Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/23/2003 01:34 PM Senate HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                SB 156-PREGNANCY ALCOHOL WARNING                                                                            
CHAIR FRED DYSON  announced SB 156, which he sponsored,  to be up                                                               
for consideration.  He explained that several  years ago, Senator                                                               
Pearce  introduced  and passed  a  bill  requiring that  warnings                                                               
about the  danger of drinking  while pregnant be posted  in bars.                                                               
He reminded  members that prenatal alcohol  poisoning of children                                                               
is the  largest cause  of permanent mental  injury in  our nation                                                               
and  that Alaska,  arguably,  leads  the nation  in  the rate  of                                                               
prenatal alcohol poisoning of children.                                                                                         
CHAIR DYSON said  last fall at the state FASFAE  summit, a parent                                                               
suggested  the  Legislature  take   the  next  step  to  increase                                                               
awareness  amongst sexually  active people  about the  dangers of                                                               
prenatal  alcohol   poisoning  of  children.  He   contacted  the                                                               
National Pharmacy Board and talked  with pharmacists in the state                                                               
who thought that  should be done anyway. This  bill requires that                                                               
pharmacists post  a sign  that says  drinking while  pregnant can                                                               
damage  the  unborn  child   where  prescriptions  and  equipment                                                               
related  to  sexual activity  are  located  and to  provide  that                                                               
information  to   customers  buying  birth  control   devices  or                                                               
pregnancy testing kits. No one has opposed this idea.                                                                           
SENATOR GRETCHEN GUESS asked if they  would be required to post a                                                               
sign as opposed to handing  the information to everyone who comes                                                               
in to buy something.                                                                                                            
CHAIR DYSON replied they are  required to do both. One pharmacist                                                               
told him he was going to put a sticker on each package.                                                                         
SENATOR GUESS asked if the pharmacy  has the choice or whether it                                                               
would have to provide that piece of paper every time.                                                                           
CHAIR DYSON said  he thought it was both. A  sign would be posted                                                               
and the customer would get the information.                                                                                     
SENATOR  GUESS said  she was  a little  worried about  the burden                                                               
this could place  on a clerk at Fred Meyer,  for instance, versus                                                               
the signage, which may be more effective.                                                                                       
MR.  WES  KELLER, staff  to  Senator  Dyson, commented  that  the                                                               
person  who  actually  hands  the  device  to  the  recipient  is                                                               
required to  provide the piece  of paper,  but the penalty  is on                                                               
the owner or the manager of the business.                                                                                       
SENATOR  GUESS envisioned  a scenario  where a  customer in  Fred                                                               
Meyer  went  to the  condom  section  and  then to  the  checkout                                                               
counter and no one handed him  a notice. She asked if the manager                                                               
of Fred Meyer would be penalized.                                                                                               
CHAIR DYSON replied  if there wasn't a sticker on  the package, a                                                               
clerk would  be required to give  the customer a piece  of paper.                                                               
He  assumed the  store would  have a  supply of  stickers at  the                                                               
SENATOR GUESS asked  if he didn't think that  places an excessive                                                               
burden on business.                                                                                                             
CHAIR DYSON  replied yes, but  he didn't  think it was  any undue                                                               
burden,  not  unlike  requiring  clerks to  check  for  age  when                                                               
selling  tobacco. He  added  that according  to  the Division  of                                                               
Public  Health, the  state spends  $1.5 million  on every  FASFAE                                                               
child  by the  time that  child  reaches 18.  He maintained,  "My                                                               
sense in  the business community  that I  have talked to  is that                                                               
they  are glad  to do  this,  particularly as  a defense  against                                                               
potential liability."                                                                                                           
SENATOR GUESS  said notification is  a great goal, but  she asked                                                               
him to  think logistically  about how  it would  take place  in a                                                               
Fred Meyer store.  She asked if the warning would  be the same as                                                               
that in Senator Pearce's legislation.                                                                                           
CHAIR DYSON replied that he thought so.                                                                                         
SENATOR  WILKEN  moved  to  pass   SB  156  from  committee  with                                                               
individual recommendations.  There were no objections  and it was                                                               
so ordered.                                                                                                                     

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