Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 106

03/30/2010 03:00 PM House HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved Out of Committee
Scheduled But Not Heard
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
Moved CSHB 277(HSS) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
               SB 307-SHELTERS FOR RUNAWAY MINORS                                                                           
3:10:54 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KELLER announced that the first order of business would                                                                
be SENATE BILL NO. 307, "An Act relating to residential shelters                                                                
for runaway minors."                                                                                                            
3:11:16 PM                                                                                                                    
CELESTE HODGE, Staff to Senator Bettye Davis, Alaska State                                                                      
Legislature, read from the sponsor statement [Included in the                                                                   
committee packet.] [original punctuation provided]:                                                                             
     SB307 allows  emergency residential  shelters like  the                                                                    
     Covenant  House Alaska  to continue  to accept  federal                                                                    
     grant  funding.     Covenant  House  Alaska   has  five                                                                    
     programs  that include  emergency shelter,  healthcare,                                                                    
     job   and  educational   assistance  and   transitional                                                                    
     living.   Covenant  House  Alaska  served nearly  3,000                                                                    
     Alaskan youth  in Alaska for  over 20 years  and served                                                                    
     literally tens of thousands of youth.                                                                                      
     In 2007, Covenant House Alaska  was awarded the federal                                                                    
     Basic  Center Grant  (BCG)  through the  Administration                                                                    
     for Children  and Families.  This  competitive, federal                                                                    
     grant  supplied  Covenant  House Alaska  with  $300,000                                                                    
     phased over  three years to  operate the  Crisis Center                                                                    
     ($100,000 per  year).  The Administration  for Children                                                                    
     and  Families recently  notified Covenant  House Alaska                                                                    
     the  Crisis Center  is  technically  out of  compliance                                                                    
     with federal grant requirements  stated in the Homeless                                                                    
     and Runaway Youth Act.                                                                                                     
     The Act  at 42 U.S.C  Section 5712(b)(2)(A)  states the                                                                    
     shelter can have  "a maximum capacity of  not more than                                                                    
     20 youth,  except where the applicant  assures that the                                                                    
     State where  the center or locally  controlled facility                                                                    
     is located has a State  or local law or regulation that                                                                    
     requires  a higher  maximum  to  comply with  licensure                                                                    
     requirements for  child and youth  serving facilities."                                                                    
     Established through the Act,  federal regulation 45 CFR                                                                    
     1351.18 (d) states the Basic  Center Grant (BCG) may be                                                                    
     awarded  to facilities  with a  shelter capacity  of 20                                                                    
     beds or less.  Covenant House Alaska holds 40 beds.                                                                        
     The  Administration  for  Children and  Families  (ACF)                                                                    
     concedes that  states with  statutes requiring  them to                                                                    
     operate a facility  over 20 beds will  meet the federal                                                                    
     requirements. SB307  allows for  a simple  amendment to                                                                    
     AS  47.10.310  -  "Licensing of  Programs  for  Runaway                                                                    
     Minors"  by adding  a new  subsection to  read: "(e)  A                                                                    
     program  for runaway  minors that  operates a  licensed                                                                    
     residential  shelter  in  the  state  shall  provide  a                                                                    
     shelter  with  a  capacity designated  in  the  license                                                                    
     issued  under  AS   47.10.300-47.10.390."  This  simple                                                                    
     amendment  will  allow emergency  residential  shelters                                                                    
     like Covenant  House Alaska  to continue  competing for                                                                    
     the federal Basic Center Grant (BCG).                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON asked  how SB 307 would  mandate a specific                                                               
number of beds in order to comply with license requirements.                                                                    
3:15:03 PM                                                                                                                    
TOM  OBERMEYER,  Staff  to Senator  Bettye  Davis,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,  stated  that  Legislative Legal  and  Research  had                                                               
reviewed the  federal statute in order  to write a bill  to bring                                                               
Covenant House into compliance with  federal law.  He offered his                                                               
understanding that  should a  state statute  allow this  level of                                                               
capacity then the federal law would also allow it.                                                                              
3:17:25 PM                                                                                                                    
WILDA LAUGHLIN,  Special Assistant,  Office of  the Commissioner,                                                               
Department  of Health  and Social  Services  (DHSS), stated  that                                                               
Department of  Health and  Social Services  had no  concerns with                                                               
the bill.   She pointed  out that it  would help the  Division of                                                               
Juvenile Justice and Office of  Children's Services.  She offered                                                               
her   understanding  that   the  licensing   would  not   have  a                                                               
programmatic  impact   on  the   section  of   certification  and                                                               
licensing, as this was a federal regulation.                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KELLER  offered his belief that  the federal requirement                                                               
for 20  beds was  already in the  regulations, but  that Covenant                                                               
House  had already  licensed  for  40 beds.    This  would be  an                                                               
authorization for Covenant  House Alaska to operate  at the state                                                               
established capacity.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON read  from  the sponsor  statement that  a                                                               
State  or local  law "requires  a higher  maximum to  comply with                                                               
license requirements..."   He  asked if the  language in  SB 307,                                                               
"the state shall provide a  shelter with a capacity designated in                                                               
the license" was  sufficient to comply with the federal  law.  He                                                               
asked  if the  state was  going to  have different  capacities on                                                               
different licenses.                                                                                                             
3:20:54 PM                                                                                                                    
LAUREN RICE,  Director of Public Affairs,  Covenant House Alaska,                                                               
pointed out  that Covenant  House was  the only  homeless shelter                                                               
for youth in  Alaska.  It had programs designed  to keep kids off                                                               
the streets  and to  help with the  transition to  healthy lives.                                                               
She pointed out  that these youth come from all  over Alaska, and                                                               
more than  39 percent were  Native Alaskan.   She stated  that 65                                                               
percent of  the girls had been  sexually abused or raped,  and 75                                                               
percent of  the kids came  from homes  with abuse of  alcohol and                                                               
drugs.  She noted that 70  percent of the $3.7 million budget was                                                               
from  private  donations, with  the  balance  coming from  local,                                                               
state, and federal grants.                                                                                                      
MS. RICE  directed attention  to the 2004  and 2007  Basic Center                                                               
Grants   (BCG),  which   Covenant  House   Alaska  had   received                                                               
regardless of  the 20 bed  capacity regulation.  She  shared that                                                               
the  current  federal  administration  had  requested  clarifying                                                               
language to  apply for  this grant.   She  explained that  SB 307                                                               
would not  impact any  new shelters  with fewer  than the  40 bed                                                               
capacity of Covenant House Alaska.  She summarized SB 307:                                                                      
     if a  youth facility is  going to operate in  the state                                                                    
     of  Alaska they  need to  be able  to provide  the beds                                                                    
     they are  licensed for.   So, if  you are  licensed for                                                                    
     three, you  need to be able  to provide three.   If, in                                                                    
     the situation  with Covenant House, if  we are licensed                                                                    
     for forty,  we will be  required to provide  forty beds                                                                    
     to our kids.                                                                                                               
MS. RICE  offered her  hope that  SB 307  would continue  to keep                                                               
Covenant  House Alaska  competitive.   She pointed  out that  its                                                               
daily average was 34 kids,  and that Covenant House Alaska needed                                                               
a 40 bed capacity to operate  in Alaska.  She stressed that there                                                               
was not intent to limit capacity for other new shelters.                                                                        
3:26:29 PM                                                                                                                    
KIMBERLY  COLBO, Counsel  for  Covenant  House Alaska,  expressed                                                               
agreement with  Ms. Rice's summation.   Reading from SB  307, she                                                               
offered  her  belief  that  "shall provide  a  shelter  with  the                                                               
capacity designated in  the license" that's been  approved by the                                                               
state was  functionally the same  as the original  language which                                                               
stated "is required to provide a  shelter."  She opined that this                                                               
should  allow  flexibility  while permitting  Covenant  House  to                                                               
operate and compete for the BCG.                                                                                                
3:28:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CO-CHAIR KELLER,  after ascertaining that  no one else  wished to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony on SB 307.                                                                                     
3:28:44 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE T. WILSON moved to  report SB 307 out of committee                                                               
with individual  recommendations.  There  being no  objection, SB
307  was  reported from  the  House  Health and  Social  Services                                                               
Standing Committee.                                                                                                             

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB25prt1.PDF HHSS 3/30/2010 3:00:00 PM
HB 25
HB25prt2.PDF HHSS 3/30/2010 3:00:00 PM
HB 25
SB307pckt.PDF HHSS 3/30/2010 3:00:00 PM
SB 307
HB277pkt.PDF HHSS 3/30/2010 3:00:00 PM
HB 277