Legislature(2003 - 2004)

03/13/2003 03:03 PM House HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 146-CHILD SUPPORT/SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS                                                                                  
CHAIR WILSON announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 146,  "An Act repealing  the termination  date of                                                               
certain provisions that require  the reporting of social security                                                               
numbers and  automated data matching with  financial institutions                                                               
for  child support  enforcement  purposes; and  providing for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WILSON informed  the committee  that there  is a  proposed                                                               
committee  substitute  (CS)   [labeled  23-LS0705\H,  Lauterbach,                                                               
3/13/03].  She said if there  were no objections, the proposed CS                                                               
would be before the committee.  [No objections were stated.]                                                                    
Number 0155                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE LESIL McGUIRE,  Alaska State Legislature, sponsor,                                                               
informed the  committee that HB  146 eliminates a  policy enacted                                                               
by the legislature  some years ago.  She noted  the importance of                                                               
doing this in a timely manner  due to the large amount of federal                                                               
funding  in   danger  of  being   lost  [by  the   child  support                                                               
enforcement program  and related programs] if  this measure isn't                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE  said  the only  substantive  portion  in                                                               
which  one  could argue  there  is  a  policy  change is  in  the                                                               
proposed CS.   The original legislation from years  ago failed to                                                               
allow for  nonresident people working  in Alaska to  be included,                                                               
which she  believed to be  an oversight.   Representative McGuire                                                               
noted  that  she   has  been  working  with   the  Limited  Entry                                                               
Commission and others.   She also noted that  United Fishermen of                                                               
Alaska (UFA) endorses  this legislation.  She  offered her belief                                                               
that everyone  believes it is  good to protect  Alaska's children                                                               
and to obtain the resources to which the children are entitled.                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE  acknowledged the  controversy surrounding                                                               
[the  use   of  social  security  numbers   for  identification].                                                               
Although she  didn't disagree that social  security numbers began                                                               
as  a  means  to  a  program  and  now  have  become  a  personal                                                               
identification  number,  she  encouraged the  committee  to  look                                                               
beyond such arguments.   Today, social security  numbers are used                                                               
as  personal identification  numbers and  for tracking  purposes.                                                               
She emphasized  the importance of  the child  support enforcement                                                               
program to be  able to find parents that aren't  paying the debts                                                               
necessary  to support  their children.   Having  employers report                                                               
social  security numbers  so that  the child  support enforcement                                                               
program  can  directly  track  the wages  of  earnings  of  these                                                               
individuals is the  most effective way to  accomplish [support of                                                               
children], she suggested.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE  referred to the sponsor  statement in the                                                               
committee  packet  and  said  HB 146  relates  to  federal  money                                                               
obtained  through  a  block grant  under  the  federal  Temporary                                                               
Assistance  to  Needy  Families  (TANF) program.    In  1996  the                                                               
federal  welfare reform  legislation was  enacted and  the policy                                                               
began  at  the federal  level  to  reduce dependence  on  welfare                                                               
programs.   The  federal  Act imposed  numerous requirements  for                                                               
state child  enforcement programs.  Thus  financial participation                                                               
in  Alaska's child  support enforcement  program  and the  Alaska                                                               
Temporary Assistance Program (ATAP)  depends upon compliance with                                                               
these  federal requirements.    In 1997  and  1998, [state]  laws                                                               
enacted to  meet those federal  requirements included  a repealer                                                               
of  July  1, 2003.    Without  action this  legislative  session,                                                               
therefore, this policy will disappear and much will be lost.                                                                    
Number 0490                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO highlighted that  this would cover residents                                                               
and nonresidents alike.  He felt  it would be clearer if the word                                                               
"resident" was  replaced with the  word "nonresident" on  page 1,                                                               
line 7 of Version H.  Therefore,  on page 1, line 7, the sentence                                                               
would refer to  nonresidents.  He also suggested  changing line 9                                                               
such  that it  would specify  that  the resident  applying for  a                                                               
resident commercial  fishing license  would provide  the person's                                                               
social security number in addition to the proof of residence.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE  responded that  she didn't  disagree that                                                               
subsection  (b) is  bifurcated.   However, she  noted a  possible                                                               
constitutional   concern:     the   need   to   take  care   when                                                               
distinguishing between residents and  nonresidents in law because                                                               
there are all types of issues  that come into play, such as equal                                                               
protection and the commerce clause.   Therefore, she wanted to be                                                               
clear  that  there  is  no distinction  between  a  resident  and                                                               
nonresident  but  rather  that   an  individual  applying  for  a                                                               
commercial  fishing  license  must   provide  a  social  security                                                               
number.    Representative  McGuire said  she'd  be  uncomfortable                                                               
changing that,  although she  noted her  willingness to  have the                                                               
bill  held in  order to  speak with  the drafter.   However,  she                                                               
emphasized that she  believes it's clear that  the first sentence                                                               
in  subsection  (b)  applies  to  all  people  who  apply  for  a                                                               
commercial fishing  license, while the second  portion applies to                                                               
residents only.                                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  said he  sees  this  legislation from  the                                                               
point of  view of the person  who would be affected,  rather than                                                               
the  drafter.   Therefore, he  prefers language  so clear  that a                                                               
third-grade student  could understand  it.  He  noted that  he is                                                               
uncomfortable [with the language as is].                                                                                        
Number 0692                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE opined  that  inserting "nonresident"  on                                                               
line 7  would be  problematic because residents  also need  to be                                                               
included.   She mentioned  the notion outlined  in lines  7-8 and                                                               
indicated  it would  be  reiterated in  the  second [sentence  of                                                               
subsection (b)]; she opined that this would be superfluous.                                                                     
CHAIR   WILSON   echoed   Representative   McGuire's   statements                                                               
regarding the use  of "nonresident" in that it may  raise a flag.                                                               
She said she believes [the existing language] is best.                                                                          
Number 0780                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  suggested  there   are  various  types  of                                                               
residencies  in this  state:   someone  can be  a permanent  fund                                                               
dividend  resident,  a  voting  resident, and  a  fish  and  game                                                               
resident, for example.  "My concern  is we would also like to add                                                               
another  line, maybe,  identifying  for the  purposes of  fishing                                                               
licenses,"  he   said.    Representative  Gatto   reiterated  his                                                               
discomfort and desire for changes.                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE  explained  that  when  one  looks  at  a                                                               
resident versus  a nonresident, care must  be taken to look  to a                                                               
benefit that both equally receive.  She explained:                                                                              
     In this particular instance, what  we're saying is that                                                                    
     if  you apply  for a  commercial fishing  license, then                                                                    
     you're  going to  be required  to provide  the person's                                                                    
     social security numbers.   So it's the  action and it's                                                                    
     the  benefit   that  you're  receiving  that   we  were                                                                    
     referring  to  as  opposed  to   setting  out  being  a                                                                    
     resident or  nonresident you somehow  have a  higher or                                                                    
     lesser burden.                                                                                                             
Number 0882                                                                                                                     
MARY   McDOWELL,   Commissioner,   Commercial   Fisheries   Entry                                                               
Commission  (CFEC), Alaska  Department  of Fish  & Game  (ADF&G),                                                               
suggested  this  could probably  be  clarified  by reviewing  the                                                               
origin of the  language [in Version H].  She  noted that AS 16.05                                                               
discusses the  licensing of commercial  fishermen.  In  1997, the                                                               
legislature  was   looking  for   a  place  to   insert  language                                                               
clarifying  that those  who  apply for  all  types of  commercial                                                               
fishing  licenses shall  provide their  social security  numbers.                                                               
The   drafter  opted   to  place   the   aforementioned  in   [AS                                                               
16.054.80(b)], which  was originally  meant to provide  ADF&G and                                                               
[CFEC]  the  ability  to  ask someone  about  residency  for  the                                                               
purpose of obtaining the cheaper resident license.                                                                              
MS.  McDOWELL  said the  additional  requirement  to provide  the                                                               
social  security  number was  inserted  by  the drafter  in  this                                                               
section that only  spoke to residents; this was  a drafting error                                                               
because   the  legislative   history  clearly   shows  that   the                                                               
legislature   wanted  all   applicants  for   commercial  fishing                                                               
licenses  to provide  a  social security  number.   Referring  to                                                               
[Version H, subsection (b)], she  mentioned retaining the ability                                                               
that anyone  applying for a  fishing license shall  provide proof                                                               
of  residency  in  order  to receive  the  resident  rate,  while                                                               
additionally  specifying  that  all applicants  shall  provide  a                                                               
social security number for a fishing license.                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO said  he sees  mistakes and  thus expressed                                                               
the need for more time to pen an amendment.                                                                                     
MS.  McDOWELL explained  that HB  146 [Version  23-LS0705\D] took                                                               
all  the  sections inserted  in  1997  and rolled  them  forward.                                                               
However,  it  was realized  that  the  original drafting  was  in                                                               
error.   Rather  than roll  forward mistakenly  drafted language,                                                               
the proposal is to fix it as it is rolled forward.                                                                              
Number 1123                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO   stressed  that  HB  146   was  originally                                                               
legislation to remove a sunset date.   However, Version H is more                                                               
than the removal  of a sunset date and requires  people to act or                                                               
produce something.   He reiterated the  desire to clean it  up so                                                               
it's better  written.  He  asked if  there is some  deadline that                                                               
has to be met.                                                                                                                  
CHAIR WILSON  informed the committee  that there is a  backlog of                                                               
legislation   for   this   committee.      She   announced   that                                                               
Representative  Gatto  could  formulate an  amendment  while  the                                                               
committee moved on  to the next piece  of legislation; otherwise,                                                               
she would follow  the wish of the committee.   Chair Wilson noted                                                               
that several departments have been  involved with the proposed CS                                                               
and thus she said she felt fairly comfortable with it.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO advised  the chair that he  would attempt to                                                               
formulate an amendment.                                                                                                         
CHAIR WILSON temporarily suspended the hearing on HB 146.                                                                       
HB 146-CHILD SUPPORT/SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBERS                                                                                  
Number 1557                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WILSON  returned attention to  HOUSE BILL NO. 146,  "An Act                                                               
repealing  the  termination  date   of  certain  provisions  that                                                               
require the  reporting of social  security numbers  and automated                                                               
data  matching  with  financial institutions  for  child  support                                                               
enforcement purposes; and providing for an effective date."                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  asked  if  the  bill  would  make  social                                                               
security numbers available to the public.                                                                                       
MARY   McDOWELL,   Commissioner,   Commercial   Fisheries   Entry                                                               
Commission  (CFEC), Alaska  Department  of Fish  & Game  (ADF&G),                                                               
replied that the bill doesn't  change the current situation; CFEC                                                               
has  always   asked  for  social   security  numbers   on  permit                                                               
applications, and upon request,  those numbers are made available                                                               
to  the  Child Support  Enforcement  Division  (CSED) so  it  can                                                               
garnish part  of a fish  ticket.   In further response,  she said                                                               
this  information  absolutely  wouldn't   be  accessible  on  the                                                               
Number 1686                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF  referred to  the "Child  Support Enforcement                                                               
2003 'Sunset' Summary" in the  committee packet and asked if CSED                                                               
was in favor of waiving  federal requirements for social security                                                               
numbers on fishing and hunting licenses.                                                                                        
MS. McDOWELL  said CSED  could best  answered that  question; she                                                               
added  that  sport  fishing and  hunting  licenses  were  treated                                                               
differently than this sort of licensing.                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  offered Amendment  1, which  read [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
     Line 7(b) A person applying for a non-resident                                                                             
     Line 9    after shall insert "provide the person's                                                                         
               S/S# and                                                                                                         
     Line 10   strike [that the department requires by                                                                          
               insert [as required by regulation.]                                                                              
     Line 13   strike [a]                                                                                                       
               insert "the"                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  explained that if  reference was made  to a                                                               
nonresident,  then,  similarly, reference  should  be  made to  a                                                               
resident.  Conversely, if reference  was made to a resident, then                                                               
a  correlative reference  should be  made to  a nonresident.   In                                                               
this way,  100 percent of the  people would be covered.   He said                                                               
inserting "nonresident"  in 7(b)  identifies the group  of people                                                               
involved  with the  regulation pertaining  to commercial  fishing                                                               
licenses and social security numbers.                                                                                           
CHAIR WILSON commented that the  reference pertained to everyone,                                                               
not just nonresidents.                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  concurred, and said  that was why,  in line                                                               
9, he inserted  "social security number" - to make  it clear that                                                               
each  line could  stand on  its  own.   He said  each line  deals                                                               
entirely  with the  regulation; he  suggested that  the amendment                                                               
simplifies rather than complicates the bill's language.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO continued  that  in line  10,  it was  more                                                               
straightforward to  say, "as required by  regulation" rather than                                                               
"that the  department requires  by regulation."   He  said making                                                               
this more general does not restrict it to any one department.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO concluded his  explanation by saying that in                                                               
line 13,  the specific social  security number that is  wanted is                                                               
the  one  provided  by  the applicant,  rather  than  "a"  social                                                               
security  number;  therefore,  he   suggested  striking  "a"  and                                                               
inserting "the."  He said Amendment  1 does not change the intent                                                               
of the bill, but clarifies the  language so it is somewhat easier                                                               
to understand than the previously [provided] language.                                                                          
CHAIR  WILSON objected  for purposes  of discussion.   She  noted                                                               
that  John  Mallonee  from  CSED and  Diane  Wendlandt  from  the                                                               
Department of Law were on teleconference to answer questions.                                                                   
Number 1890                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  KAPSNER asked,  in reference  to line  7, whether                                                               
the intent was to add or to delete language.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  replied  that   the  word  "resident"  was                                                               
already deleted, and he was not  changing that deletion.  He said                                                               
adding  "nonresident" would  distinguish  it  from the  following                                                               
line, which  speaks to residents.   In this way, each  line would                                                               
stand on  its own  merit.   If amended line  7(b) would  read, "A                                                               
person  applying for  a  nonresident  commercial fishing  license                                                           
under  this section  shall provide  the person's  social security                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE   CISSNA  said   she  values   the  expertise   of                                                               
Legislative  Legal  and Research  Services,  and  prefers not  to                                                               
amend the language.                                                                                                             
CHAIR WILSON said she agreed.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF  indicated that he  does not want  to second-                                                               
guess Legislative Legal  and Research Services.   In reference to                                                               
line 7, he said defining  "nonresident" had the potential to open                                                               
up a "can of worms."                                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO suggested  that  changing  the language  in                                                               
line 13 to "the" would offer further clarification.                                                                             
Number 2055                                                                                                                     
A roll call vote was taken.   Representative Gatto voted in favor                                                               
of Amendment  1.  Representatives  Wolf, Heinze,  Seaton, Cissna,                                                               
Kapsner, and  Wilson voted  against it.   Therefore,  Amendment 1                                                               
failed by a vote of 1-6.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  KAPSNER moved  to  report CSHB  146, Version  23-                                                               
LS0705\H, Lauterbach,  3/13/03, out of committee  with individual                                                               
recommendations and  the accompanying  fiscal note.   There being                                                               
no objection, CSHB  146(HES) was reported from  the House Health,                                                               
Education and Social Services Standing Committee.                                                                               

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