Legislature(2011 - 2012)CAPITOL 120

02/15/2012 01:00 PM JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHB 55(JUD) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved Out of Committee
Moved CSHB 296(JUD) Out of Committee
        HB 262 - PASSENGER SECURITY: TRANSPORT. FACILITY                                                                    
1:58:16 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GATTO  announced that the  next order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL  NO.  262,  "An   Act  relating  to  the  offense  of                                                               
interference with  access to  public buildings  or transportation                                                               
facilities, when a person conditions  access to a public building                                                               
or  transportation  facility  on   consent  to  certain  physical                                                               
contact or  to an electronic  process that produces a  picture of                                                               
the private exposure of the person."                                                                                            
1:59:40 PM                                                                                                                    
MILESANNA  WHITE,  Staff,  Representative Sharon  Cissna,  Alaska                                                               
State  Legislature,  on  behalf of  the  sponsor,  Representative                                                               
Cissna,  explained that  HB 262  relates to  air-travel screening                                                               
procedures  currently   taking  place   in  Alaska,   and,  after                                                               
providing  a brief  history of  such  procedures, proffered  that                                                               
passage of  HB 262 would  protect Alaskans  from inappropriately-                                                               
invasive searches.  Specifically, HB 262  would make it a class A                                                               
misdemeanor  for  a person  to  require  another  person -  as  a                                                               
condition  for  access to  a  public  building or  transportation                                                               
facility  - to  submit  to  a physical  or  electronic search  of                                                               
his/her body.                                                                                                                   
2:01:16 PM                                                                                                                    
MARK  SABEL, Staff,  Representative Sharon  Cissna, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, on  behalf of Representative Cissna,  the sponsor of                                                               
HB 262, provided a PowerPoint  presentation.  Referring to page 2                                                               
of that  presentation, he said  that the  Transportation Security                                                               
Administration   (TSA)  conducts   security  screenings   at  450                                                               
airports  in  the  United  States,  screening  both  baggage  and                                                               
passengers.   In response to  two incidences that  occurred after                                                               
[the terrorist attacks  of September 11, 2001], the  TSA has been                                                               
using  body  scanners and  invasive  physical  inspections at  an                                                               
accelerated  rate;  those  two incidents  occurred  on  airplanes                                                               
originating  outside   of  the   U.S,  one   involving  explosive                                                               
compounds hidden in  the sole of a shoe, and  the other involving                                                               
explosive compounds  sown into an  undergarment.  He  offered his                                                               
belief that  as a result  of [the terrorist attacks  of September                                                               
11, 2001],  passengers are  now more  likely to put  a stop  to a                                                               
hijacker's efforts themselves; furthermore,  no fatal bombing has                                                               
occurred on an American airliner in over 50 years.                                                                              
MR. SABEL, in  response to a question,  offered his understanding                                                               
that TSA employees  don't carry weapons.  Referring to  page 3 of                                                               
his  PowerPoint  presentation,  he  said  that  TSA  employees  -                                                               
referred to as transportation security  officers - have no police                                                               
powers  and  must  instead  obtain  assistance  from  actual  law                                                               
enforcement officers.   He relayed  that the TSA's budget  is now                                                               
at $8.1  billion, and includes  funding for air marshals  and for                                                               
other duties the TSA performs.                                                                                                  
CHAIR  GATTO observed  that a  statistic on  that page  indicates                                                               
that there are over 58,000 people employed by the TSA.                                                                          
MR. SABEL,  referring to page  4 of his  PowerPoint presentation,                                                               
said  that Alaskans  travel by  air eight  times more  often than                                                               
residents of other  states do; that many  Alaskans have sustained                                                               
physical injury and/or emotional trauma;  that in most of Alaska,                                                               
traveling by  air is the  only option, particularly  [in winter];                                                               
that  many  Alaskans  must  travel  by air  in  order  to  obtain                                                               
advanced  medical  care; and  that  per  capita, Alaska  has  the                                                               
highest  number  of military  veterans  and  the fastest  growing                                                               
senior  population.   Furthermore,  Alaska  leads  the nation  in                                                               
severe arctic weather, and in  distances between communities, and                                                               
so air travel is critical to Alaskans.                                                                                          
2:07:40 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE SHARON  CISSNA, Alaska State  Legislature, sponsor                                                               
- noting that she, herself, was  involved in an incident with the                                                               
TSA in  Seattle, Washington,  during which  she was  subjected to                                                               
what she characterized as a  very invasive physical examination -                                                               
proffered that HB 262 addresses  a constitutional issue, from the                                                               
standpoint of  both the  U.S. Constitution  and the  Alaska State                                                               
Constitution, specifically that of the  right of the people to be                                                               
secure    against    unreasonable    searches    and    seizures.                                                               
House Bill 262  would ensure  that Alaskans  have the  ability to                                                               
travel unhindered  within Alaska, free  from the fear  that their                                                               
persons will be violated, and  would restore their constitutional                                                               
rights.    Currently,  any  difference  in  a  person's  physique                                                               
detected via  an electronic search  engenders an  additional, but                                                               
this  time  physical,  search  by  TSA  personnel.    Victims  of                                                               
domestic violence  (DV), sexual  assault, and  sexual abuse  of a                                                               
minor crimes should not be  subject to the inappropriate touching                                                               
involved in  a physical search,  and, in fact, HB  262's proposed                                                               
AS 11.76.118(a)(1) and  (2) use the same  descriptive language as                                                               
the statutes addressing those crimes.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA  offered   her  understanding  that  Texas                                                               
introduced  legislation similar  to  HB 262,  and mentioned  that                                                               
HB 262  might be  preempted because  of  the U.S.  Constitution's                                                               
Supremacy Clause.   She also  mentioned that during a  meeting of                                                               
the  Health   Caucus,  the  Department  of   Law  (DOL)  provided                                                               
information  about  the TSA,  including  a  supposition that  the                                                               
issues  of concern  that have  arisen as  a result  of the  TSA's                                                               
procedures haven't been resolved  yet simply because they haven't                                                               
been addressed by the court  of proper jurisdiction.  She further                                                               
noted  that as  currently  drafted, HB  262 doesn't  specifically                                                               
speak to the new TSA  screening procedures recently instituted in                                                               
Alaska's   airports;  indicated   that  thus   far  the   federal                                                               
government hasn't  responded to any requests  for assistance with                                                               
the TSA; suggested  that HB 262 be amended  to adequately address                                                               
the perceived  problems; predicted  that only  through litigation                                                               
would   a  solution   really  be   found;  and   emphasized  that                                                               
legislation such as  HB 262 is needed because of  the high number                                                               
of  Alaskans who've  suffered trauma  but  still find  themselves                                                               
needing to travel by air.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA, in response  to a question, proffered that                                                               
Alaskans traveling  by air need  better security than the  TSA is                                                               
capable of  providing; mentioned that other  legislation has been                                                               
introduced  addressing  opting  out  of  having  the  TSA  manage                                                               
security at  Alaska's airports; and  offered her belief  that the                                                               
TSA's budget is as high as it  is because of its use of full-body                                                               
2:25:34 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  GATTO offered  his understanding  that some  such scanners                                                               
produce a  detailed image of  the individual, whereas  other such                                                               
scanners produce only a generic image.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  THOMPSON offered  his understanding  that because                                                               
HB 262 provides an exemption  for activities occurring in federal                                                               
buildings, HB 262 wouldn't apply to TSA activities.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA  said that  according to the  Department of                                                               
Transportation  & Public  Facilities  (DOT&PF), all  [commercial]                                                               
airports in Alaska are owned by  either the state or by the local                                                               
community, and  that according to  one airport  manager, airports                                                               
merely attempt to provide the  TSA with adequate space to conduct                                                               
its  screenings, but  those spaces  are not  then "owned"  by the                                                               
federal government.                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  offered  his   belief  that  the  federal                                                               
government   has  "stepped   over   the   line,"  and   expressed                                                               
appreciation for the sponsor's efforts.                                                                                         
2:32:18 PM                                                                                                                    
PATRICIA ANDERSON, Co-director, Alaskans'  Freedom to Travel USA,                                                               
said she would  be speaking in favor of HB  262, and recounted an                                                               
incident in which she underwent  a physical search at the Seattle                                                               
airport, sharing  her belief that  a search of the  severity that                                                               
she was  subjected to  was unnecessary  because the  clothing she                                                               
was wearing  at the time  couldn't conceal anything.   Mentioning                                                               
that she is a breast cancer  survivor, she also shared her belief                                                               
that full-body scanners  aren't safe in terms  of exposing people                                                               
to  high   levels  of  radiation,  and   can't  detect  dangerous                                                               
compounds anyway.   Noting that she has  been physically searched                                                               
on several occasions,  she pointed out that none  of the searches                                                               
were conducted in a consistent  manner, though all were invasive.                                                               
If the TSA is not going  to comply with the Fourth Amendment, she                                                               
opined,  then the  State  of Alaska  should  exercise its  Tenth-                                                               
Amendment right in order to protect its citizens.                                                                               
MS. ANDERSON then  offered other examples of  instances where the                                                               
TSA, in conducting its  searches, behaved inappropriately towards                                                               
people  -  including   children  -  who  were   innocent  of  any                                                               
wrongdoing,  and  characterized   the  establishment  of  various                                                               
"trusted  traveler" programs  as divisive,  allowing for  unequal                                                               
treatment  of certain  passengers.   In conclusion,  Ms. Anderson                                                               
urged the committee to move  HB 262 forward, venturing that there                                                               
must  be  constitutional  options   available  for  ensuring  the                                                               
security of  those traveling by  air, options such as  using dogs                                                               
or explosives-trace detection technologies  to scan travelers for                                                               
explosives - in other words,  options that don't involve touching                                                               
people  or taking  pictures of  their bodies,  particularly given                                                               
that radiation buildup in the human body is cumulative.                                                                         
CHAIR GATTO  concurred, noting that  others in the room  are also                                                               
cancer survivors.                                                                                                               
2:44:11 PM                                                                                                                    
THOMAS  BROWN,  Co-director,  Alaskans' Freedom  to  Travel  USA,                                                               
remarking  that  the  federal   government  is  violating  Fourth                                                               
Amendment  rights,  predicted that  the  TSA,  under its  current                                                               
procedures, would continue  to target the most  vulnerable of air                                                               
travelers such  as those with  physical anomalies  resulting from                                                               
age, amputation,  other surgeries,  or other traumas.   Referring                                                               
to  the TSA  as a  national and  international embarrassment,  he                                                               
offered his understanding  that even the State of  Israel - which                                                               
deals with  terrorism far more  than the United States  - refuses                                                               
to  install the  type of  machinery that  the TSA  is using,  and                                                               
refuses to pat down its citizens the  way the TSA is doing.  Over                                                               
the years, he relayed, he's  lived in several different countries                                                               
overseas  and been  in  the vicinity  when  bombing attacks  have                                                               
occurred.  Terrorism exists and  should be dealt with, he opined,                                                               
but said  he expects  his federal  government to  better allocate                                                               
his  tax dollars,  adding, "I  really don't  see the  usefulness,                                                               
necessity, (indisc.),  in putting  body scanners in  Ketchikan or                                                               
Bethel -  I don't see  hoards of ... [mujahideen]  coming through                                                               
Kivalina trying to  kill us."  Instead, he relayed,  he views the                                                               
TSA as a  bloated bureaucracy - nothing more  than a job-creation                                                               
program  -  that  has  not  succeeded  in  arresting  any  actual                                                               
MR. BROWN  said he is  not necessarily suggesting  replacement of                                                               
the  TSA,  but   rather  that  it's  mission   must  be  refined,                                                               
particularly  given that  its current  screening procedures  are,                                                               
without doubt,  excessive and  useless.   In fact,  he recounted,                                                               
Israel's  defense  minister  has   called  full-body  scanners  a                                                               
laughable waste of  money, and the type of  physical searches the                                                               
TSA is  currently conducting would  not have revealed  either the                                                               
terrorist  with   explosive  compounds  in  his   shoes,  or  the                                                               
terrorist with  explosive compounds in his  undergarment.  Simply                                                               
having open  borders is not the  solution, but people do  need to                                                               
consider how  the federal government is  using tax-payer dollars.                                                               
Again, countries that  actually live with terrorism  don't do the                                                               
things that  the TSA is doing,  and America has become  the brunt                                                               
of  many jokes  and  underhanded digs  because  of TSA  screening                                                               
procedures;  "It's  embarrassing  to  think  that  the  greatest,                                                               
freest country  in the history  of the  planet is going  to treat                                                               
octogenarians   and   six-month-old   children  this   way,"   he                                                               
2:49:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR GATTO,  speaking as a cancer  survivor who grew up  in what                                                               
he referred to as a rough  neighborhood in New York City, pointed                                                               
out that profiling potentially-dangerous  people was the only way                                                               
for a  person to survive  such an  upbringing; for example,  if a                                                               
person  saw three  men swinging  chains walking  towards him/her,                                                               
the person crossed the street, and  if the men then followed, the                                                               
person  ran  for  his/her  life.    The  TSA,  however,  subjects                                                               
everyone  -   whether  it's  an  80-year-old   grandmother  or  a                                                               
[college]  student from  Saudi Arabia  - to  the same  treatment.                                                               
This seems  like a waste of  money, time, and energy,  he opined,                                                               
particularly given  how successful  judicious profiling  has been                                                               
elsewhere  -  such  profiling  in   the  context  of  pinpointing                                                               
potentially dangerous people is a  survival mechanism, and to not                                                               
engage in  it while addressing a  potentially-dangerous situation                                                               
makes no sense.                                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN declared a potential  conflict of interest in                                                               
that  because of  past surgery,  metal detectors  sound an  alarm                                                               
when he  goes through them.   He  added that he  is uncomfortable                                                               
equating  TSA procedures  with domestic  violence  (DV), as  he's                                                               
heard  some do,  considering  such equating  to be  inappropriate                                                               
given the issue before the committee.                                                                                           
2:52:36 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  CHRIS TUCK,  Alaska State  Legislature, recounted                                                               
that prior  to 1996, one  could purchase  a plane ticket  and fly                                                               
without showing  identification (ID), and that  that changed when                                                               
Trans  World  Airlines  (TWA)  Flight   800  exploded  due  to  a                                                               
mechanical  failure.   Originally  thought to  be  the result  of                                                               
terrorist activities,  the destruction of that  plane resulted in                                                               
the federal government taking steps  to provide the public with a                                                               
sense  of security  while flying,  and instituting  a requirement                                                               
that people  show ID before  being allowed  to board a  plane was                                                               
one of those steps.  Consider,  now, how many rights and freedoms                                                               
people have given up  in the 16 years since then  just to be able                                                               
to  travel -  and supposedly  with their  sense of  dignity still                                                               
intact.   Current TSA screening  procedures provide  nothing more                                                               
than  "security  theatre,"  he  opined,  doing  nothing  to  keep                                                               
travelers  safe in  reality.   And  such  procedures, while  they                                                               
might  have been  useful right  after [the  terrorist attacks  of                                                               
September  11, 2001],  aren't  currently  addressing an  existing                                                               
threat.  Security  at airports used to be handled  with "good old                                                               
fashioned  police work,"  he remarked,  and  that shouldn't  have                                                               
been replaced with  the activities the TSA  currently engages in.                                                               
In  conclusion, he  said he  can't  help but  wonder what  impact                                                               
restricting travel, as  the TSA is currently doing,  is having on                                                               
Alaska's  economy,  and  surmised   that  there  must  be  better                                                               
measures  to put  in place,  particularly  given that  whole-body                                                               
scanners can't detect explosive compounds anyway.                                                                               
2:56:18 PM                                                                                                                    
DIANE  SCHENKER, Co-director,  Alaskans' Freedom  to Travel  USA,                                                               
offered her understanding that members'  packets include, or will                                                               
soon  include,  a  letter from  her  organization  that  contains                                                               
stories from  other Alaskans  about their  treatment by  the TSA;                                                               
these  stories detail  how people  are being  touched during  TSA                                                               
screenings,  with   some  of   that  touching   fitting  Alaska's                                                               
statutory definition of sexual assault.   The argument offered to                                                               
justify such  touching is that  passengers have consented  to it;                                                               
however, consent given while under  coercion isn't truly consent,                                                               
and Alaskans who  must travel by air for work  or medical reasons                                                               
are being coerced  because they have no choice.   There must be a                                                               
way  to  prevent  harm  from  coming  to  air  travelers  without                                                               
violating their  constitutional rights, she opined;  for example,                                                               
although there might  be a crime problem in  Alaska, the solution                                                               
hasn't been to institute curfews  or establish search checkpoints                                                               
or  forcibly take  blood samples  or break  in to  people's homes                                                               
every night  to search  them.  Under  current TSA  procedures, if                                                               
Alaskans wish  to travel  by air,  they must  first, essentially,                                                               
consent to being sexually assaulted.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN, in  response to a question,  said he objects                                                               
to moving  HB 262  from committee,  adding that  although current                                                               
TSA screening  procedures can  be an  inconvenience, he  wants to                                                               
feel that he's safe from terrorists when he flies.                                                                              
CHAIR GATTO  expressed interest in hearing  possible solutions to                                                               
the  problem  of  ensuring  that airplanes  are  made  safe  from                                                               
terrorists  in a  constitutional  manner.   Children, he  pointed                                                               
out,  are being  left  in tears  after  TSA personnel  physically                                                               
search them  because they've  been taught  by their  parents that                                                               
its wrong for anyone to touch them in that manner.                                                                              
CHAIR GATTO then relayed that HB 262 would be held over.                                                                        

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 55 Amendment A 1.pdf HJUD 2/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 55
HB 55 Sponsor Statement.pdf HJUD 2/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 55
HB 55 vers LS0298 A.pdf HJUD 2/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 55
HB 55 Legal Memo.pdf HJUD 2/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 55
HB 55 Strange Case.pdf HJUD 2/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 55
HB 55 Support Alaska Essential Tools.pdf HJUD 2/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 55
HB 55 Support letter Matthew Carberry.pdf HJUD 2/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 55
HB055-LAW-CRIM-02-10-12.pdf HJUD 2/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 55
HB 262- Bill.pdf HJUD 2/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 2/20/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 262
HB 262- Sponsor Statement.pdf HJUD 2/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 2/20/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 262
HB 262- Sectional Analysis.pdf HJUD 2/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 262
HB 262 Support Giessel.pdf HJUD 2/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 262
HB 262 Support letter.pdf HJUD 2/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 262
CRS Report-Changes in Airport Passenger Screening.pdf HJUD 2/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB262-LAW-CRIM-02-10-12.pdf HJUD 2/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 2/20/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 262
HB 293 CS Memo to JUD Chair.pdf HJUD 2/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 293
HB 293 Explanation Of Changes.pdf HJUD 2/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 293
HB293-DOA-OPA-1-27-12.pdf HJUD 2/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 2/20/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 293
HB293-DOA-PDA-2-11-12.pdf HJUD 2/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 2/20/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 293
HB293-LAW-CRIM-02-10-12.pdf HJUD 2/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 293
HB293 Sponsor Statement.pdf HJUD 2/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 2/20/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 293
HB293 Sectional Analysis.pdf HJUD 2/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 2/20/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 293
HB 293 Karen Foster Letter of Support.pdf HJUD 2/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 293
HB293 AK Office of Victim's Rights Support Letter.pdf HJUD 2/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 293
HB 293 CS Version M.pdf HJUD 2/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 2/20/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 293
CSSB30 (2nd JUD) 2-14-12.pdf HJUD 2/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
SB 30
HB 293 ANDVSA Support Letter.pdf HJUD 2/15/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 293