
reason for the change. The  DOL intended to define the youth                                                                    
that leave care and then  seek reentry. The DOL advised that                                                                    
a  youth  released  to  a   youth's  own  custody  was  more                                                                    
informative language.                                                                                                           
5:12:33 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Kelly   recalled  the   late  Representative                                                                    
Richard  Foster's  great  support of  state  involvement  in                                                                    
foster care.                                                                                                                    
Vice-Chair  Thomas  requested  that the  Attorney  General's                                                                    
office speak to the questions.                                                                                                  
JAN   RUTHERDALE,   ATTORNEY,  CHILD   PROTECTION   SECTION,                                                                    
DEPARTMENT OF LAW,  stated that she was not  involved in the                                                                    
earlier  versions of  the bill,  but was  familiar with  the                                                                    
current version.  Substantively, the difference  between the                                                                    
two bills  is that the  new section  is lumped into  the old                                                                    
sections. The action of removing  the section and creating a                                                                    
new subsection  preserves the old  section. She  stated that                                                                    
the requirement is no longer  an annual return to court. She                                                                    
noted that the change provides a protection for the child.                                                                      
Vice-Chair  Thomas asked  if the  different versions  of the                                                                    
bill  are  the  same.   Ms.  Rutherdale  informed  that  the                                                                    
difference addresses the annual  court review. In version Z,                                                                    
no court review  exists until the end of  the youth's foster                                                                    
care. This allows for a  yearly review. If the child changes                                                                    
their mind about the reentry, they can always petition.                                                                         
Co-Chair Stoltze  asked if  she followed  the debate  in the                                                                    
HSS committee. Ms. Rutherdale responded in the affirmative.                                                                     
5:17:55 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative   Fairclough   asked   if  there   were   any                                                                    
exceptions for release to their own  custody in the way of a                                                                    
court  order. Ms.  Rutherdale answered  that  the Version  Q                                                                    
explains that when  a child is released, it  is typically to                                                                    
their parents, commonly known as reunification.                                                                                 
Representative Fairclough  stated that she is  supportive of                                                                    
the concept, but  was respectful of changes made  by the HSS                                                                    
committee. She  asked about potential  conceptual amendments                                                                    
made  to the  bill during  the HSS  committee hearings.  She                                                                    
expressed trepidation about the new  CS that does not have a                                                                    
HSS committee recommendation.                                                                                                   
5:20:05 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Gara  responded  that the  language  in  HSS                                                                    
committee was  an express  written amendment.  The substance                                                                    
of the  standard of required  proof for reentry is  the same                                                                    
now  as it  was  in the  HSS committee.  He  noted that  the                                                                    
original  version  stated  that   reentry  was  possible  if                                                                    
economic hardship  was faced  by the  youth. He  stated that                                                                    
the  words   "economic  hardship"  were  removed   from  the                                                                    
version. The issue  in the HSS committee  was that standards                                                                    
for reentry were set.                                                                                                           
5:21:45 PM                                                                                                                    
ALISON   ELGEE,   ASSISTANT    COMMISSIONER,   FINANCE   AND                                                                    
MANAGEMENT  SERVICES,   DEPARTMENT  OF  HEALTH   AND  SOCIAL                                                                    
SERVICES, spoke to  the three fiscal notes.  She stated that                                                                    
the fiscal  notes for  the first year  comprise a  six month                                                                    
time period. The greatest of  the fiscal notes is the foster                                                                    
care  base rate  note which  represents the  additional cost                                                                    
for  extending foster  care to  these  elder youth.  Another                                                                    
fiscal note covers the foster  care special needs provisions                                                                    
for  extraordinary costs  that foster  care families  incur.                                                                    
The  third fiscal  note addresses  the changes  necessary to                                                                    
the case management system as a result of the legislation.                                                                      
Representative  Gara pointed  out that  he was  economically                                                                    
prudent  by  delaying  the effective  date  on  fiscal  note                                                                    
number  six  to  January  1st, which  was  the  time  period                                                                    
necessary for the department to implement the program.                                                                          
Co-Chair Hawker  asked if the  maximum advantage  of federal                                                                    
funds available were utilized. Ms.  Elgee responded yes. She                                                                    
noted  the difficulty  in estimating  the amount  of federal                                                                    
reimbursement for foster children.                                                                                              
Co-Chair  Hawker   asked  Representative  Gara   if  federal                                                                    
reimbursement was availed.                                                                                                      
Representative  Gara  answered  yes,   the  bill  is  called                                                                    
Fostering Connections  and was signed  in by George  Bush in                                                                    
Co-Chair  Hawker MOVED  to report  HB 126  out of  Committee                                                                    
with individual recommendations  and the accompanying fiscal                                                                    
note. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                              
CSHB  126(FIN) was  REPORTED  out of  Committee  with a  "do                                                                    
pass" recommendation and  with attached previously published                                                                    
fiscal notes: FN4 (DHS), FN5 (DHS), FN6 (DHS).                                                                                  
5:26:08 PM                                                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HCS for CSSB 110(JUD) sectional.doc HFIN 4/12/2010 1:30:00 PM
SB 110
HCS for SB110 Sponsor Statement.doc HFIN 4/12/2010 1:30:00 PM
SB 110
HB 324 CSWORKDRAFT S VERSION.pdf HFIN 4/12/2010 1:30:00 PM
HB 324
HB 324 CSWORKDRAFT S VERSION.pdf HFIN 4/12/2010 1:30:00 PM
HB 324
AK S.B. 222 Letter to House Finance Committee.pdf HFIN 4/12/2010 1:30:00 PM
SB 222
CSHB324(JUD)-DOA-PDA-04-12-10.pdf HFIN 4/12/2010 1:30:00 PM
HB 324
SB 222 Gov. Letter & ACLU Letter.pdf HFIN 4/12/2010 1:30:00 PM
SB 222
DOC001.PDF HFIN 4/12/2010 1:30:00 PM
SB 222
10 CSHB 324 (JUD) FN NEW COURTS.pdf HFIN 4/12/2010 1:30:00 PM
HB 324
10 CSHB 324 (JUD) FN.pdf HFIN 4/12/2010 1:30:00 PM
HB 324
06 HB324 ACLU Position paper 2010 03 22[1].pdf HFIN 4/12/2010 1:30:00 PM
HB 324
05 HB324 Court Records[1].pdf HFIN 4/12/2010 1:30:00 PM
HB 324
03 HB324 Sectional v. A[1].pdf HFIN 4/12/2010 1:30:00 PM
HB 324
HB 283 Amendment #1 Hawker.pdf HFIN 4/12/2010 1:30:00 PM
HB 283
Final Ten-Year Plan to Combat Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence doc.doc HFIN 4/12/2010 1:30:00 PM
HB283-DOA-DMV-02-05-10 (3).pdf HFIN 4/12/2010 1:30:00 PM
HB 283
SB 110 Amendment #1 Gara.pdf HFIN 4/12/2010 1:30:00 PM
SB 110
HB 126 Testimony.pdf HFIN 4/12/2010 1:30:00 PM
HB 126
CSSB222(JUD)-DOA-PDA-04-12-10.pdf HFIN 4/12/2010 1:30:00 PM
SB 222
HB 126 CS WORKDRAFT VERSION 26-LS0309 Q.pdf HFIN 4/12/2010 1:30:00 PM
HB 126
AK S.B. 222 Letter to House Finance Committee.pdf HFIN 4/12/2010 1:30:00 PM