Legislature(1993 - 1994)
04/25/1993 12:10 PM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE BILL NO. 187 "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." DEAN GUANELI, CHIEF ASSISTANT ATTORNEY, DEPARTMENT OF LAW discussed HB 187. He explained that federal wire tapping law would not cover all occasions that the Department wants to pursue. He noted that the federal government will not get involved with murder cases unless interstate jurisdiction is involved. He observed that before a wire tap is established someone from the Department of Law must be involved. He emphasized that the standards apply as in 6 issuing a search warrant. He maintained that wire tapping will be the last resort employed in an investigation. CHARLES COLE, ATTORNEY GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF LAW pointed out that wire tapping is allowed only in cases of murder in the first or second degree, kidnapping or a class A or unclassified felony drug offense. He noted that detailed requirements are contained on pages 2 - 4. He reviewed requirements and limitations of wire taps. He assured members that adequate safeguards exist. Representative Brown referred to page 11, line 25. She asked what procedures will be followed prior to interception of communications in electronic storage. She pointed out that the electronic storage could mean voice mail and bulletin board communications. She expressed concern that the legislation is being broadened to included computers. Mr. Guaneli stated that the procedures applying to paper storage would apply to computer storage. Representative Brown referred to page 9, line 20. She asked the meaning of "nonconstitutional violation". Mr. Guaneli stated that the intent is that the misapplication of one of the specific provisions required in the issuing of the warrant will not give rise to a lawsuit for damages unless there is a violation of an individual's constitutional rights. He noted that the provisions are detailed. Evidence collected improperly would not be admissable in trial. (Tape Change, HFC 93-125, Side 2) Representative Grussendorf asked what would happen if an investigation uncovered a crime which is not covered by the wire tapping warrant. Attorney General Cole noted that page 8, line 19 covers unanticipated interceptions. Representative Brown provided members with AMENDMENT 1 (Attachment 8). She explained that the amendment would make available to the Governor and the Legislature information regarding the use of wire tapping. She pointed out that confidential information would not be involved. Attorney General Cole did not object to the amendment. Representative Parnell MOVED to AMEND the Amendment to delete "for the Governor and the Legislature" and insert "and make available to the public." Representative Martin OBJECTED. A roll call vote was taken on the motion. IN FAVOR: Grussendorf, Brown, Foster, Hanley, Parnell, Therriault, MacLean, Larson OPPOSED: Martin 7 Representatives Hoffman and Navarre were not present for the vote. The MOTION PASSED (8-1). Representative Brown MOVED to ADOPT AMENDMENT 1 as amended. Co-Chair Larson OBJECTED. A roll call vote was taken on the motion. IN FAVOR: Grussendorf, Brown, Foster, Hanley, Parnell, Therriault OPPOSED: Martin, MacLean, Larson Representatives Hoffman and Navarre were not present for the vote. The MOTION PASSED (6-3). Representative Brown MOVED to ADOPT AMENDMENT 2 (Attachment 9). She stated that the amendment would clarify that cellular telephone communications be included. Attorney General Cole spoke against the amendment. He maintained that cellular phones would already be included. Representative Brown replied that page 16, line 6 excludes "any communication that is readily accessible to the general public." She noted that cellular phones are accessible to the general public. She asserted that the amendment is needed to prevent exclusion of cellular phones. Attorney General Cole disagreed that cellular phone transmissions are "readily" accessible. Representative Parnell spoke in support of Amendment 2. There being NO OBJECTION, Amendment 2 was adopted. Representative Brown MOVED to ADOPT AMENDMENT 3 (Attachment 10). She explained that Amendment 3 would include cordless phones. She maintained that cordless phones are excluded on page 15, line 29. She stressed that private phone calls should be kept private unless procedures are followed to obtain a wire tap warrant. Attorney General Cole spoke against Amendment 3. Representative Martin OBJECTED. A roll call vote was taken on the motion. IN FAVOR: Brown, Grussendorf, Foster, Parnell, MacLean OPPOSED: Hanley, Martin, Therriault, Larson Representatives Hoffman and Navarre were not present for the vote. The MOTION PASSED (5-4). Representative Brown MOVED to ADOPT AMENDMENT 4 to insert 8 "Except for a party to a private conversation." Attorney General Cole agreed that the amendment clarifies existing statutes. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. Representative Parnell referred to page 11, line 14. He asked if the requirement to file reports would endanger officers. Attorney General Cole replied that the Alaska State Troopers have no objection to the requirement. Representative Foster asked for further clarification of unanticipated interception. Mr. Guaneli noted that officers are required to minimize interceptions not directly related to the investigation. Representative Brown referred to page 8, line 22. She suggested that approval for unanticipated interceptions be limited to crimes covered by AS 12.37.010. Representative Hanley argued for a broader interpretation. Representative Grussendorf noted that search warrants are harder to obtain and that evidence is more tangible. Attorney General Cole suggested that "felony" be inserted on page 8, line 22. Co- Chair Larson MOVED to AMEND Amendment 4 to insert "a felony". There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. Co-Chair Larson MOVED to ADOPT AMENDMENT 4 as amended. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. Representative Martin MOVED to report CSHB 187 (FIN) out of Committee with individual recommendations and with the accompanying fiscal notes. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered. CSHB 187 (FIN) was reported out of Committee with "no recommendation" and with a zero fiscal note by the Department of Law, dated 3/1/93; a zero fiscal note by the Department of Administration, dated 3/1/93; a fiscal impact note by the Alaska Court System; a fiscal impact note by the Department of Public Safety, dated 4/2/93; and with a fiscal impact note by the Department of Administration, dated 3/1/93.