Legislature(2003 - 2004)

03/17/2004 08:02 AM Senate JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
          SB 309-BLOOD PATHOGENS TESTING OF PRISONERS                                                                       
MR. KURT OLSON, staff to Senator  Tom Wagoner, sponsor of SB 309,                                                               
told  members  that  Alaska  law   currently  allows  testing  of                                                               
prisoners  for  blood borne  pathogens  at  the request  of  rape                                                               
victims.  SB 309 would  allow correctional officers who have been                                                               
exposed  to blood  or other  bodily  fluids to  request that  the                                                               
prisoner responsible  for the potential contamination  be tested.                                                               
He  explained  that Alaska  statute  18.15  would be  amended  to                                                               
include five new provisions.                                                                                                    
   · AS 18.15.400 authorizes the testing process                                                                                
   · AS 18.15.410 provides consent provisions                                                                                   
   · AS 18.15.420 addresses situations for which testing occurs                                                                 
     without consent                                                                                                            
   · AS 18.15.440 addresses confidentiality issues and provides                                                                 
     penalties for disclosure                                                                                                   
   · AS 18.15.450 contains definitions                                                                                          
MR.  OLSON informed  members that  41 correctional  officers were                                                               
potentially  exposed to  blood borne  pathogens last  year. Those                                                               
pathogens can  be HIV, Hepatitis  B, or  Hepatitis C. In  most of                                                               
the cases,  the exposure was  intentional. Current  treatment for                                                               
exposure consists  of a  daily treatment for  about two  weeks of                                                               
what  is  called a  "cocktail."  The  cocktail contains  numerous                                                               
drugs to  counteract several  diseases. The  side effects  can be                                                               
severe,  and prevents  most correctional  officers from  working.                                                               
The Department  of Corrections  (DOC) supports SB  309 and  he is                                                               
aware of no opposition to the bill.                                                                                             
SENATOR OGAN said he is  aware that correctional officers are not                                                               
allowed  to  discuss their  medical  histories  and exposures  to                                                               
blood borne pathogens. He asked,  if the exposure is intentional,                                                               
the  carrier  could  be  charged  with  assault  if  the  officer                                                               
contracted  an infectious  disease, and  whether anyone  has ever                                                               
been charged.                                                                                                                   
MR. OLSON deferred to Ms. Parker for an answer.                                                                                 
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER  PORTIA PARKER,  DOC, said  she was  not sure                                                               
how  many assault  charges have  been filed.  She explained  that                                                               
DOC's  standard procedure,  when an  officer is  assaulted by  an                                                               
inmate, whether  any blood is  exchanged or  not, is to  call the                                                               
Alaska State  Troopers (AST). She  added that very  few instances                                                               
have occurred.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR FRENCH asked if blood  borne pathogens can be transmitted                                                               
by spitting.                                                                                                                    
SENATOR OGAN nodded affirmatively.                                                                                              
MR. OLSON  thought hepatitis can  be transmitted by  spitting, as                                                               
well as biting.                                                                                                                 
SENATOR FRENCH asked if a fluid-to-fluid transfer must occur.                                                                   
MR.  OLSON  replied,  "I  believe  it  can  be  fluid  to  mucous                                                               
membranes - eyes."                                                                                                              
SENATOR FRENCH  referred to the  language that begins on  line 30                                                               
of page  4 and remarked that  paragraph (2) on page  5 should not                                                               
be included in the list of things the court finds.                                                                              
SENATOR  OGAN  asked, excluding  paragraph  (2),  if the  sponsor                                                               
intends that paragraphs (1), (3), and (4) all be met.                                                                           
MR.  OLSON said  it is  Senator Wagoner's  intent that  all three                                                               
criteria be met  and that it also  must be at the  request of the                                                               
potentially infected correctional officer.                                                                                      
SENATOR FRENCH  commented that  SB 309 is  well crafted  and well                                                               
CHAIR SEEKINS announced a recess  at 8:25 a.m. and reconvened the                                                               
meeting at  8:30 a.m.  He then announced  that he  consulted with                                                               
the sponsor,  who would like  to amend  SB 309 to  make paragraph                                                               
(2) on page 5, subsection  (d), rename the current subsection (d)                                                               
subsection (e), and rename paragraphs (3)  and (4) to (2) and (3)                                                               
[Amendment 1].                                                                                                                  
SENATOR OGAN so moved.                                                                                                          
CHAIR  SEEKINS  announced  that  without  objection,  the  motion                                                               
SENATOR OGAN asked why Hepatitis A  was not included on page 6 as                                                               
it is  easily transmittable, and suggested  saying "including but                                                               
not limited to."                                                                                                                
SENATOR  THERRIAULT thought  the current  wording does  not limit                                                               
the blood borne pathogens to those listed.                                                                                      
CHAIR SEEKINS  suggested clarifying  that section by  saying "not                                                               
limited to."                                                                                                                    
SENATOR OGAN moved  to insert ", but are not  limited to" on page                                                               
6, line 1 [Amendment 2].                                                                                                        
CHAIR SEEKINS  announced that without objection,  Amendment 2 was                                                               
adopted.  He  then  closed  public   testimony  due  to  lack  of                                                               
SENATOR OGAN moved CSSB 309(JUD) from committee with individual                                                                 
recommendations and its attached fiscal note. Without objection,                                                                
the motion carried.                                                                                                             

Document Name Date/Time Subjects