Legislature(2009 - 2010)CAPITOL 106

03/26/2009 08:00 AM House STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved Out of Committee
+ Overview: Alaska Public Offices TELECONFERENCED
Commission (APOC)
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 123(STA) Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 193(STA) Out of Committee
HB 123-EXTEND SUICIDE PREVENTION COUNCIL                                                                                      
[Contains discussion of SB 35.]                                                                                                 
8:06:33 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN announced  that the first order of  business was HOUSE                                                               
BILL  NO. 123,  "An Act  extending  the termination  date of  the                                                               
Statewide  Suicide  Prevention  Council;  and  providing  for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
8:06:58 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON moved to adopt the proposed committee                                                                     
substitute (CS) for HB 123, Version 26-0500\R, Bullard, 3/24/09,                                                                
as a work draft.  There being no objection, Version R was before                                                                
the committee.                                                                                                                  
CHAIR LYNN noted that HB 123 mirrors a companion bill, [SB 35].                                                                 
8:07:40 AM                                                                                                                    
CRYSTAL KOENEMAN,  Staff, Representative Anna  Fairclough, Alaska                                                               
State Legislature,  outlined the  changes proposed in  Version R.                                                               
She said  Section 1  would change  the number  of members  on the                                                               
council   from  15   to  16,   by  adding   one  public   member.                                                               
Furthermore, the two members appointed  by the Senate and the two                                                               
members  appointed  by  the House  would  be  nonvoting  members.                                                               
Version R  would change  the number of  members appointed  by the                                                               
governor from 11  to 12.  One of the  members would represent the                                                               
Department  of Health  & Social  Services  (DHSS), while  another                                                               
would represent  the Department of Education  & Early Development                                                               
MS.  KOENEMAN reminded  the committee  that the  requirement that                                                               
one of  the council members  must be  a counselor of  a secondary                                                               
school  was  problematic, and  she  said  Version R  proposes  to                                                               
change that requirement  so that the position could  be filled by                                                               
any employee  of a  secondary school.   The requirement  that one                                                               
member  must be  an  adult who  is active  in  a statewide  youth                                                               
organization would  be changed  to require a  person active  in a                                                               
youth organization.  Finally, Ms.  Koeneman noted that previously                                                               
there was a requirement that one  member must be under the age of                                                               
18; however,  Version R proposes  that that person would  need to                                                               
be enrolled in  grade 9, 10, 11,  or 12 of a  secondary school in                                                               
the state.                                                                                                                      
8:09:45 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  KOENEMAN,  in response  to  a  question from  Representative                                                               
Johnson regarding tie votes in  an even-numbered council, offered                                                               
her understanding  that someone from  the Department of  Health &                                                               
Social Services  was present and  could respond to  that concern.                                                               
She recollected that  [the council] had expressed that  it had no                                                               
concern  regarding the  issue.   In response  to Chair  Lynn, she                                                               
indicated  that there  is a  provision whereby  the chair  of the                                                               
council could abstain from voting.                                                                                              
8:10:51 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON directed  attention to the use  of the word                                                               
"minority" on page 1,  lines 11 and 14.  He  indicated that in "a                                                               
number  of  statutes," the  phrase,  "from  each major  political                                                               
party" is used.   He asked Ms. Koeneman if  she could explain the                                                               
reason for the changed wording.                                                                                                 
MS.  KOENEMAN  responded that  this  wording  mirrors the  Senate                                                               
bill; however, she  said she would not anticipate  a problem with                                                               
an amendment to change the wording.                                                                                             
8:11:57 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON suggested that  the wording is such because                                                               
of the current make-up of the Senate.                                                                                           
CHAIR LYNN remarked that the  Minority in the Senate is comprised                                                               
of Republicans, while the Majority  party affiliation is a "mixed                                                               
bag."  He said, "It makes things interesting."                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON said,  "The Minority  doesn't have  voting                                                               
for  committee  rights,  since   there's  less  than  twenty-five                                                               
percent Minority."  He said that is "the questionable part."                                                                    
8:13:11 AM                                                                                                                    
PAT  DAVIDSON, Legislative  Auditor, Legislative  Audit Division,                                                               
Legislative Agencies  and Offices, in response  to Representative                                                               
Seaton, said  the division did not  make specific recommendations                                                               
regarding  changes to  HB 123,  but  recognized the  requirements                                                               
that needed to  be incorporated.  She indicated  that [Version R]                                                               
would accomplish two critical points.   First, it would establish                                                               
legislators  as   nonvoting  members,  which  would   mean  their                                                               
presence would not  be essential to making a quorum.   Second, it                                                               
would broaden  the criteria.   She remarked  that in  four years'                                                               
time, [the council] will be  reviewed once more to determine "how                                                               
it works."                                                                                                                      
8:14:33 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. DAVIDSON, in response  to Representative Gruenberg, explained                                                               
that the reason  for the four-year extension is  that the council                                                               
does  not  have  grant-making  authority or  a  lot  of  specific                                                               
authority  or  the funding  to  allow  for implementation.    The                                                               
council  is an  advisory board;  therefore, the  interval between                                                               
reviews is  kept shorter to keep  the council "under the  gun" to                                                               
demonstrate that it is being effective.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  asked  if  it is  the  policy  of  the                                                               
division to  review boards with funding  capabilities every eight                                                               
years  and  entities  without  funding  capabilities  every  four                                                               
8:16:31 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. DAVIDSON  responded that it  is not a  policy.  She  said the                                                               
division looks at the Statewide  Suicide Prevention Council as an                                                               
advisory body because  of its statutory responsibilities.   It is                                                               
an active body,  which is why the division recommended  it for an                                                               
extension.   She stated, "These  bodies need to  demonstrate that                                                               
they are serving a public purpose."   The council is an exception                                                               
to  other  boards   and  councils  that  are   involved  in  very                                                               
structured activity,  she remarked.   In response to  a follow-up                                                               
question from Representative Gruenberg,  she said an extension of                                                               
less  than eight  years could  be  assigned to,  for example,  an                                                               
occupational board  working on  substantive statutory  changes to                                                               
mirror what is happening in the  profession.  Also, if a board is                                                               
not operating  effectively, the division may  recommend a shorter                                                               
time period  between audits.   She stated, "The criteria  that we                                                               
use in evaluating  these boards are set out in  statute, and each                                                               
of those  is considered and addressed  during the audit.   And at                                                               
the   completion  of   the  audit,   the  audit   team  makes   a                                                               
recommendations for an extension."                                                                                              
8:19:37 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN closed public testimony.                                                                                             
8:19:45 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   SEATON    returned   to   discussion    of   the                                                               
aforementioned language on  page 1, lines 11 and 14.   He said he                                                               
wants to  know if  a member  of the  Minority means  the official                                                               
Minority, so that  "if there's less than 25 percent  of the body,                                                               
there's just  not a member."   Another possibility would  be that                                                               
[the council] "might end up  with both Republicans from the other                                                               
body,"  since the  President of  the Senate  is a  Republican and                                                               
because  "we   have  all   of  the   minority  members   who  are                                                               
8:20:50 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. KOENEMAN  said [the  bill drafter] chose  the language.   She                                                               
suggested that a change could be  made now, or she could research                                                               
the issue,  which could  then be addressed  in the  House Finance                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  opined  that   the  House  State  Affairs                                                               
Standing Committee  should address  the issue, since  it pertains                                                               
to policy.                                                                                                                      
8:21:34 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  noted that  the  language  on page  1,                                                               
lines 11-14, is  current language.  He asked the  members to look                                                               
at page  3 of [a  legislative audit, control  number 06-20055-08,                                                               
included  in  the  committee packet],  which  shows  the  current                                                               
council members  as of  the last legislature.   The  report shows                                                               
that  the two  members of  the Senate  were both  members of  the                                                               
Majority,  although  they  were  Democrats,  because  "they  were                                                               
members of  the working  group."   The two  members in  the House                                                               
were both members of the Minority, and they were both Democrats.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG suggested  an amendment  be adopted  to                                                               
allow the Senate  President to appoint two members  of the Senate                                                               
and  the Speaker  of  the House  to appoint  two  members of  the                                                               
House,  irrespective   of  party  affiliation.     He  explained,                                                               
"They're  not following  this anyway,  and  I think  they have  a                                                               
tough  time,  probably, getting  members  who  are interested  in                                                               
doing this."                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON observed,  "I  think that  looking at  the                                                               
current  membership and  looking  at the  nonpolitical nature  of                                                               
this, ... that would be a good idea."                                                                                           
8:23:28 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON  pointed out  that if a  change is  made to                                                               
Version R, it would no longer mirror SB 35.                                                                                     
8:24:21 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  moved to  adopt Amendment 1  to Version                                                               
R, as follows:                                                                                                                  
     On page 1, beginning on line 10:                                                                                           
          Between "senate" and ";"                                                                                              
         Delete ", one of whom shall be a member of the                                                                         
       majority and one of whom shall be a member of the                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON objected.  She  said she thinks the current                                                               
language in Version R has been crafted thus for a reason.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG told  Representative  Wilson that  "the                                                               
only changes they made in this ... section are on line 8."                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE WILSON maintained her objection.                                                                                 
8:26:13 AM                                                                                                                    
A roll  call vote  was taken.   Representatives  Seaton, Johnson,                                                               
and  Gruenberg  voted in  favor  of  Amendment  1 to  Version  R.                                                               
Representatives  Wilson and  Lynn voted  against it.   Therefore,                                                               
Amendment 1 to Version R was adopted by a vote of 3-2.                                                                          
8:26:51 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  moved to  report  CSHB  123, Version  26-                                                               
LS0500\R,  Bullard, 3/24/09,  as amended,  out of  committee with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  the  accompanying fiscal  notes.                                                               
There being  no objection,  CSHB 123(STA)  was reported  from the                                                               
House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
01 SB 29.pdf HSTA 3/26/2009 8:00:00 AM
SB 29
02 SB 29 Sponsor Statement.pdf HSTA 3/26/2009 8:00:00 AM
SB 29
HB 123 Legislative Audit 06-20055-08.pdf HSTA 3/26/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 123
CS for HB 123 Version R.pdf HSTA 3/26/2009 8:00:00 AM
HB 123
03 SB 29 Memorial Quotes.pdf HSTA 3/26/2009 8:00:00 AM
SB 29
04 SB 29 Letters of Support.pdf HSTA 3/26/2009 8:00:00 AM
SB 29
05 SB 29 Hickel Letter of Support.doc HSTA 3/26/2009 8:00:00 AM
SB 29
06 SB 29 Fiscal Note.pdf HSTA 3/26/2009 8:00:00 AM
SB 29
REVISED InsightOverviewLegCopy.ppt HSTA 3/26/2009 8:00:00 AM