Legislature(2007 - 2008)HOUSE FINANCE 519

03/05/2008 01:30 PM FINANCE

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved Out of Committee
Scheduled But Not Heard
Moved Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
HOUSE BILL NO. 359                                                                                                            
     "An Act relating to probation and the offense of minor                                                                     
     consuming or in possession or control of alcohol."                                                                         
3:02:07 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Chenault  MOVED to ADOPT Work Draft for  HB 359 (25-                                                                   
LS1377\L, Luckhaupt,  2/22/08). There being NO  OBJECTION, it                                                                   
was so ordered.                                                                                                                 
EMILY BEATLEY,  STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE JAY  RAMRAS, (SPONSOR),                                                                   
explained HB 359. Under current  minor consuming statute, the                                                                   
Court is required to put a convicted  person on probation for                                                                   
one year  from the  date of conviction,  or until  the person                                                                   
reaches the age of 21, whichever  is later. Probation in this                                                                   
case is  automatic. House Bill  359 adds a new  section under                                                                   
statute  which gives the  courts the  authority to  terminate                                                                   
probation  of  those  convicted   of  minor  consuming  under                                                                   
certain conditions. Currently  minors under probation are not                                                                   
allowed  to enter  into the  military, which  has become  the                                                                   
largest issue  connected with HB 359. Other  individuals will                                                                   
benefit from the proposal.                                                                                                      
Representative Gara said the bill  terminates probation early                                                                   
but  does not  get  rid of  the  conviction.  He wanted  more                                                                   
information on how the military  views probation. Ms. Beatley                                                                   
said each  branch of the  military has different  issues with                                                                   
probation. A  person can't enlist  in the Marine Corps  as an                                                                   
alternative to probation, for example.                                                                                          
Representative Gara asked how  long probation was for a minor                                                                   
consuming. Ms.  Beatley said minor consuming  does not become                                                                   
a class  B misdemeanor  until the third  offense, when  it is                                                                   
considered  habitual;  at  that   time  it  falls  under  the                                                                   
Division   of  Juvenile   Justice.  For   first  and   second                                                                   
consumers,  the probation  is mandatory  and lasts until  age                                                                   
21, which could be a very long  probation. The courts have no                                                                   
authority to terminate that probation.                                                                                          
3:07:13 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Hawker  pointed  out areas  that  he  thought                                                                   
needed amending  in the bill.  Of the criteria that  could be                                                                   
used to  lift the probation, he  had difficulty with  page 2,                                                                   
lines 14-15,  "continuance of  the probation which  interfere                                                                   
with  the  rehabilitation  and  growth  of  the  person."  He                                                                   
thought  the language  too  subjective  and indefinable.  Ms.                                                                   
Beatley replied that the language  intends to give discretion                                                                   
to the court in determining what  "rehabilitation and growth"                                                                   
would be.                                                                                                                       
Representative  Hawker  thought   the  line  preceding,  "The                                                                   
person has substantially  complied with the  other conditions                                                                   
of probation,"  would be sufficient.  If anything  was added,                                                                   
he  thought  it  should  be a  positive  statement,  such  as                                                                   
"Continuance of probation  would not be in the  best interest                                                                   
of the person."                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair  Meyer  agreed  and asked  for  help  drafting  less                                                                   
subjective language.                                                                                                            
3:11:13 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Gara  asked if the  bill applies to  repeat or                                                                   
also to  first offense. Ms.  Beatley replied that  it applies                                                                   
to first and second offenses.  The third offense is a class B                                                                   
misdemeanor and would fall under  Juvenile Justice; the first                                                                   
and second fall under district court.                                                                                           
Representative Gara  stated that he  also has a  problem with                                                                   
the language "rehabilitation" in the second to last line.                                                                       
3:12:32 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Thomas  ruminated  over  how  young  soldiers                                                                   
should be dealt  with after coming home from a  tour of duty.                                                                   
He thought probation  on top of their other  difficulties was                                                                   
too much. Ms. Beatley  said that part of the  reason the bill                                                                   
came about was that good kids  make mistakes. The bill offers                                                                   
them a chance to apply for termination of probation.                                                                            
3:14:28 PM                                                                                                                    
BRIGADIER GENERAL  THOMAS KATKUS, COMMANDER,  ALASKA NATIONAL                                                                   
GUARD (Testified  via teleconference), testified  in favor of                                                                   
HB 359.  Without the bill there  are no options for  a person                                                                   
with this history moving forward  into the military. A person                                                                   
on active  probation cannot join.  The bill gives  options to                                                                   
those who  may have made a  mistake early in life.  There are                                                                   
less people fully  qualified to join the military  because of                                                                   
early issues.                                                                                                                   
3:17:43 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Gara  wondered why the military  cares whether                                                                   
someone is  on probation for something  that is not  a crime,                                                                   
since first  and second offenses  are not criminal  offenses.                                                                   
Gen.  Katkus said  a  person cannot  be  on  probation for  a                                                                   
crime; the military reads this violation as a crime.                                                                            
Representative  Gara wondered  if the  standard was  the same                                                                   
for all four  branches of the military. Gen.  Katkus said the                                                                   
National Guard abides by Army  standards. Representative Gara                                                                   
asked if there was any flexibility.  Gen. Katkus replied that                                                                   
the military  cannot waive regarding  probation. There  was a                                                                   
discussion about  conditions under which  criminal conviction                                                                   
could be waived.                                                                                                                
3:21:45 PM                                                                                                                    
QUINLAN   STEINER,   DIRECTOR,    PUBLIC   DEFENDER   AGENCY,                                                                   
DEPARTMENT OF ADMINISTRATION (Testified  via teleconference),                                                                   
spoke  in  favor  of  HB  359.   He  thought  it  would  have                                                                   
significant impact.                                                                                                             
Representative  Thomas  queried  what the  average  probation                                                                   
time was. Mr.  Steiner responded that probation  is automatic                                                                   
until  21   on  this  particular   offense.  If  it   were  a                                                                   
misdemeanor for  a juvenile for  some other kind  of offense,                                                                   
the probation could  vary. Co-Chair Meyer thought  this was a                                                                   
loophole  that needed  to be looked  at. Representative  Gara                                                                   
was amazed that  one drink could result in  a mandatory five-                                                                   
year probation.                                                                                                                 
3:24:11 PM                                                                                                                    
PUBLIC TESTIMONY CLOSED.                                                                                                        
Representative  Hawker said  he  would work  on an  amendment                                                                   
with staff.                                                                                                                     
Co-Chair Chenault referred to the fiscal notes.                                                                                 
DOUG WOOLIVER, ADMINISTRATIVE  ATTORNEY, ALASKA COURT SYSTEM,                                                                   
said there was an error on one of the notes.                                                                                    
Co-Chair Chenault  wondered if there should be  a fiscal note                                                                   
from Department  of Health and Social Services  or Department                                                                   
of  Corrections.  Ms.  Beatley  said  the  bill  specifically                                                                   
targets first  and second offenders,  neither of  which falls                                                                   
under  Corrections  or Juvenile  Justice.  Co-Chair  Chenault                                                                   
wanted more information.                                                                                                        
Co-Chair  Meyer said  fiscal note  #1 by  Judiciary could  be                                                                   
3:27:26 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Gara  asked if  Public  Defenders  represents                                                                   
people  with first and  second minor  consuming charges.  Mr.                                                                   
Steiner answered that they do  not currently represent people                                                                   
because  the  statute  was  set  up that  way.  They  do  get                                                                   
inquiries.  Representative Gara  queried  whether any  public                                                                   
agency represents  the kids  if they do  not have  money. Mr.                                                                   
Steiner was not aware of any.                                                                                                   
Representative  Gara  questioned  the  legality  of  imposing                                                                   
probation  for something  that is  not a  crime. Mr.  Steiner                                                                   
replied that  it appears to be  legal. He referred to  a case                                                                   
where mandatory probations had been challenged.                                                                                 
HB  359  was   HEARD  and  HELD  in  Committee   for  further                                                                   
3:29:14 PM                                                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects