Legislature(2015 - 2016)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

02/17/2015 01:30 PM Senate LABOR & COMMERCE

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Audio Topic
01:29:30 PM Start
01:31:10 PM Overview: Alaska Maritime Workforce Development Plan
01:53:31 PM SB41
02:18:20 PM SB33
02:23:25 PM SB34
02:32:49 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Overview of Alaska Maritime Workforce TELECONFERENCED
Development Plan
-- Testimony <Invitation Only> --
Moved SB 41 Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
        SB  41-PSYCHOLOGIST & ASSOC CRIM HISTORY CHECKS                                                                     
1:53:31 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COSTELLO   reconvened  the   meeting  and   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."                                                                                           
SENATOR  CATHY  GIESSEL,  sponsor  of SB  41,  stated  that  this                                                               
legislation  provides the  opportunity for  the regulatory  board                                                               
for  psychologists   and  psychological  associates   to  perform                                                               
criminal background checks. There have  been no problems but this                                                               
will help ensure that the  professionals working in this area are                                                               
1:54:42 PM                                                                                                                    
JANE  CONWAY,   Staff,  Senator   Cathy  Giessel,   provided  the                                                               
following sectional analysis for SB 41.                                                                                         
     Section   1  amends   AS   08.86.070   by  adding   new                                                                    
          AS 08.86.070(b) imposes a duty on the Board of                                                                        
     Psychologist and  Psychological Associate  Examiners to                                                                    
     require  applicants for  licensure as  psychologists or                                                                    
     psychological  associates  to submit  fingerprints  and                                                                    
     fees necessary  to obtain criminal  justice information                                                                    
     and  a  national  criminal history  record  check.  The                                                                    
     Subsection  authorizes the  board to  adopt regulations                                                                    
     requiring  applicants  for  renewal  of  a  license  to                                                                    
     submit  fingerprints  and  a fee  as  required  in  the                                                                    
          AS 08.86.070(c) requires the Department of                                                                            
     Commerce, Community and  Economic Development to submit                                                                    
     the fingerprints  and fees to the  Department of Public                                                                    
     Safety  to obtain  criminal justice  information and  a                                                                    
     national criminal history check under AS 12.62.                                                                            
     Section  2   adds  licensure   as  a   psychologist  or                                                                    
     psychological associate  under AS 18.86 to  the list of                                                                    
     licensed  professions  for   which  the  Department  of                                                                    
     Public  Safety  may  process criminal  history  records                                                                    
     Section  3  makes  it applicable  to  applications  for                                                                    
     license  or renewal  filed on  or  after the  effective                                                                    
     date of the act.                                                                                                           
     Section 4 provides an effective date of July 1, 2015.                                                                      
1:56:17 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS asked if the  bill has any requirement other than                                                               
a fingerprint.                                                                                                                  
MS. CONWAY  replied the  fingerprint is required  as part  of the                                                               
formal application process and it  is submitted to the Department                                                               
of Public  Safety (DPS) for  a background check. Responding  to a                                                               
further question,  she said the idea  is to check for  a criminal                                                               
CHAIR COSTELLO asked why this hasn't been done before.                                                                          
MS. CONWAY replied  a number of people have asked  that because a                                                               
number   of  other   professions   that   deal  with   vulnerable                                                               
populations are required to have  criminal background checks. She                                                               
suggested that Mr. Levy might provide an historical perspective.                                                                
CHAIR COSTELLO asked Ms. Chambers to discuss the fiscal note.                                                                   
1:58:18 PM                                                                                                                    
SARA  CHAMBERS,   Acting  Director,  Division   of  Corporations,                                                               
Business  and  Professional  Licensing, Department  of  Commerce,                                                               
Community and Economic Development  (DCCED), said the fiscal note                                                               
reflects the  current $51.50 cost  of fingerprinting  through DPS                                                               
multiplied by  the anticipated number of  licensees going through                                                               
the program the first and subsequent years.                                                                                     
CHAIR COSTELLO  clarified that  there is no  impact to  the state                                                               
because  of receipt  authority.  The applicants  will absorb  the                                                               
cost of the background check.                                                                                                   
MS.  CHAMBERS  agreed.  Responding  to  a  further  question  she                                                               
clarified  that  the  current  $51.50   fee  is  subject  to  the                                                               
regulatory fee change process.                                                                                                  
CHAIR COSTELLO asked  if this will affect  the division's ability                                                               
to  manage  the  overall  fee   structure  for  the  professional                                                               
licenses in the state.                                                                                                          
MS. CHAMBERS replied she sees no conflict or concern.                                                                           
2:00:22 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GIESSEL  asked if this board  is in deficit or  has funds                                                               
that would cover any additional costs.                                                                                          
MS. CHAMBERS  said she  didn't have the  figures, but  this board                                                               
and  the division  work  well together  to  ensure that  revenues                                                               
cover expenses.                                                                                                                 
2:01:00 PM                                                                                                                    
ALAN   LEVY,   L.P.A.,   Chair,   Board   of   Psychologist   and                                                               
Psychological  Associate  Examiners,  stated   that  he  is  also                                                               
employed  as a  therapist in  private practice  in Anchorage.  In                                                               
response  to the  question about  why the  board doesn't  already                                                               
have this authority,  he explained that psychology  as a licensed                                                               
profession  was created  by  the legislature  in  the 1960s  when                                                               
background checks were expensive and  difficult to do. The checks                                                               
were  typically  reserved  for  military  and  high  governmental                                                               
functions that required security clearance.                                                                                     
He explained that  for the past eight years  the Psychology Board                                                               
has been  trying to  get the authority  to do  background checks,                                                               
but the  Department of  Law (DOL) opined  the board  doesn't have                                                               
the authority to enact regulations  to give itself this power. SB
41 would change  the statutes and grant the  board the authority.                                                               
Background checks  are considered best practice  and an essential                                                               
part of protecting the public.                                                                                                  
SENATOR STEVENS asked  if licensure exams are  required to become                                                               
a psychologist.                                                                                                                 
MR.  LEVY  explained that  a  bachelors,  masters and  Ph.D.  are                                                               
required and  applicants must have  graduated from  an accredited                                                               
institution  and  meet  the  criteria laid  out  in  statute  and                                                               
regulation. The  extensive application  process includes  a self-                                                               
disclosure and the  board would like the ability  to double check                                                               
that and look into criminal matters.                                                                                            
He reported that the board is in  good fiscal shape. It has had a                                                               
budget surplus  of over $300,000  for the last several  years and                                                               
has been working  with Ms. Chambers to reduce  that surplus while                                                               
preserving a cushion.                                                                                                           
MR. LEVY informed  the committee that 34 states  and the District                                                               
of Columbia require criminal  background checks for psychologists                                                               
but  Alaska is  one  of  the 17  states  that  doesn't have  that                                                               
requirement.   He  pointed   out   inconsistencies  in   Alaska's                                                               
licensure requirements. Licensed  family and marriage therapists,                                                               
licensed clinical social workers,  and licensed psychologists are                                                               
not  required to  have a  criminal background  check but  the new                                                               
licensed profession of behavior  analysts are required to undergo                                                               
criminal backgrounds checks. He suggested  that at the very least                                                               
it  makes sense  to hold  psychologists to  the same  standard as                                                               
behavior analysts.                                                                                                              
2:08:13 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.  PHILLIP  BAKER,  Chair,  Alaska  Psychological  Association,                                                               
testified  that  he  cannot  endorse SB  41  until  all  licensed                                                               
psychologists have  reviewed the  bill. The  concern is  that the                                                               
language in  the bill isn't  specific and the  limitations aren't                                                               
clear  as to  what  will be  done with  the  information that  is                                                               
collected for the criminal investigation.  The board does support                                                               
licensing  all  psychologists  and psychological  associates  and                                                               
believes that the  end of June would  be a good time  to add this                                                               
requirement for  new and renewal  applicants. He offered  to work                                                               
to flesh the  bill out so that  everyone who has to  submit to it                                                               
is more comfortable.                                                                                                            
2:12:27 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GIESSEL  explained to  Dr. Baker  that the  bill provides                                                               
the authority  for the board to  write a regulation to  require a                                                               
criminal background check.                                                                                                      
DR. BAKER interjected that the language isn't clear.                                                                            
SENATOR GIESSEL explained that there  are specific laws governing                                                               
the way the  background checks can be used. The  FBI requires the                                                               
background check  to be  held only  by the  psychology regulatory                                                               
board. It cannot  be used or shared with anyone  else and must be                                                               
kept  in a  locked  facility.  The details  will  be fleshed  out                                                               
later, not in statute.                                                                                                          
CHAIR COSTELLO noted that the bill has a judiciary referral.                                                                    
MR. LEVY clarified that he is not a doctor.                                                                                     
2:15:31 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COSTELLO closed public testimony.                                                                                         
SENATOR STEVENS said he was comfortable moving the bill.                                                                        
2:15:54 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEVENS moved to report  SB 41, labeled 29-LS0170\H, from                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations  and attached  fiscal                                                               
CHAIR  COSTELLO  announced  that,  without objection,  SB  41  is                                                               
reported from the Senate Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB41 Sponsor Statement Psych&Assoc Crim History Checks.pdf SL&C 2/17/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 41
SB41 Psychologist & Assoc Crim History Checks vsn H.pdf SL&C 2/17/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 41
SB41 Support Lisa Turner 2-17-15.doc SL&C 2/17/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 41
SB 41 Support Psychologist 2-12-15.pdf SL&C 2/17/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 41
SB33 Fiscal Note-0044-DOR-TAX-1-16-15.pdf SL&C 2/17/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 33
SB33 Sponsor Statement.pdf SL&C 2/17/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 33
SB33 Supporting Document - DOR Hearing Request Letter.pdf SL&C 2/17/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 33
SB33 Supporting Documents-Additional Explanation.pdf SL&C 2/17/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 33
SB33 ver A.pdf SL&C 2/17/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 33
SB 34 Fiscal Note-0018-DOR-TRS-1-16-15.pdf SL&C 2/17/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 34
SB 34 Sponsor Statement.pdf SL&C 2/17/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 34
SB34 Supporting Documents - DOR Hearing Request Letter.pdf SL&C 2/17/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 34
SB34 ver A.pdf SL&C 2/17/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 34
SB 34 PCE presentation.pptx SL&C 2/17/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 34
Alaska Maritime Workforce Development Plan.pdf SL&C 2/17/2015 1:30:00 PM
Alaska Maritime Workforce Development Plan
SB41 Sectional Analysis vsn H.pdf SL&C 2/17/2015 1:30:00 PM
SB 41