Legislature(2017 - 2018)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

04/18/2018 01:30 PM Senate JUDICIARY

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Heard & Held
Heard & Held
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+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        SB  81-DHSS CENT. REGISTRY;LICENSE;BCKGROUND CHK                                                                    
2:04:34 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COGHILL  announced  the  consideration  of  SB  81.  [CSSB
81(HSS) was before the committee.]                                                                                              
2:04:43 PM                                                                                                                    
STACIE KRALY,  Chief Assistant  Attorney General,  Human Services                                                               
Section,  Civil  Division,  Department of  Law,  Juneau,  Alaska,                                                               
thanked the  committee for  hearing SB  81, relating  to required                                                               
background checks for participation  in programs such as Medicaid                                                               
and  foster care.  She explained  that  the bill  is a  technical                                                               
amendment to statutes that were  enacted in 2005. It will improve                                                               
fairness for applicants without  compromising the health, safety,                                                               
and welfare  of the individuals  who receive services.  She noted                                                               
that  background checks  are required  for  anybody who  provides                                                               
services that are paid for entirely  or in part by the Department                                                               
of Health and Social Services.                                                                                                  
MS. KRALY said SB 81 does three primary things:                                                                                 
   • It conforms the criminal history statutes to clarify what                                                                  
     constitutes a civil history check.                                                                                         
   • It renames two registries in current statute:                                                                              
        • The child abuse and neglect registry that is                                                                          
     maintained by the Office of Children's Services; and                                                                       
        • The civil history check registry that is maintained by                                                                
     the Background Check Program within DHSS.                                                                                  
   • It edits the licensing statutes in AS 47.32 to ensure the                                                                  
     state  is  meeting  the  health,   safety,  and  welfare  of                                                               
     individuals  receiving care  in  foster  homes and  assisted                                                               
     living  facilities.   This  includes:   sharing  information                                                               
     without court  orders or search warrants,  and investigation                                                               
     of individuals  if they abuse  or neglect a person  in care,                                                               
     as opposed to focusing solely on the entity.                                                                               
MS.  KRALY opined  that SB  81 will  maintain efficiencies,  save                                                               
money, and  provide better information  for the people  the state                                                               
2:07:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL asked if the ombudsman endorses these changes.                                                                    
MS.  KRALY answered  yes;  the Department  of  Health and  Social                                                               
Services, the  Department of  Law, the  Office of  the Ombudsman,                                                               
and  the Health  and Social  Services committees  of both  bodies                                                               
support the current committee substitute.                                                                                       
2:07:56 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI joined the committee.                                                                                      
CHAIR COGHILL  advised that the  Office of the Ombudsman  is part                                                               
of the legislative branch.                                                                                                      
SENATOR KELLY joined the committee.                                                                                             
2:08:30 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. KRALY provided an overview of  the sections of SB 81 speaking                                                               
to the following document:                                                                                                      
     Section 1.  Amends Title 12  of the Alaska  statutes to                                                                    
     bring   the  Department   of  Public   Safety  criminal                                                                    
     background check  process into compliance  with federal                                                                    
     law; specifically, this  amendment allows public safety                                                                    
     [to]share   criminal  history   information  with   the                                                                    
     Department of Health and Social Services.                                                                                  
     Section  2.  This  section makes  conforming  edits  to                                                                    
     rename  "Centralized   Registry"  to  the   "the  civil                                                                    
     history   database  check"   (AS  47.05.330)   to  more                                                                    
     accurately  describe the  current  practice and  avoids                                                                    
     confusion  with  the  "the   central  registry"  in  AS                                                                    
     47.17.040 (see section 14).                                                                                                
     Sections  3  and  4.  These  sections  would  amend  AS                                                                    
     47.05.310(b) and  47.32.310(d) to clarify  that barrier                                                                    
     crimes apply to individuals as well as entities.                                                                           
     Section 5. This section  would amend AS 47.05.310(e) to                                                                    
     allow an  individual to seek a  background check. Under                                                                    
     the current  law, only entities  can seek  a background                                                                    
     check. This  section would also remove,  at the request                                                                    
     of the Department of Public  Safety, the designation of                                                                    
     the Department of Health and  Social Services (DHSS) as                                                                    
     a   criminal  justice   agency  for   purpose  of   the                                                                    
     background check program. (see also section 1).                                                                            
     Section 6. This section  would amend AS 47.05.310(f) to                                                                    
     make  it  clear   that  DHSS  may     in  addition  to                                                                    
     exceptions to the barrier crime  provisions  approve a                                                                    
     variance for a barrier crime.                                                                                              
     Section 7. This section  would amend AS 47.05.310(h) to                                                                    
     address  how   a  non-licensed  provider,  such   as  a                                                                    
     relative  who is  receiving payment  by  the Office  of                                                                    
     Children's  Services,  is  treated under  the  statute.                                                                    
     This   amendment  would   make  it   clear  that   such                                                                    
     providers,  while not  being paid  by  DHSS, are  still                                                                    
     subject to background checks prior to placement.                                                                           
     Section 8. This  section would add a new  section to AS                                                                    
     47.05.310 to  address immunity  from civil  or criminal                                                                    
     liability  for reporting  during  the background  check                                                                    
     Section  9.  This  section   would  provide  a  similar                                                                    
     framework  for the  civil  history  database checks  as                                                                    
     background checks  (see AS 47.05.310). This  means that                                                                    
     the same  process applies to  a person who is  found to                                                                    
     have a  barring criminal conviction under  AS 47.05.310                                                                    
     as well as a barring civil finding under AS 47.05.330.                                                                     
     Section  10.  This  section would  repeal  and  reenact                                                                    
     current  statute to  outline  how  the department  will                                                                    
     review  existing   databases,  rather  than   create  a                                                                    
     separate database  for the  civil history  checks. This                                                                    
     section  further  provides  that  information  reviewed                                                                    
     would be  confidential and is  not subject to  a public                                                                    
     records request.                                                                                                           
     Specifically, this section:                                                                                                
     ?  Clarifies that  we are  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  we are  looking to  identify persons                                                                    
     whose children are  subjects of a child in  need of aid                                                                    
     ?  Clarifies that  we are  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  11.  This  would amend  the  current  immunity                                                                    
     section  to   reflect  the  change  to   civil  history                                                                    
     database check.                                                                                                            
2:11:01 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI  directed  attention  to  the  language  in                                                               
Section 10 on page 6, lines  23-26. He asked if the databases the                                                               
department  will  identify  for  review  are  limited  to  Alaska                                                               
MS. KRALY said no; a primary  database DHSS reviews is the Office                                                               
of  Inspector   General  Database   for  Medicare   and  Medicaid                                                               
exclusions  and fraud.  Individuals on  that list  are prohibited                                                               
from participating in the state's Medicaid Program.                                                                             
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked if DHSS could use exclusionary                                                                       
information from a database it had not identified if someone                                                                    
brought that information to their attention.                                                                                    
MS. KRALY explained that the regulations that outline the                                                                       
databases DHSS currently uses would need to be amended before                                                                   
they could rely on a new database to exclude someone.                                                                           
She continued the sectional summary for SB 81.                                                                                  
     Section  12.  This would  establish  a  new section  to                                                                    
     address the ability to seek  a variance for any finding                                                                    
     under  this chapter  and how  to appeal  a decision  if                                                                    
     there is  disagreement with any decision  made by DHSS,                                                                    
     including   providing  a   legal  mechanism   to  share                                                                    
     information held  by the Office of  Children's Services                                                                    
     for proposes of pursing a variance.                                                                                        
     Section 13.  This section  would amend  AS 47.05.390(6)                                                                    
     to  expand the  definition  of "entity"  to include  an                                                                    
     individual service provider.                                                                                               
     Section  14. This  section  amends  AS 47.10.093(b)  to                                                                    
     allow for the sharing  of information in the possession                                                                    
     of OCS that  will be necessary to pursue  a variance as                                                                    
     provided in section 12 of this bill.                                                                                       
     Section  15.  This  section would  rename  the  central                                                                    
     registry  maintained   by  the  Office   of  Children's                                                                    
     Services to  the "child  protection registry"  to avoid                                                                    
     confusion [between names in  existing statute.] It also                                                                    
     clarifies   what  is   maintained  on   this  registry,                                                                    
     including substantiated  findings under AS 47.10  or AS                                                                    
     Section  16. This  new  subsection  would clarify  that                                                                    
     before  a substantiated  finding can  be placed  on the                                                                    
     child protection  registry, the  person must  have been                                                                    
     afforded notice  of the finding and  the opportunity to                                                                    
     challenge the finding.                                                                                                     
     Section 17.  This section would make  a conforming edit                                                                    
     to AS  47.32.010(c) replacing the  centralized registry                                                                    
     with civil history database check.                                                                                         
     Section  18.  This  section would  amend  AS  47.32  to                                                                    
     provide authority  for DHSS  to consider  prior adverse                                                                    
     licensing findings  in determining whether to  grant or                                                                    
     deny a  license or  whether to place  a condition  on a                                                                    
     Section 19.  This would  add a new  section to  make it                                                                    
     clear  that  when  there  is   an  allegation  that  an                                                                    
     employee  or  individual  affiliated  with  a  licensed                                                                    
     entity is alleged to have  engaged in any behavior that                                                                    
     would impact the  safety or welfare of  a resident, the                                                                    
     department may investigate that  individual and issue a                                                                    
     report  on the  findings  of  that investigation.  This                                                                    
     section  would further  provide  that if  a finding  of                                                                    
     abuse  or neglect  is substantiated  then that  finding                                                                    
     will  be part  of the  civil registry  process and  may                                                                    
     result in a person  being prohibited from employment or                                                                    
     licensure in  the future. This section  would also make                                                                    
     it clear  that before such  a finding can be  used, due                                                                    
     process must be afforded.                                                                                                  
     Section  20.  This  is  technical  fix  to  rename  the                                                                    
     "registry" to the "civil history database."                                                                                
     Section 21.  This is technical  fix that  would clarify                                                                    
     when formal  hearings are required when  an enforcement                                                                    
     action is taken after a licensing investigation.                                                                           
     Section 22.  This would  add a  new section  to clarify                                                                    
     that  when law  enforcement  is  investigating a  crime                                                                    
     that is also the  subject of a licensing investigation,                                                                    
     the material  gathered by DHSS  may be shared  with the                                                                    
     law  enforcement as  a matter  of law  in a  concurrent                                                                    
     Section  23.  This  section   would  clarify  that  all                                                                    
     divisions who implement AS  47.32 may share information                                                                    
     with each  other for the  purpose of  administering the                                                                    
     licensing programs at DHSS.                                                                                                
     Section  24. This  section  would  repeal reference  to                                                                    
     provisions  of  the  current law  that  are  no  longer                                                                    
     necessary as  a result  of the  prior sections  of this                                                                    
     Section  25.  This  is  an  applicability  section  for                                                                    
     purposes of applying the  criminal and civil background                                                                    
     checks before, on, or after  the effective date of this                                                                    
     Section  26.  This  section would  advise  the  revisor                                                                    
     regarding title  changes to reflect amendments  in this                                                                    
     act, including the change to  include the civil history                                                                    
      Section 27. This provides for an immediate effective                                                                      
2:15:34 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COSTELLO  asked if she foresees  a problematic transition                                                               
period if additional background checks are needed.                                                                              
MS. KRALY said  no, because the bill doesn't  change the existing                                                               
background check process.                                                                                                       
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI  directed  attention  to  the  language  in                                                               
Section 15  on page  10 that  requires DHSS  to maintain  a child                                                               
protection registry.  He asked if  there is  a limit on  how long                                                               
that information must be kept.                                                                                                  
MS. KRALY advised  that it refers to the Online  Resource for the                                                               
Children of  Alaska (ORCA) database  that is required  by federal                                                               
law and  maintained by  the Office  of Children's  Services. That                                                               
information  is   maintained  under  public  records   almost  in                                                               
perpetuity due to the age of the individuals.                                                                                   
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  asked if the  information in  that registry                                                               
is discoverable under the Freedom of Information Act.                                                                           
MS. KRALY said no.                                                                                                              
2:17:08 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL stated  he would hold SB 81 in  committee and bring                                                               
it up again tomorrow.                                                                                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 81 - Sectional Summary (ver. D).pdf SJUD 4/18/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 81
SB 81 - Summary of Changes (ver. A to ver. D).pdf SJUD 4/18/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 81
SB 81 - Governor Transmittal Letter.pdf SJUD 4/18/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 81
SB 81 - Supporting Document - FAQs.pdf SJUD 4/18/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 81
HB 208 - Additional Letters of Support and Opposition.pdf SJUD 4/18/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 208
HB 208 - Additional Letters.pdf SJUD 4/18/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 208
CS to HB 355 - Version U.pdf SJUD 4/18/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 355
HB 355 - Explanation of Changes (ver. O to ver. U).pdf SJUD 4/18/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 355
HB 208 - Letter - UA Foundation.pdf SJUD 4/18/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 208
Legal Memo HB 208.pdf SJUD 4/18/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 208
HB 355 - Shower Amendment O.18.pdf SJUD 4/18/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 355
HB 355 - Shower Amendment O.17.pdf SJUD 4/18/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 355
HB 355 - Shower Amendment O.16.pdf SJUD 4/18/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 355
HB 355 - Shower Amendment O.19.pdf SJUD 4/18/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 355
HB 355 - Shower Amendment O.24.pdf SJUD 4/18/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 355
HB 355 - Shower Amendment O.21.pdf SJUD 4/18/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 355