Legislature(2017 - 2018)BUTROVICH 205
03/14/2018 01:30 PM Senate HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES
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SB 81-DHSS CENT. REGISTRY; LICENSE; BACKGROUND CHECK 2:25:26 PM CHAIR WILSON reconvened the meeting and announced the consideration of SB 81. He reopened public testimony and noted that the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) has been working with the Department of Law and the Ombudsman's Office to produce a committee substitute. He entertained a motion to adopt the work draft. 2:26:03 PM SENATOR VON IMHOF moved to adopt the work draft CS for SB 81, labeled 30-GS1676\D, as the working document. 2:26:15 PM CHAIR WILSON objected for purposes of discussion. 2:26:27 PM STACIE KRALY, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Civil Division, Human Services Section, Department of Law, said SB 81 is a technical bill to make corrections to the background check process used by DHSS, as well as to make some small changes to the licensing statutes found in AS 47.32. The background checks statute has been on the books for 15 years and needs a few technical adjustments. She reminded members that in the last meeting DOL said it would meet with committee staff, staff from the other body, and the Ombudsman's Office to develop a committee substitute to address the concerns raised by the Ombudsman's Office. 2:27:47 PM MS. KRALY reviewed the following summary of changes in CSSB 81, version D: Section 1 contains the amendment requested by the Department of Public Safety to ensure compliance with federal laws relating to the sharing of criminal history information with the Department of Health and Social Services. Section 2 contains a technical fix that removes the word "registry" and instead refers to databases to avoid the concern raised by the Ombudsman regarding confusion over the term "registry." Old Section 7 was deleted as it was determined in consultation with legislative legal the section was redundant. It was determined that keeping what is now section 7 in the CS was sufficient to require relative placement to have background checks. Section 10 is re-written to address the concerns raised by the Ombudsman's office. Specifically, the rewrite: • Removes the confusion caused by using the word "registry." Similar to Sections 2, 8, 18, and 21, the change redefines registry to "databases"; 2:29:28 PM SENATOR MICCICHE asked if this was an attempt to delete the word "registry" from the legal definitions because certain groups have decided they are sensitive to that term. He asked if it is a registry or a database and if the term "registry" would ever be used again. MS. KRALY said registries still exist in state law and this bill still has a registry. In this context, a registry was not created. The reason for removing the word "registry" from the bill is that it indicated that the state was creating a registry, which is not the case. It was renamed a civil history database check because it is a more accurate representation of what is happening. 2:31:12 PM MS. KRALY continued to review the changes to Section 10. • Clarifies that the department is looking to evaluate health, safety, and welfare issues when reviewing databases related to licensed entities, not technical violations that may lead to a nonrenewal, suspension or revocation of a license; • Clarifies that the department is looking to identify persons whose children are subjects of a child in need of aid petition; • ?Clarifies that the department is looking to evaluate health, safety, and welfare issues when reviewing databases related to licensed providers (occupational licensing under AS 08), not unrelated technical violations; • Adds that a person who works for the state not just the Department of Health and Social Services is subject to a barring condition if they are terminated from employment for a substantiated allegation of assaultive, neglectful, or exploitive behavior. Section 12 is amended as requested by the Ombudsman's Office to clarify persons who are seeking variances have access to information they need to pursue a variance. Section 14 adds a new section to effectuate the access of information under AS 47.10 for variance committees. Section 17 (former Section 16) contains a technical fix that remove the word "registry" that refer to databases to avoid confusion as articulated by the Ombudsman. Section 19 (former Section 18) removes the qualifier of "unsupervised" before "volunteer" as to persons who can be investigated. The Department wants to be able to investigate any volunteer unsupervised or otherwise who has engaged in abusive, neglectful, or exploitative behavior against a child or adult in care. Sections 20 is added to this CS to amend AS 47.32.140(d) to remove the word "registry" and instead refer to databases to avoid the concern raised by the Ombudsman regarding confusion over the term "registry." Section 22 (former Section 20) is amended to add a new subsection to clarify that information can be shared with law enforcement if that information is from a concurrent investigation. 2:34:34 PM CHAIR WILSON removed his objection. Finding no further objection, CSSB 81, version D, was adopted. 2:35:17 PM KATE BURKHART, Ombudsman, Alaska Office of the Ombudsman, Legislative Agencies and Offices, said the committee substitute addresses the concerns of the Office of the Ombudsman, particularly around whether a substantiated report of harm was sufficient cause for a 10-year barrier. She was duly convinced of that many people involved in a substantiated claim would not be part of a Child in Need of Aid action because they are not a parent. They would want to sweep those up in the background check program. The committee substitute strengthens the background check program, which is a critical component to the child protection system, as well as those professions that serve vulnerable children and adults. 2:37:07 PM CHAIR WILSON held SB 81 in committee.