Legislature(2005 - 2006)

2005-01-21 Senate Journal

Full Journal pdf

2005-01-21                     Senate Journal                      Page 0104
SB 70                                                                                             
SENATE BILL NO. 70 BY THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                                                    
BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR, entitled:                                                               
          "An Act relating to controlled substances regarding                                       
          the crimes of manslaughter, endangering the welfare                                       
          of a child, and misconduct involving a controlled                                         
          substance; and providing for an effective date."                                          
was read the first time and referred to the Health, Education and Social                            
Services and Judiciary Committees.                                                                  
The following fiscal information was published today:                                               
 Fiscal Note No. 1, zero, Department of Public Safety                                               
 Fiscal Note No. 2, zero, Department of Administration                                              
 Fiscal Note No. 3, zero, Department of Law                                                         
Governor's transmittal letter dated January 20:                                                     

2005-01-21                     Senate Journal                      Page 0105
Dear President Stevens:                                                                             
Under the authority of art. III, sec. 18, of the Alaska Constitution, I am                          
transmitting a bill that would make it manslaughter for a person to                                 
manufacture or deliver a controlled substance in violation of Alaska's                              
drug laws if a person dies from ingesting the substance.  The bill also                             
would make it a class C felony to manufacture or attempt to                                         
manufacture methamphetamine in building where one or more                                           
children reside.  It also would raise the penalty for possessing                                    
methamphetamine in solution with intent to extract methamphetamine                                  
salts from it.                                                                                      
In Whitesides v. State, 88 P. 3d 147 (Alaska App. 2004), the court held                             
that the sentence for a person convicted of selling a controlled                                    
substance to another, when the other person dies as a result of                                     
ingesting the illegal substance, should not be enhanced by the                                      
occurrence of death.  The court found that death caused by the                                      
controlled substance is not an aggravating factor under current law.                                
This bill would provide that if a person manufactures or delivers a                                 
controlled substance that causes death, the person may be prosecuted                                
for manslaughter.                                                                                   
According to the Alaska State Troopers Bureau of Alcohol and Drug                                   
Enforcement, the manufacture and distribution of methamphetamine in                                 
Alaska has reached alarming proportions.  In 2003, a total of 66                                    
clandestine labs were discovered in Alaska.  Manufacturing                                          
methamphetamine is very dangerous and involves the use of ignitable,                                
reactive, and toxic chemicals at the sites, which can result in                                     
explosions, fires, and toxic fumes.  Children are particularly                                      
susceptible to the harmful effects of the chemicals used in the                                     
manufacture of methamphetamine.                                                                     
This bill would make it a class C felony to manufacture or attempt to                               
manufacture methamphetamine in a building with reckless disregard                                   
that the building is a dwelling for one or more children.  This                                     
prohibition would apply to apartment units and other rooms or offices                               
that are a part of the building.                                                                    

2005-01-21                     Senate Journal                      Page 0106
An offender who manufactures methamphetamine may possess the                                        
methamphetamine in an organic solution and extract from the solution                                
powdered methamphetamine for distribution.  This extraction may                                     
occur several times from the same solution.  Under current law,                                     
possession of methamphetamine is misconduct involving a controlled                                  
substance in the fourth degree, a class C felony.  This bill would                                  
increase the penalty for possession of methamphetamine in organic                                   
solution with the intent to extract powdered methamphetamine to the                                 
same level as that for possession of a precursor with the intent to                                 
manufacture methamphetamine, a class A felony.  The extraction from                                 
methamphetamine in solution of the powdered form that it is                                         
commonly ingested is as dangerous as possession of a precursor to                                   
methamphetamine with the intent to manufacture methamphetamine.                                     
It should have the same penalty.                                                                    
Increasing the consequences for dangerous behavior with controlled                                  
substances will provide a potent tool to discourage the sale and abuse                              
of dangerous drugs such as methamphetamine.                                                         
I urge your prompt and favorable consideration of this proposal.                                    
Sincerely yours,                                                                                    
Frank H. Murkowski