Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 120

01/19/2005 01:00 PM JUDICIARY


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01:06:22 PM Start
01:06:31 PM HB41
02:24:28 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HB 41 ASSAULT ON SCHOOL EMPLOYEES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
HB 41 - ASSAULT ON SCHOOL EMPLOYEES                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
[Contains mention of support for HB 88.]                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:06:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE announced that the  only order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO. 41,  "An  Act  relating  to minimum  periods  of                                                               
imprisonment  for  the crime  of  assault  in the  fourth  degree                                                               
committed against an  employee of an elementary,  junior high, or                                                               
secondary school  who was  engaged in  the performance  of school                                                               
duties at the time of the assault."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CAROL  COMEAU,   Superintendent  of  Schools,   Anchorage  School                                                               
District (ASD),  Municipality of Anchorage (MOA),  said that with                                                               
the exception  of one  concern -  that being  that the  ASD feels                                                               
that the bill should apply  to all school district employees, for                                                               
example, bus  drivers, during the  performance of their  duties -                                                               
the ASD is very supportive of  HB 41, and she characterized it as                                                               
very  important  legislation.    She  thanked  the  sponsors  for                                                               
submitting the  legislation, saying the concept  embodied therein                                                               
has  been  a large  priority  for  the ASD.    In  response to  a                                                               
question, she indicated  that the ASD has  always been supportive                                                               
of the bill applying to teachers  as a start, but has also wanted                                                               
it to eventually include all employees.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:10:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BOB LYNN,  Alaska State  Legislature, one  of the                                                               
prime sponsors  of HB  41, said that  by instituting  a mandatory                                                               
minimum  sentence   of  imprisonment  for  assaulting   a  school                                                               
employee  while  he/she is  performing  school  duties, the  bill                                                               
provides the  same protection  to teachers  who are  assaulted as                                                               
current   law  provides   to  peace   officers,  fire   fighters,                                                               
correctional    employees,    emergency   medical    technicians,                                                               
paramedics, ambulance attendants,  and other emergency responders                                                               
who  are  assaulted  while  engaged   in  the  performance  their                                                               
official duties.   He noted that last year's version  of the bill                                                               
passed  out  of  the  House  Judiciary  Standing  Committee,  but                                                               
characterized HB 41  as being a better bill because  of the input                                                               
from Chair McGuire,  the other prime sponsor of the  bill.  After                                                               
mentioning that he  has served in the military and  as a teacher,                                                               
he offered his belief that  [the legislature] is obligated to add                                                               
the proposed protections because schools  should be made safe for                                                               
teachers and other  school employees, and characterized  HB 41 as                                                               
a  giant step  in that  direction.   He asked  the committee  for                                                               
favorable action on the bill.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  ANDERSON,  after  saying he  supports  the  bill,                                                               
asked how the minimum sentence of 60 days was arrived at.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:13:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN, after  noting that  the current  version of                                                               
the  bill  doesn't address  verbal  assault  of school  employees                                                               
because the enforcement aspect was  deemed problematic, said that                                                               
the 60-day minimum  sentence was chosen for HB 41  because it was                                                               
used in last year's legislation.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:14:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM,  referring to the word,  "knowingly" on                                                               
page 1, line  7, asked the sponsor to comment  with regard to the                                                               
burden of  proof, and  with regard to  elevating teachers  to the                                                               
same  level  as  peace   officers,  fire  fighters,  correctional                                                               
employees, and  other emergency responders.   She also  asked how                                                               
the  bill would  apply  in  a situation  where  two children  are                                                               
brawling and a teacher gets hit.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE,  speaking as one of  the prime sponsors of  HB 41,                                                               
relayed that  committee staff would  provide members  with copies                                                               
of the  statute outlining  the various mental  states.   She then                                                               
noted  that  the 60-day  sentence  is  already part  of  existing                                                               
statute and the  bill merely proposes to add  school employees to                                                               
the list for whom a mandatory minimum sentence shall be imposed.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN,  in   partial  response  to  Representative                                                               
Dahlstrom,  offered  his  belief  that an  assault  on  a  school                                                               
employee is  an assault  on a government  employee and  so should                                                               
engender  the same  sentence as  an assault  on a  peace officer,                                                               
fire   fighter,  correctional   employee,   or  other   emergency                                                               
responder.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   COGHILL  mentioned   that  in   the  past   he'd                                                               
introduced a  bill making it  an aggravator to assault  [a school                                                               
employee].  He  referred to the examples mentioned  by Ms. Comeau                                                               
and said he  wanted to know what penalties  were actually imposed                                                               
in  those instances,  and  also whether  there  are any  examples                                                               
wherein the penalty imposed [seemed] insufficient.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN suggested that  perhaps someone else would be                                                               
able to provide the committee with that information.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL said  he wants to make sure  that a 60-day                                                               
sentence is  appropriate for  the crime;  pointed out  that peace                                                               
officers,  fire  fighters,   correctional  employees,  and  other                                                               
emergency responders are  often in situations where  they have to                                                               
handle people who  are in an excitable state;  and suggested that                                                               
teachers wouldn't generally find themselves in such situations.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:19:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN offered  his  belief  that school  employees                                                               
constitute a  special class  of people who  are deserving  of the                                                               
same  protections as  those  listed under  current  statute.   He                                                               
pointed  out that  school employees  do  face situations  wherein                                                               
parents are in an excitable  state, sometimes highly enraged.  He                                                               
reiterated his  belief that there  should be a  mandatory minimum                                                               
sentence  for  assaulting  school   employees  because  they  are                                                               
government employees.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA noted that there  is already a strict penalty                                                               
for assaults that  result in serious physical  [injury], and that                                                               
the  bill   only  addresses  [assault  in   the  fourth  degree].                                                               
Referring  to   newspaper  articles   in  members'   packets,  he                                                               
mentioned  that   in  a  couple  of   the  aforementioned  actual                                                               
examples,  the judges  imposed sentences  greater  than 60  days;                                                               
therefore,  he is  not sure  that the  bill is  needed, since  it                                                               
proposes  a  shorter  sentence that  what  judges  have  actually                                                               
imposed.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  said  that  although judges  to  date  have                                                               
imposed longer  sentences, in  the future  there might  be judges                                                               
who would  be inclined to  impose a  shorter sentence, and  so he                                                               
feels  that  the state  should  step  in  and mandate  a  minimum                                                               
sentence of 60 days.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA asked  whether there  are any  similar cases                                                               
wherein the sentence has not  been substantial, wherein it hasn't                                                               
already been  more than 60 days.   In other words,  he asked, why                                                               
is this bill needed?                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN   suggested  that  other   testifiers  could                                                               
perhaps  address   that  issue,  but  offered   his  belief  that                                                               
establishing a mandatory minimum sentence of  60 days is a way of                                                               
saying  that  the  legislature   supports  school  employees  and                                                               
students.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  McGUIRE concurred  that the  articles in  members' packets                                                               
point  out that  the actual  sentences imposed  have been  longer                                                               
than  what the  bill proposes,  and remarked  that Representative                                                               
Gara is making a fair point.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   KOTT  asked   whether  there   is  a   statutory                                                               
definition  of   "school  duties",  and  whether   the  bill,  as                                                               
currently  written,  would  apply  to  an  assault  on  a  school                                                               
janitor.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:26:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN said  he couldn't  answer  whether there  is                                                               
already  a statutory  definition  of "school  duties", but  added                                                               
that he  didn't see school  janitors as being different  than any                                                               
other school employee and suggested  that children don't see them                                                               
as different.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOTT   questioned  whether  the  bill   would  be                                                               
elevating  janitors to  the same  level as  peace officers,  fire                                                               
fighters,   correctional    employees,   and    other   emergency                                                               
responders.    He  also  asked   whether  the  bill  would  cover                                                               
employees of charter schools.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  offered his belief that  charter schools are                                                               
part of the school system.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOTT  asked  whether  the  bill  would  cover  an                                                               
assault  that  occurs in  the  school  parking lot  after  school                                                               
hours.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN offered his belief  that it would, since cars                                                               
in school parking lots are subject to search.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:29:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOTT   said  he  would  have   a  difficult  time                                                               
considering walking to one's car as engaging in school duties.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA,  remarking that although teachers  provide a                                                               
service to the community, noted  that other groups of people also                                                               
provide  a  service to  the  community  - for  example,  physical                                                               
therapists  and nurses  - and  asked about  having the  bill also                                                               
apply to them.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  offered  his   belief  that  a  nurse,  for                                                               
example, is not  a government employee and so  shouldn't have the                                                               
same protection as a teacher.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:32:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA asked  whether  the bill  would  apply if  a                                                               
school  groundskeeper, for  example,  gets  assaulted by  his/her                                                               
angry girlfriend/boyfriend  on school grounds.   Would it  be the                                                               
sponsors'   intent  to   impose   a  60-day   sentence  in   that                                                               
circumstance?                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  replied, "I  don't know that  we can  try to                                                               
examine the motivation, the mental  intent, of the people who are                                                               
doing the [assaulting]; ... it doesn't mitigate the assault."                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:33:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG, referring  to  AS 12.55.135(g),  noted                                                               
that it  only provides for  a minimum sentence  of 30 days  for a                                                               
second conviction of assault in  a domestic violence context, and                                                               
said  he  has  difficulty  with  the  concept  of  elevating  the                                                               
sentence  for an  assault on  a school  employee past  that.   He                                                               
asked whether,  under the bill, there  would have to be  a second                                                               
trial per  Blakely v.  Washington, 124 S.  Ct. 2531  (U.S., 2004)                                                             
and, if so,  "who would make that decision."   With regard to the                                                               
issue of including  school bus drivers, he pointed  out that some                                                               
bus drivers  are school employees  but some work  for independent                                                               
contractors.  He suggested that  because of this, and because the                                                               
bill  only applies  to assaults  on adults  and not  on students,                                                               
there might be equal protection issues.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  McGUIRE suggested  that the  same issues  could be  raised                                                               
with regard to other contract employees.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  mentioned  that perhaps  HB  41  could                                                               
become  a good  vehicle for  dealing with  any sentencing  issues                                                               
that arise as a result of the Blakely decision.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:37:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  McGUIRE offered  her understanding  that  in Blakely,  the                                                             
U.S.  Supreme Court  has said  that when  there are  aggravators,                                                               
there must be a separate jury  trial [for sentencing].  She noted                                                               
that the  governor has a  similar idea with regard  to sentencing                                                               
those convicted of assaulting school  employees, but it takes the                                                               
form  of  a  thirty-first  aggravator.    She  remarked  that  in                                                               
addition  to the  policy question  of whether  to treat  a school                                                               
district employee differently than  other citizens, there is also                                                               
the practical  aspect of how to  do it - for  example, whether to                                                               
do  it via  an aggravator  or via  a mandatory  minimum sentence.                                                               
She also  mentioned the need,  when considering  proposed changes                                                               
to the  current sentencing scheme,  to look at how  the sentences                                                               
for other crimes against persons compare.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:41:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PEGGY COWAN,  Superintendent of Schools, Juneau  Borough Schools,                                                               
City &  Borough of Juneau  (CBJ), offered  her belief that  HB 41                                                               
recognizes the service of school  employees and encourages safety                                                               
in schools, which she characterized  as key to students' academic                                                               
success.    She said,  however,  that  she would  discourage  the                                                               
committee  from  trying to  create  different  classes of  school                                                               
employees.   She opined that  the bill  is key in  making schools                                                               
safe and violence  free.  In response to a  question, she offered                                                               
her belief  that schools  should rank at  a different  level with                                                               
regard  to safety  -  thus, anything  that  encroaches on  school                                                               
safety  is  of concern  -  and  noted  that there  are  violence-                                                               
prevention standards in place at the federal level.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  suggested  that it  shouldn't  make  a                                                               
difference who the  victim is, the punishment should  be the same                                                               
for  anyone  assaulting anyone,  employee  or  student, while  at                                                               
school or at a school function.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  COWAN  said  she  is supportive  of  anything  that  reduces                                                               
violence in schools.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  asked whether  the bill  should include                                                               
preschools or colleges.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS.  COWAN  acknowledged  that  inclusion  of  such  would  be  a                                                               
legislative  decision,  but  pointed  out  that  some  elementary                                                               
schools do  have preschool students because  of special education                                                               
requirements.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:48:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BILL   BJORK,    President,   NEA-Alaska    (National   Education                                                               
Association, Alaska  branch), said that  he wanted to  testify in                                                               
favor  of  positive   action  on  HB  41.     Referring  to  past                                                               
legislation, he  said that NEA-Alaska  believes that HB  41 ought                                                               
to  be the  vehicle  that  is ultimately  passed  into  law.   He                                                               
suggested that  parents send their  children to  school believing                                                               
that outside of the home, schools  are the safest place for their                                                               
children to  be; however, because  of acts of violence  that have                                                               
received publicity,  the idea that  children are safe  in schools                                                               
has  been placed  in doubt.   He,  too, remarked  that safety  in                                                               
schools  is essential  for students'  success, and  commended the                                                               
sponsors' efforts  to increase  safety.   At a  recent NEA-Alaska                                                               
meeting,  he  relayed,  it was  decided  that  NEA-Alaska  should                                                               
pursue legislation elevating the  penalty for assaulting a school                                                               
employee  to the  same  level  as the  penalty  for assaulting  a                                                               
police officer.   He remarked  that NEA-Alaska's hope is  that if                                                               
passed,  HB 41  will  serve  as a  deterrent  and  won't have  to                                                               
actually be utilized,  that the change could be  explained in the                                                               
communities such  that it becomes absolutely  clear that violence                                                               
has no place in schools.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:53:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  BJORK,  in response  to  a  question, said  that  NEA-Alaska                                                               
believes that  all school employees should  be protected, noting,                                                               
for example, that the school secretary  is often the first one to                                                               
come in contact with an enraged parent.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA acknowledged  that the  bill's potential  to                                                               
send  a message  to the  community and  act as  a deterrent  is a                                                               
compelling argument.  He mentioned,  however, that he still has a                                                               
concern regarding  the bill's definition  of assault,  because it                                                               
might  apply to  an  angry poke  to someone's  chest.   He  asked                                                               
whether  NEA-Alaska would  be amenable  to changing  the bill  so                                                               
that it does not apply in such instances.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. BJORK posited  that that type of incident -  wherein a school                                                               
employee receives an angry poke  to the chest - probably wouldn't                                                               
rise  to the  level of  crime  listed in  the bill.   He  opined,                                                               
however, that  any assault  that does  rise to  that level  - for                                                               
example, if someone  takes a swing at a school  employee - should                                                               
result in a 60-day sentence.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA   offered  his   belief,  though,   that  as                                                               
currently defined  in AS  11.81.900, an angry  poke to  the chest                                                               
could qualify  as assault in  the fourth degree because  it could                                                               
cause "physical pain", which is  one of the criteria of "physical                                                               
injury" as the term is used in the bill.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:57:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  asked whether NEA-Alaska has  had to take                                                               
part, on  behalf of a  school employee that's been  assaulted, in                                                               
any of the court cases.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. BJORK said that NEA-Alaska  has merely encouraged its members                                                               
who've been assaulted to file  charges, which has put those cases                                                               
in the public arena.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  asked Mr. Bjork  whether he knows  of any                                                               
instances  of an  assaulted teacher  not finding  adequate remedy                                                               
through the courts.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. BJORK  offered his belief  that many altercations  don't rise                                                               
to the level  that the aforementioned actual examples  did and so                                                               
the  court system  has not  come in  to play;  in such  instances                                                               
there hasn't  been adequate remedy.   He suggested that  the bill                                                               
has the  potential to  be a  good deterrent,  and will  bring the                                                               
issue to the forefront.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:59:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM  asked whether  a teacher  is held  to a                                                               
higher standard if he/she assaults someone.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. BJORK said yes, pointing out  that teachers are also bound by                                                               
well-defined  standards of  ethical behavior,  for example,  with                                                               
regard to corporal punishment or  sexual conduct.  In response to                                                               
a question, he said he would  do research on the issue of whether                                                               
judges have consistently imposed a  long sentence for assaults on                                                               
teachers.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:02:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DAVID W.  MARQUEZ, Chief Assistant Attorney  General, Legislation                                                               
&   Regulations  Section,   Office  of   the  Attorney   General,                                                               
Department of  Law (DOL), offered  the governor's support  of [HB                                                               
41], relaying  that the  governor feels  it's critical,  for both                                                               
students  and  teachers,  to  have  a  safe  school  environment.                                                               
Referring to  a 2003  ASD study,  he noted  it indicated  that 13                                                               
percent  of students  responding to  the survey  reported feeling                                                               
unsafe  in school,  more than  double the  national average.   He                                                               
went on  to say, "We  support the  approach of this  bill, rather                                                               
than other  efforts that  have been suggested  that would  make a                                                               
separate crime  to protect  a particular  class of  victims; this                                                               
bill  provides an  important public  pronouncement  that we  want                                                               
additional protection for teachers."   In conclusion he said that                                                               
the administration looks forward to  working with the sponsors on                                                               
HB 41.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG offered  his belief that if  there is an                                                               
additional  factual   finding  to  impose  a   mandatory  minimum                                                               
sentence,  it  would  trigger  "the  same  kind  of  ...  Blakely                                                             
inquiry" and  thereby present  the issues of:   "the  standard of                                                               
proof," and "who decides."                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. MARQUEZ said  that the DOL has reviewed the  bill and Blakely                                                             
has not been raised as an  issue.  He opined that the legislature                                                               
can establish a  minimum sentence, such as is  being proposed via                                                               
HB  41, and,  since it  would  not be  considered an  aggravator,                                                               
there wouldn't need to be an extra trial.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG said,  however,  that it  seems to  him                                                               
that  in order  to arrive  at a  mandatory minimum  sentence, the                                                               
prosecution  must also  prove  that  the perpetrator  "knowingly"                                                               
assaulted  a school  employee, and  this would  be an  additional                                                               
element warranting an  additional factual finding.   He asked the                                                               
DOL to research that issue.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. MARQUEZ  said he would  have someone  do so, but  opined that                                                               
for the type of crime  being discussed, the factual circumstances                                                               
would be brought out in the first trial.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE  noted that the House  Judiciary Standing Committee                                                               
would look  at the  Blakely decision  in more  detail at  a later                                                             
date, and requested  that the DOL be prepared  to discuss another                                                               
U.S. Supreme  Court case pertaining to  federal mandatory minimum                                                               
sentencing;  she   offered  her  understanding  that   that  case                                                               
provides for more judicial discretion.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:08:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG,  reiterating   his   belief  that   a                                                               
mandatory  minimum sentence  for  a misdemeanor  will require  at                                                               
least  one more  factual finding,  asked whether  such a  finding                                                               
would have  to be to  made before a jury  and whether it  must be                                                               
made beyond a reasonable doubt.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  McGUIRE offered  her belief  that HB  41 doesn't  have any                                                               
Blakely "problems."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL asked  whether there  is a  nexus between                                                               
safety  personnel  -  such  as  peace  officers,  fire  fighters,                                                               
correctional  employees, and  other  emergency  responders -  and                                                               
school employees.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. MARQUEZ  offered his belief that  the goal of the  bill is to                                                               
send a message that schools should  be safe, adding that he feels                                                               
that that is nexus enough.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  said  he   is  committed  to  safety  in                                                               
schools, but struggles  [with the bill] because it  is creating a                                                               
huge penalty.   He said  that he  wonders how many  fourth degree                                                               
assaults  are "pled  out,"  and  noted that  there  is  a lot  of                                                               
frustration on the  part of constituents when  offenders do that.                                                               
He  asked whether  a  60-day sentence  will  have the  unintended                                                               
consequence of causing more such offenders to plead out.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. MARQUEZ  indicated that he  would research those points.   In                                                               
response to a question, he offered  his belief that it is already                                                               
a more  serious crime  to assault  a child,  adding that  he will                                                               
research that issue as well.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:15:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
LINDA WILSON,  Deputy Director,  Central Office,  Public Defender                                                               
Agency (PDA), Department of  Administration (DOA), cautioned that                                                               
creating a special category of  victims could be problematic, and                                                               
noted  that  the types  of  individuals  already covered  in  the                                                               
statute  that  the  bill  is   proposing  to  change  are  either                                                               
uniformed or  otherwise clearly identified, and  that even though                                                               
teachers  are important,  they are  not uniformed.   She  pointed                                                               
out, with  regard to  who should  be included  in the  bill, that                                                               
there  are  other  groups  of  people  that  are  also  sometimes                                                               
government employees, so there may  be forthcoming legislation to                                                               
add other special groups.   She, too, remarked that the sentences                                                               
handed down in the actual examples  are longer than what is being                                                               
provided for  in the  bill, and  suggested that  this illustrates                                                               
that judges are already taking  this issue seriously; thus, there                                                               
may not  be a  need for  this legislation,  since there  have not                                                               
been any examples of lesser sentences being imposed.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL asked Ms. Wilson  whether she knows of any                                                               
situations wherein an assault on  a uniformed official was "plead                                                               
to something lower."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILSON  said she  doesn't know  of any  such cases  that have                                                               
been  reduced down  something less  than [assault  in the  fourth                                                               
degree].                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:19:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG,  referring to  the language on  page 1,                                                               
line 11 -  "other emergency responder" -  asked whether community                                                               
patrol volunteers would fall under that category.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILSON said she didn't know.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. MARQUEZ indicated that he would research that issue.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:22:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  said that it  seems that the current  law is                                                               
not  broken,  and asked  about  the  possibility of  sending  the                                                               
message  - that  violence against  school employees  will not  be                                                               
tolerated - by providing that  anyone who commits such an assault                                                               
must  also give  his/her  permanent fund  dividend  (PFD) to  the                                                               
victim,  remarking  that  violence towards  school  employees  is                                                               
inappropriate  and  that  since  the jail  time  currently  being                                                               
imposed  is already  sufficient,  perhaps being  faced with  both                                                               
penalties will act as a deterrent.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN,  in  conclusion, offered  his  belief  that                                                               
everyone is  trying to get  to the same  place, and said  that he                                                               
supports   HB   88.     He   thanked   the  governor   and   [the                                                               
administration's staff] for their support of HB 41.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:24:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR McGUIRE relayed  that she would keep  public testimony open                                                               
on HB 41.  [HB 41 was held over.]                                                                                               

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