REPRESENTATIVE LES GARA

(907) 465-2647 | State Capitol Building, Room 511 | WEBSITE
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Sponsor    Statement

House Bill 151: Children Deserve a Loving Home Act

Foster youth in Alaska are not getting the chances they deserve. The Children Deserve a Loving Home Act aims to increase the likelihood that foster youth will have the same opportunities in life, and same health and well-being, as their peers. When roughly 40% of our foster youth end up homeless at some point in their lives after leaving care, and roughly 20% end up in jail, it’s a call for reform. The nation’s leading foster care non-profit, Casey Family Programs, has the correct goal to reduce the number of youth languishing in foster care by 50% by 2020. Alaska should join that effort. We should achieve it not by leaving youth in neglect and abuse to keep our foster care numbers down, but by getting neglected and abused youth out of the foster care system, into a permanent, loving home, much more quickly than we do now.

Many Alaskans recognize that our child welfare system has room to improve; this bill seeks to make real positive changes that support youth and families, as well as the caseworkers who serve them. It’s been well documented by many sources that when case workers are overworked, outcomes for children and families suffer. The Office of Children’s Services (OCS) recommends standards of approximately 12 cases or families per worker – but today, most caseworkers are carrying caseloads that vastly exceed that amount (as high as 43 families in Wasilla, 36 in Homer, and 30 or more in six of the state’s main OCS offices). Conditions in rural Alaska, especially the challenges of remote travel, make even a 12 family caseload overwhelming for workers in such regions. Beyond the risk of poorer outcomes, high caseloads contribute to high worker turnover, a costly problem that slows timelines to permanency.

This bill seeks to improve both caseload levels and worker retention by implementing significant new training and workforce standards. New workers would receive a minimum of six weeks of training and would carry no more than six cases/families in the first three months, and 12 families in the first six months. The bill also provides for the employment of mentors to help caseworkers become more effective and make the transition from training to a full caseload. These standards are recognized to improve outcomes, enable faster timelines to permanency, and allow case workers to perform their duties as intended.

In addition, this bill provides for a number of other changes to support the well-being of youth in care, and to promote quicker timelines for children returning to, or finding new, permanent homes. The bill extends subsidies for adoptions and guardianships to age 21, to incentivize permanency and the closing of cases, and promotes contact with siblings and with previous out-of-home caregivers to promote the well-being of children and maintain a network of support for them. Another important tenet of this bill is enacting timelines for waivers to licensing requirements for relatives who may want to care for a child, but are not licensed foster parents.

The bill also makes it easier for youth and foster parents to engage in normal day to day activities, such as going on vacation without prior caseworker approval, with fewer requirements. In addition, youth at age 14 are empowered to participate in their case plan with a larger role. This bill also strengthens the requirement to search for relatives before placing a child with foster parents, recognizing that placements with family are often the best and most loving option for youth.

Providing support, and a voice, for youth and families who need our help is perhaps one of our most important duties in public service. This bill seeks to give caseworkers the tools they need to carry out their duties to the best of their abilities, and it seeks to support youth and families with provisions that support well-being, make it easier for children to move out of the system and into a permanent home more quickly, and provide the necessary resources for a system that can function well. This bill is intended to create an environment where loving homes are the priority for all youth.


 
[signed]
REPRESENTATIVE LES GARA

SPONSOR STATEMENTS from Alaska House Majority Coalition

House Bill 142
Unemployment Compensation Benefits

From the office of Representative Tuck


House Bill 296
“An Act creating the Alaska marijuana use prevention youth services grant program; creating the Alaska marijuana use prevention, education, and treatment fund; relating to the duties of the Alaska Children’s Trust Board; creating the marijuana use education and treatment program; and relating to the duties of the Department of Health and Social Services.”

From the office of Representative Claman


House Bill 312
Sponsor Statement
"An Act relating to arrest without a warrant for assault in the fourth degree at a health care facility; and relating to an aggravating factor at sentencing for a felony offense against a medical professional at a health care facility."

From the office of Representative Claman


House Bill 312
Sponsor Statement
"An Act relating to arrest without a warrant for assault in the fourth degree at a health care facility; and relating to an aggravating factor at sentencing for a felony offense against a medical professional at a health care facility."

From the office of Representative Claman


House Bill 322
“An Act relating to penalties for discharges of oil and other pollution violations; relating to oil discharge prevention and contingency plans for commercial motor vehicles transporting crude oil; and providing for an effective date

From the office of Representative Josephson


House Bill 1: Election Registration and Voting

From the office of Representative Tuck


House Bill 2: Employment Preference for Veterans

From the office of Representative Tuck


House Bill 3: National Guard Leave/Reemployment Rights

From the office of Representative Tuck


House Bill 7: Ballot Selfies

From the office of Representative Kreiss-Tomkins


House Bill 8: Protection Orders from Other Jurisdictions

From the office of Representative Edgmon


House Bill 11: RIP for Public Employees/Teachers

From the office of Representative Kawasaki


House Bill 13: No State/Municipal Funds: Federal Immigration Registry

From the office of Representative Josephson


House Bill 14: Legislative Approval for Bristol Bay Sulfide Mine

From the office of Representative Josephson


House Bill 20: Solemnize Marriage: Elected Officials

From the office of Representative Claman


House Bill 23: Survivors’ Medical Benefits – Background

From the office of Representative Josephson


House Bill 26: Nursing Mothers in Workplace

From the office of Representative Tarr


House Bill 29: Ban Sale of Genetically Modified Fish

From the office of Representative Tarr


House Bill 30: Paid Sick Leave

From the office of Representative Tarr


Sexual Assault Examination Kits, Training and Reporting Sponsor Statement

From the office of Representative Tarr


House Bill 32: GMO Labeling

From the office of Representative Tarr


House Bill 37: PERS Credit for Injured Peace Officers and Firefighters

From the office of Representative Josephson


The Abigail Caudle Act

From the office of Representative Josephson


House Bill 40: Trapping Near Public Trails

From the office of Representative Josephson


House Bill 43: The Right to Try: New Drugs for the Terminally Ill

From the office of Representative Grenn


House Bill 44: Legislative Ethics: Voting & Conflicts

From the office of Representative Grenn


House Bill 47: PERS Contributions By Municipalities

From the office of Representative Foster


House Bill 49: Extend Board of Direct-Entry Midwives

From the office of Representative Kito III


House Bill 52: Alaska Voluntary Pre-Elementary Education Act

From the office of Representative Kawasaki


House Bill 54: Voluntary Termination of Life

From the office of Representative Drummond


House Bill 78: Indigenous Peoples Day

From the office of Representative


House Bill 80: Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) Financing

From the office of Representative Wool


House Bill 81: More Energy Efficient Buildings Act

From the office of Representative Kreiss-Tomkins


House Bill 82: Off-Highway Driver's Licenses

From the office of Representative Kreiss-Tomkins


House Bill 84: Municipal Property Tax Exemption

From the office of Representative Kreiss-Tomkins


House Bill 85: Petersburg Lands Bill

From the office of Representative Kreiss-Tomkins


House Bill 87: Conflict of Interest: Board of Fisheries/Game

From the office of Representative Stutes


House Bill 88: Board of Fisheries Membership

From the office of Representative Stutes


House Bill 89: Licensing Radiologic Technicians

From the office of Representative Tuck


House Bill 99: Oil & Gas Tax Credit Disclosures

From the office of Representative Josephson


House Bill 102: Limited Teacher Certificates

From the office of Representative Kreiss-Tomkins


House Bill 103: Optometry & Optometrists

From the office of Representative Spohnholz


"Denali Wolf Buffer Zone"

From the office of Representative Josephson


House Bill 108: Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets

From the office of Representative Claman


"An Act relating to the practice of massage therapy; relating to the Board of Massage Therapists; and providing for an effective date."

From the office of Representative Kito III


House Bill 111: Oil and Gas Production Tax; Payments; Credits

From the office of Representative Tarr


An Act relating to boiler and unfired pressure vessel inspection reports and fees.

From the office of Representative Kito III


House Bill 115: State Revenue Restructure Act

From the office of Representative Seaton


An Act relating to occupational safety and health enforcement penalties.

From the office of Representative Kito III


House Bill 123: Disclosure of Health Care Costs

From the office of Representative Spohnholz


House Bill 126: Organized Militia: Workers Compensation

From the office of Representative Tuck


House Bill 127: Criminal Conviction Overturned: Receive Past PFD

From the office of Representative Kawasaki


House Bill 128: Shellfish Enhancement Projects; Hatcheries

From the office of Representative Ortiz


House Bill 131: Relocation Assistance for Federal Projects/Programs

From the office of Representative Wool


House Bill 132: Transportation Network Companies

From the office of Representative Wool


House Bill 133: Fair Share for Alaska Oil Act

From the office of Representative Gara


House Bill 134: Board of Game Composition

From the office of Representative Josephson


"An Act relating to school district participation in the school construction grant program."

From the office of Representative Lincoln


“An act establishing the month of March as Sobriety Awareness Month.”

From the office of Representative Spohnholz


House Bill 141: AK Workforce Investment Board; Funds

From the office of Representative


House Bill 151: Children Deserve a Loving Home Act

From the office of Representative Gara


House Bill 166: Museum Construction Grant Program

From the office of Representative Parish


House Bill 167: Repeal of Performance Reviews

From the office of Representative LeDoux


House Bill 167 – Repeal of Performance Reviews

From the office of Representative


“AK Securities Act; Penalties; Crt. Rules”

From the office of Representative Kito III


House Bill 172: Cultivation of Industrial Hemp

From the office of Representative Drummond


House Bill 173: Climate Change Response Commission

From the office of Representative Josephson


An Act relating to medical assistance reimbursement for emergency medical transportation services; and providing for an effective date.

From the office of Representative Wool


House Bill 177: Aquatic Invasive Species

From the office of Representative Tarr


An Act Relating to Race Classics

From the office of Representative Josephson


House Bill 181: Legislature Per Diem and Travel Allowance

From the office of Representative Kreiss-Tomkins


Prohibiting Discrimination Based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression

From the office of Representative Josephson


House Bill 188: Regional Fisheries Trusts

From the office of Representative Kreiss-Tomkins


House Bill 199: Fish / Wildife Habitat Protection; Permits

From the office of Representative Stutes


House Bill 200: Top Two Non-Partisan Primary Election

From the office of Representative LeDoux


HB 200- TOP TWO NONPARTISAN PRIMARY ELECTION

From the office of Representative LeDoux


House Bill 201: Municipal Regulation of Trapping

From the office of Representative Josephson


House Bill 203: Remote Recreational Cabin Site Staking Sales

From the office of Representative Kawasaki


House Bill 204: Overtaking / Passing DOT Vehicles

From the office of Representative Kawasaki


Product Warranties & Required Updates

From the office of Representative Kito III


House Bill 213: Public School Trust Fund

From the office of Representative Parish


House Bill 214: Bree’s Law, Dating Violence Programs

From the office of Representative Drummond


From the office of Representative Tarr


House Bill 218: State Veterinarian; Animals; Products

From the office of Representative Tarr


"Workforce & Ed Related Statistics Program"

From the office of Representative Drummond


House Bill 234: Extend Alaska Health Care Commission

From the office of Representative Guttenberg


Sponsor Statement | HB 235 The North Star Medal

From the office of Representative Kreiss-Tomkins


House Bill 236: Extend Senior Benefits Payment Program

From the office of Representative Kawasaki


"An Act relating to insurance coverage for contraceptives and related services; relating to medical assistance coverage for contraceptives and related services; and providing for an effective date."

From the office of Representative Claman


House Bill 255: Certificate of Fitness

From the office of Representative Tuck


House Bill 264: "An Act relating to a fee for disposable shopping bags; relating to the sale of reusable shopping bags; relating to the recycling of disposable shopping bags; and providing for an effective date."

From the office of Representative Josephson


House Bill 264: "An Act relating to a fee for disposable shopping bags; relating to the sale of reusable shopping bags; relating to the recycling of disposable shopping bags; and providing for an effective date."

From the office of Representative Josephson


HB 268 Patient Advisory On Potential Addiction
from Prescription Opioid Drug Use

From the office of Representative Kreiss-Tomkins


Distillery Licenses

From the office of Representative Tuck


Toxic Flame Retardants and Chemicals

From the office of Representative Tarr


House Bill 272: "An Act establishing the Tangle Lakes State Game Refuge; and providing for an effective date."

From the office of Representative Josephson


EXTEND: BD OF PSYCHOLOGISTS/PSYCH ASSOC.

From the office of Representative Kito III


"An Act extending the termination date of the Board of Massage Therapists; relating to license renewal and criminal history record checks for massage therapists; and providing for an effective date."

From the office of Representative Kito III


House Bill 276
An Act relating to investigation and discrimination in the legislature

From the office of Representative LeDoux


“An Act relating to the regulation of broadband Internet; and making certain actions by broadband Internet service providers unlawful acts or practices under the Alaska Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act.”

From the office of Representative Kawasaki


House Bill 287: Appropriation: Education and Student Transportation

From the office of Representative Seaton


HB 288-OIL AND GAS PRODUCTION TAX

From the office of Representative Tarr


“An Act extending the termination date of the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board; and providing for an effective date.”

From the office of Representative Wool


"An Act relating to the renewal and transfer of ownership of a beverage dispensary license or restaurant or eating place license."

From the office of Representative Wool


“An act relating to criminal background checks for marijuana establishment registrations and renewals; and providing for an effective date.”

From the office of Representative Josephson


“An Act relating to biometric information and to the collection, use, storage, and disclosure of geolocation information; and establishing an unfair trade practice under the Alaska Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Act.”

From the office of Representative Claman


“An act relating to the registration and regulation of real estate appraisal management companies; relating to the establishment of fees by the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development; relating to the Board of Certified Real Estate Appraisers; relating to real estate appraisers; and providing for an effective date."

From the office of Representative Josephson


“An act relating to the registration and regulation of real estate appraisal management companies; relating to the establishment of fees by the Department of Commerce, Community, and Economic Development; relating to the Board of Certified Real Estate Appraisers; relating to real estate appraisers; and providing for an effective date."

From the office of Representative Josephson


"Automated Teller Machines: Fees"

From the office of Representative Ortiz


An Act Relating to Dive Fishery Management Assessment Procedures

From the office of Representative Ortiz


An Act Relating to Claims Against Protection and Indemnity Insurance Policies of Vessel Owners

From the office of Representative Ortiz


Travel Alaska Act

From the office of Representative Grenn


Alaska Commission for Women and Girls Sponsor Statement

From the office of Representative Tarr


Qualifications-Based Selection in State-Funded Contracts

From the office of Representative Kito III


Extreme Risk Protection Order

From the office of Representative Tarr


“An Act relating to new defined benefit tiers in the public employees' retirement system and the teachers' retirement system; providing certain employees an opportunity to choose between the defined benefit and defined contribution plans of the public employees' retirement system and the teachers' retirement system; and providing for an effective date.”

From the office of Representative Kito III


"An Act relating to occupational licensing fees; relating to an occupational investigation surcharge; and providing for an effective date."

From the office of Representative Kito III


"An Act relating to fees for certain persons filing disclosure statements or other reports with the Alaska Public Offices Commission; relating to the registration fees for legislative lobbyists;and providing for an effective date."

From the office of Representative Kito III


Unemployment Compensation Benefits

From the office of Representative Tuck


"An Act relating to insurance trade practices and frauds; and relating to emergency services and balance billing."

From the office of Representative Grenn


"An Act relating to the sale or other disposal, leasing, or encumbrance of Alaska Railroad Corporation land; and providing for an effective date."

From the office of Representative Wool


"An Act relating to funding for school construction and major maintenance; and relating to the regional educational attendance area and small municipal school district fund."

From the office of Representative Foster


HB240: "An Act relating to the registration and duties of pharmacy benefits managers; relating to procedures, guidelines, and enforcement mechanisms for pharmacy audits; relating to the cost of multi-source generic drugs and insurance reimbursement procedures; relating to the duties of the director of the division of insurance; and providing for an effective date"

From the office of Representative Kawasaki


Military Justice and Militia Civil Relief

From the office of Representative Tuck


"An act relating to the minimum age of eligibility for marriage"

From the office of Representative Claman


From the office of Representative Kawasaki


House Bill 339:

From the office of Representative Gara


An Act relating to a state residential code, the Alaska Housing Finance Corporation, and municipal building codes.

From the office of Representative Grenn


An Act relating to child custody; and amending Rule 90.3, Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure

From the office of Representative LeDoux


REGULATORY COMM OF AK; BROADBAND INTERNET

From the office of Representative Guttenberg


From the office of Representative Grenn


HB 390 – RANKED-CHOICE PRIMARY ELECTIONS

From the office of Representative Grenn


Surcharge on Crude Oil; Arctic Trans Fund

From the office of Representative Seaton


An act relating to joint prime sponsorship of bills, or The Bipartisan Cooperation Act

From the office of Representative Gara


Commercial Fishing Loans

From the office of Representative Ortiz


Mariculture Revolving Loan Fund

From the office of Representative Ortiz


House Concurrent Resolution 15 "Relating to awarding the Alaska Decoration of Honor to certain members of the military”

From the office of Representative Kawasaki


House Concurrent Resolution 1: Legislative Ethics: Voting & Conflicts

From the office of Representative Grenn


House Concurrent Resolution 2: Respond to Adverse Childhood Experiences

From the office of Representative Tarr


House Concurrent Resolution 3: APRIL 2017: Child Abuse Prevention Month

From the office of Representative Tarr


"Respond to adverse childhood experiences"

From the office of Representative Tarr


HCR 19, Governor Walker: AK Native Languages Emergency

From the office of Representative Ortiz


House Joint Resolution 5: Endorsing ANWR Leasing; Related Issues

From the office of Representative


House Joint Resolution 12: Opposing Genetically Engineered Salmon

From the office of Representative Tarr


“Encouraging the United States Congress to pass legislation giving full military burial rights to Hmong veterans of the Vietnam War.”

From the office of Representative Tarr


House Joint Resolution 21: Feds Respect State Reg of Marijuana

From the office of Representative Guttenberg


Sponsor Substitute HJR 26 – Non-Partisan Legislative District Redistricting Commission

From the office of Representative Gara


“Urging the United State Congress to overturn the Federal Communication Commission’s order ending net neutrality.”

From the office of Representative Kawasaki


House Joint Resolution 33:

From the office of Representative Tuck