Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/07/1996 01:34 PM CRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 474 - VIOLATIONS OF MUNICIPAL ORDINANCES & REGS Number 0073 CO-CHAIR IVAN noted that committee packets for HB 474 included the bill; a sectional analysis; zero fiscal notes from the Department of Community and Regional Affairs, Department of Health and Social Services and the Department of Public Safety; the sponsor statement; and letters of support. He invited Representative Toohey to introduce the bill. Number 0116 REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY, sponsor of HB 474, presented the bill: "We all know that the juvenile justice system has some problems. Too often, young offenders are finding there is no meaningful consequence for their delinquent behavior. This is particularly true for those who commit minor offenses, since the justice system is already overwhelmed with serious offenders. Knowing this, juvenile offenders have become increasingly dangerous and blatant regarding their offenses, since they know the overloaded system can do little to them. House Bill 474 would allow municipalities to respond to less serious juvenile behavior by expanding its jurisdiction to include the abilities to subject juvenile offenders to civil infractions and/or mediation. This will allow the juvenile justice system to focus on the more serious criminal activities while assuring that juvenile offenders of less serious offenses receive more immediate consequences for their actions." Number 0314 BOB BAILEY, Member, Board of Directors, Anchorage Chamber of Commerce, and Co-Chair, Chamber Crime Prevention Committee, testified via teleconference. He indicated the Municipality of Anchorage had brought before the Crime Prevention Committee a package of proposed crime-related legislation. Due to lack of jurisdiction, Anchorage had been "nearly helpless" in addressing problems relating to juveniles. "We've heard such horror stories as juveniles shoplifting in Dimond Center because they knew they'd get a ride back downtown by the police but the state couldn't prosecute," he said. While HB 474 would not solve juvenile problems, Mr. Bailey believed it would allow local municipalities to use their resources as a first line of defense against offenders. "It's been shown over and over again that many juveniles commit crimes simply because they know they won't be prosecuted due to the overcrowding of the state system," Mr. Bailey said. "And they get away with it once and they offend again." While fines did not necessarily deter serious criminals, his committee believed that fines might keep first-time juvenile offenders from becoming repeat offenders. On December15, the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors passed a resolution supporting the entire package of crime-related legislation. Today, they were asking for passage of HB474, which they saw as an important first step in fighting juvenile crime. Number 0474 REPRESENTATIVE AL VEZEY asked if there was a relationship between HB 474 and shoplifting. MR. BAILEY replied he was not sure there was a direct relationship. "It's my understanding that minor shoplifting offenses could be addressed under this bill as a citation," he said. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked for clarification about "citation." MR. BAILEY clarified it was a violation. He explained his understanding that a ticket would be issued for shoplifting. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY again asked for clarification, saying he thought shoplifting was a misdemeanor under Alaska statute. MR. BAILEY asserted his understanding that the municipality could pass a local ordinance to address shoplifting, as well. Number 0591 ANNE CARPENETI, Assistant Attorney General, Central Office, Criminal Division, Department of Law, said, "concealment of merchandise in our Alaska statutes varies according to the value of the merchandise that's concealed." She indicated it went from a B misdemeanor to a C felony. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked what that had to do with HB 474, which appeared to address violations and infractions. Number 0653 JACK CHENOWETH, Legislative Counsel, Legal Services Division, Alaska State Legislature, offered that he was the bill drafting attorney. He explained: "In the current law, municipalities are permitted to identify conduct and criminal laws through ordinances. When they enact ordinances that carry a criminal penalty, [indisc.] under the law as it currently reads, unless there is an exception in state law, the way that the penalty is enforced is through DFYS. The minor is handled through the delinquency process. What Anchorage has asked is that the exceptions to treatment through the delinquency process be expanded, so that if a municipality chooses to write ordinances and treat more activities - more conduct by minors - in a criminal sense, that these kids could be prosecuted in the district court. And that's what Section 3 of this bill does. "At the current time, the only exception for municipal ordinances that takes them out from under delinquency treatment and allows a direct prosecution, is the exception for traffic ordinances or regulations. That's page 2, lines 26 and 27 of the bill. The provisions of this subsection apply when a minor is accused of violating a traffic ordinance or regulation by a municipality. What Anchorage has asked for is an expansion of that authority. And what we've given them is paragraph 6, so that the exception is broadened, so that any ordinance or regulation of a municipality that's punishable as an infraction or violation can be taken to the district court and tried and prosecuted and sentence can be entered there." Number 0772 MR. CHENOWETH continued: "The wrinkle on this is that the kinds of conduct that this is being expanded to cover includes things that can only be punished as infractions or violations, only minor offenses, only minor conduct, as it's called in the court rules, so that there is no threat of a minor having to put in any kind of jail sentence. There is no threat of incarceration, there is no threat of any penalty whatsoever, except for payment of a fine, and under the general authority, of payment of restitution if there's property damage done. Limiting it to a minor offense means that provisions of law that would require trial before a jury or appointment of public counsel would not be applicable. In other words, if the only penalty - the only potential penalty - is the payment of a fine, treatment of this as a violation would mean that there would be no requirement that a municipality choosing to enforce its ordinances this way would be required to go before a jury to prosecute this minor or no requirement that there be a court-appointed counsel. So, essentially, what Anchorage is asking is that the opportunity be expanded beyond traffic offenses and other sorts of conduct that minors might engage in be criminalized and enforced in this manner." Number 0869 MR. CHENOWETH continued: "Now, having said that, let me also say that Anchorage has a wrinkle on this that differs from, as I understood it, from most, if not all, of the municipalities. About a year and a half ago, Anchorage expanded its civil enforcement ordinance, so that rather than prosecute before the district court, or rather than take these cases, if they gain the benefit of this change in law, what they proposed to do would be to expand the use of their civil enforcement mechanism that's in place and handle it that way. But for most municipalities - Fairbanks, where you're from, Juneau, and other places where the norm would be to adopt ordinances that speak to criminal conduct - what we're asking, or what the bill is asking, what the sponsor is asking, is that the opportunities be given to municipalities to enforce their ordinances directly in the district court, rather than requiring that these be handled as delinquency proceedings initiated by DFYS." Number 0926 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said he had thought the bill was trying to give municipalities more authority to deal with violations. "But then, the example was given of shoplifting," he said, "and you elaborated that we have statutes that criminalize shoplifting, like the misdemeanor, and we would be giving municipalities the right to supersede that statute and make it a violation, prosecute people for a violation of what under state law would be a misdemeanor or perhaps a felony. Nobody in the municipality of Anchorage would voluntarily be prosecuted for a felony when they could choose to be prosecuted for a violation." Number 0970 MR. CHENOWETH replied it was not a question of choice. It was a question of how a municipality chose to enforce or penalize criminal conduct. He referred to shoplifting as an example and indicated that nothing said a municipality could not come along and make substantially similar conduct a violation with a fine for a penalty. "And the choice then, really, would be up to law enforcement officials and the prosecutors of the city or borough, whichever it would happen to be, as to how to prosecute. If they chose not to prosecute at the municipal level, it could go before the district attorney's office and be prosecuted by the state, I assume, or vice versa. The district attorney might turn it down and the municipality might decide that it would choose to prosecute. But nothing prevents the municipalities from enacting an ordinance now that says that shoplifting is conduct that is punishable as a violation." Number 1039 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY indicated he could envision a double-jeopardy possibility. MR. CHENOWETH said that would be true only if they were prosecuted by both the state and the municipality. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY replied, "But if the state chose to prosecute as a felony violation and the person's saying, `no, no, I committed this in the municipality where it's only a violation, not a felony, I would prefer to be prosecuted for a violation.'" MR. CHENOWETH emphasized it was not the alleged offender's decision but the prosecutor's decision. Number 1076 REPRESENTATIVE JERRY MACKIE said that Representative Vezey was on point with some concerns he also had. He noted that many larger communities prosecuted DWI violations, for example, under municipal ordinances, using city attorneys to prosecute the cases. "But you'll find serious felonies and murder and other types of things are always charged under state statute," he said, "because then it's the responsibility of the district attorney and the state to pay for those. Representative Mackie cited examples of offenses that might be bailable for fines that could be mailed in, including traffic regulations, possession of tobacco, fish and game statutes, and parks and recreation violations. He referred to the new language on page 3, lines 3-7, where it said "an ordinance or regulation that is punishable as an infraction or violation." "My question is," he said, "other than the ones that are already stated, what is there out there that is punishable by a violation that could be adopted by ordinance without getting into the area that Representative Vezey talked about where all of a sudden, municipalities are adopting ordinances that are normally criminal offenses, misdemeanor charges under state statutes, and opting to go to infraction-type ordinances?" He clarified, "What are some of the things they're asking to be able to serve violation citations on?" Number 1189 MR. CHENOWETH replied he did not have a list of what Anchorage, for example, might be concerned about. Typical low-level criminal conduct, he suggested, might be things like littering, dog control, or curfew violations. REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE responded that they could do all those things under ordinance now. MR. CHENOWETH said, "Yes, but when they come to enforce those ... there is no exception that says they are to be prosecuted in the district court. Consequently, they get put through the delinquency system. That is to say, they are presented to or by DFYS and handled through DFYS. What Anchorage folks are asking is that the use of the availability of the district court as a means, just as we do now, for - just as municipalities do now - to enforce their traffic ordinances, that that be expanded, so that other kinds of ordinances, other subject matter, could be prosecuted - minors could be prosecuted - in the district court in the same way. And I say that and then I have to hasten to add that Anchorage at this point does not use that. They are thinking in terms of expanding the use of a parallel civil enforcement remedy that they adopted about a year and a half ago. But that doesn't mean that other municipalities might not also want to have the opportunity to enforce their own regulations, or their own ordinances [indisc.] through a district court criminal prosecution." Number 1294 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY noted that Duane Udland was available and asked Mr. Udland if he could answer that question. DUANE UDLAND, Deputy Chief, Anchorage Police Department, testified via teleconference that he was also representing the City of Anchorage. "Our whole request for this bill lies in the fact and the belief that minor offenses often go unpunished when you're dealing with juveniles," he said, expressing the need for early consequences when a juvenile was first caught by the police. He suggested that juvenile intake did not have the time or resources to deal with petty offenses. This legislation would allow Anchorage to either cite a juvenile in district court or take it through the civil road, as they were currently doing with curfew violations. He cited types of violations that the state courts never saw. "We think we have a problem with juveniles that we would like to start charging them with some of these ordinances," he said. "But right now, unfortunately, we can charge, but the system at the state level just is not going to deal with it." He emphasized that Anchorage was asking for enabling legislation. Number 1428 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE asked if the focus of the bill related to jurisdiction more than the ability to put new laws on the books. "Because I can't imagine any of the infractions that you can't put on the books right now, already, under current law, by ordinance," he said. MR. UDLAND replied, "You're exactly right. We've got a whole host of them that we could charge the kids with right now. It's just that the state has the jurisdiction to prosecute. We're asking for that jurisdiction to prosecute them, either civilly or taking them directly into district court." Number 1450 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE asked if there was a fiscal note from the courts. He wanted to know what kind of impact it would have on state courts, prosecution, court time and the judges. He further wondered if the fines eventually went to the municipality of Anchorage, what was in it for the state for the utilization of the state courts. MR. UDLAND said he did not know how many kids they were talking about. He indicated the assembly was interested in the civil process, where Anchorage would have its own Anchorage hearing officer. He thought the impact on district court would be minimal. Number 1542 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY referred to page 2, lines 14 through 16, and said it appeared to be double jeopardy. "You're talking about prosecuting for a violation for somebody that's been convicted of a crime, which implies that there was a misdemeanor or a felony involved, they were convicted, then it talks about prosecuting for violations," he said. "I'm confused by what we're trying to do there." Number 1578 MR. CHENOWETH said, "Section 2 is intended to address the question of a concern on the part of Anchorage that if you allow us to prosecute, don't put on us the burden of requiring that these things go before a jury or requiring that we have to pay for court- appointed counsel. You don't have to take a case to a jury and you don't have to provide a lawyer at public expense if you are prosecuting what the court has identified as a minor offense - that's their term. And we looked at what the court meant by minor offense." He explained the term arose out of a judicial decision. "And we were looking for something that would indicate what the court was thinking of in terms of qualifying as a minor offense. If we met that, we would be able to exempt the municipalities from having to carry the burden of trying a minor before a jury or appointing an attorney. We found the clue to that in something called District Court Criminal Rule 8. And essentially, paragraphs 2 and 3, lines 7-16 of that page, pick up the characteristics out of the district court rule and set them down in state law in a way that, hopefully, keeps the municipality from having to carry the burden of putting their cases before a jury or of having to appoint an attorney at public expense." Number 1658 MR. CHENOWETH continued: "One of the other characteristics of a minor offense is that the penalty could not give rise to any disability or legal disadvantage based on conviction of a crime. Your voting rights couldn't be taken away. You couldn't lose a license to practice, practice law, practice medicine, operate a business. No other disability or legal disadvantage attaches to the conviction apart from payment of a fine. Period. If the ordinance were drafted in any way that said that for violation of this ordinance, some other penalty attaches beyond payment of a fine, then paragraph 3 would say that the enacting municipality could not take advantage of the minor offense exception, and therefore, it would be treated as a normal criminal offense and various other things would come into play, including right to trial by jury and right to court-appointed counsel if you couldn't afford it. So, what we're trying to do is meet the court's definition of minor offense in all of the facets in the district court rule." Number 1723 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said his interpretation in reading it was that there was a conviction involved. He understood Mr. Chenoweth to be saying there was no disability or legal disadvantage that would accrue from a conviction. MR. CHENOWETH replied that an ordinance that the municipality chose to enforce this way could not include a provision that penalized the defendant, upon conviction, beyond payment of a fine. Number 1764 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY explained that he understood what Mr. Chenoweth was saying but questioned whether the bill language said that. He asked if Mr. Chenoweth was comfortable that the language said that. MR. CHENOWETH indicated he had cribbed the language from the district court rule. Number 1777 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE reiterated that he wanted to know if there was a fiscal note from the court. Furthermore, he wished to know the position of the Administration or the Department of Law on this particular bill. Number 1799 MS. CARPENETI testified on behalf of the Department of Law, saying the department opposed HB 474. She explained that the Administration opposed automatic waivers of juveniles to adult court, especially for minor offenses. Shoplifting was the type of offense that the Administration thought should be dealt with in the juvenile system. Number 1838 MS. CARPENETI explained that the district court in Alaska had no probation supervision, so that a person would go to court and be fined without having any follow-up. Nor did the bill provide for restitution. "And we're not sure exactly what offenses may be dealt with under this system," she said. "If it's concealment of merchandise, it might be a violation in Anchorage, then it's a B misdemeanor or an A misdemeanor or a C felony outside of Anchorage." Ms. Carpeneti acknowledged there was frustration with the juvenile system. "And we would recommend that you wait while the Governor's Commission on Youth and Justice addresses the problem," she said. "I think the system is creaking under too many people and too many demands made of it. But we would oppose this approach to alleviating whatever problems that are seen with the juvenile system." Number 1893 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE said he could appreciate the position of automatic waivers of juveniles into court. "What we're talking about is not jail time," he said. "We're talking about minor offenses, which is under a bailable schedule. With certain parameters on there, ... wouldn't the Administration look to this as, perhaps, a mechanism for relief from a juvenile justice system that is obviously very broke?" He suggested that Anchorage would not be asking for relief unless it was a serious problem. Number 1930 MS. CARPENETI thought it would be useful to hear from the Division of Family and Youth Services (DFYS) and added, "I think that may be a misconception that these cases are just not dealt with. And it's the Administration's position that if you don't deal with them at the beginning, then you might end up with a juvenile who has not been addressed in terms of how to help that person steer away from committing offense after offense. And you end up with a juvenile who's in more trouble, and who's in serious trouble, and you've lost the chance to help that individual, to steer him or her away from bad behavior." Number 1956 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked who would determine what a minor infraction was. He wondered whether the municipality, by ordinance, would say what were waivable offenses, rather than having determinations made by DFYS or the state. Number 1999 MS. CARPENETI believed that the way the bill was drafted, if the municipality adopted an ordinance with only a fine attached to it, they could, by that very act, define what is a waivable offense. For example, if they prohibited concealment of merchandise and made the only consequence a fine, that would, by definition, make it waivable under this bill. She added that she believed minor consuming was already waived to district court. Number 2034 MR. UDLAND emphasized Anchorage's willingness to take on the problem. He said, "I'd be testifying in the opposite if we were talking about waiving the kids into district court where they would be sentenced to jail, as opposed to being handled by juvenile intake. But that's not the case." He added, "I think that if there's concerns about the extent that the municipality would pursue this, for instance, would be going to serious misdemeanors and then sort of declassifying them to violations, perhaps you could put some language into the bill that would somehow ensure that that wouldn't occur, but I don't know how to do that. But it would seem to me that this bill really does relieve the state of Alaska from some burden that I've always heard in the past that you'd like to get rid of." Number 2130 L. DIANE WORLEY, Director, Division of Family and Youth Services (DFYS), Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), testified that the department opposed HB 474. "While it has been noted that there are times we would probably relieve ourselves of some of these obligations, the reality is we do not feel it is in the best interest of the youth," she said. Number 2163 MS. WORLEY pointed out that in the bill, as designed, each municipality would have the ability to adopt the ordinance of their choice. The department was concerned that throughout the state, youth would be treated differently for the same violations. A second concern was that when a youth went into court, DFYS had no mechanism for receiving that information. Someone who had been to district court previously could come into the DFYS system as a first-time offender. Similarly, there was no notification to district court when a youth was on probation in the juvenile system. Number 2229 MS. WORLEY emphasized that DHSS felt the juvenile justice system was the best mechanism for handling youth. She discussed misperceptions and statistics relating to the system. On misdemeanor referrals for 1995, she said, DHSS adjusted with a letter 18 percent of the time and with a referral 29 percent of the time, resulting in payment of restitution, going to youth court or mediation, or performing community service. The department adjusted with a conference almost 21 percent of the time, in which parents were involved and worked out a plan of action with the youth and probation officer, including ongoing follow-up. In 13 percent of the cases, juveniles were petitioned to court. About 5 percent received ongoing probation for a period of time. Ms. Worley emphasized that the system was trying to find methods of rehabilitation. She acknowledged they were not always successful. However, they felt that if parents were involved and the youth were engaged in community service, probation, monitoring or other methods, there was a better opportunity for keeping an eye on the youth. Number 2313 MS. WORLEY expressed concern that youths would fail to pay the fines. "As you all well know," she said, "our youth facilities are more than full and we have grave concern about how many of these kids decide not to pay a fine, get a contempt of court charge, and then we have to take them in for a period of time for an offense that could be as small as skateboarding in the wrong place of town because there was a municipal ordinance against skateboarding on that part of the street." Number 2345 MS. WORLEY emphasized that they supported municipalities taking a more active role. "Anchorage is a wonderful example," she said. "We would really like the opportunity to work with municipalities and have them help us develop alternatives for placement and referrals for these youth." Number 2369 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY expressed amazement that DHSS opposed allowing the municipality to take on this problem. She asked if the problem was going to be addressed in the Governor's new youth bill. MS. WORLEY replied that was certainly part of it. "And I serve on the prevention working group of the Governor's Conference," she said. "There's the prevention, there's the youth-at-risk and then there's dealing with the juvenile code. So we are dealing with all aspects of that." Number 2401 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY asked, "But will he address this issue that is a major problem in Anchorage? If he doesn't, then that's what I'm saying. This bill is a specific problem in our Anchorage area with the youth. They're running rampant in Anchorage. We need some way to stop them in the very beginning. Now, whether the state wants to get involved in a five-dollar shoplifting or in spray-painting an office building, maybe that's something they want to do. And if that is, then the fiscal note should be totally different. As it is now, it is something that Anchorage feels they can handle." Number 2430 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE referred to earlier testimony about attitudes by juvenile offenders who did not worry about prosecution. He asked if there were minor offense charges currently under the state's juvenile justice system being dismissed because of lack of resources. TAPE 96-17, SIDE B Number 0001 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE asked if DFYS could be notified when there was a violation. "If it's being adjudicated by a district court judge anyway, there would be a record of it," he said, "and certainly, something like that could be passed on." He asked why Ms. Worley did not see the bill as an asset to the system. Number 0025 MS. WORLEY responded, "You bring up a number of good points, as does Representative Toohey. And I think it's important to understand that it's not that we don't feel the municipality can handle it." However, DFYS was concerned that payment of a fine, while often immediate, was not a real deterrent nor would it keep juveniles on the right track down the road. "There could even be said that it provides a benefit to those who have higher economic status," she said. "It's easy to pay a fine if you have a wealth of money. If you don't, it becomes a greater burden. I guess my concern continues to be that I believe, through the juvenile justice system, we can have a stronger, continuing relationship, a monitoring process, to keep in touch with these youth and to see where they're going. Certainly a fine for some kids is going to be a deterrent." She reiterated the fear that many would not pay the fines and would end up in contempt of court, resulting in their placement in the youth facilities. Number 0085 MS. WORLEY agreed the department could probably set up a system to receive notification from the courts. REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE asked if it were a policy of DFYS to not issue fines because of a belief that fines did not serve as a deterrent. He noted that paying money had been a deterrent to him as a youth. Representative Mackie then referred back to his earlier question about youth not being prosecuted or receiving follow-through in the system and asked if that was the case. Number 0113 MS. WORLEY stated that according to the statistics for FY 1995, 6percent of misdemeanors were dismissed for various reasons. Lack of resources precluded them from dealing with every single case as thoroughly as they wanted to. "But we certainly try to evaluate each case and make a good determination as to what steps can be taken and we try to have some type of consequence in every case," she said. Althought DFYS did not normally impose fines, they required a lot of restitution, particularly in cases where there was property damage or stolen merchandise. Number 0209 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE said, "So, there's not an inordinate number of offenders that are falling through the cracks, then, in your opinion?" MS. WORLEY replied, "It's hard to answer that. I think there are kids who are falling through the cracks, definitely. I don't know if there is an inordinate number. I think a lot of it is on perception of what is a consequence. In some people's minds, a fine is a concrete consequence, whereas community service is not a concrete consequence." Number 0237 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY said, "If municipalities would get together and absorb 10 or 15 percent of these minor cases, it certainly would leave your hands free, and the money free, to prosecute the more serious offenses." She asked Mr. Udland about the numbers of cases being dismissed. Number 0254 MR. UDLAND replied, "I can't give you numbers. I think `dismissed' is actually the wrong terminology." He said he had heard people from Juneau intake say they were so busy that if they could write a letter, that might be all they would do because of lack of time. "And I don't think that would count as a dismissal," he said. "It would probably be a disposition, and therefore, I don't think the dismissals would show up as a true, accurate picture." He noted that street officers were frustrated because the only consequence was a letter in the mail. "I've always defended juvenile intake and the work that they do," he said. "I think they do a wonderful job. But the problem is, is there aren't enough of them. And they're getting overwhelmed. I wish I could get every kid into juvenile intake for every minor event. I think they have the ability and the desire. They just don't have the resources. I guess there's a question, can the municipality enter into this one limited area and help out? I think we can." Number 0333 CO-CHAIR AUSTERMAN pointed out that with 18 percent letters and 6 percent dismissals, that was 24 percent, almost a quarter of the cases, which did not have fines or actions against them. With another 21 percent going to conference with parents, nearly 45 to 50 percent of the caseload was not being petitioned to court, going to referrals or in the ongoing probation period. "So, using those numbers, it sounds to me like there is a problem," he said. "And maybe this would be one way of helping your department solve some of the problems that you've got out there." He indicated he supported the bill and wanted to move it from committee. Number 0369 CO-CHAIR IVAN commented that he was not totally convinced by DFYS. He saw the bill as a tool and thought it would give the municipalities the authority to deal at the local level, getting the authority closer to parents and enforcement in the communities. Number 0422 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON thought they were taking a philosophy adopted by the state over a long period of time and "turning it on its head." He said, "I really do believe that part of the problem with juvenile misbehavior is that we've got to get them into a system where they can get some help." He was not sure that taking juveniles straight into the court system would do that. He suggested the proposed legislation was, at most, a partial solution that could possibly be adopted as part of a package. "I don't see anything in here that guarantees that there's going to be retribution," he said. "I don't see anything in here that speeds up the docket in district court. I don't see anything in here that tells me how much this is going to cost the court system. I don't think we've even asked the court system how much it's going to cost." He advised that until there were answers to those kinds of questions, the bill should not move on. Number 0539 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY responded, "This is for a municipality to adopt. Juneau obviously doesn't have that problem. It is obviously a problem for Anchorage. It may be for Fairbanks; I'm not sure. But the court system said that it would be so minor that it might incur a $2,000 court problem, $2,000 a year, if that." She emphasized her belief that it was a solution to 14- and 15- year-olds starting into a life of crime. "Some of them it's going to stop," she said. "If we can save 20 percent by scaring them or by imposing this fine on them, then I think that we're saving somebody." She pointed out that the municipalities were not mandated to do this but were willing to take on this problem. Number 0582 REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE said he did not necessarily disagree with Representative Elton's comments. "And I certainly think that DFYS and other agencies try to do the best they can with the rehabilitation and looking out for the best interest of the kid." However, he recalled getting a ticket at age 14 for driving without a license and the effect that going with his mother before a judge had on him. He suggested that going before a judge could be a wake-up call. Representative Mackie referred to the numbers pointed out by Co-Chair Austerman and said that also concerned him. "There is not a lot of deterrent out there," he added. Number 0658 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON clarified that although he thought there was a problem, he was not yet ready to buy into the solution. He indicated that as a youth, he would have been more frightened by his parents receiving a letter than by going before the district court judge. He recalled an incident where he was one of 150 kids who jaywalked in front of the high school one afternoon. "We thought that was the biggest, most fun thing we had that whole week," he said. "We got the afternoon off and we all went to court and he told us not to do it again." He thought there should not be too much concern about 21 percent getting a letter because if it worked right, a lot of those kids would not be back in the system. "Frankly, I think the best solution is, give DFYS the ability, the resources they need, to do a good job," he said. Number 0766 CO-CHAIR AUSTERMAN moved that HB 474 move from committee with accompanying fiscal notes and individual recommendations. There being no objection, it was so ordered. CO-CHAIR IVAN recessed the committee at 2:40 p.m. for a short break.