Legislature(2005 - 2006)

04/01/2005 02:09 PM JUD

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02:09:06 PM Start
02:09:14 PM HB54
02:10:07 PM HB184
02:52:15 PM HB12
03:05:42 PM Presentation on Sex Trafficking by Leslie R. Wolfe, Ph.d., President, Center for Women Policy Studies
03:45:55 PM HB148
03:56:20 PM HB101
04:13:46 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 101 - SEX TRAFFICKING AND TOURISM                                                                                          
3:56:20 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR McGUIRE  announced that  the final  order of business  would                                                              
be HOUSE  BILL NO. 101,  "An Act relating  to sex trafficking  and                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  DAHLSTROM moved  to adopt  the proposed  committee                                                              
substitute  (CS)  for  HB  101,  Version  24-LS0412\G,  Luckhaupt,                                                              
3/23/05, as the  work draft.  There being no objection,  Version G                                                              
was before the committee.                                                                                                       
MARK  GNADT, Staff  to  Representative  Eric Croft,  Alaska  State                                                              
Legislature,  sponsor, noted  on  behalf of  Representative  Croft                                                              
that at  the bill's last  hearing, it became  obvious that  HB 101                                                              
has two  distinct parts,  one of which  is somewhat  duplicated in                                                              
other legislation  and has therefore been removed  from Version G.                                                              
Version G  now contains only the  other part of the  original bill                                                              
and is modeled on  Hawaii statute.  He provided  members with both                                                              
a copy of  that statute and  an article mentioning a  case wherein                                                              
a  man who  was  engaged  in offering  tours  for  the purpose  of                                                              
having sex in Thailand  turned in his travel agency  license.  The                                                              
Hawaii legislature  enacted its statute after the  situation about                                                              
the aforementioned  man was brought  to its attention.   He added,                                                              
"So there is  some precedent for  the need of it in  Hawaii; there                                                              
also [is],  with the  federal prosecution in  2001, ...  some idea                                                              
that there might be some need for it here as well."                                                                             
MR. GNADT  offered that Version G  now targets the demand  for sex                                                              
trafficking,  which is present  in other countries  as well  as in                                                              
the United  States.   Version G  will help Alaska  do its  part in                                                              
fighting  this  international  problem:   if  a  company  promotes                                                              
prostitution   -  or  a   commercial  sex   act  -  or   promotes,                                                              
advertises, or  facilitates travel  for either of  those purposes,                                                              
the company  can be  prosecuted.   Additionally, he remarked,  the                                                              
inclusion in  Version G of a  definition for "commercial  sex act"                                                              
is intended  to encompass more than  those acts that  are normally                                                              
thought of as prostitution but which are equally horrible.                                                                      
CHAIR McGUIRE  noted that  Chip Wagoner was  in the  audience, and                                                              
offered her belief that he was "giving his support to HB 101."                                                                  
CHAIR  McGUIRE  after ascertaining  that  no  one else  wished  to                                                              
testify, closed public testimony on HB 101.                                                                                     
3:59:42 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG asked  why  Version G  proposes to  make                                                              
promoting  sex  tourism  a  class A  felony;  in  comparison,  the                                                              
Hawaii statute makes that activity a class B felony.                                                                            
MR. GNADT  said that the  original bill made  the crime a  class A                                                              
felony and so Version G merely maintains that level of penalty.                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG said he  has a  problem with  making the                                                              
crime a class A  felony.  In response to a  question, he indicated                                                              
that he  would be willing  to offer an  amendment that  would make                                                              
the crime a class C felony.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  referred to the language on page  2, lines 4-                                                              
5, which  says that a  person commits the  crime of  promoting sex                                                              
tourism   if  he/she   provides   or  advertises   access  to   or                                                              
facilitates  the  availability  of  commercial sexual  acts.    He                                                              
pondered whether  it should only  be a crime if  one intentionally                                                              
facilitates the  availability of commercial sexual  acts, not when                                                              
one unknowingly does it.                                                                                                        
MR.  GNADT said  that  is  a good  point,  and surmised  that  the                                                              
sponsor would  be amenable to  language that would  "tighten" that                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  made a motion  to adopt Amendment  1, to                                                              
page  2,  line 8,  to  replace  "class  A felony"  with  "class  C                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM  objected for the purpose  of discussion.                                                              
She  said she  isn't opposed  to  having the  crime be  a class  A                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  indicated  that  although he  feels  it                                                              
would be  appropriate to  make the  crime outlined  in the  bill a                                                              
felony,  he questions  whether  it  should be  a  class A  felony,                                                              
because the penalties are so severe.                                                                                            
[Following  was  some  discussion  regarding  what  the  penalties                                                              
currently are for different classes of felonies.]                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  relayed  that  Representative  Kerttula  has                                                              
recommended making  the crime  a class A  felony if the  victim is                                                              
under the  age of 18, and  a class C  felony if the victim  is [18                                                              
years of age or older].                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  said he would accept that  as a friendly                                                              
amendment to Amendment 1.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM said she could accept such a change.                                                                   
4:04:37 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG,   upon  further  reflection,   however,                                                              
pointed  out that one  wouldn't  necessarily be  able to tell  how                                                              
old  an  intended  victim  is  at  the  time  a  person  is  being                                                              
prosecuted  for the  crime of  promoting  sex tourism.   He  asked                                                              
whether  it will  be  a separate  count for  each  person [in  the                                                              
tour] or for  each tour.  In  other words, would a tour  for which                                                              
ten people have signed  up result in ten crimes or  one crime?  He                                                              
also  asked  whether   the  sentences  would  be   consecutive  or                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  offered  his  belief  that  it  would  be  a                                                              
separate crime for each victim.                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  again pointed  out,  however, that  the                                                              
crime involves  the organization  of a tour  and so there  may not                                                              
actually be  any victims if  a tour operator  is charged  with the                                                              
crime before the tour departs.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  surmised, then, that  it would be  a separate                                                              
crime for each client.                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG noted  that if  that is  the case,  then                                                              
charging a  person with a class  A felony for each  client booking                                                              
the tour could result  in that person being in prison  [for a very                                                              
long time] particularly  if he/she is also subject  to consecutive                                                              
CHAIR McGUIRE  offered her understanding  of what portions  of the                                                              
new sentencing structure entail.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG, in  response to  a question, said  that                                                              
he   hopes  that   Representative  Dahlstrom   would  remove   her                                                              
[suggested amendment and] objection to Amendment 1.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA   said  Representative  Gruenberg   makes  an                                                              
interesting point,  particularly given the state's  new sentencing                                                              
4:08:10 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG concurred.                                                                                             
CHAIR McGUIRE read portions of the new sentencing scheme.                                                                       
4:09:36 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  again  asked  whether  it  would  be  a                                                              
separate crime  for each  client booking the  tour or  whether the                                                              
tour itself  constitutes a crime.   He indicated a  preference for                                                              
having  it  be  the  latter  but   then  applying  an  aggravating                                                              
sentencing factor for each client that books the tour.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM removed her objection to Amendment 1.                                                                  
CHAIR McGUIRE asked  whether there were any further  objections to                                                              
Amendment 1.  There being none, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                        
MR. GNADT, in  response to Representative Gruenberg's  most recent                                                              
question  and comment,  indicated  that the  acts  of selling  and                                                              
facilitating  could   warrant  sentencing  aggravators   for  each                                                              
client, but that  the act of advertising would  just be considered                                                              
one crime.                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  asked whether  the latter would  be true                                                              
if one advertises in more than one medium for each tour.                                                                        
MR. GNADT  indicated that the  intent was  to consider the  act of                                                              
advertising a tour as one crime.                                                                                                
CHAIR  McGUIRE  suggested  to  Representative  Gruenberg  that  he                                                              
discuss that  issue further  with the sponsor  before the  bill is                                                              
heard on the House floor.                                                                                                       
4:13:03 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  made a motion  to adopt Amendment 2,  to page                                                              
2, line 4,  to add "intentionally" before the  word "facilitates".                                                              
There being no objection, Amendment 2 was adopted.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE DAHLSTROM  moved to report  the proposed CS  for HB
101, Version 24-LS0412\G,  Luckhaupt, 3/23/05, as  amended, out of                                                              
committee  with individual  recommendations  and the  accompanying                                                              
[zero]  fiscal notes.   There  being no  objection, CSHB  101(JUD)                                                              
was reported from the House Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                       

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