Legislature(2015 - 2016)BUTROVICH 205

03/02/2015 01:00 PM Senate JUDICIARY

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Audio Topic
01:07:56 PM Start
01:08:14 PM Confirmation Hearing Lieutenant Governor Successor
01:31:28 PM SB49
01:34:35 PM SB5
02:05:50 PM SB41
02:36:12 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled:
-- Testimony <Invited and Public> --
+ Confirmation of Governor's Appointment: TELECONFERENCED
Craig Fleener - Lieutenant Governor Successor
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
Moved SB 49 Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        SB  41-PSYCHOLOGIST & ASSOC CRIM HISTORY CHECKS                                                                     
2:05:50 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  MCGUIRE announced  the  consideration  of SB  41. "An  Act                                                             
relating to criminal history record  checks for psychologists and                                                               
psychological associates; and providing for an effective date."                                                                 
2:05:53 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  CATHY   GIESSEL,  Sponsor   SB  41,  stated   that  this                                                               
legislation  is about  public safety.  The Board  of Psychologist                                                               
and  Psychological Associate  Examiners ("Board")  that regulates                                                               
this profession does not have  the statutory authority to conduct                                                               
criminal background checks  as a condition of  licensure. This is                                                               
important  because  this  group of  professions  provides  mental                                                               
health care  services to a  vulnerable population. The  bill also                                                               
allows  the Board  discretion to  require a  background check  on                                                               
renewals; that will be defined in regulation.                                                                                   
2:08:58 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE asked why this  wasn't allowed in statute in the                                                               
SENATOR GIESSEL replied  this has been discussed for  a number of                                                               
years, but it was never brought before the legislature.                                                                         
2:09:33 PM                                                                                                                    
ALAN   LEVY,   L.P.A.,   Chair,   Board   of   Psychologist   and                                                               
Psychological  Associate   Examiners  ("Board"),   addressed  the                                                               
question  about   why  the  Board   doesn't  already   have  this                                                               
authority.  He  explained that  psychology  as  a profession  was                                                               
originally licensed in 1963 and  background checks were typically                                                               
reserved  for certain  military  and  high government  positions.                                                               
This created a  status quo even though times  changed and greater                                                               
scrutiny  over   the  people  who   are  providing   services  to                                                               
vulnerable populations is now standard best practice.                                                                           
He explained  that for the  past eight  years the Board  has been                                                               
trying  to get  the authority  to do  background checks,  but the                                                               
Department  of  Law  (DOL)  opined   that  it  doesn't  have  the                                                               
authority to enact  regulations to give itself this  power. SB 41                                                               
would amend the statutes and grant the authority.                                                                               
2:12:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MCGUIRE asked  if there have been incidents  that gave rise                                                               
to the idea.                                                                                                                    
MR.  LEVY replied  not  to  his knowledge,  but  there have  been                                                               
problems  in some  of the  other 16  states that  do not  require                                                               
background    checks   for    psychologists   or    psychological                                                               
practitioners.  Unethical practitioners  moved from  jurisdiction                                                               
to jurisdiction  and did significant  harm due to the  absence of                                                               
scrutiny.  He opined  that Alaska  has been  fortunate to  have a                                                               
competent   and   healthy   population   of   psychologists   and                                                               
psychological associates,  but it  would be irresponsible  to say                                                               
that nothing will ever happen.                                                                                                  
CHAIR MCGUIRE  noted the  letter from  Robert Lane,  PhD., asking                                                               
the committee  to explore the  idea of barrier crimes.  She asked                                                               
the board's intention in that regard.                                                                                           
MR. LEVY replied,  assuming the bill passes, the  intention is to                                                               
craft  appropriate regulations  and  policies based  on the  best                                                               
science available. He  is aware of reliable  research that points                                                               
to  risk factors  in various  crimes at  various ages,  but those                                                               
questions  are for  the regulatory  phase. SB  41 applies  to the                                                               
statutory phase.                                                                                                                
2:15:56 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI related  a  story about  a constituent  who                                                               
didn't want  to submit a  fingerprint to take  a CPA exam  due to                                                               
privacy concerns. He asked how  the fingerprint information would                                                               
be protected to ensure it remains secure.                                                                                       
MR. LEVY  said his  personal inclinations are  in line  with what                                                               
the Alaska Constitution  values, but he has to  balance that with                                                               
the duty to protect the public.  He explained that as a practical                                                               
matter, criminal  background information  is covered  under state                                                               
policy and federal  law. It can only be used  for the purpose for                                                               
which it was obtained, it cannot  be shared or obtained through a                                                               
public  information  search.  He   suggested  the  Department  of                                                               
Commerce,  Community  and   Economic  Development  (DCCED)  could                                                               
discuss exactly how the information is secured.                                                                                 
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked if there are look-back limitations.                                                                  
MR.  LEVY  said  the  general  intent is  to  create  this  as  a                                                               
gatekeeper  for  future  applicants,  not  for  current  licensed                                                               
professionals. However, the Board  wants the regulatory authority                                                               
to  investigate  current  licensed   professionals  if  there  is                                                               
reasonable  cause to  do so.  The Board  also intends  to require                                                               
background checks for  licenses that have lapsed for  a period of                                                               
CHAIR  MCGUIRE asked  if there  is a  national registry  for this                                                               
profession similar to CODIS that provides information sharing.                                                                  
MR. LEVY  advised that  a project has  been underway  for several                                                               
years to  create a centralized  credentialing bank on  a national                                                               
and limited  international basis. Complaints would  be stored and                                                               
it would create licensure portability.                                                                                          
2:22:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MCGUIRE asked if the cost of licensing would increase.                                                                    
MR.  LEVY explained  that  the  applicant pays  the  cost of  the                                                               
background check which  is set at about $50 by  the Department of                                                               
Public Safety (DPS). He added  that all licensed boards are self-                                                               
supporting and  this Board  is dropping its  licensing fees  as a                                                               
result of carrying a significant surplus for many years.                                                                        
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked  if he disagrees that  the language in                                                               
the bill  states that a  future Board could require  a background                                                               
check on  every renewal. He  also asked how often  these licenses                                                               
are renewed.                                                                                                                    
MR. LEVY  explained that  licenses are  renewed every  two years.                                                               
The question  about requiring background  checks on renewal  is a                                                               
regulatory issue  and he doesn't  believe the  statutory language                                                               
should tie the hands of a future Board.                                                                                         
2:26:47 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBERT   LANE  Ph.D.,   Federal   Advocacy  Coordinator,   Alaska                                                               
Psychological  Association  (AK-PA),   noted  that  he  submitted                                                               
written comments. He stated that AK-PA  plans to be a part of the                                                               
process of  drafting regulations. He highlighted  that during the                                                               
Labor and  Commerce Committee hearing  he heard Mr. Levy  say the                                                               
bill is a  revenue producer. That caused worry  that a background                                                               
check  may be  part of  relicensing despite  the fact  that there                                                               
hasn't been  a problem.  He reported  that the  association isn't                                                               
opposed to the  bill, but wants assurance that  fees aren't added                                                               
that prevent people from entering the profession.                                                                               
2:29:29 PM                                                                                                                    
PAMELA  VAN  HOUTEN,  representing herself,  Petersburg,  Alaska,                                                               
testified  in support  of SB  41. She  described the  bill as  an                                                               
important public  safety tool.  People who  seek the  services of                                                               
these professionals  tend to  be in  a vulnerable  situation, and                                                               
this  client/professional relationship  is particularly  ripe for                                                               
abuse. It's therefore  of utmost importance to  bring forward any                                                               
past violations  that would  not be appropriate  to this  type of                                                               
professional relationship, she stated.                                                                                          
MR. LEVY  clarified that he does  not view the bill  as a revenue                                                               
enhancer.  The idea  of  it  being revenue  positive  is that  it                                                               
essentially saves money  to prevent somebody from  preying on the                                                               
public and causing harm.                                                                                                        
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI reviewed  the fiscal  note from  DCCED that                                                               
anticipates this will cost more  than $20,000 per year and states                                                               
that psychologists  will have to submit  their fingerprints every                                                               
two years.                                                                                                                      
MR. LEVY explained that if a  future board decides to do biannual                                                               
background   checks,   DCCED   has  to   have   calculated   that                                                               
2:34:33 PM                                                                                                                    
SARAH  CHAMBERS, Operations  Manager,  Division of  Corporations,                                                               
Business  and  Professional  Licensing, Department  of  Commerce,                                                               
Community and  Economic Development  (DCCED), confirmed  that the                                                               
intent behind the  fiscal note is to ensure  that the expenditure                                                               
authority is available  if a future Board decides  to do biannual                                                               
background  checks. If  the  authority isn't  needed,  it can  be                                                               
reduced in the management plan.                                                                                                 
2:35:54 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MCGUIRE  announced she  would hold SB  41 in  committee for                                                               
further consideration.                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
1 SB5 Sponsor Statement.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
SB 5
2 SB5 Sectional Analysis.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
SB 5
3 SB5.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
SB 5
4 SB5 Witnesses.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
SB 5
5_SB5 NFIB Support.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
SB 5
5.1 SB5 AGC Support.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
SB 5
5.2 SB5 State Chamber Support.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
SB 5
6 SB5 AS 11 46 980.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
SB 5
7 SB5 Appellate Court Opinion.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
SB 5
8 SB5 Welsh Case Brief and Commentary.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
SB 5
9 SB5 2011 - 2013 Alaska Property Loss Summary.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
SB 5
9.1 SB5 Crime Index Offense Summary 2009-2013.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
SB 5
1 SB41 Sponsor Statement.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
SB 41
2 SB41 Sectional Analysis vsn H.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
SB 41
3 SB41 vsn H.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
SB 41
4 SB41 Fiscal Note DCCED 2-18-15.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
SB 41
5 SB41 Support AK Psychological Assn 2-14-15.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
SB 41
5.1 SB41 Support Brainerd 2-17-15.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
SB 41
5.2 SB41 Support Lisa Turner 2-17-15.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
SB 41
5.3 SB41 Support Whipple 2-26-15.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
SB 41
5.4 SB41 Support DeRuyter 2-27-15.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
SB 41
6 SB41 Letter Alaska Psychological Association.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
SB 41
Resume_Craig Fleener_Lt. Gov Successor.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
5.3 SB5 Orion Marine Group Support.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
SB 5
5.4 SB5 - ACAN Support.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
SB 5
SB 49 Fiscal Note, Courts.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
SB 49
SB 49 Supporting Document-Clarification Re ALSC Prohibited Case Types-signed.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
SB 49
7 SB41 Letetr Alaska Psychological Association.pdf SJUD 3/2/2015 1:00:00 PM
SB 41