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HB 80: "An Act relating to the right to demand a jury trial in cases involving termination of parental rights; amending Rules 18(b), 18(e), and 18(g), Alaska Child in Need of Aid Rules of Procedure."

00                              HOUSE BILL NO. 80                                                                          
01 "An Act relating to the right to demand a jury trial in cases involving termination of                                  
02 parental rights; amending Rules 18(b), 18(e), and 18(g), Alaska Child in Need of Aid                                    
03 Rules of Procedure."                                                                                                    
04 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF ALASKA:                                                                
05    * Section 1. AS 47.10 is amended by adding a new section to read:                                                  
06 Sec. 47.10.007. Right to demand jury trial in certain cases. A party has the                                          
07 right to demand a jury trial for a hearing under this chapter on a petition to terminate                                
08 parental rights. If a hearing to adjudicate whether a child is a child in need of aid is                                
09 consolidated with a termination hearing, the right to trial by jury under this section                                  
10       applies only to whether parental rights should be terminated after the court has                                  
11       adjudicated that the child is a child in need of aid. In this section, "party" has the                            
12       meaning given in Rule 2, Alaska Child in Need of Aid Rules of Procedure.                                          
13    * Sec. 2. AS 47.10.088(a) is amended to read:                                                                      
14            (a)  Except as provided in AS 47.10.080(o), the rights and responsibilities of                               
01       the parent regarding the child may be terminated for purposes of freeing a child for                              
02       adoption or other permanent placement if the court, or, in a jury trial, the jury, finds                      
03       by clear and convincing evidence that                                                                             
04                 (1)  the child has been subjected to conduct or conditions described in                                 
05       AS 47.10.011;                                                                                                     
06                 (2)  the parent                                                                                         
07                      (A)  has not remedied the conduct or conditions in the home                                        
08            that place the child at substantial risk of harm; or                                                         
09                      (B)  has failed, within a reasonable time, to remedy the conduct                                   
10 or conditions in the home that place the child in substantial risk so that                                              
11 returning the child to the parent would place the child at substantial risk of                                          
12            physical or mental injury; and                                                                               
13 (3)  the department has complied with the provisions of AS 47.10.086                                                    
14       concerning reasonable efforts.                                                                                    
15    * Sec. 3. AS 47.10.088(b) is amended to read:                                                                      
16 (b)  In making a determination under (a)(2) of this section, the court, or, in a                                    
17 jury trial, the jury, may consider any fact relating to the best interests of the child,                            
18       including                                                                                                         
19 (1)  the likelihood of returning the child to the parent within a                                                       
20       reasonable time based on the child's age or needs;                                                                
21 (2)  the amount of effort by the parent to remedy the conduct or the                                                    
22       conditions in the home;                                                                                           
23                 (3)  the harm caused to the child;                                                                      
24                 (4)  the likelihood that the harmful conduct will continue; and                                         
25                 (5)  the history of conduct by or conditions created by the parent.                                     
26    * Sec. 4. AS 47.10.088(c) is amended to read:                                                                      
27 (c)  In a proceeding under this chapter involving termination of the parental                                           
28 right of a parent, the court, or, in a jury trial, the jury, shall consider the best                                
29       interests of the child.                                                                                           
30    * Sec. 5. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to                          
31 read:                                                                                                                   
01            DIRECT COURT RULE AMENDMENT. Rule 18(b), Alaska Child in Need                                                
02       of Aid Rules of Procedure, is amended to read:                                                                    
03 (b)  Purpose of Hearing. The termination hearing is a disposition hearing to                                          
04 the court, or, if demanded by a party, a jury, on the question of whether the parental                              
05 rights to an adjudicated child in need of aid should be terminated. Upon a showing of                                   
06 good cause and with adequate notice to the parties, an adjudication hearing and a                                       
07       termination hearing may be consolidated.                                                                          
08    * Sec. 6. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to                          
09 read:                                                                                                                   
10 DIRECT COURT RULE AMENDMENT. Rule 18(e), Alaska Child in Need                                                           
11       of Aid Rules of Procedure, is amended to read:                                                                    
12 (e)  Trial. A trial on the petition to terminate parental rights shall be held                                        
13 within six months after the date on which the petition to terminate parental rights is                                  
14 filed, unless the court finds that good cause is shown for a continuance. When                                          
15 determining whether to grant a continuance for good cause, the court shall take into                                    
16 consideration the age of the child and the potential adverse effect that the delay may                                  
17 have on the child. The court shall make written findings when granting a continuance.                                   
18 A party has the right to demand a jury trial for a hearing on a petition to                                         
19       terminate parental rights.                                                                                    
20    * Sec. 7. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to                          
21 read:                                                                                                                   
22 DIRECT COURT RULE AMENDMENT. Rule 18(g), Alaska Child in Need                                                           
23       of Aid Rules of Procedure, is amended to read:                                                                    
24 (g)  Judgment. The court shall make findings of fact for matters tried to the                                     
25 court and shall enter an order within 90 days after the last day of trial on the petition                       
26 to terminate parental rights. The court shall commit the child to the custody of the                                    
27       Department if parental rights are terminated.                                                                     
28    * Sec. 8. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to                          
29 read:                                                                                                                   
30 APPLICABILITY. This Act applies to trials on petitions to terminate parental rights                                     
31 that are filed on or after the effective date of this Act.                                                              
01    * Sec. 9. The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section to                          
02 read:                                                                                                                   
03       TWO-THIRDS VOTE NOT REQUIRED. Sections 5 - 7 of this Act take effect                                              
04 without needing to meet the two-thirds vote requirement normally applicable to changing                                 
05 court rules under art. IV, sec. 15, Constitution of the State of Alaska because                                         
06 (1)  the provisions of Rule 18(b), 18(e), and 18(g), Alaska Child in Need of                                            
07 Aid Rules of Procedure, that are affected by the provisions of this Act were adopted under the                          
08 Alaska Supreme Court's interpretive authority exercised under art. IV, sec. 1, Constitution of                          
09 the State of Alaska;                                                                                                    
10            (2)  AS 47.10.007, enacted by sec. 1 of this Act, establishes a substantive right,                           
11 and the changes made in secs. 2 - 7 of this Act are technical changes necessary to give effect                          
12 to the substantive right established in AS 47.10.007, enacted by sec. 1 of this Act.