Legislature(2017 - 2018)HOUSE FINANCE 519

02/12/2018 01:30 PM FINANCE

Note: the audio and video recordings are distinct records and are obtained from different sources. As such there may be key differences between the two. The audio recordings are captured by our records offices as the official record of the meeting and will have more accurate timestamps. Use the icons to switch between them.

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved HB 302 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Moved CSHB 318(FIN) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
<Pending Referral>
-- Public Testimony --
Moved HB 323 Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HOUSE BILL NO. 318                                                                                                            
     "An Act extending the termination date of the Board of                                                                     
     Social Work Examiners; and providing for an effective                                                                      
Co-Chair Foster indicated that there  was 1 amendment before                                                                    
to committee.  He invited  the bill  sponsor, Representative                                                                    
Sponholz, and her aide to the table.                                                                                            
1:42:42 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  IVY  SPONHOLZ, SPONSOR,  introduced  herself                                                                    
and indicated that her aide would introduce the bill.                                                                           
TED  MADSEN, STAFF,  REPRESENTATIVE IVY  SPONHOLZ, explained                                                                    
that  the bill  was  a  sunset extension  for  the Board  of                                                                    
Social Work Examiners. It was  currently scheduled to sunset                                                                    
on June  30, 2018. However,  HB 318 would extend  the sunset                                                                    
to  June  30,  2026.  The Board  of  Social  Work  examiners                                                                    
licenses about  783 social workers  throughout the  state as                                                                    
of  March  2017.  The board  issued  licenses  to  qualified                                                                    
applicants,  established  continuing education  requirements                                                                    
and  a  code  of  professional  ethics  and  standards,  and                                                                    
adopted   regulations   as   necessary.  The   Division   of                                                                    
Legislative Audit  reviewed the operations of  the board and                                                                    
concluded that  the board was serving  the public's interest                                                                    
by   running  effectively.   The  legislative   auditor  was                                                                    
available in  the room  and Lara Theisen  with the  Board of                                                                    
Social Work Examiners to offer testimony.                                                                                       
Co-Chair Foster  invited Kris  Curtis to  the table  to walk                                                                    
the  committee through  the sunset  audit for  the Board  of                                                                    
Social Work Examiners.                                                                                                          
KRIS  CURTIS,   LEGISLATIVE  AUDITOR,  ALASKA   DIVISION  OF                                                                    
LEGISLATIVE  AUDIT, suggested  that  members  should have  a                                                                    
copy of the audit dated  October 2017. She reported that the                                                                    
division  found   that  board   was  serving   the  public's                                                                    
interesting by  effectively licensing and  regulating social                                                                    
work examiners. The division found  that board meetings were                                                                    
conducted  in  compliance   with  law,  investigations  were                                                                    
generally processed timely, and  the board issued or changed                                                                    
regulations  to improve  the  profession.  The division  was                                                                    
recommending the maximum 8-year extension.                                                                                      
Ms. Curtis continued that  scheduled licensing activities on                                                                    
page 6  was 783 licenses  as of March  2017, which was  a 41                                                                    
percent increase  compared to the  prior 2009  sunset audit.                                                                    
It  was a  growing profession.  A schedule  of revenues  and                                                                    
expenditure  was on  page 7.  There was  a surplus  of about                                                                    
$95,000 at  the end of FY  17. The schedule of  license fees                                                                    
was on page 8.                                                                                                                  
Ms. Curtis  relayed that the division  had 2 recommendations                                                                    
for   improvements.  The   division  recommended   that  the                                                                    
Division   of  Corporations,   Business,  and   Professional                                                                    
Licensing  (DCBPL) director  improved  procedures to  ensure                                                                    
board-required   documentation   was   obtained   prior   to                                                                    
licensure. Legislative  Audit tested  25 licenses  that were                                                                    
issued the audit  period and found one error.  The board had                                                                    
appropriately  approved a  license  pending  receipt of  key                                                                    
documentation but  found that DCBPL  staff failed  to obtain                                                                    
the documentation prior to issuing the license.                                                                                 
Ms.  Curtis  reviewed  Recommendation 2.  Legislative  Audit                                                                    
recommended  that  the Office  of  the  Governor Boards  and                                                                    
Commissions Director  work with  the board to  help identify                                                                    
interested  applicants  to  fill a  vacant  board  position.                                                                    
There was a board position  that was vacant March 2017 which                                                                    
was  still vacant  in October.  It was  one of  the clinical                                                                    
social work  positions. Statute required  that 1 of  5 board                                                                    
member  position could  not be  an employee  of the  federal                                                                    
government, the  state government, the local  government, or                                                                    
a  non-profit  agency.  The Office  of  the  Governor  staff                                                                    
stated that  these were stringent requirements  that made it                                                                    
difficult  to identify  interested applicants.  Responses to                                                                    
the audit began on page 19.  The first response was from the                                                                    
Office of the Governor. In  the response they reiterated the                                                                    
stringent  requirements  that  made  it  difficult  to  find                                                                    
interested applicants.  They agreed  to work with  the board                                                                    
to help fill the vacancy.                                                                                                       
Ms.  Continued that  the department's  response was  on page                                                                    
21.  The department  agreed  with  both recommendations.  In                                                                    
regard  to  the  first recommendation  concerning  licensure                                                                    
documentation,  they agreed  that additional  quality checks                                                                    
were needed to help  insure that their administrative record                                                                    
was  complete.  They   stated  that  additional  supervisory                                                                    
resources  were needed  to help  ensure  that the  standards                                                                    
were met.  The board's  response was on  page 23.  The board                                                                    
agreed with both recommendations.                                                                                               
SARA  CHAMBERS, DEPUTY  DIRECTOR, DIVISION  OF CORPORATIONS,                                                                    
BUSINESS,   AND   PROFESSIONAL  LICENSING,   DEPARTMENT   OF                                                                    
COMMERCE,  COMMUNITY  AND  ECONOMIC  DEVELOPMENT,  indicated                                                                    
that  the  fiscal  note  was  structured  similarly  to  the                                                                    
previous  extension   just  heard  by  the   committee.  She                                                                    
explained that  the $21,400 would provide  authority for the                                                                    
board  to  do  its  business  including  attending  4  board                                                                    
meetings per  year, providing public  notices for  the board                                                                    
meetings, and  providing stipends  pertaining to  the board.                                                                    
If the board were to  sunset, the department would take over                                                                    
Representative Wilson  asked about the difference  between a                                                                    
private, non-profit organization that was exempt and a non-                                                                     
exempt non-profit  organization. It  sounded like  some non-                                                                    
profit  organizations   would  be   allowed  on   the  board                                                                    
currently. By allowing those that  were exempt, she wondered                                                                    
what kind  of organizations would  be included to be  on the                                                                    
Ms. Chambers thought  Representative Wilson's question would                                                                    
be better  addressed by the  bill sponsor. She  thought that                                                                    
making a wider pool available would be helpful.                                                                                 
Representative  Spohnholz responded  that the  vast majority                                                                    
of social workers either work  for a government organization                                                                    
or  a non-profit  organization. There  were very  few social                                                                    
worker that practiced in private  practice. Hence, there had                                                                    
been difficulty  recruiting someone  for the  fifth position                                                                    
that was required to be licensed  in social work but who did                                                                    
not serve in either a  governmental capacity or a non-profit                                                                    
capacity.  The amendment  would allow  for 1  member of  the                                                                    
board to either be a  private practice social worker or work                                                                    
for a  non-profit organization. An  example of the  kinds of                                                                    
non-profits that hired  social workers would be  some of the                                                                    
tribal  health organizations  or Denali  Family Services,  a                                                                    
non-profit  organization  in  Anchorage  that  hired  social                                                                    
1:50:35 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative   Wilson  was   trying   to  understand   the                                                                    
difference between exempt versus non-exempt.                                                                                    
Representative   Spohnholz  replied   that  all   non-profit                                                                    
organizations were exempt from federal taxes.                                                                                   
1:51:00 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Foster OPENED and CLOSED Public Testimony.                                                                             
Co-Chair Foster MOVED to ADOPT Amendment 1 (copy on file):                                                                      
     Page 1, line 1, following "Examiners;":                                                                                    
          Insert "relating  to the composition of  the Board                                                                    
          of Social Work Examiners;"                                                                                            
     Page l, following line 6:                                                                                                  
          Insert a new bill section to read:                                                                                    
     "*Sec. 2. AS 08.95.010(a) is amended to read:                                                                              
            (a)There  is created  the Board  of Social  Work                                                                    
          Examiners  composed of  five members,  as follows:                                                                    
          one  member  licensed  under  this  chapter  as  a                                                                    
          baccalaureate social  worker; one  member licensed                                                                    
          under this chapter as a  master social worker; two                                                                    
          members  licensed under  this chapter  as clinical                                                                    
          social  workers; and  one  public  member who  has                                                                    
          never been  licensed under this chapter.  At least                                                                    
          one of the  licensed members must be  a person who                                                                    
          is not an  employee of a federal,  state, or local                                                                    
          government    [OR   OF    A   PRIVATE    NONPROFIT                                                                    
          ORGANIZATION  THAT IS  EXEMPT FROM  FEDERAL INCOME                                                                    
     Renumber the following bill section accordingly.                                                                           
Co-Chair  Seaton  OBJECTED  for discussion.  He  wanted  the                                                                    
auditor to come forward.                                                                                                        
Co-Chair  Seaton asked  if she  thought the  amendment would                                                                    
aid in filling the vacancies.                                                                                                   
Ms. Curtis  replied that Legislative  Audit did  not conduct                                                                    
any work  to learn what  types of employers  employed social                                                                    
workers.  She  could not  comment  on  whether most  of  the                                                                    
social  workers worked  for non-profits.  She could  confirm                                                                    
that the  specific stringent requirements  and it  not being                                                                    
one of the 4 groups was  causing trouble in making sure they                                                                    
had full representation.                                                                                                        
Representative Kawasaki  noted that there were  590 clinical                                                                    
social   workers,  117   master  social   workers,  and   47                                                                    
baccalaureate social workers that  looked active. He relayed                                                                    
that there  were 1 out  of 47 potential candidates  and only                                                                    
47  potential candidates.  Under the  master social  workers                                                                    
there were 117  and under the clinical social  were close to                                                                    
600 between  the 2. The  amendment would delete  the private                                                                    
non-profit organization. He understood  it would open up the                                                                    
administration's  ability  to  find   someone  to  fill  the                                                                    
vacancy. He challenged whether it  was really that difficult                                                                    
to  find a  person to  fill  it. He  knew it  would be  made                                                                    
easier  by  making the  change.  He  did  not know  why  the                                                                    
requirement   was   initially   included.   Typically,   the                                                                    
legislature had clean board extensions.                                                                                         
Mr.   Madsen  responded   that  in   discussions  with   the                                                                    
Legislative Research  they reviewed the law  from 1988 which                                                                    
established  the   Board  of  Social  Work   Examiners.  The                                                                    
discussion at  the time was that  the board was going  to be                                                                    
regulating   social  workers   who   were  in   governmental                                                                    
practice,  non-profit practice,  and  private practice.  The                                                                    
idea  was to  have someone  in private  practice be  able to                                                                    
regulate those  who were also in  private practice. However,                                                                    
over time  it was found that  the board vacancy had  come up                                                                    
and  was very  difficult to  fill because  of the  stringent                                                                    
requirement. He thought Ms. Theisen  from the board would be                                                                    
able to  testify as to whether  the board was in  support of                                                                    
the amendment.                                                                                                                  
Representative Kawasaki relayed that  the statute state that                                                                    
at  least 1  of  the  4 licensed  members  could  not be  an                                                                    
employee of  the federal, state,  or local government,  or a                                                                    
private non-profit  organization. It meant that  the other 3                                                                    
could be.  He questions the  difficulty in finding  1 person                                                                    
to  qualify for  the vacancy.  If it  was that  difficult to                                                                    
find someone  he was  fine with  it. He  would like  to hear                                                                    
from someone on the board.                                                                                                      
Mr. Madsen  had discussions with  the chair of the  Board of                                                                    
Social  Worker Examiners.  From  her  discussions it  seemed                                                                    
that Division  of Boards and  Commissions received  a number                                                                    
of  qualified applicants  who would  be otherwise  qualified                                                                    
for the  position. However, they  were not able to  fill the                                                                    
position because they worked for non-profits.                                                                                   
1:56:36 PM                                                                                                                    
LAURA  THEISEN, BOARD  OF SOCIAL  WORK EXAMINERS,  GLENALLEN                                                                    
(via  teleconference), reported  that the  board had  looked                                                                    
for  a significant  amount of  time to  find an  appropriate                                                                    
person to  fill the  position. It  had been  very difficult.                                                                    
She believed it  would be positive for the board  to be able                                                                    
to broaden the number of possible applicants.                                                                                   
1:57:07 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Guttenberg  asked that  with a change  if the                                                                    
private sector would be properly represented.                                                                                   
Ms. Theirsen  asked Representative Guttenberg to  repeat his                                                                    
Representative  Guttenberg asked  if it  would be  a problem                                                                    
not having someone in private  practice on the board. He was                                                                    
concerned with social workers in  private practice not being                                                                    
properly represented. He  asked if it was  more important to                                                                    
have a full board or everyone represented.                                                                                      
Ms.  Theirsen replied  that it  would be  more important  to                                                                    
have  a  full  board.  The  goal of  the  board  was  public                                                                    
protection. She  believed that the board  had representation                                                                    
from  the licensed  social workers  with  2 of  them on  the                                                                    
board. She did not believe there would be an issue.                                                                             
1:58:44 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Wilson  asked  for  the  number  of  private                                                                    
social workers in the state.                                                                                                    
Mr. Madsen was looking for  the information. However, on the                                                                    
website for the Board of  Social Work Examiners did not have                                                                    
the number  broken down. It  was difficult to  find somebody                                                                    
who was  qualified through the private  practice position to                                                                    
serve on the board.                                                                                                             
1:59:13 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Wilson  asked if the amendment  would prevent                                                                    
anyone from applying from the private sector.                                                                                   
Mr. Madsen responded, "That is correct."                                                                                        
Co-Chair Seaton WITHDREW his OBJECTION.                                                                                         
There being NO further OBJECTION, Amendment 1 was ADOPTED.                                                                      
Co-Chair  Seaton  MOVED  to  report  CSHB  318(FIN)  out  of                                                                    
Committee  as amended  with  individual recommendations  and                                                                    
the accompanying fiscal note.                                                                                                   
CSHB  318(FIN) was  REPORTED  out of  committee  with a  "do                                                                    
pass" recommendation and with  a previously published fiscal                                                                    
impact note: FN1(CED).                                                                                                          
2:00:57 PM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
2:01:19 PM                                                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 318 Amendment #1 A.1.pdf HFIN 2/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 318
HB318 Sponsor Statement 2.7.2018.pdf HFIN 2/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 318
HB 318 Social-Work-Final-Report-WEB.pdf HFIN 2/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 318
HB302 Sponsor Statement 1.30.18.pdf HFIN 2/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 302
HB 302 Audit BPC-Final-Report-WEB.pdf HFIN 2/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 302
HB 323 Audit Pharmacy-FINAL-Report-WEB.pdf HFIN 2/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 323
HB323 Support Letter 2.5.18.pdf HFIN 2/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 323
HB323 Sectional Analysis 2.2.18.pdf HFIN 2/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 323
HB323.SponsorStatement.verD.2.2.18.pdf HFIN 2/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 323