Legislature(1993 - 1994)

1993-03-01 House Journal

Full Journal pdf

1993-03-01                     House Journal                      Page 0488
HB 187                                                                       
HOUSE BILL NO. 187 by the House Rules Committee by request of                  
the Governor, entitled:                                                        
"An Act authorizing the interception of private communications                
related to the commission of certain criminal offenses; making                 
related amendments to statutes relating to eavesdropping and                   
wiretapping; relating to the penalty for violation of statutes relating        
to eavesdropping and unauthorized interception, publication, or use            
of private communications; and providing for an effective date."               
was read the first time and referred to the Labor & Commerce,                  
Judiciary and Finance Committees.                                              
The following fiscal notes apply to HB 187:                                    
Zero fiscal note, Dept. of Administration, 3/1/93                              
Indeterminate fiscal note, Dept. of Administration, 3/1/93                     
Zero fiscal note, Dept. of Public Safety, 3/1/93                               
Zero fiscal note, Dept. of Law, 3/1/93                                         
The Governor's transmittal letter, dated March 1, 1993, appears below:         
"Dear Speaker Barnes:                                                          
Under the authority of art. III, sec. 18, of the Alaska Constitution, I am     
transmitting a bill authorizing the interception of private                    
Section 1 creates a new chapter in the criminal code relating to               
"interception of private communications," more commonly thought of             
as "wiretapping."  Sections 2 - 8 of this bill make conforming                 

1993-03-01                     House Journal                      Page 0489
HB 187                                                                       
amendments to existing eavesdropping statutes in AS42 (Public                  
Utilities and Carriers) and increase the penalty for a violation of those      
statutes.  The bill contains substantial safeguards and protections            
similar to those required in federal law.                                      
Comprehensive federal legislation has been enacted (18 U.S.C. 2510 -           
 2521), authorizing wiretapping under carefully delineated                     
circumstances.  Under the federal law, states may adopt similar laws           
only if, like this bill, they are at least as restrictive and protective of    
private communications as the federal law.                                     
Under this bill, wiretapping is permitted only if a court order is             
obtained in advance, and only the attorney general or the attorney             
general's designee may authorize an application for the order.  This           
bill limits the crimes for which wiretapping may be used to murder,            
kidnapping, and class A or unclassified felony drug offenses.                  
Careful records must be kept during the interceptions, which must be           
filed with and held by the court under seal.  Notice of the interception       
must be given in almost all circumstances and a defendant always has           
the right to move to suppress the evidence for any violation of the law,       
before it is used at trial or sentencing.  Finally, annual reports,            
providing information about each interception made during the year,            
must be prepared by the attorney general and filed with the federal            
This bill is one of four that I am introducing this session to create          
tough new laws to combat drugs and violent crime.  If enacted, these           
bills will give the state the tools it needs to investigate and prosecute      
serious criminals fairly and effectively.                                      
I urge your favorable action on this bill.                                     
    Walter J. Hickel