Legislature(2001 - 2002)
04/24/2002 01:12 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 180 - BACKGROUND CHECK OF YOUTH WORKER Number 0030 CHAIR ROKEBERG announced that the first order of business would be HOUSE BILL NO. 180, "An Act requiring child services providers to obtain criminal background checks for child services workers." [In committee packets was a new proposed committee substitute (CS) for HB 180, version 22-LS0642\U, Lauterbach, 4/24/02.] Number 0163 REPRESENTATIVE MEYER made a motion to rescind the committee's action on 4/22/02 in reporting CSHB 180(JUD) [CSHB 180(HES), as amended on 4/22/02] from committee. Number 0169 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ objected for the purpose of discussion. Number 0209 HEATHER M. NOBREGA, Staff to Representative Norman Rokeberg, House Judiciary Standing Committee, Alaska State Legislature, explained that in drafting CSHB 180(JUD) [following the hearing on 4/22/02], some problems were discovered, and that these problems have been outlined in a memo provided by the drafter. The first problem revolves around the addition in Section 5 of language relating to indictment, which raises equal-protection issues because there are other types of situations in criminal law that are similar to indictment but are not specifically labeled as such. In the new proposed CS, the language relating to indictment has been removed, although the drafter has provided alternative wording in a memo: after "license" on page 4, line 25, insert "is charged by information of complaint with, is under indictment or presentment for, or". MS. NOBREGA said that the second problem revolves around the date by which the report from the task force is due; with the change made on 4/22/02, the report would be due one month after the task force is terminated. In the new proposed CS, the date by which the report is due coincides with the date the task force is terminated, that being the first day of the first regular session of the 23rd legislative session. Ms. Nobrega noted that a third change to the new proposed CS was requested by the sponsor; this change on page 9 [line 12] stipulates that the public members of the task force are not entitled to per diem or travel expenses, and should ensure that the fiscal note remains zero. Number 0410 CHAIR ROKEBERG noted that Representative Berkowitz has removed his objection and that there were no further objections to the motion to rescind the committee's action in reporting CSHB 180(JUD) out of committee. Therefore, CSHB 180(HES), as amended, was back before the committee. Number 0452 REPRESENTATIVE MEYER moved to adopt the new proposed CS for HB 180, version 22-LS0642\U, Lauterbach, 4/24/02, as a work draft. There being no objection, Version U was before the committee. MS. NOBREGA, in response to a question, confirmed that Version U contains the three changes she spoke of. She remarked that according to the drafter, any changes to Version U regarding indictment should also include language pertaining to "presentment" and "charged by information of complaint". REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ, on the point of that suggested language, said that he is not familiar with the term "'presentment' as it's used up here," that "information of complaint" is sometimes "done" by the district attorney or the arresting officer, and that the term "indictment" seemed to him to offer an additional level of protection. "If this presents problems - I don't anticipates it would - but I have no objection to these changes," he added, mentioning, however, that "it is conceptually different, in my mind." MS. NOBREGA pointed out that language similar to that suggested by the drafter for page 4, line 25, can be found on page 3, lines 24 and 25: "charged by information or complaint with, or under indictment or presentment for a crime listed". She reiterated that according to the drafter, this type of language would be preferable to just the word "indicted", should the committee choose to go that route with the provision on page 4. REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ noted that the language she refers to on page 3 begins with: "is under investigation or arrest for". MS. NOBREGA clarified that she was simply pointing out the similarities in the language regarding "charged by information or complaint with", rather than suggesting that the entirety of the sentence on page 3 should also be used on page 4. Number 0562 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ asked for an explanation of when someone would be "under investigation". MS. NOBREGA replied: Actually, ... "under investigation" is different than what we were talking about. I was just talking about "indictment", "presentment", or "charged with". The "under investigation" is completely separate [from] what we had been discussing on [4/22/02]. REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ indicated that the "under investigation" language on page 3 has now caught his attention; "I have no complaints about the other part of the sentence as it's been amended, but now seeing this other part - 'is under investigation' ..." CHAIR ROKEBERG pointed out that it was a provision on page 4 that was amended on 4/22/02, whereas the provision on page 3, which has language similar to what is being suggested by the drafter for page 4, has yet to be discussed. REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ said, "A mistake was made and now that I see something that's problematic, I want to fix it." What does "under investigation" mean? Does that mean someone has called in a complaint? Does it mean an investigation is [pending]? CHAIR ROKEBERG suggested that the committee first address the issue of whether to amend page 4, line 25, to include the language suggested by the drafter, since the original amendment regarding indictment was not incorporated into Version U. Number 0686 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ made a motion to adopt Amendment 1. CHAIR ROKEBERG explained that Amendment 1 would insert the following after "license" on page 4, line 25: "is charged by information of complaint with, is under indictment or presentment for, or". Number 0710 REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL objected for the purpose of discussion. He said that "certainly we're talking about placement here," but it's only after the conditions [from page 3] are applied, "and I'm wondering if it isn't already covered and if it's necessary to even put in this section [on page 4]." The provision on page 3 involves a licensing issue, and the provision on page 4 involves a placement issue; Amendment 1 would apply to the provision regarding placement, he noted, but "it also refers back to this licensing" provision, and "they've" already been scrutinized under this very same language on page 3. CHAIR ROKEBERG called an at-ease from 1:25 p.m. to 1:26 p.m. CHAIR ROKEBERG indicated that he approved of [Amendment 1] REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ asked: Does the department have authority to remove [a license] if it has some level of cause to be concerned, short of a conviction? CHAIR ROKEBERG suggested that in making the amendment on 4/22/02, Representative Berkowitz was merely attempting to use the term "indicted" as a catchall in case there had been some charges brought. He relayed that he did not have any problem with [adopting] Amendment 1. REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL said that he struggles with [the term] "charge". He elaborated: I think that sometimes in these family situations, there are all kinds of real high-tension issues, and just the fact that somebody might level a charge, [it] may not be necessary to stop a placement. And in answer to Representative Berkowitz's question, I believe they do have discretionary powers ... for placement. This is just ... a bar ... if there is a conviction. Number 0881 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ withdrew Amendment 1, adding that he understands Representative Coghill's concerns. He then turned to the language on page 3, line 24. He said: The department can't issue an initial license if the applicant "is under investigation". That's a pretty amorphous term - "is under investigation"; there's no certainty that an applicant would know that they were under an investigation. Investigations sometimes lead to people being more frequently (indisc. - coughing) being cleared, and I just don't know what the standard is there. CHAIR ROKEBERG said he agreed. He then mentioned that he was familiar with a situation involving a foster parent who was vindicated. Number 0972 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ made a motion to adopt [Conceptual] Amendment 2: on page 3, line 24, delete "is under investigation or arrest for". CHAIR ROKEBERG asked why "under arrest for" should be deleted. REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ said that if the arrest is not followed up with "an information or complaint," that means someone's been released because there weren't grounds to hold him/her. CHAIR ROKEBERG surmised, then, that Representative Berkowitz wants the situation to at least reach the formal level of "information or complaint". REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ confirmed this, and clarified that [Conceptual] Amendment 2 ought to delete only "under investigation or arrest for", leaving line 24 to begin with "is charged by". He added that apparently "this language is somewhere else in the bill." CHAIR ROKEBERG stated, "Well, if it is, let's have it removed also." In response to a question, he said that Conceptual Amendment 2 would remove "under investigation or arrest for" from page 3, line 24, as well as from anyplace else in the bill that contains that same language. Number 1063 CHAIR ROKEBERG noted that there were no objections to Conceptual Amendment 2. Therefore, Conceptual Amendment 2 was adopted. Number 1065 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES moved to report version 22-LS0642\U, Lauterbach, 4/24/02, as amended, out of committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying zero fiscal note. There being no objection, new CSHB 180(JUD) was reported from the House Judiciary Standing Committee.