Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 106

02/12/2009 08:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHB 63(STA) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HB  63-COUNCIL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: MEMBERS, STAFF                                                                              
8:07:31 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN announced  that the first order of  business was HOUSE                                                               
BILL  NO.  63,  "An  Act  relating to  the  Council  on  Domestic                                                               
Violence and Sexual Assault."                                                                                                   
8:08:27 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  FAIRCLOUGH, Alaska  State Legislature,  presented                                                               
HB  63 as  co-prime  sponsor.   She  noted that  she  was a  past                                                               
executive director of Stand Together  Against Rape (STAR), and is                                                               
involved  with  the  National  Sexual  Violence  Resource  Center                                                               
(NSVRC).   She  said the  proposed bill  has bipartisan  support.                                                               
Representative Fairclough  reminded the committee that  two years                                                               
ago she  had brought the  subject of sexual violence  and assault                                                               
before the legislature.   She offered her  understanding that for                                                               
21 of  the last  22 years,  Alaska has ranked  number one  in the                                                               
nation for  sexual assault and  domestic violence.   Furthermore,                                                               
she indicated that  child abuse and suicide rates  are also high.                                                               
Since then,  she related,  she has  been [part  of a  task force]                                                               
investigating some  of the apparent problems  associated with the                                                               
Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault (CDVSA).                                                                        
8:10:07 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  FAIRCLOUGH  said  one  concern  was  whether  the                                                               
council should be  located in the Department of  Public Safety or                                                               
be  moved  to  the  Department  of  Health  and  Human  Services.                                                               
Another  concern is  related to  the governor's  involvement with                                                               
the membership  of the council.   Yet another concern  is whether                                                               
or  not  those   council  members  named  by   the  network  were                                                               
inappropriately  influencing the  council  in  making poor  grant                                                               
management decisions.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE   FAIRCLOUGH  brought   attention  to   the  first                                                               
paragraph on the first page  of the sponsor statement, which read                                                               
as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                     
     The Legislative  Task Force, created by  House Bill 215                                                                    
     in  2007,  was  directed   to  consider  the  Council's                                                                    
     relationship   and   consultation  with   other   state                                                                    
     agencies;    the    statutory   responsibilities    and                                                                    
     priorities of the Council;  the appointment process for                                                                    
     members  of the  Council; the  location of  the Council                                                                    
     within   the   state  administrative   structure;   the                                                                    
     Council's    compliance     with    grant    management                                                                    
     requirements; and  the Council's mission and  the focus                                                                    
     of the  Council's mission on  prevention, intervention,                                                                    
     crisis response, and perpetrator accountability.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE FAIRCLOUGH said the task  force reached out to the                                                               
following   communities:      Bethel,  Fairbanks,   Juneau,   and                                                               
Anchorage.    Hearings were  held  in  each of  those  locations,                                                               
during which  the task force  questioned police  departments, law                                                               
enforcement agencies,  direct responders, hospitals,  nurses, and                                                               
advocates to  find out  what kind of  relationship they  had with                                                               
the council and how the  council was responding in the individual                                                               
communities.   Representative Fairclough  said she served  on the                                                               
task force along with Representatives  Holmes and Coghill, and in                                                               
partnership  with   Senators  Bundy,  Elton,  and   Olson.    She                                                               
indicated  that each  of the  task force  members support  HB 63.                                                               
She  said the  Departments  of Education  and Early  Development,                                                               
Public Safety, Corrections, Law,  and Health and Social Services,                                                               
as well as  an urban community member and  a rural representative                                                               
were also involved.                                                                                                             
8:13:02 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE FAIRCLOUGH  deferred to her staff  for a sectional                                                               
8:13:17 AM                                                                                                                    
CRYSTAL KOENEMAN,  Staff, Representative Anna  Fairclough, Alaska                                                               
State Legislature,  on behalf  of Representative  Fairclough, co-                                                               
prime  sponsor,  highlighted  parts of  the  sectional  analysis,                                                               
which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                          
     Section 1. Amends AS 18.66.020(1)                                                                                        
       Changes the number of members on the council from                                                                        
     three public members to four public members                                                                                
        Adds language that states that one of the public                                                                        
     members must be from a rural area                                                                                          
      Adds a new subsection adding in the commissioner of                                                                       
        corrections or a designee of the commissioner of                                                                        
     corrections as a member of the council                                                                                     
     Section 1. Amends AS 18.66.020(b)                                                                                        
     Changes the term of office of a public member from two                                                                     
     years to three years                                                                                                       
     Changes language  from "shall"  to "may" in  regards to                                                                    
     the Governor consulting the  Alaska Network on Domestic                                                                    
     Violence  and  Sexual  Assault (ANDVSA)  regarding  the                                                                    
     appointment of public members to the Council.                                                                              
     Section 1. Amends AS 18.66.020(c)                                                                                        
          Adds language that deals with members appointed                                                                       
     to the council that states they may  not be an employee                                                                    
     of the State of Alaska                                                                                                     
     Section 2. Amends AS 18.66.020(d)                                                                                        
               Adds new subsection that defines the term                                                                        
     "rural area"                                                                                                               
     Section 3. Amends AS 18.66.040                                                                                           
               Changes the quorum requirement from four                                                                         
     members to five members                                                                                                    
     Section 4. Amends AS 18.66.050                                                                                           
     Changes language making staff  positions in the Council                                                                    
     non-exempt, other than the Executive Director                                                                              
     Adds  language for  the  Department  of Corrections  in                                                                    
     regards to coordinating services                                                                                           
     Section 5. Amends AS 39.25.110(38)                                                                                       
     Changes the  staff of the  executive director  from the                                                                    
     exempt service to the classified service                                                                                   
     Section  6.  Amends  Uncodified law  of  the  State  of                                                                  
     Adds new  subsection that deals with  the appointing of                                                                    
     a new member  to the council within 30  days after this                                                                    
     Act takes effect                                                                                                           
     Extends the term  of the public members  from two years                                                                    
     to three years                                                                                                             
MS. KOENEMAN explained that the increase in the quorum directly                                                                 
relates to the increase in members.  She explained that a change                                                                
to  classified service  from exempt  makes  those positions  more                                                               
8:15:16 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE FAIRCLOUGH  noted that there are  letters from the                                                               
network and the  council in support of  the aforementioned change                                                               
of "shall"  to "may".   She  pointed out  that the  definition of                                                               
"rural" is  taken from  an already  existing definition  in state                                                               
8:16:21 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE FAIRCLOUGH,  in response to  Representative Gatto,                                                               
relayed  that the  council  is  funding mechanism  as  well as  a                                                               
strategic  planning  organization.   The  total  number of  those                                                               
serving on the council would be  changed from seven to nine.  She                                                               
confirmed that  the Department of  Corrections is  represented on                                                               
the  task force.   She  explained, "They  were seen  as a  valued                                                               
resource because of perpetrator  accountability."  In response to                                                               
another question  from Representative  Gatto, she  explained that                                                               
currently council staff are subject,  like commissioners, to come                                                               
and go  with the  administration, and  the task  force recommends                                                               
that staff  be made classified  in order to attain  stability and                                                               
historical perspective.                                                                                                         
8:19:10 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON directed  attention to  the fourth  bullet                                                               
point  on page  11 of  the CDVSA  Legislative Task  Force report,                                                               
which read:                                                                                                                     
     The 2005  Legislative Audit found that  the Council was                                                                    
     not living  up to its statutory  responsibility to work                                                                    
     with the Department of  Education and Early Development                                                                    
     to develop  curricula on  domestic violence  and sexual                                                                    
     assault  for  use in  schools.    Further, it  was  not                                                                    
     consulting with  Health and Social Services  to develop                                                                    
     standards and  procedures for  delivery of  services in                                                                    
     health care facilities.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   FAIRCLOUGH  explained   that   the  task   force                                                               
recommended that the  council put together a  strategic plan, and                                                               
she indicated that is happening.   One related issue is regarding                                                               
funding.  She  clarified that in statute there is  a position for                                                               
an educator,  but that position  is not  funded.  The  purpose of                                                               
bringing  the task  force forward  was  to address  the issue  of                                                               
prevention,  and the  task force  asked the  council to  devise a                                                               
strategic  plan  to  deal  with  four  components:    prevention,                                                               
intervention, [crisis response], and perpetrator accountability.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  observed that the first  and fourth bullet                                                               
points [on page  11 of the task force report]  are indentifying a                                                               
coordination between "those three departments."  He continued:                                                                  
     I  just want  to make  sure that  ... when  things were                                                                    
     reviewed in the bill as  we have, we've got Corrections                                                                    
     in  there,  that we  some  how  incorporated the  audit                                                                    
     recommendation that  Education and Health  and [Social]                                                                    
     Services  be  incorporated   [in]  that  communication.                                                                    
     And, if I'm understanding,  what you're reporting to me                                                                    
     is  that  the  strategic  plan  accomplished  that  ...                                                                    
     [which] was required.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE FAIRCLOUGH responded as follows:                                                                                 
     The  strategic  plan places  that  out.   It  was  just                                                                    
     released, and  so, they have  been working  together to                                                                    
     develop  that.   But the  task force  did not  agree to                                                                    
     bring  forward a  financial request  to  you this  year                                                                    
     until we saw that a  strategic plan was implemented and                                                                    
     that that communication was happening.                                                                                     
     ... The auditor, as you're  pointing out, and we agree,                                                                    
     ...  [is] saying  that  there  wasn't communication  to                                                                    
     develop the  curriculum.  But  what the  auditor didn't                                                                    
     know  is  that the  council  had  worked with  specific                                                                    
     (indisc.  -- coughing)  organization, and  there was  a                                                                    
     grant that was  let for ... a boy's  curriculum to work                                                                    
     with  rape prevention.   ...  The  auditor didn't  have                                                                    
     that  information, so,  the council  went back,  and in                                                                    
     collaboration  came up  with a  strategic  plan and,  I                                                                    
     believe,  are looking  at memorandum  of understandings                                                                    
     to outline how they communicate  with each other.  They                                                                    
     believed  it was  happening, but  the auditor  couldn't                                                                    
     see it in paperwork.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  said he wanted  to make certain  that that                                                               
portion  of   the  recommendations   had  been   incorporated  or                                                               
addressed in some manner in the proposed legislation.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE FAIRCLOUGH responded, "This  bill does not address                                                               
that particular finding."                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON   asked,  "But   you  believe   that  that                                                               
coordination is happening through the strategic plan?"                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE FAIRCLOUGH answered yes.                                                                                         
8:23:48 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG directed attention  to the definition of                                                               
rural area  on page 2, line  17, and noted that  a representative                                                               
from Bethel has  requested that that figure be  raised from 5,500                                                               
to 7,000.   He asked Representative Fairclough if  she would have                                                               
any objection to that.                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE   FAIRCLOUGH  said   she  would   object,  because                                                               
Legislative  Legal and  Research  Services has  told  her that  a                                                               
definition of  rural already existing  in statute.  She  said she                                                               
does  not  have a  problem  "expanding"  to  allow others  to  be                                                               
represented,  but  pointed  out  that no  one  is  excluded  from                                                               
serving  on the  council now.   What  is not  represented on  the                                                               
council is "a remote, smaller voice," she said.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  said  he   would  not  offer  such  an                                                               
amendment if  Representative Fairclough will assure  him that she                                                               
will discuss the issue with Representative Bob Herron.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE FAIRCLOUGH said she would do so.                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG  directed   attention  to   the  third                                                               
paragraph of a letter from the  chair of CDVSA, dated February 8,                                                               
2009, [included in  the committee packet], which  read as follows                                                               
[original punctuation provided]:                                                                                                
     Council members are supportive of  the change making it                                                                    
     optional  for  the  Governor   to  consult  the  Alaska                                                                    
     Network on  Domestic Violence and Sexual  Assault about                                                                    
     public   member   appointments.     However,   in   our                                                                    
     discussions, we agreed  that it is a good  idea for the                                                                    
     governor's office to ask  for such recommendations, and                                                                    
     we encourage making that connection  in order to secure                                                                    
     a pool of well qualified applicants.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG noted  that the  language to  which the                                                               
letter refers  is found  on page  2, line  10, "The  governor may                                                           
consult".  He  said the council seems to support  the language in                                                           
the first part of the paragraph,  but then seems to change by the                                                               
latter part.   He  asked Representative  Fairclough if  she would                                                               
support  a change  from "may"  to "should"  or to  "is encouraged                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE FAIRCLOUGH  explained that she does  not object to                                                               
that,  but Legislative  Legal and  Research Services  recommended                                                               
the  word  "may"  because  it  has  been  legally  tested,  while                                                               
"should" has not.                                                                                                               
8:28:38 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG,  speaking as  a lawyer, said  he thinks                                                               
"is  encouraged to"  makes the  language aspirational,  while not                                                               
making it legally binding.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  FAIRCLOUGH said  she  agrees with  Representative                                                               
Gruenberg's position, but asked that  he not propose an amendment                                                               
to change that language.  She  explained that she would not speak                                                               
against  such an  amendment, but  Legislative Legal  and Research                                                               
Services has told her that "we  do not inspire in statute, we use                                                               
language that's defendable in law."                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  said he  will not offer  the amendment,                                                               
but  offered   to  speak  with  Representative   Fairclough,  the                                                               
director  of  the council,  and  Legislative  Legal and  Research                                                               
Services to "get you to where you want to be."                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE FAIRCLOUGH expressed appreciation of the offer.                                                                  
8:31:03 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE PETERSEN  directed attention to the  second bullet                                                               
point  on page  12 of  the CDVSA  Legislative Task  Force report,                                                               
which read as follows [original punctuation provided]:                                                                          
     The  Legislature  should  provide additional  funds  to                                                                    
     support   the   school  health   education   specialist                                                                    
     position  as   required  by  AS  14.30.360   to  assist                                                                    
     districts  in  the   coordination  and  development  of                                                                    
     curriculum   to  address   domestic  violence,   sexual                                                                    
     assault, and interpersonal violence.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE   PETERSEN  asked   if  that   recommendation  was                                                               
incorporated into the proposed legislation,  and how exactly that                                                               
person would coordinate the development of the curriculum.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE FAIRCLOUGH explained as follows:                                                                                 
     Our  auditors have  "dinged" ...  the  council for  not                                                                    
     communicating  with the  Department  of Education  [and                                                                    
     Early Development]  in the curriculum  development, and                                                                    
     this position  had meant to (indisc.  -- coughing) make                                                                    
     that  connection.   But when  the  task force  reviewed                                                                    
     everything that  was happening inside of  the council -                                                                    
     struggling with  staff and staff  retention, historical                                                                    
     perspective - we  didn't feel like we  should move that                                                                    
     forward at  this time and  in this  fiscal environment.                                                                    
     We have  (indisc. -- coughing), it's  a resource there,                                                                    
     but right now we felt like  the council needed to, as a                                                                    
     task  force, roll  out a  strategic plan  so they  knew                                                                    
     where they were  going.  And they are  talking, but the                                                                    
     task force as a group,  and those who've sponsored this                                                                    
     bill, have not included that recommendation as of yet.                                                                     
8:32:34 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  WILSON expressed  appreciation  that the  smaller                                                               
communities are being included, because  many of them do not have                                                               
law enforcement or village public safety officers (VPSOs).                                                                      
CHAIR LYNN concurred.                                                                                                           
8:33:20 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO talked  about  a class  required for  those                                                               
individuals imprisoned on charges of  battery.  He said sometimes                                                               
the  sentences  are too  short  for  the  inmate  to be  able  to                                                               
complete the class.                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE FAIRCLOUGH said  the task force is  looking into a                                                               
program  which would  allow the  person to  complete the  program                                                               
outside  of  incarceration.    She noted  that  rural  areas,  in                                                               
particular,  often  do  not  have  the means  to  help  a  former                                                               
convicted  batterer finish  such a  program.   The Department  of                                                               
Corrections could be  involved.  She noted that in  the past, the                                                               
Department of Corrections was a  part of the Department of Public                                                               
Safety, but  when it was separated  it lost out on  being part of                                                               
the council.                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  FAIRCLOUGH,  in  response   to  a  question  from                                                               
Representative  Gatto  about the  fiscal  note,  said she  cannot                                                               
detail what the fiscal note  covers without consulting Jo Griggs.                                                               
In response to a follow-up  question, she said council members do                                                               
not  get paid,  but surmised  that if  council members  receive a                                                               
stipend, the majority of it covers travel.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  said the  fiscal note from  the Department                                                               
of  Public  Safety mentions  travel  for  the commissioner.    He                                                               
pointed  out  that  the commissioner  normally  has  his/her  own                                                               
travel budget, and he wants to  ensure that "this isn't an add-on                                                               
leveraging money  into Public Safety."   He  asked Representative                                                               
Fairclough to  consider that issue  as the  bill is heard  in the                                                               
House Finance Committee.                                                                                                        
The committee took an at-ease from 8:38:28 AM to 8:38:43 AM.                                                                
CHAIR LYNN, after ascertaining that  there was no one to testify,                                                               
closed public testimony.                                                                                                        
8:39:23 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON moved  to  adopt  Conceptual Amendment  1,                                                               
labeled 26-LS0138\P,  2/12/09, which would insert  "Alaska" after                                                               
"the" on  page 1, line 10.   He explained that  the word "Alaska"                                                               
is  needed  before  "Network  on  Domestic  Violence  and  Sexual                                                               
Assault" anywhere it appears in the  bill.  He noted that it also                                                               
occurs on page 2, line [11].                                                                                                    
8:40:12 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN  asked  if  there was  any  objection  to  Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 1.  There being none, it was so ordered.                                                                              
CHAIR LYNN reopened public testimony.                                                                                           
8:40:47 AM                                                                                                                    
ANN HOUSE, Chair,  Council on Domestic Violence  & Sexual Assault                                                               
(CDVSA),  talked   about  the  council.     She   emphasized  the                                                               
importance  of  the council.    She  recommended every  committee                                                               
member  visit  one  of  the   shelters.    She  pointed  out  the                                                               
aforementioned letter  from the council, which  she authored, and                                                               
she offered to  answer questions.  She stressed  that the council                                                               
is looking for money to  focus on prevention of domestic violence                                                               
and sexual  assault in  Alaska.   She expressed  gratefulness for                                                               
the task  force's putting the council  on its "track."   She said                                                               
the  council needs  members from  outlying  areas, because  those                                                               
members offer a different point of  view.  Ms. House talked about                                                               
the  learning   curve  serving  on  the   council,  and  reminded                                                               
committee members that  those on the council serve  without pay -                                                               
they receive money only for travel.                                                                                             
8:43:25 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON moved  to report HB 63, as  amended, out of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal  notes.    There  being no  objection,  CSHB  63(STA)  was                                                               
reported out of the House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                     

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
2-12-09 CS for HB 63 (STA).pdf HSTA 2/12/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 63
2-12-09 FAX Final CS for HB 63.doc HSTA 2/12/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 63
HB63-DOC-OC-02-09-09.pdf HSTA 2/12/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 63
HB063-DPS-CDVSA-02-12-2009.pdf HSTA 2/12/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 63
HB 63 Sectional Analysis.pdf HSTA 2/12/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 63
HB 63 Sponsor Statement.pdf HSTA 2/12/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 63