Legislature(1997 - 1998)
02/14/1997 01:03 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 22 - CIVIL LIABILITY FOR BOOTLEGGERS REPRESENTATIVE IVAN IVAN presented opening remarks on HOUSE BILL NO. 22 - "An Act relating to civil liability for illegal sales of alcoholic beverages; and providing for an effective date." He explained that the proposed legislation would make bootleggers responsible for actions that resulted from the illegal sale of alcohol to the individual and the resulting judicial costs. Representative Norman Rokeberg arrived. REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE moved to adopt CSHB 22 (JUD) for the purpose of discussion. There being no objection, CSHB 22 (JUD) was adopted. REPRESENTATIVE IVAN advised members that language had been added under Section 1 that would explicitly express the intent of the original bill. A person who sells or barters alcohol illegally would be strictly liable for civil damages to the recipient, or another person. Representative Ivan explained that the proposed legislation would also require the bootlegger to pay costs to the state or political subdivision of the state to criminally prosecute the case. Representative Jeannette James arrived. REPRESENTATIVE IVAN pointed out that the third change from the original version was the definition of civil damages which would include damages for personal injury, death, or injury to a person, including the state or a political subdivision of the state. REPRESENTATIVE IVAN advised members that Section 2 addressed civil liability for people who sell or barter a controlled substance as defined by statute. TOM WRIGHT, Legislative Aide, Representative Ivan, advised members that the changes explained by Representative Ivan were the result of input from Jim Sourant, Representative Porter's staff, Lisa Kirsch, Counsel to the House Judiciary Committee, Gail Voigtlander, Assistant Attorney General, Special Litigation Section and Mike Ford, Attorney, Legislative Legal Services. MR. WRIGHT pointed out some minor changes to the latest proposed committee substitute (LS0148\K) suggested by Mr. Ford. These changes would appear on page 1, line 6, after "strictly liable", insert (1), and delete [(1)] on line 7. He advised members that they had some discussions as to whether the state or political subdivision could be considered a "person". Mr. Wright stated that by placing the (1) after "strictly liable" on line 6, and removing it from line 7, that it would be clear that a bootlegger could be liable to (1) another person, or (2) the state or a political subdivision. MR. WRIGHT advised members another suggested change to the new proposed committee substitute would fall on page 1, line 10, after "(2)" insert the word for. That would result in saying that, "the recipient or another person," and also "for the state" would make it clear that the state was also included in the process. Mr. Wright pointed out that those changes would also be made under Section 2, as everything done in Section 1 was paralleled in Section 2. REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN PORTER moved to adopt Amendment 1, as described by Mr. Wright. There being no objection, Amendment 1, CSHB 22(JUD), was adopted. REPRESENTATIVE ERIC CROFT referenced page 1, line 12, and asked if they wanted to recover the costs to criminally prosecute the recipient of the alcohol, or the bootlegger. MR. WRIGHT explained, with respect to criminal prosecution, that the state presently had the ability to attempt to recover those costs. The proposed legislation says that if a person who received the alcohol illegally commits a crime while under the influence, that the bootlegger would also be partly responsible for that action. REPRESENTATIVE NORMAN ROKEBERG asked if the Alcohol Beverage Control Board (ABC), and the Department of Law had any input on the new draft committee substitute. MR. WRIGHT advised members that Ms. Voigtlander, Assistant Attorney General, had reviewed the language and found no problem. Also the ABC Board had the opportunity to review and consider the suggested changes, and they expressed no concern. MR. WRIGHT pointed out that while working through the process they did have conversations with Linda O'Bannon, Assistant Attorney General, Commercial Section, and the only area she was concerned with was Section 1; however, she had no objections to the amended language. REPRESENTATIVE CROFT noted that the original genesis of the proposed legislation was a result of the Chokwak v. Worley decision which dealt with social hosts, and he wanted to confirm that the intent of the provision was to cover those who sell alcohol through the business of bootlegging, and not liability to a social host. REPRESENTATIVE IVAN said that would be correct. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER moved to report CSHB 22 (JUD) out of committee with the attached zero fiscal notes and individual recommendations. There being no objection, it was so ordered. CSHB 22(JUD) was reported out of committee.