Legislature(1993 - 1994)
04/14/1993 01:00 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 28: PENALTY FOR PROVIDING ALCOHOL TO A MINOR Number 023 GAYLE HORETSKI, COMMITTEE COUNSEL, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, called the members' attention to a draft committee substitute for HB 28, dated April 1, 1993. She noted that a subcommittee, chaired by Representative Kott, had met to discuss HB 28, and stated that the sponsor, Representative Bill Williams, concurred with the subcommittee's recommendations incorporated in the draft committee substitute. MS. HORETSKI stated that new language appeared on page 1, lines 6-10 of the draft committee substitute. She mentioned that under existing law, it was a misdemeanor crime to provide alcohol to a minor. The original HB 28 made all such offenses class C felonies, she noted. However, the draft committee substitute made providing alcohol to a minor a class C felony only if the provider had been previously convicted of that same offense within the preceding five years. MS. HORETSKI commented that new language also appeared on page 2, in sections 3 and 4. Under existing law, she said, liquor establishments had to post warning signs regarding drinking alcohol during pregnancy. New language in HB 28 required liquor licensees to post a second sign, citing the penalties for providing alcohol to minors. Those penalties included imprisonment for up to five years and a fine of up to $50,000. She mentioned that those penalties would apply to second and subsequent offenses, but not to first offenses. Number 098 REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN asked Ms. Horetski to describe the penalties for first offenses. Number 106 MS. HORETSKI replied that a first offender would be guilty of a class A misdemeanor. Number 123 REPRESENTATIVE JIM NORDLUND stated that he was a member of the subcommittee, although he had not been notified that the subcommittee was meeting. But, he said, he was happy with the product which the subcommittee had created. He called the draft committee substitute an improvement to a bill about which he still had concerns. Number 135 REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT indicated that the subcommittee had met, and had notified Representative Nordlund's office of the meeting. He mentioned that it had been almost impossible to get all of the subcommittee members to agree on a time at which to meet. He added that the subcommittee had attempted to address the committee's concerns in the draft committee substitute for HB 28. Number 156 REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES made a MOTION to ADOPT the draft committee substitute for HB 28, dated April 1, 1993. There being no objection, IT WAS SO ORDERED. Number 160 REPRESENTATIVE CLIFF DAVIDSON commented that our society was becoming a society of signs. He asked the Chairman to comment, from his perspective as a former police officer, on the deterrent effect of signs. Number 173 CHAIRMAN BRIAN PORTER responded that during his career as a police officer, he had spent a great deal of time in bars. It was his impression that as long as there were some liquor handlers interested in providing alcohol to minors and some minors who were intent on purchasing alcohol, it would happen, regardless of whatever signs might be present. He stated that posting signs would not hurt, however. Number 210 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIDSON indicated that the committee would be filling up the statute books with language that might or might not have an impact on the behavior of individuals. He stated his opposition to moving HB 28 out of committee. Number 231 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES commented that it was difficult to measure the effect of signs. She said that people often did not notice that a particular sign was posted, but when a person saw a sign, he or she knew that he or she had seen the sign before. That, she said, counted for something. She supported posting signs. Number 252 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT echoed some of Representative Davidson's comments. But, he said that if one sign saved one life, then it would be worth posting them in bars and liquor stores throughout the state. Number 276 REPRESENTATIVE NORDLUND reiterated his earlier statement that the committee substitute was a vast improvement over the original HB 28. He indicated his belief that the legislature should fashion penalties appropriate to crimes. He did not know if a person would be any more deterred by the notion of spending five years in prison than he or she would be by the notion of spending one year in jail. Number 290 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES asked rhetorically what penalty would he deem appropriate in the event that an adult provided alcohol to a minor, and that intoxicated minor went out and killed himself? She said that she would like to give judges the option of imposing a stiffer penalty in such a situation. Number 305 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIDSON stated that society owed its children the opportunity to learn for themselves about self- discipline and personal responsibility. He stated that instead of micro-managing Alaska's businesses, the legislature should focus its efforts on the children. He commented that, as a parent, he found the more he said no, the more he had to say no. He drew a parallel by asserting that the more signs society posted, the more signs society would have to post. Number 337 CHAIRMAN PORTER agreed with Representative Davidson's comments, except to say that some people would not respond to education and positive reinforcement, and therefore required criminal sanctions. He mentioned the evolving role of smoking in our society. Smoking became unpopular not because it was criminalized, he said, but because of a combination of elements which made smoking "uncool." He noted that HB 28 might help prevent adults from providing alcohol to minors. Number 382 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES made a MOTION to MOVE the Judiciary Committee substitute for HB 28 out of committee, with individual recommendations. There being no objection, IT WAS SO ORDERED. CHAIRMAN PORTER announced that the committee would take up HB 92 next.