Legislature(2015 - 2016)HOUSE FINANCE 519

04/18/2015 08:30 AM House FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Recessed to a Call of the Chair --
Moved CSSB 46(FIN) Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 44(FIN) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HOUSE BILL NO. 44                                                                                                             
     "An Act relating to sexual abuse and sexual assault                                                                        
     awareness and prevention efforts in public schools."                                                                       
9:45:37 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Neuman  MOVED  to  ADOPT   the  proposed  committee                                                                   
substitute  for  HB  44,  Work   Draft  29-LS0258\P  (Glover,                                                                   
4/17/15). There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                          
JANE   PIERSON,   STAFF,   REPRESENTATIVE   STEVE   THOMPSON,                                                                   
explained the changes  in the legislation. She  shared that a                                                                   
section had been  added to address dating violence  and abuse                                                                   
awareness  and  prevention  efforts  in  public  school.  She                                                                   
noted that the changes could be found on Page 2, line 15.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  CHARISSE  MILLETT,  SPONSOR,  testified  that                                                                   
the  legislation  had been  crafted  closely  to Erin's  Law,                                                                   
with  the addition  of the  dating  violence curriculum.  She                                                                   
reminded the  committee that  the state  face an epidemic  in                                                                   
the  area  of  child abuse  and  child  sexual  assault.  She                                                                   
believed that  the legislation  was important to  address the                                                                   
plight of  sexual assault, and  the subsequent  social issues                                                                   
that stemmed from abuse.                                                                                                        
9:48:58 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Neuman shared  a  constituent  story pertaining  to                                                                   
dating violence.                                                                                                                
9:50:24 AM                                                                                                                    
CINDY  MOORE,  SELF, ANCHORAGE  (via  teleconference),  urged                                                                   
the committee to  support the legislation. She  revealed that                                                                   
21  other  states  currently   mandated  schools  to  address                                                                   
dating  violence.  She  furthered  that  patterns  of  dating                                                                   
violence staring  in the teen  years carried over  into adult                                                                   
relationships  as  domestic  violence.  She shared  that  her                                                                   
daughter, Breanna,  had been shot  and killed by  her abusive                                                                   
boyfriend.  She lamented  that she  and her  husband had  not                                                                   
been  aware of  the  abuse. She  asserted  that ignoring  the                                                                   
vastness   of    dating   violence   and    its   devastating                                                                   
consequences  sent the  message to young  people that  dating                                                                   
violence   was  a   legitimate  behavior.   She  hoped   that                                                                   
lawmakers would  use their  power to fight  for the  lives of                                                                   
young  people. She  offered  national  statistics related  to                                                                   
teen  dating  violence. She  contended  that,  statistically,                                                                   
Alaska was  the most dangerous  state in the nation  based on                                                                   
the  Federal  Bureau  of  Investigations   (FBI)  four  major                                                                   
violent  crime  categories  of  murder,  aggravated  assault,                                                                   
robbery,  and forcible  rape.  She added  that Anchorage  and                                                                   
Fairbanks were on  the Forbes 2015 list of  the nation's most                                                                   
dangerous  cities  for  women.  Alaska leads  the  nation  in                                                                   
rapes  per  capital  at three  times  the  national  average.                                                                   
Alaska has  the nation's  highest rate  of women murdered  by                                                                   
men  at  two and  a  half  times the  national  average.  She                                                                   
believed  that  teen  dating  violence  awareness  curriculum                                                                   
could have saved her daughter's life.                                                                                           
BUTCH   MOORE,   SELF,   ANCHORAGE    (via   teleconference),                                                                   
testified  that 81 percent  of parents  were unaware  of teen                                                                   
dating  violence. He  spoke to  a proposed  amendment to  the                                                                   
legislation that  would help educate  peers about what  to do                                                                   
if they  suspected a friend was  being abused. He  noted that                                                                   
his daughter's friends  had been aware of the  abuse, but had                                                                   
not known  how to reach  out for help.  He believed  that the                                                                   
education  and  tools  contained  in  the  legislation  would                                                                   
immediately  save  lives.  He  likened  the  dating  violence                                                                   
prevention to seat  belts being installed in  cars to prevent                                                                   
fatal accidents.   He spoke to a national  study performed by                                                                   
the  National  Conference  of State  Legislators  that  found                                                                   
that  75 percent  of  all youth  grades  7  through 12,  were                                                                   
dating; in the  prior 12 months of the survey,  10 percent of                                                                   
those  people experienced  teen dating  violence and  another                                                                   
10 percent  experience some sort  of sexual assault  or rape.                                                                   
The numbers in Alaska were much higher.                                                                                         
9:59:23 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Neuman  shared  that families  had  approached  him                                                                   
before  concerning the  issue  of sexual  abuse. He  asserted                                                                   
that the problem needed to be addressed.                                                                                        
Co-Chair Thompson CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                      
Representative   Wilson  thought   that  there  was   already                                                                   
someone  within   the  Department   of  Education   that  was                                                                   
assisting  on  the  development   of  curriculum  related  to                                                                   
Erin's Law.                                                                                                                     
MICHAEL  HANLEY, COMMISSIONER,  DEPARTMENT  OF EDUCATION  AND                                                                   
EARLY  DEVELOPMENT,  relayed  that  the  department  had  one                                                                   
staff  member that  focused  on  health in  Alaska's  schools                                                                   
through   the  previous   administration's   Choose   Respect                                                                   
campaign.  He  added  healthy relationships  had  been  added                                                                   
into  a small  percentage  of  the  state's high  school  and                                                                   
middle  school  curriculum.  He  said that  the  program  was                                                                   
optional for districts  and, while making a  difference where                                                                   
offered,  was   not  reaching   all  schools  or   elementary                                                                   
schools. He  said that the  currently optional  programs were                                                                   
not  comprehensively  reaching  all  of the  schools  in  the                                                                   
state in the way that was suggested in the legislation.                                                                         
Representative  Wilson wondered  how much  the curriculum  in                                                                   
the bill would  cost. She asked why oversight  of the program                                                                   
by the department had not been written into the bill.                                                                           
Commissioner  Hanley responded  that  the  question would  be                                                                   
more appropriately  addressed  to the  bill sponsor.  He said                                                                   
that  he  had  seen examples  of  curriculum  that  could  be                                                                   
available  at  little,  to  no,   cost.  He  understood  that                                                                   
several  school districts  had K-12  sexual abuse  prevention                                                                   
programs already  in place. He  conceded that  some districts                                                                   
had  testified  that  there  would   be  additional  cost  to                                                                   
implement the legislation.                                                                                                      
10:05:26 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative  Wilson expressed  discomfort with  the sexual                                                                   
abuse prevention  part of the legislation. She  asserted that                                                                   
teachers  were not  social  workers;  she believed  that  the                                                                   
committee  needed  to  hear from  the  Office  of  Children's                                                                   
Services (OCS) concerning mandatory reporting.                                                                                  
Representative  Pruitt  asked   how  the  bill  would  change                                                                   
current policies.                                                                                                               
Commissioner  Hanley  replied  that  it  would  solidify  and                                                                   
quantify  what   was  expected   from  each  of   the  school                                                                   
districts  so  that  all  students,  across  the  state,  had                                                                   
access to the education.                                                                                                        
Representative Pruitt  understood that teachers  were already                                                                   
mandatory reporters of sexual abuse.                                                                                            
Commissioner Hanley replied in the affirmative.                                                                                 
Representative Pruitt  queried whether teachers  were already                                                                   
required to  undergo training  specific to recognizing  signs                                                                   
of sexual assault or dating violence.                                                                                           
Commissioner   Hanley  replied   that  mandatory   reporters:                                                                   
certificated  staff, administrators,  athletic coaches,  went                                                                   
through training  to recognize  signs of potential  abuse and                                                                   
neglect,  and to  know  when they  were  obligated to  report                                                                   
instances.  He  said that  the  bill  spoke to  training  for                                                                   
teachers,  which   could  overlap  with  training   they  had                                                                   
already  received,   but  also   highlighted  the   teacher's                                                                   
responsibility  to educate students  on the issues  of sexual                                                                   
abuse and dating violence.                                                                                                      
Representative  Pruitt noted that  the Erin's Law  portion of                                                                   
the bill pertained  to grades K-12. He expressed  concern for                                                                   
exposing  children to  issues  surrounding  sexual abuse.  He                                                                   
worried  about the age  appropriateness  of the material  for                                                                   
certain children.                                                                                                               
10:09:32 AM                                                                                                                   
Commissioner   Hanley  replied   that   children  should   be                                                                   
informed  but  not  exposed  to  inappropriate  material.  He                                                                   
stated that  the language in  the bill directed  local school                                                                   
boards  to determine  the best  way to move  forward for  the                                                                   
students  under  their  per  view. He  relayed  that  he  had                                                                   
experienced   healthy,   age   appropriate   materials   with                                                                   
programs already  in schools.  He noted that  parents already                                                                   
had the  choice to  option out of  the current offerings.  He                                                                   
pointed  out to the  committee that  the current  legislation                                                                   
also  maintained the  parent's choice  to option  out of  the                                                                   
proposed  programs.  He  asserted   that  the  bill  did  not                                                                   
mandate   inappropriate  curriculum,   but  rather   required                                                                   
school districts  understand their responsibility  in meeting                                                                   
the needs  of their  students in  regard to health  education                                                                   
and sexual abuse.                                                                                                               
Representative Gara  asserted that under the  legislation the                                                                   
training would  be under local  control and age  appropriate.                                                                   
He  asked  whether   that  language  covered   the  issue  of                                                                   
teaching children things beyond the scope of their years.                                                                       
Commissioner Hanley answered in the affirmative.                                                                                
Vice-Chair  Saddler noted  a provision  on Page  2, line  10,                                                                   
which  offered parents  the choice  to option  out of  school                                                                   
sexual awareness  training for  their children. He  called on                                                                   
parents to be active in the lives of their children.                                                                            
Representative  Wilson  felt that  the  bill was  moving  too                                                                   
quickly  through committee.  She argued  that the bill  could                                                                   
have negative repercussions.                                                                                                    
Representative  Wilson MOVED  to  ADOPT conceptual  Amendment                                                                   
     Page 1, line 11                                                                                                            
          Delete "shall"                                                                                                        
          Insert "may"                                                                                                          
     Page 2, line 16                                                                                                            
          Delete "shall"                                                                                                        
          Insert "may"                                                                                                          
Representative Gara OBJECTED for the purpose of discussion.                                                                     
Representative    Wilson   believed    that   the    proposed                                                                   
legislation  would burden  school  districts  with a  program                                                                   
that would have no oversight by the state.                                                                                      
10:15:29 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Thompson   clarified  where  the   amendment  would                                                                   
affect the bill.                                                                                                                
Co-Chair Neuman  believed the  amendment would be  considered                                                                   
friendly by the bill sponsor.                                                                                                   
Representative  Edgmon wondered  whether the amendment  would                                                                   
negate the intent of the bill.                                                                                                  
GRACE   ABBOTT,  STAFF,   REPRESENTATIVE  CHARISSE   MILLETT,                                                                   
believed   that   the   amendment   would   make   the   bill                                                                   
unnecessary. She  asserted that school districts  already had                                                                   
the  capacity  to implement  the  programs  laid out  in  the                                                                   
bill;  50  percent  of  the  state's  districts  already  had                                                                   
active programs.                                                                                                                
Representative  Wilson  did  not  believe it  took  away  the                                                                   
effectiveness   of  the   bill.   She   contended  that   the                                                                   
Department  of   Education  would   not  be  monitoring   the                                                                   
implementation  of  the  program throughout  the  state.  She                                                                   
wondered  whether  schools  could  lose  funding  if  parents                                                                   
complained to the department about the program.                                                                                 
Ms. Abbott  replied that  the teeth  of the  bill lay  in the                                                                   
word "shall"  and requiring  that school districts  implement                                                                   
the curriculum.                                                                                                                 
Representative  Wilson  disagreed.   She  feared  that  there                                                                   
would  be negative  repercussions  for schools  that did  not                                                                   
adopt  the curriculum  laid  out in  the  bill. She  believed                                                                   
that the  language was  inconsequential if  there was  no one                                                                   
from the department that would be monitoring the bill.                                                                          
10:18:20 AM                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Neuman  noted the zero  fiscal note and  agreed that                                                                   
the conceptual amendment was unnecessary.                                                                                       
Representative Wilson maintained her argument.                                                                                  
Commissioner Hanley  replied that the department  worked with                                                                   
districts  to build the  capacity to  implement programs  and                                                                   
maintain compliance with state statute.                                                                                         
Representative Wilson  understood that if a district  was out                                                                   
of compliance the department would withhold funding.                                                                            
Commissioner  Hanley  reiterated  that the  department  would                                                                   
work with the  district in order to bring  that district into                                                                   
compliance.  He  asserted  that  one tool  available  to  the                                                                   
department   was    the   ability   to    withhold   funding;                                                                   
Commissioner Hanley  stressed that the tool was  not favored,                                                                   
and  had  never   been  applied.  He  recognized   that  when                                                                   
districts  were intentionally  out of  compliance with  state                                                                   
law the department had the responsibility to respond.                                                                           
10:20:34 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative  Wilson  felt that  the  fiscal  note was  not                                                                   
really  zero because  the department  would  have to  provide                                                                   
oversight  for the  legislation.  She  opined  that the  bill                                                                   
created  an   unfunded  mandate   that  could  lead   to  the                                                                   
potential withholding of funds to districts.                                                                                    
Representative  Pruitt wondered  whether  the department  had                                                                   
information on the  proposed programs that could  be provided                                                                   
to  the various  districts  in order  for  them to  determine                                                                   
whether they wanted to facilitate the programs.                                                                                 
Commissioner  Hanley replied  that it  would be  up to  local                                                                   
districts  whether  or not  to  implement the  programs,  but                                                                   
that the  department would  work alongside  each district  to                                                                   
work through challenges.                                                                                                        
Representative   Kawasaki   reiterated  concerns   that   the                                                                   
amendment would weaken the intent of the bill.                                                                                  
Vice-Chair   Saddler  requested   further   clarity  in   the                                                                   
department's answer.                                                                                                            
Commissioner  Hanley  reiterated   that  the  department  had                                                                   
never withheld funding  from a school district,  but retained                                                                   
the capability to  do so if districts were  out of compliance                                                                   
with the law.                                                                                                                   
Vice-Chair  Saddler  demanded  a  yes  or no  answer  to  the                                                                   
question  of whether  the department  would withhold  funding                                                                   
from schools  that did  not implement  the programs  laid out                                                                   
in the bill.                                                                                                                    
Commissioner   Hanley  replied   that  the  question   begged                                                                   
something more than a yes or no answer.                                                                                         
Co-Chair Neuman  wondered whether school would  be considered                                                                   
in compliance  by simply providing  to students  documents on                                                                   
the subject matter.                                                                                                             
Ms. Abbott replied in the affirmative.                                                                                          
Representative Munoz  wondered whether there  were provisions                                                                   
in state law that  would allow a community to  opt out of the                                                                   
Commissioner  Hanley replied  that statute  would have  to be                                                                   
changes to reflect  the possibility of schools to  opt out of                                                                   
a state law.                                                                                                                    
10:25:03 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative Wilson  wondered whether a school  would be in                                                                   
compliance by  sending home age  appropriate materials  to be                                                                   
discussed at home.                                                                                                              
Ms.  Abbott believed  that if  the materials  were sent  home                                                                   
without any  classroom discussion  time the school  would not                                                                   
be in compliance.                                                                                                               
Representative  Wilson understood  that classroom  time would                                                                   
be  necessary for  both the  dating violence  and the  sexual                                                                   
assault pieces of the bill.                                                                                                     
Ms. Abbott clarified  a teacher hanging out  documents during                                                                   
class  would qualify  as class  time. If  the materials  were                                                                   
placed  in a  mailbox or  back pack  without any  discussion,                                                                   
the school would be out of compliance.                                                                                          
A  roll  call   vote  was  taken  on  the   motion  to  adopt                                                                   
conceptual Amendment 1.                                                                                                         
IN FAVOR: Wilson, Gattis, Pruitt                                                                                                
OPPOSED:   Edgmon,   Gara,   Guttenberg,   Kawasaki,   Munoz,                                                                   
Saddler, Neuman, Thompson                                                                                                       
The MOTION FAILED (3/8).                                                                                                        
Co-Chair  Neuman  noted  that  the  Rasmuson  Foundation  had                                                                   
committed funds to help support the legislation.                                                                                
Co-Chair  Neuman   MOVED  to  REPORT  CSHB  44(FIN)   out  of                                                                   
committee   with    individual   recommendations    and   the                                                                   
accompanying fiscal note.                                                                                                       
Representative Wilson  OBJECTED. She spoke to  her objection.                                                                   
She WITHDREW her OBJECTION.                                                                                                     
There being NO  further OBJECTION, CSHB 44(FIN)  was REPORTED                                                                   
out of  committee with  a "do  pass" recommendation  and with                                                                   
one new  zero fiscal  note from  the Department of  Education                                                                   
and Early Development.                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 44 CS WORKDRAFT FIN p version.pdf HFIN 4/18/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 44
HB44 Explanation of Changes Version E.pdf HFIN 4/18/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 44
HB44 Sectional Analysis Version E.pdf HFIN 4/18/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 44
HB44 Sponsor Statement.pdf HFIN 4/18/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 44
HB44 Supporting Document Anchorage School District Parent Information.pdf HFIN 4/18/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 44
HB44 Supporting Document CDVSA 2014 Dashboard.pdf HFIN 4/18/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 44
HB44 Supporting Document Child Sexual Abuse in the Bering Strait Region.pdf HFIN 4/18/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 44
HB44 Supporting Document Curriculum - Child Lures.pdf HFIN 4/18/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 44
HB44 Supporting Document Curriculum - Committee for Children.pdf HFIN 4/18/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 44
HB44 Supporting Document FNSB School Board Policy.pdf HFIN 4/18/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 44
HB44 Supporting Document Letter of Support APOA.pdf HFIN 4/18/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 44
HB44 Supporting Document Letter of Support ANDVSA.pdf HFIN 4/18/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 44
HB44 Supporting Document Letter of Support Cindy Moore.pdf HFIN 4/18/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 44
HB44 Supporting Document Letter of Support Vera Starbard.pdf HFIN 4/18/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 44
HB44 Supporting Document OCS Child Sexual Abuse Stats FY14.pdf HFIN 4/18/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 44
HB44 Supporting Document OCS Child Sexual Abuse Stats Jan thru March 15.pdf HFIN 4/18/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 44
HB44 Supporting Document OCS Reporting Child Abuse in AK.pdf HFIN 4/18/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 44
HB44 Supporting Document School Districts with HB44 curriculum.pdf HFIN 4/18/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 44
SB 46 Supporting Documents - 1.25.14 YKHC Letter.pdf HFIN 4/18/2015 8:30:00 AM
SB 46
SB 46 FIN Sectional.PDF HFIN 4/18/2015 8:30:00 AM
SB 46
SB 46 FIN Explanation of Changes.PDF HFIN 4/18/2015 8:30:00 AM
SB 46
SB 46 Sponsor Statement.pdf HFIN 4/18/2015 8:30:00 AM
HB 101
SB 46