Legislature(2015 - 2016)GRUENBERG 120

04/09/2016 01:00 PM JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Delayed to 2:15 p.m. Today --
+ HB 214 REPEAL WORKERS' COMP APPEALS COMMISSION TELECONFERENCED
Moved HB 214 Out of Committee
-- Public & Invited Testimony --
+ HB 286 FISH & GAME: OFFENSES;LICENSES;PENALTIES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public & Invited Testimony --
+ HB 334 CHILD CUSTODY;DOM. VIOLENCE;CHILD ABUSE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public & Invited Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 205 CRIMINAL LAW/PROCEDURE; DRIV LIC; PUB AID TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
        HB 334-CHILD CUSTODY; DOM. VIOLENCE; CHILD ABUSE                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:18:15 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX announced that the  final order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL NO.  334, "An  Act relating  to visitation  and child                                                               
custody."                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:18:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CRYSTAL  KOENEMAN,  Staff,  Representative  Cathy  Munoz,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature,  advised that  HB 334  was introduced  to give                                                               
judges more discretion  in determining the best  interests of the                                                               
child in custody  cases.  She advised  that Representative Munoz,                                                               
through  conversations with  constituents and  others, determined                                                               
that the  way custody visitation  statutes are  written regarding                                                               
domestic   violence  may   not   provide   proper  due   process.                                                               
Currently, AS  25.24.150 includes  a provision  that if  a parent                                                               
has been  accused of  domestic violence, that  parent may  not be                                                               
awarded sole,  or joint physical  or legal custody of  the child.                                                               
Although there is  a rebuttable presumption in  this statute, the                                                               
accused  is  guilty and  must  prove  their innocence,  which  is                                                               
contrary to  the typical  judicial process  where the  accused is                                                               
innocent until  proven guilty.   She noted the pendulum  may have                                                               
shifted "a little  too far."  The bill was  introduced to provide                                                               
more  discretion for  judges  because  during conversations  with                                                               
lawyers  and  judges  it  appears   judges  do  not  have  enough                                                               
flexibility  in  truly  determining  the best  interests  of  the                                                               
child.  She then offered to  go into the technical aspects of the                                                               
bill  and the  changes made  by the  House Health,  Education and                                                               
Social Services Standing Committee.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:21:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX advised that she would  like to know the changes the                                                               
House Health,  Education and  Social Services  Standing Committee                                                               
made, why  the changes were made,  and whether the sponsor  is in                                                               
agreement with those changes.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KOENEMAN  responded  that  the changes  made  in  the  House                                                               
Health,  Education and  Social  Services  Standing Committee  are                                                               
quite extensive,  but the sponsor  worked closely  with committee                                                               
members on both  sides of this issue and all  parties are working                                                               
toward a middle ground.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOENEMAN referred  to CSHB 334, Version  I, [AS 25.20.060(a)]                                                               
Section  1,  page 1,  lines  8-9,  and  called attention  to  the                                                               
bracketed   language   removing    the   rebuttable   presumption                                                               
established in  AS 25.24.150(g), and advised  the presumption was                                                               
removed  by  the  House Health,  Education  and  Social  Services                                                               
Standing Committee.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:22:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KOENEMAN referred  to AS  25.20.061, Sec.  2, and  explained                                                               
that  within the  original version  of the  bill [Version  H] the                                                               
language read that the rebuttable  presumption would kick in if a                                                               
person was convicted of a crime  of domestic violence.  The House                                                               
Health,   Education  and   Social  Services   Standing  Committee                                                               
determined  it  was too  high  of  a  bar  and the  language  was                                                               
modified to "clear and convincing evidence," she said.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX asked too high of a bar for what.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOENEMAN responded that there  was concern that when it comes                                                               
to  prosecuting  those  who  have   committed  acts  of  domestic                                                               
violence,  they  do  not  always   receive  a  conviction.    She                                                               
continued that even though they  may have an extensive history of                                                               
domestic violence, they may have  an excellent lawyer or are able                                                               
to  plead  down  the  charges  and  the  conviction  of  domestic                                                               
violence would not  be on their record.  She  explained there was                                                               
concern  with   the  conviction  language  and   that  clear  and                                                               
convincing  evidence  is  a  higher bar  than  a  presumption  of                                                               
evidence, but  not as high  of a bar as  a true conviction.   She                                                               
said the clear and convincing evidence was added in Sec. 2.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:24:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOENEMAN referred to Sec. 3,  [AS 25.20.070, page 2] and said                                                               
the rebuttable presumption language is removed.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LEDOUX   asked  her  to   explain  where   the  rebuttable                                                               
presumption evidence factors in.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOENEMAN  responded that  the workings  of AS  25.24.150 were                                                               
reworked in  Sec. 7  of the bill.   She offered  to jump  to that                                                               
section and  possibly make  things more  clear in  moving through                                                               
the  bill, and  noted that  the earlier  sections are  conforming                                                               
language either removing that  rebuttable presumption language or                                                               
adding it in.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX agreed.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:25:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOENEMAN  referred to  Sec. 7,  beginning page  4, [beginning                                                               
line  17], is  AS 25.24.150(c)  said it  outlines what  the court                                                               
shall determine  in considering the  best interest of  the child.                                                               
She  then turned  to page  5, line  6, clear  and convincing  and                                                           
advised under  current statute AS 25.24.150(g),  repealed in this                                                               
bill, the rebuttable presumption was  housed.  She explained that                                                               
in place  of the repealed language,  the bill inserts a  new Sec.                                                               
8, [AS 25.24.150(m)] page 5, lines 12-28], which read:                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
          (m) If the court finds by clear and convincing                                                                        
     evidence that  a parent has  a history  of perpetrating                                                                    
     domestic violence or  has been convicted of  a crime of                                                                    
     domestic violence  against the  other parent,  a child,                                                                    
     or  a domestic  living partner,  within the  five years                                                                    
     preceding the  award of visitation,  the court  may set                                                                    
     conditions for the visitation under AS 25.20.061.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOENEMAN explained that AS 25.20.061  is located in Sec. 2 of                                                               
the  bill.   She described  a  bit of  cross-referencing when  it                                                               
comes  to  this   version  in  order  to   truly  determine  what                                                               
conditions  are contained  in that.    She pointed  out that  the                                                               
rebuttable  presumption  included  language  for  the  batterer's                                                               
program.  Although,  she related, it is not offered  in all areas                                                               
of the state, and in areas  where the program was offered, due to                                                               
funding cuts,  the programs are  down to limited amounts.   Also,                                                               
she offered,  some programs  are working  toward not  having that                                                               
program at all, such as  the Catholic Community Center in Juneau.                                                               
The language in  Sec. 2 outlines other  visitation safeguards for                                                               
the accused, she said.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:27:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOENEMAN  advised that Sec.  9 outlines the repealers  of the                                                               
rebuttable presumption language in current statute.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LEDOUX  asked  whether  there   is  no  longer  rebuttable                                                               
presumption under this bill.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KOENEMAN  responded that  under  CSHB  334, Version  I,  the                                                               
rebuttable presumption was removed.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX  questioned that  under current law  if a  person is                                                               
found  to  have been  a  perpetrator  of domestic  violence,  the                                                               
person can rebut that presumption, correct.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOENEMAN agreed.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LEDOUX surmised  that under  this  bill it  makes it  more                                                               
difficult for  a person to  have been found to  have participated                                                               
in domestic  violence due  to the  clear and  convincing evidence                                                               
standard, but a person can no longer rebut it.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOENMAN agreed.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX  surmised that it is  giving on one hand  and taking                                                               
away on the other, it seems.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOENEMAN  agreed that it is  one way to look  at it; however,                                                               
the  language in  Sec. 2  of the  bill outlining  visitation, the                                                               
courts may  set conditions  for the  transfer of  the child  in a                                                               
protective  setting.     She  then  listed  some   of  the  eight                                                               
conditions  [as set  forth  on  page 2,  lines  5-23], and  other                                                               
conditions necessary for the safety of  the child.  She said that                                                               
if  there isn't  the evidence,  the judge  has the  discretion to                                                               
prohibit overnight visitation or the  person may be ordered to go                                                               
to the batterer's program, for example.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:30:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  asked for  clarification that  the sponsor                                                               
is  working on  this and  plans to  come back  to the  committee,                                                               
possibly tomorrow.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KOENEMAN said  if  that is  the will  of  the committee  and                                                               
advised that  the sponsor  is aware of  the significance  of this                                                               
issue and understands  the emotional aspects of it.   She pointed                                                               
out that the  sponsor is not trying to push  the bill through the                                                               
system because she wants something  that protects the victims and                                                               
also  protects  those  who  may   be  wrongfully  accused.    The                                                               
sponsor's interest is with the children  and to not be taken away                                                               
from  their   parents  except  in  situations   where  the  judge                                                               
determines it is necessary.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:31:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX  advised that it  is not  her intention to  move the                                                               
bill today  because there  is a  lot of  public testimony  yet to                                                               
come.   Although, she  added, it is  her intention  to eventually                                                               
move the bill because she is a co-sponsor.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  surmised  that  this  legislation                                                               
removes   the   rebuttable   presumption  and   that   rebuttable                                                               
presumption  presently exists  within  the  criteria on  domestic                                                               
violence.  He  opined that in reviewing  the surrounding statute,                                                               
it  appears there  is not  an evidentiary  standard of  clear and                                                               
convincing evidence  that applies, such  as substance abuse.   He                                                               
then  asked  the  rationale for  ratcheting  up  the  evidentiary                                                               
standard  for domestic  violence  while leaving  the criteria  on                                                               
substance abuse unchanged.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:33:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOENEMAN  answered that  clear and  convincing evidence  is a                                                               
clearly  defined definition  in  law and  within current  statute                                                               
there is a history of domestic  violence which is not defined and                                                               
is left  to the discretion of  the judge.  Under  AS 25.24.150(h)                                                               
it tries to define domestic violence  and reads that if the court                                                               
finds  that  the  parent  has engaged  in  one  serious  physical                                                               
injury, or  the court finds that  the parent has engaged  in more                                                               
than  one  incident  of  domestic  violence,  that  is  when  the                                                               
rebuttable presumption kicks in.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS honed his  question and pointed out                                                               
that  the bill  is  ratcheting up  the  evidentiary standard  for                                                               
domestic violence  and there are  other criteria that  won't have                                                               
such a rigorous standard, he asked why.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  offered that he was  looking at AS                                                               
25.24.150(h).                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOENEMAND referred to AS  25.24.150(h), evidence of substance                                                               
abuse by either  parent or other member of  the household affects                                                               
the  emotional and  physical wellbeing  of the  child.   She said                                                               
that is what is currently in  statute and the sponsor was focused                                                               
on the domestic violence piece, she  did not look more closely at                                                               
the evidence  of substance  abuse.   She described  it as  a good                                                               
question  that she  does  not  have the  answer  as  to why  it's                                                               
evidence  versus  clear  and  convincing, and  that  it  was  not                                                               
discussed in committee.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX  commented that sometimes  you can't  fix everything                                                               
at one time in a bill.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:36:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOENEMAN  offered a personal anecdote  regarding her divorce,                                                               
her  children,  and that  her  husband  could have  wrongly  been                                                               
accused of domestic abuse.  She  said she realized that she could                                                               
ruin  his life  and  her children's  lives if  she  wanted to  be                                                               
vindictive, "which women tend to be  at times, and I thought long                                                               
and hard on it."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LEDOUX  interjected  that  all human  beings  tend  to  be                                                               
vindictive at times.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KOENEMAN  stated  Representative  Munoz's  office  has  seen                                                               
fathers ripped away from their  children for no other reason than                                                               
a  woman  wanting custody  of  their  children.   There  is  true                                                               
domestic violence out there, she  acknowledged, and children need                                                               
protection,  but there  are times  when the  laws written  by the                                                               
legislature  have  unintended  consequences.     The  sponsor  is                                                               
fighting  for the  parents that  have had  their children  ripped                                                               
away when they haven't done  anything other than have an argument                                                               
or slam a door, she said.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:39:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  thanked   Ms.  Koeneman  for  her                                                               
testimony as  it helps  illustrate the  intent of  the bill.   He                                                               
asked,  under current  law,  when a  restraining  order has  been                                                               
filed  and violated,  whether the  defendant has  the ability  to                                                               
rebut the presumption of domestic violence.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KOENEMAN   advised  that  the  defendant   is  awarded  that                                                               
opportunity;  however, they  are  guilty until  they prove  their                                                               
innocence.   She  added  that  it may  have  been something  that                                                               
happened 10-years ago  in a prior relationship and  they are able                                                               
to use it  in the current case.   Also, it's a matter  of who has                                                               
the  better  lawyer,  or  who  has  a  lawyer  because  in  these                                                               
situations they're not required to have  a lawyer.  It is a civil                                                               
proceeding  and   not  a  criminal  proceeding,   she  explained.                                                               
Although, there are times when those  without the funds can get a                                                               
pro bono  attorney but it  doesn't guarantee that  both [parties]                                                               
will  have attorneys  while fighting  to  prove their  innocence.                                                               
Ultimately, it is up to the  judge to determine the evidence they                                                               
are provided to make that ruling, she said.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:43:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS surmised  that  the bill's  intent                                                               
is,  on one  hand  to  prevent the  scales  being tipped  against                                                               
spouses who,  because they  didn't hire  the Cadillac  lawyer and                                                               
might be  deprived of the  ability to  have a fighting  chance at                                                               
custody of their children.  On  the other hand, weighing a robust                                                               
protection  of  children  that  may  have  grown  up  in  abusive                                                               
households,  he  pointed out.    He  surmised  the intent  is  to                                                               
achieve a  better balance by  shifting it  a bit more  toward his                                                               
first description rather than the second description.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOENEMAN responded  that that is exactly what  the sponsor is                                                               
attempting  to do,  to find  the balance,  and that  possibly the                                                               
pendulum  balance shifted  too  far  and unintended  consequences                                                               
have resulted.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS asked  whether  there  is data  in                                                               
child   custody  cases   regarding  how   often  the   rebuttable                                                               
presumption is invoked, and how  often the rebuttable presumption                                                               
for domestic  violence dictates  the outcome  of a  child custody                                                               
case.   He  would like  to  have a  sense  of the  scope of  this                                                               
perceived problem that this bill ostensibly seeks to solve.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOENEMAN deferred  to Nancy Meade, and opined  that the court                                                               
system's tracking system doesn't capture that data.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LEDOUX commented  to Ms.  Koeneman  that it  took guts  to                                                               
relate her story.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
3:46:43 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN  said for several  years he has been  a pro                                                               
bono attorney  for the  Alaska Network  on Domestic  Violence and                                                               
Sexual  Assault.   He offered  he has  found the  issue of  child                                                               
custody  determinations challenging  when  it  comes to  domestic                                                               
violence proceedings.   District courts have been  assigned, as a                                                               
matter of  jurisdiction, to make decisions  about whether someone                                                               
has committed, not  a crime of domestic violence  but enough acts                                                               
to  find  that  someone  is   entitled  to  a  domestic  violence                                                               
protective  order.    That  order  sometimes  leads  to  domestic                                                               
violence convictions, and  sometimes it doesn't.   He pointed out                                                               
that significant power  has been given to the  district courts to                                                               
make  findings  about domestic  violence  and  as part  of  those                                                               
findings,  have  given  the  district court  the  power  to  make                                                               
determinations about child  custody.  As a due  process matter in                                                               
a  divorce, the  district  court  is not  trusted  to make  child                                                               
custody decisions  and, in theory,  the superior court  makes its                                                               
own decision  on child custody.   He expressed that  in practical                                                               
terms,  the domestic  violence protective  order  that gives  the                                                               
children  to one  parent, tends  to control  what happens  in the                                                               
superior  court later.    Yet, he  stressed,  the district  court                                                               
isn't supposed  to be  deciding those things,  and this  bill has                                                               
raised  his concern  with the  whole notion  about who  is really                                                               
deciding child  custody, and  at what  point it  is decided.   He                                                               
said he  has been  troubled by  that and  is not  sure he  has an                                                               
answer.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:49:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN expressed that the  other side of the whole                                                               
dynamic is  that Alaska  is perhaps the  worst state  in domestic                                                               
violence  in the  country,  and  that part  of  the problem  with                                                               
domestic violence  is how  to convince  victims to  come forward.                                                               
The cycle of domestic violence  and the non-reporting is enormous                                                               
and it is even  worse in Bush Alaska and Rural  Alaska than it is                                                               
in  urban Alaska.    The people  that have  worked  on behalf  of                                                               
victims  in domestic  violence consistently  report that  if this                                                               
law is changed it will be harder  for them to get real victims to                                                               
come forward.   He  said he  doesn't have  a solution  because he                                                               
knows  that  children  need meaningful  relationships  with  both                                                               
parents, and  all parents are  imperfect and have had  moments of                                                               
anger.   Where is the  balance, he asked  and related that  he is                                                               
interested   to  hear   from   witnesses   particularly  on   the                                                               
jurisdictional  question about  this  decision effectively  being                                                               
made in  the district court  even though it  is a decision  to be                                                               
made in  the superior  court, and whether  that is  something the                                                               
committee should be looking at.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:51:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LEDOUX said  she follows  Representative Claman  and asked                                                               
whether  in  the ex  parte  domestic  violence restraining  order                                                               
situation where only the person  requesting the restraining order                                                               
is there,  and that  the person  to be restrained  is not  at the                                                               
hearing.  She asked whether the  person is served with notice and                                                               
the process.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:51:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOENEMAN  deferred to Nancy  Meade, and opined that  with the                                                               
ex  parte  orders   only  one  party  is  present   to  obtain  a                                                               
restraining order  and the  other person  is then  served without                                                               
notice.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LEDOUX  asked  Ms. Meade  to  answer  questions  regarding                                                               
restraining orders,  and noted that  the bill sponsor was  in the                                                               
room  and  she  was  welcome   to  add  anything  to  her  aide's                                                               
testimony.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:52:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NANCY  MEADE, General  Counsel, Administrative  Staff, Office  of                                                               
the Administrative  Director, Alaska Court System  (ACS), offered                                                               
to  explain the  difference  between ex  parte domestic  violence                                                               
protective  orders  and  long-term domestic  violence  protective                                                               
orders.  She said  it is true that any party  can file a petition                                                               
for a domestic violence protective  order and they are granted if                                                               
there is  probable cause.   Under Title 18, there  are short-term                                                               
domestic violence protective orders that ...                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX asked how short-term is short-term.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE  answered that  a short-term protective  order is  a 20                                                               
day  order and  it is  ex parte.   She  clarified that  there are                                                               
three  kinds of  protective  orders:  a 72-hour  filed  by a  law                                                               
enforcement officer  and not common;  a more common  situation is                                                               
an ex parte  short-term order and the judge has  to find probable                                                               
cause to believe  that a crime of domestic  violence has occurred                                                               
and  that the  order is  needed  to protect  the petitioner  from                                                               
further domestic  violence, and at the  end of the 20  days there                                                               
is a hearing to determine  whether a long-term order is justified                                                               
and the respondent is present at  the hearing.  A long-term order                                                               
can last  up to one-year  by statute and at  the end of  the year                                                               
someone  could file  again.   Short-term  orders  are granted  ex                                                               
parte,  but under  AS  25.24.150, the  short-term  orders do  not                                                               
count  as a  prior  incident of  domestic  violence because  they                                                               
haven't been fully  litigated.  For example, she  offered, when a                                                               
judge is determining  child custody cases, such  as those covered                                                               
by  the  bill, the  short-term  orders  are  not counted  as  one                                                               
incident of  domestic violence.   Any party in a  custody dispute                                                               
can  claim  domestic   violence  and  the  judge   would  make  a                                                               
determination sitting  right there  about what happened,  but the                                                               
short-term  are  not litigated  and  are  not an  auto-count  for                                                               
purposes of finding the presumption is in place.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:55:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX surmised that when  Ms. Meade says "litigated" it is                                                               
not litigated  in front  of a  jury with  the normal  due process                                                               
rights that  would come from  litigating something in front  of a                                                               
jury of your peers, is it.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE responded that domestic  violence protective orders are                                                               
not handled by a jury.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:55:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  noted that  Ms. Meade  had said  that anyone                                                               
can file  for a  protective order,  and offered  a scenario  of a                                                               
father  being  aware  of  domestic   violence  occurring  in  his                                                               
daughter's  home but  the daughter  doesn't want  to file,  can a                                                               
father file a protective order for their daughter.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE  answered that  anyone can file  anything in  the court                                                               
system, and it  does have petitions entitled "OBO"  which are "on                                                               
behalf  of."   Therefore,  a  person can  file  on  behalf of  an                                                               
alleged  victim of  domestic violence  and the  court would  hear                                                               
those, although  it would be  better if the victim  was available                                                               
to  back  up  the  father's  allegations.   A  parent  can  claim                                                               
allegations against a child and  it is not unusual, especially if                                                               
they are all in the same household, she said.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN surmised that the process would be the same.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE  agreed that it is  basically the same, there  may be a                                                               
difference  in who  provides  evidence to  the  judge making  the                                                               
determination whether to  grant the protective order.   Those are                                                               
not  uncommon,  she offered,  and  sometimes  a person  files  on                                                               
behalf of themselves  and on behalf of their minor  children in a                                                               
household  against  someone  they say  is  perpetrating  domestic                                                               
violence against all of them.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:57:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LEDOUX asked  whether  a judge  would  issue a  protective                                                               
order  based  upon  someone's   allegation,  simply  saying  that                                                               
someone told the person offering  the allegations, that they were                                                               
being hit by another person, she asked.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE  replied that she would  not speculate on what  a judge                                                               
would  or wouldn't  do in  a situation,  but would  say that  the                                                               
court's data shows that petitions  for ex parte protective orders                                                               
are granted at about a 53 percent  grant rate.  The data could be                                                               
viewed in different  ways, such as the judges  should be granting                                                               
more  or that  the judges  are  seeing allegations  that are  not                                                               
true, but the  short-term protective orders are  granted at about                                                               
53 percent of  the time.  The long-term protective  orders are in                                                               
the 20  percent grant range,  for many  reasons, and one  is that                                                               
many of  them are dropped  by the petitioner  and do not  show up                                                               
for the  hearing.  Initially,  the petitioner checks the  box for                                                               
both the short-term and long-term  protective order and after the                                                               
20 days they just do not  attend the hearing, and that happens at                                                               
least 33 percent of the time.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
3:59:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER asked whether  probable cause is a standard                                                               
each judge would decide for  themselves in cases, where one judge                                                               
might  say  if there's  smoke,  there's  fire  and the  order  is                                                               
granted,  wherein   another  judge  might  say   they  need  more                                                               
information.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE  responded that it is  a subjective call as  to whether                                                               
there is probable  cause to believe a crime  of domestic violence                                                               
occurred and  Alaska's judges make those  sorts of determinations                                                               
all day long.  The plain answer is, yes.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:00:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  referred  to  a  situation  of  a                                                               
restraining  order being  violated  and  questioned whether  that                                                               
constitutes an act of domestic violence.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE clarified  that the definition of  domestic violence in                                                               
AS  18.66  does  include  an instance  of  violating  a  domestic                                                               
violence protective order.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LEDOUX   asked  whether   domestic  violence   includes  a                                                               
situation  where  a physical  assault  does  not occur,  such  as                                                               
yelling at someone.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MEADE  answered yes,  because  a  common crime  of  domestic                                                               
violence is  a "fear  assault" which  does amount  to a  crime of                                                               
assault if a  person has a reasonable fear for  their own safety.                                                               
Short of  a punch, there is  an assault that could  be found, she                                                               
said.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
4:01:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX referred to the  domestic violence restraining order                                                               
petitions and asked  whether some are brought pro  per and others                                                               
with the assistance of counsel.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE  explained that the domestic  violence protective order                                                               
brought  by  petitioners are  almost  always  brought without  an                                                               
attorney, although  an attorney  could be brought  in.   She said                                                               
they are  heard by  the court  after filing  within 24  hours and                                                               
most petitioners do  not retain an attorney in  that time period,                                                               
but they may.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LEDOUX asked  whether Ms.  Meade  has ever  had the  idea,                                                               
based upon the way the allegations  may be written in some of the                                                               
petitions  that, someone  has had  the assistance  of counsel  in                                                               
making the allegations.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE  opined that it might  happen, but in dealing  with the                                                               
magistrates and  judges who  hear these matters,  it is  mostly a                                                               
handwritten  petition.    She explained  that  the  court  system                                                               
provides a  blank form  petition that  is a  few pages  long, and                                                               
people  often,  in  certain  courts, have  the  assistance  of  a                                                               
domestic  violence  advocate  to  help  them  complete  the  form                                                               
because sometimes  the petitioner is in  such a state that  it is                                                               
difficult to complete that document.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:03:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS noted that the  goal is to find the                                                               
balance of two  valid scenarios, and it would be  helpful to know                                                               
how many times the rebuttable  presumption is invoked and when it                                                               
ends up being  the trump card in a custody  dispute.  Absent that                                                               
information, he commented, he does  not feel well equipped to try                                                               
to say where  on the spectrum is  the sweet spot.   He added that                                                               
he sees both compelling scenarios  but has difficulty knowing how                                                               
to proportionally weigh each.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:05:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE  acknowledged that the  court system does not  have the                                                               
data because  the CourtView system  does not keep data  on things                                                               
that  are said  in a  case or  the sorts  of things  discussed or                                                               
brought into  issue in a case.   She offered that  the rebuttable                                                               
presumption in  child custody  cases is  not rarely  invoked, and                                                               
anecdotally after speaking to just a  few judges, it is less than                                                               
one-half the  time but  it is  not uncommon and  it is  not every                                                               
case.  At  which point, once invoked, the judge  has to determine                                                               
whether  it is  found.   She offered  that it  could be  that one                                                               
parent in  the custody dispute  claims that it had  happened, and                                                               
thereafter there is  fact finding and a discussion  of whether it                                                               
did, and  of course it  is found in many  fewer times than  it is                                                               
invoked.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:06:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS referred  to Ms.  Meade statement,                                                               
"it is  often found  much fewer  times than  it is  invoked," and                                                               
because the discussion is a  rebuttable presumption everything is                                                               
inverted.  He added that,  it's found the presumption is rebutted                                                               
...                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE  responded that  she may have  misspoken.   She related                                                               
that in a  custody dispute one parent tells the  judge that there                                                               
is domestic violence and at that  point it is invoked, then there                                                               
is  fact finding  that occurs  within  the custody  case and  the                                                               
judge  asks  questions,   at  which  point  the   judge  makes  a                                                               
determination  whether  to  find  that  there  is  a  history  of                                                               
domestic violence and; therefore,  that the presumption attaches.                                                               
Once   the  presumption   attaches,  a   person  goes   under  AS                                                               
24.25.150(h)  to  say  how  the  parent  who  is  now  rebuttably                                                               
presumed to have committed the  domestic violence can nonetheless                                                               
get custody of the children.   She explained that the presumption                                                               
is  not  that a  person  committed  domestic  violence, it  is  a                                                               
rebuttable presumption  that if  it is found  a person  can't get                                                               
sole  legal custody,  joint custody,  etcetera.   The presumption                                                               
attaches and yes,  the person is presumed to  have committed this                                                               
domestic  violence and,  now, to  get  custody there  are way  to                                                               
overcome the presumption [subsection (h], she explained.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:08:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   KREISS-TOMKINS  referred   to  the   presumption                                                               
attaching  and becoming  incumbent  upon the  party against  whom                                                               
allegations  of  domestic violence  were  made  to overcome  that                                                               
presumption,  and  asked what  percentage  of  the time  is  that                                                               
presumption, once attached, overcome.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE  reiterated that once  the presumption  attaches, which                                                               
means  the  person is  a  perpetrator  of domestic  violence  for                                                               
purposes of this  case, that person can only get  custody if they                                                               
overcome  the  presumption.    She explained  that  this  is  not                                                               
overcoming the  presumption that a person  committed the domestic                                                               
violence because  it is  attached now.   The  person then  has to                                                               
overcome the  presumption to have  some custody of  the children.                                                               
She again  reiterated that  the percentage  is not  something the                                                               
court system tracks  or keeps data on.   Anecdotally and roughly,                                                               
she noted,  the presumption  could be invoked  in less  than one-                                                               
half of  the cases,  and the  same sort of  anecdote in  about 20                                                               
percent  of  those that  the  judge  does  indeed find  that  the                                                               
presumption applies.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:09:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  returned to the  restraining order                                                               
being violated scenario  which is, by definition,  an instance of                                                               
domestic violence,  and asked that  even if there is  no physical                                                               
domestic violence  would a judge  ever overcome  that presumption                                                               
of domestic violence  since there is a by the  book definition of                                                               
an act of domestic violence.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MEADE  responded  that  the   definition  of  a  history  of                                                               
perpetrating domestic  violence, which is  what has to  be found,                                                               
is  one  incident  of domestic  violence  with  serious  physical                                                               
injury,  or   more  than  one  incident   of  domestic  violence.                                                               
Therefore, she  said, violating  a protective  order would  be an                                                               
incident of domestic  violence, but if it  didn't include serious                                                               
physical injury the  person would need a second  instance for the                                                               
judge to find that there was a history of domestic violence.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
4:11:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX  used the  example of someone  throwing a  book that                                                               
doesn't  hit anyone,  and asked  whether that  is an  instance of                                                               
domestic  violence, or  if someone  could say  that they  were in                                                               
fear  of their  lives because  someone  threw the  book at  them.                                                               
Then, a  person violates the  domestic violence  protection order                                                               
because  they run  into the  person  at McDonald's  and tries  to                                                               
explain  that they  weren't trying  to hurt  them.   She surmised                                                               
that  that   could  be  the  history   of  perpetrating  domestic                                                               
violence.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MEADE  offered  that  the  judge could  find  a  history  of                                                               
domestic violence based on that hypothetical.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
4:12:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  KOENEMAN  responded   to  Representative  Claman's  question                                                               
regarding  the superior  court looking  at the  domestic violence                                                               
custody cases versus  the district court.   Under AS 25.20.060(a)                                                               
[Petition For Award of Child Custody], which read:                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
          (a) If there is a dispute over child custody,                                                                         
     either  parent  may  petition the  superior  court  for                                                                    
     resolution  of   the  matter   under  AS   25.20.060  -                                                                    
     25.20.130. The  court shall award custody  on the basis                                                                    
     of the best interests of  the child. In determining the                                                                    
     best interests  of the child, the  court shall consider                                                                    
     all   relevant   factors,   including   those   factors                                                                    
     enumerated  in AS  25.24.150 (c),  and the  presumption                                                                    
     established  in   AS  25.24.150   (g).  In   a  custody                                                                    
     determination  under  this  section,  the  court  shall                                                                    
        provide for visitation by a grandparent or other                                                                        
     person if that is in the best interests of the child.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. KOENEMAN  advised Representative  Claman that she  wanted him                                                               
to  know there  is an  option, it's  not a  definitive up  to the                                                               
superior court for that.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:13:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN expressed  that he  certainly is  aware of                                                               
that statute, and  explained that that section arises  in a child                                                               
custody proceeding because it appears  in Title 25, and not Title                                                               
18 which is  the domestic violence protective order  statute.  He                                                               
offered that the domestic violence  protective order petition has                                                               
a box  to check in dealing  with child custody issues  and when a                                                               
person goes  to court with the  ex parte 20 day  order and checks                                                               
both boxes there  is place where they can ask  the district court                                                               
to make  custody determinations.   While technically, there  is a                                                               
place  in  the  statute,  the  notion that  the  typical  pro  se                                                               
petitioner  understands their  options, or  that when  the person                                                               
served with  the 20 day  order that  advises them of  the hearing                                                               
date  understands  that they  could  then  petition the  superior                                                               
court to hear that matter, in  the world of the average person is                                                               
pretty far afield.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE  noted that she  wanted to put  on the record  that the                                                               
Alaska  Court System  is neutral  on this  bill, and  whatever is                                                               
decided, the judges will apply.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:15:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 4:15 to 4:25 p.m.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:25:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX opened invited and public testimony.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
4:26:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
KIRSTEN SWANSON,  Attorney, advised that  she is an  attorney and                                                               
is concerned  about this bill.   She  said she has  done criminal                                                               
defense  for many  years  and  also has  defended  cases for  the                                                               
Alaska  Network on  Domestic Violence  and Sexual  Assault.   She                                                               
opined  that this  bill is  an attempt  to even  out the  playing                                                               
field because, as  she has seen in her practice,  there have been                                                               
unintended  consequences   over  the  years  with   the  way  the                                                               
presumption is  applied and  this is  an attempt  to try  to take                                                               
away some of  those problems.  The most important  people are the                                                               
children and there  are situations where people  are encourage to                                                               
go nuclear  from the  get-go because  they are  trying to  get an                                                               
advantage in their case.   When considering the best interests of                                                               
the  children, part  of the  statute still  incorporated in  this                                                               
bill  allows judges  to go  back to  that best  interests of  the                                                               
children and concentrate  on that, which should  be the important                                                               
part  of  this bill.    She  referred to  Representative  Kreiss-                                                               
Tomkins  question,  why  alcohol  isn't   a  part  of  this,  the                                                               
substance  abuse is  also clear  and convincing.   She  explained                                                               
that the  difference, specifically,  is in the  domestic violence                                                               
statute.  It puts a  person into the rebuttable presumption that,                                                               
allegedly,  there is  a history  of domestic  violence and  under                                                               
that  statute  the alleged  perpetrator  will  have  to go  to  a                                                               
batterer's program, can't  have overnight visits, and  ends up in                                                               
a situation  where they  can only  have visitation  with somebody                                                               
from Catholic  Community or some  other person.  She  pointed out                                                               
that those do  not come into being if there's  an allegation that                                                               
someone is drinking or using drugs.   She would not be opposed to                                                               
actually raising it  to clear and convincing,  she expressed, but                                                               
it's because that doesn't invoke  the same thing as an allegation                                                               
of domestic violence and is specifically to that question.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:29:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. SWANSON continued  that in the real world  when someone files                                                               
a short-term domestic  violence ex parte they  are generally with                                                               
an AWARE  advocate or  family member.   The alleged  victim tells                                                               
their side  of the story which  is not evidence based  because it                                                               
is ex  parte, and the  alleged perpetrator  is not present.   The                                                               
judge may  agree and grant a  20 day order, within  those 20 days                                                               
the other parent  usually cannot see their children,  can't go to                                                               
the school,  can't talk to their  school teacher and are  cut out                                                               
of the children's  lives for 20 days.  She  remarked that 20 days                                                               
may not  seem like a  long time, except  she has had  cases where                                                               
the  other  parent  locked  the   doors,  emptied  out  the  bank                                                               
accounts, and  sometimes told the  children how the  other parent                                                               
is a bad parent.  She expressed that 20 days is a big deal.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
4:30:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. SWANSON related  a case where a client, on  the other side of                                                               
the house banged their  head into the door and put  a hole in the                                                               
door.   The other  spouse called  the police  and her  client was                                                               
charged with  criminal mischief,  domestic violence  having never                                                               
said  anything, or  in the  same room.   Her  client received  an                                                               
invitation  from the  police for  a short-term  domestic violence                                                               
hearing in  20 days.   Within  that 20 days  her client  found an                                                               
apartment and  everything was fine  except they sent out  a group                                                               
email  to their  family and  friends with  a picture  of them  in                                                               
their new  apartment with their  cat, and the alleged  victim was                                                               
included  in  the  group  mailing.     Even  though  it  was  not                                                               
intentional,  the police  came and  her client  was charged  with                                                               
violating a criminal domestic violence  order because he sent out                                                               
that email.   She  said she  could give the  committee a  list of                                                               
cases such as this.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:32:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LEDOUX  interjected  that  she   wanted  to  be  sure  she                                                               
understand this,  and related that  there is a  domestic violence                                                               
restraining order ...                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SWANSON clarified  that it  was  the short-term  restraining                                                               
order.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LEDOUX  continued that  it  was  a short-term  restraining                                                               
order and within that 20 days they got back together again.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. SWANSON clarified  that her client found a new  place to live                                                               
because they were going to file  for divorce, and when her client                                                               
was in the  new place sent out a group  email to everyone saying,                                                               
"Here's my new house and here's the cat ..."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX asked who is "they."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. SWANSON  explained that it  was her  client, the one  who had                                                               
the restraining order filed against them in the short-term.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX surmised that he sent out the email, to who.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SWANSON  responded that  it  was  sent  to his  mother,  his                                                               
father, his sister, a bunch of  his friends, and the wife, in one                                                               
group  stream which  technically violated  the restraining  order                                                               
due  to the  contact.   She said  she has  also had  clients that                                                               
dialed someone where it is  clear when listening to the recording                                                               
later  that there  are driving  sounds with  no voice  and it  is                                                               
clear  someone accidentally  hit  it.   She  said  she tells  her                                                               
clients  whenever there  is  a restraining  order  to delete  the                                                               
person making  the allegation from  their Facebook,  text, email,                                                               
and the  phone so  there is  no accidental  contact.   In itself,                                                               
that  is a  violation as  it is  contact at  that point  and, she                                                               
stated these things do happen in real world situations.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
4:34:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. SWANSON  commented that there  is no data  as to how  many of                                                               
these  have been  filed.    She understands  that  prior to  2005                                                               
there's not a  way to go back in CourtView  to determine how many                                                               
short-term  and  long-term  domestic violence  orders  have  been                                                               
filed.   Also, she offered,  sometimes people don't show  up, the                                                               
couple gets  back together  before the long-term  so there  is no                                                               
long-term, sometimes  both parties  attend the  long-term hearing                                                               
with attorneys  and the attorneys  stipulate to try to  steer the                                                               
people out of  the domestic violence court and  into mediation to                                                               
deal with this matter in other  ways.  She opined that statistics                                                               
do not necessarily show what happens  in the real world with some                                                               
of these cases.   She stressed this is not to  pick on victims of                                                               
domestic violence,  and the bill  as written protects  people and                                                               
it  also, more  importantly,  protects children  so  a father  or                                                               
mother  is not  allowed to  see  their children  for 6-12  months                                                               
while fighting about whether or  not there was domestic violence.                                                               
She advised that the bill gives judges more leeway.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:36:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS noted  two  changes  in the  bill:                                                               
deleting  the rebuttable  presumption; and  the bill  ratchets up                                                               
the evidentiary  standard to clear  and convincing evidence.   He                                                               
asked whether he was correct.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. SWANSON responded that the  short answer is yes and explained                                                               
that the  standards of proof  are: beyond a reasonable  doubt for                                                               
criminal;  and then  preponderance  of the  evidence, which  many                                                               
times  it  is  short  handed   to  "as  more  likely  than  not."                                                               
Currently, when a district court  judge is making a determination                                                               
as  to whether  or not  there was  domestic violence,  the judges                                                               
will frequently  say they have  to determine whether there  was a                                                               
51 percent  probability there  was an  act of  domestic violence,                                                               
whether  criminal  mischief or  placed  in  fear assault,  that's                                                               
enough.   When discussing  raising the standard  of proof,  it is                                                               
being raised from 51 percent  to "clear and convincing evidence,"                                                               
it is not being raised to  "beyond a reasonable doubt," but it is                                                               
a bit higher than the 51  percent.  Technically, yes the standard                                                               
is being  raised up but  not so  much that it  becomes completely                                                               
burdensome,  but there  still has  to be  more proof  as to  what                                                               
happened, she explained.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
4:37:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  commented that 51  percent strikes                                                               
him as reasonable because domestic  violence is serious and if it                                                               
is more  likely than  not that  a judge  finds there  is domestic                                                               
violence, it  seems like a  good reason  not to award  custody to                                                               
the  party the  judge  deems likely  to  have committed  domestic                                                               
violence.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SWANSON responded  that  when  discussing domestic  violence                                                               
most  people   think  of  someone   slammed  up   against  walls,                                                               
strangled,  hit, punched,  kicked,  type of  violence.   Domestic                                                               
violence  statutes cover  more than  that and  as an  example, an                                                               
angry  person  throws a  plate  and  it breaks,  that's  criminal                                                               
mischief because the  other person could be placed in  fear.  She                                                               
commented that she  recently had another case  with an allegation                                                               
of a  placed in fear assault.   Two parents didn't  want to fight                                                               
and argue in front of the  kids, they got in their vehicle, drove                                                               
a block away, and started  talking about the divorce and custody.                                                               
They both  got upset  and ended  up yelling at  each other.   She                                                               
demanded to  go back,  he drove  her back  and let  her out.   In                                                               
court she said  she was placed in fear because  he was angry with                                                               
her, even  though he  did not  threaten her or  look like  he was                                                               
going to punch  her.  The judge kept pushing  her to explain what                                                               
happened and she said she thought that  if she got out of the car                                                               
he might run  her over and under  cross-examination admitted that                                                               
he had  never hit her,  or done  anything violent, and  had never                                                               
threatened to  hurt her.   Ms. Swanson  advised that she  got the                                                               
case dismissed but that is an example of placed in fear assault.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. SWANSON continued that another  placed in fear assault charge                                                               
against a  client was  an allegation that  the woman  thought the                                                               
man was  going to hit her  when they were yelling  at each other.                                                               
He clinched his  fists and glared at her, even  though he did not                                                               
hit her or  move toward her.  When discussing  the 51 percent, to                                                               
add in what is currently considered domestic violence, she said.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:40:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  said  that   strikes  him  as  an                                                               
excellent point  because maybe it  isn't so much  the evidentiary                                                               
standard, but rather the definition of domestic violence.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. SWANSON interjected that that  is another thing that needs to                                                               
be fixed.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  continued that it seems  as though                                                               
the way  the committee has discussed  proposing to fix it  is not                                                               
actually  fixing it  because  it is  taking  a more  encompassing                                                               
solution, and  separating out technical violations  or accidental                                                               
contact   or  violation   of  restraining   orders,  non-physical                                                               
contact.   He suggested that  those should be  differentiated and                                                               
put into  a different class  than more clearly  physical domestic                                                               
violence.  In those instances  it seems that clear and convincing                                                               
evidence is doing  a disservice to those that  have actually been                                                               
on the receiving end of physical domestic violence, he remarked.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
4:41:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SWANSON respectfully  disagreed with  Representative Kreiss-                                                               
Tomkins statement.   She  opined that this  does, in  part, start                                                               
taking care of  those problems specifically because  the judge is                                                               
now given  more of an  ability to look  at the best  interests of                                                               
the children, and the judge is  not being forced in a presumptive                                                               
case where the presumption is to immediately have to go back ...                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS interjected  that is  not what  he                                                               
was suggesting.   Aside from the rebuttable  presumption, he said                                                               
he  was  talking  about  the evidentiary  standard  in  terms  of                                                               
separating  out physical  domestic violence.   He  commented that                                                               
when  there is  a 51  percent  likelihood that  someone has  been                                                               
physically abused, to him it  seems like a reasonable standard to                                                               
work  from.   And,  he  further  commented, separating  out  more                                                               
technical  or  non-physical  forms   of  domestic  violence  that                                                               
possibly have a different evidentiary standard.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:42:20 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LEDOUX   interrupted  Representative   Kreiss-Tomkins  and                                                               
reminded him  that many people  would like to testify,  and these                                                               
are  philosophical discussions  that  can take  place within  the                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:42:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DEBORAH  HOLBROOK said  she has  practiced law  in Juneau  for 40                                                               
years and  during that time  has practiced  in the area  of civil                                                               
law  and family  law.   Ms.  Holbrook supports  the  bill in  its                                                               
original form, she said, because it  is a cleaner line to require                                                               
a conviction rather than changing  the evidentiary standard.  She                                                               
explained that she  comes from an era when women  had no power in                                                               
domestic violence situations  and now they have  too much because                                                               
the pendulum has swung so far  that just the allegation alone can                                                               
ruin someone.  She said she does  not like to see women abuse the                                                               
law  because  it  ruins  it   for  the  true  victims  that  have                                                               
definitely  suffered.   Unfortunately, she  noted, she  sees that                                                               
happening all the time in custody  situations and the best way to                                                               
have  healthy well-adjusted  happy children  and a  well-adjusted                                                               
future  generation is  for  children to  have  open and  frequent                                                               
access  to  both  of  their   parents,  which  is  what  all  the                                                               
sociological  studies  reveal.    The  language  in  the  custody                                                               
statute  is being  used as  a weapon  and it's  become as  though                                                               
there  is a  presumption of  guilt rather  than a  presumption of                                                               
innocence and  attorneys end  up in the  middle of  custody cases                                                               
litigating domestic violence crimes.   The accused person doesn't                                                               
receive the safeguards  required in a criminal  case, doesn't get                                                               
a right  to a jury trial,  doesn't get the right  to counsel, and                                                               
doesn't have the  higher burden of proof.  Denial  of access to a                                                               
parent's child  is at stake  here and  she remarked that  she has                                                               
had several  cases where  the father, typically  it is  a father,                                                               
has been relegated to no  contact with their children under five,                                                               
even in cases  where the father was the primary  caretaker.  With                                                               
regard to child development, if a  parent is gone for a week they                                                               
are  basically gone  from the  child's life  because they  do not                                                               
have the concept of permanence.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:46:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. HOLBROOK related that she  agrees with Representative Claman,                                                               
in  that the  district courts  are making  custody determinations                                                               
because  the ball  gets rolling  against these  fathers with  the                                                               
issuance of  these ex  parte orders.   The district  court judges                                                               
hear the allegations from the  mother and nothing from the father                                                               
during  the  ex  parte  hearing.    Judges  regularly  issue  the                                                               
domestic  violence orders  based on  texting, repeated  telephone                                                               
calls, and  yelling because the  definition has gotten  so broad.                                                               
A lot  of these young  dads appear to  be very naïve,  they don't                                                               
have a lot  of money and do not realize  the repercussions of not                                                               
appearing  at the  long-term hearing.   For  example, the  20 day                                                               
hearing order is  served on them and they may  think that because                                                               
they are splitting  up they don't need to talk  to the mother any                                                               
longer,  but  the  district  court  judges  are  issuing  custody                                                               
determinations.  She said she had  a case where the judge ordered                                                               
that  there would  only  be  visitation as  the  mother chose  to                                                               
allow.   The mother chose to  not allow any visitation  and years                                                               
went  by  because he  didn't  have  a  retainer to  hire  private                                                               
attorney.   The root of the  problem is the cost  and she pointed                                                               
out that if  there are allegations of domestic  violence and it's                                                               
going to morph into this huge  case, it's going to cost a fortune                                                               
because it will  take a lot of  her time no matter  what side she                                                               
is on.   Therefore, if  they don't have  the money time  goes by,                                                               
months and years with no contact with the children.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:48:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  HOLBROOK  opined that  the  legislature  needs to  focus  on                                                               
removing obstacles  to having, particularly, fathers  involved in                                                               
their children's lives.   It is absolutely imperative  that, as a                                                               
society, everything  is done to support  that contact continuing,                                                               
and  there  is a  major  problem  right  now with  this  domestic                                                               
violence language in there.   She reiterated that she prefers the                                                               
original  bill requiring  a conviction,  because then  it's clear                                                               
they  have the  right to  counsel, and  they can  get the  public                                                               
defender if  they need  to, when being  charged with  this crime.                                                               
She pointed  out that that  should be required before  taking the                                                               
draconian step of  removing that person from  their child's life.                                                               
The  committee should  look at  it  from the  perspective of  the                                                               
children, they are  losing a parent who is  concerned about them.                                                               
She commented that  she testified before the  first committee and                                                               
doesn't want to beat a dead horse.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. HOLBROOK  responded to Chair  LeDoux that she  didn't realize                                                               
the members of this committee had not heard her testimony.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
4:50:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LEDOUX  asked  whether  an   attorney  would  need  to  be                                                               
appointed if the parent is  indigent and the Office of Children's                                                               
Services (OCS) is trying to remove a child from the home.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
4:50:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. HOLBROOK opined  that the indigent parent has a  right to get                                                               
an  attorney, and  what is  more important  in that  situation is                                                               
that the state  has protocols about how much  contact there still                                                               
has  to be  between  the  child and  the  parent.   When  they've                                                               
intervened due to safety issues ...                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX continued  her scenario that things  are so terrible                                                               
in the household  that OCS is intervening and they  get a lawyer.                                                               
Although,  she  noted,  if  it's simply  a  dispute  between  two                                                               
people, even though  a parent could totally lose  their rights to                                                               
their children, there is no right to a court-appointed attorney.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS.  HOLBROOK responded  that she  listened to  testimony at  the                                                               
first hearing  and she brought  up the  issue about the  right to                                                               
counsel.  She  opined that Mr. Hough,  from Petersburg, testified                                                               
that in  the cases where  he represented someone, because  he was                                                               
working for  the Council,  that the other  side got  an attorney.                                                               
She offered that she doesn't know  what he is talking about other                                                               
than, there is a Flores v.  Flores, 598 P.2d 893 (1979) that said                                                             
if  one side  was represented  by Alaska  Legal Services  and the                                                               
other side was  indigent that they were entitled to  counsel in a                                                               
custody  case,  and she  can't  remember  a  case where  she  has                                                               
actually seen  that happened.   The problem  here is that  by the                                                               
time the  parent gets  to the  custody case, it's  too late.   If                                                               
they  haven't had  an  attorney to  defend  against the  domestic                                                               
violence TRO  and a long-term  order has been entered,  then they                                                               
are in a  hole and they are  going to be spending a  lot of money                                                               
trying to  dig out of that  hole and they usually  don't have it,                                                               
she explained.  That's the problem.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
4:52:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANDY HARRINGTON, Attorney, advised he  has performed a lot of pro                                                               
bono  representation work  in domestic  relations  cases, he  was                                                               
formerly the  head of Alaska  Legal Services  Corporation (ALSC),                                                               
although, he  is speaking solely on  behalf of himself.   He said                                                               
Ms. Holbrook is correct, if ALSC  is representing one parent in a                                                               
custody dispute there is a  Flores right to an appointed attorney                                                             
on the  other side.   That also applies  to a situation  in which                                                               
the  free attorney  is provided  through  a pro  bono program  of                                                               
either  the  Alaska Legal  Services  Corporation  or the  Alaskan                                                               
Network on  Domestic Violence and  Sexual Assault (ANDVSA).   The                                                               
right to  that attorney  is an issue  ANDVSA, in  particular, has                                                               
been quite forward  in trying to make sure the  other side should                                                               
get an attorney,  even if it is an ANDVSA  attorney, or an ANDVSA                                                               
pro bono attorney who is representing one party, he said.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  HARRINGTON pointed  out that  the CSHB  334, [Version  I] is                                                               
much  different than  the original  HB 334,  [Version H],  and he                                                               
acknowledged that  he wasn't in  favor of the original  but likes                                                               
[Version I]  even less.   He said that  to take the  nine factors                                                               
listed in  AS 25.24.150(c) and  to single  out the only  one with                                                               
any  kind of  evidentiary  standard attached  to  it and  require                                                               
clear  and   convincing  evidence  before  that   factor  becomes                                                               
relevant  to a  superior court  trying to  decide custody  issues                                                               
unduly deprioritizes it  and makes it the last among  equals.  He                                                               
opined that  a person cannot  say that  is necessary in  order to                                                               
create  any  kind  of  remedy to  the  presumption  because  this                                                               
version  of  the bill  does  away  with  the presumption  in  its                                                               
entirety.   He reiterated  that making  one factor  require clear                                                               
and convincing evidence,  particularly where it is  known that so                                                               
many divorce  litigants are  pro se  and have  no idea  what that                                                               
standard means  or how to  establish it, would  be a big  step in                                                               
the wrong direction.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
4:55:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARRINGTON  related that  it is important  to make  the point                                                               
that the  Alaska Supreme Court  has been hearing  cases involving                                                               
this presumption for  several years and has  issued many rulings.                                                               
Those  ruling do  significantly  cut back  on  any potential  for                                                               
abuses  or misuses  of the  presumption  in the  statute and  the                                                               
discussion of this  issue should take those into  account.  Going                                                               
through  a  divorce  where  there  is  no  domestic  violence  is                                                               
traumatic, he  remarked, but it is  a quantum level higher  to be                                                               
going through  the divorce or representing  someone going through                                                               
a divorce when  there is domestic violence present.   He noted an                                                               
historical  point and  said  this discussion  reminds  him of  an                                                               
earlier  era when  he was  practicing law  when the  shared child                                                               
custody presumption was put  into statute, immediately afterwards                                                               
there  were situations  in which  people were  trying to  misuse,                                                               
misapply,  and   misinterpret  those  statutes  as   well.    The                                                               
legislature did not  respond by getting rid  of that presumption,                                                               
it made fine  tuning types of amendments to that  so it continued                                                               
to function as  it was originally intended and  tried to minimize                                                               
those potentials  for abuse or misuse.   That is the  approach he                                                               
said he would  suggest here because [Version I] is  too much of a                                                               
sledgehammer and  not enough of  a scalpel to deal  with whatever                                                               
problems people feel may exist.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
4:57:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  HARRINGTON  referred  to  Representative  Claman's  comments                                                               
regarding district  courts deciding child custody  cases and said                                                               
it is  important to note that  the district court can  decide the                                                               
domestic violence  petition, which  can include a  custody decree                                                               
and it is good for up to a  year.  He commented that the district                                                               
courts  in his  experience are  "always, always,  always" pushing                                                               
the  parties to  try to  file  a superior  court case  and get  a                                                               
permanent  custody arrangement  put  in place  for the  children.                                                               
The extent to which the superior  court has to defer or not defer                                                               
to  the  district court  finding  that  there has  been  domestic                                                               
violence,  he opined  that  the Alaska  Supreme  Court said  that                                                               
falls under the heading of  collateral estoppel, and the superior                                                               
courts are given a great deal  of discretion to decide whether or                                                               
not to accord  any collateral estoppel to  these protective order                                                               
proceedings.   The  latest ruling  is  a case  from August  2015.                                                               
Another case  law point,  when a superior  court, in  the custody                                                               
case, places  a limitation on  visitation, it has to  establish a                                                               
plan for how that supervision  requirement of limitation is going                                                               
to be listed.  It is automatically  supposed to be a part of what                                                               
a superior court  does when it says it is  imposing a restriction                                                               
on visitation, and the judge  explains the steps necessary to get                                                               
that remedied, he  explained.  In his experience,  he said, there                                                               
are two  types of parents  when they  receive such an  order, one                                                               
type  goes  through  whatever  hoops  are  necessary  to  have  a                                                               
relationship  with their  children and  the other  parent decides                                                               
they will  not let anyone tell  them what they have  to do before                                                               
they  can reestablish  a relationship  with their  children.   He                                                               
remarked that  it is the latter  situation that tends to  draw on                                                               
for inordinate  periods of  time.  People  willing to  go through                                                               
the  hoops  can get  the  limitations  lifted, usually  within  a                                                               
shorter period of time, he said.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
5:00:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. HARRINGTON  opined that if  someone is  served with a  20 day                                                               
order they do not have to  wait for the court's scheduled follow-                                                               
up hearing and they can ask to  have the hearing moved up if they                                                               
feel  it  is  necessary  to  get the  issues  for  the  long-term                                                               
protective order  remedied earlier.   He offered  appreciation to                                                               
the legislature  for putting this  much thought into  the subject                                                               
and  is  grateful  that  everyone is  focusing  on  these  issues                                                               
because it  is such a significant  problem in Alaska.   He stated                                                               
he  does not  support  the approach  taken by  this  bill and  in                                                               
particular,  the  committee   substitute  currently  before  this                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
5:01:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTIN  PATE,   Legal  Program  Director,  Alaska   Network  on                                                               
Domestic  Violence  and  Sexual Assault  (ANDVSA),  advised  that                                                               
ANDVSA  is in  opposition  to HB  334.   She  explained that  the                                                               
program offers  civil legal assistance,  primarily in  family law                                                               
cases,  to  victims  of  domestic  violence  and  sexual  assault                                                               
statewide.   Additionally, it provides  legal advice  and counsel                                                               
to advocates  at its 23  member programs and affiliates  who work                                                               
with victims  and children through  daily and  legal proceedings.                                                               
She advised  she has  been practicing family  law since  1994 and                                                               
has worked  with thousands of  victims of domestic  violence (DV)                                                               
who were  litigating through  the custody  process.   She advised                                                               
she had  submitted a lengthy  written opposition to  the original                                                               
bill and that  ANDVSA has even more concerns  about the committee                                                               
substitute before  the committee.   She  offered that  she echoes                                                               
everything Mr. Harrington stated and  does not want to repeat his                                                               
points,  but the  committee substitute  makes domestic  violence,                                                               
child abuse, and neglect, harder to  prove in a custody case than                                                               
any other issue and it brings  the state to a standard lower than                                                               
prior to  2004.   The rebuttable presumption  law was  enacted to                                                               
protect Alaskan children from the  harmful effects of exposure to                                                               
domestic violence.   The Alaska Network on  Domestic Violence and                                                               
Sexual Assault (ANDVSA) wholeheartedly  agrees with the sponsor's                                                               
statement that  fathers are  a critical part  of a  child's life,                                                               
but most importantly it is vital  for a child to have two healthy                                                               
parents.   In homes where  there has been domestic  violence that                                                               
is not  possible.  She noted  that Alaska ranks in  the top ranks                                                               
for domestic  violence and sexual  assault nationwide, and  as of                                                               
2013 there  are 1.4  times the national  average for  child abuse                                                               
and neglect.  It is known that  the children who grow up in homes                                                               
where   domestic   abuse   is   present  are   subject   to   the                                                               
intergenerational cycle  of abuse.   Additionally,  when children                                                               
witness domestic  violence in  their home they  are at  risk that                                                               
they  will  be killed  or  injured  by  the violence,  and  their                                                               
emotional,  physical, and  mental  health  will be  detrimentally                                                               
affected.  The effects of this  violence includes a wide range of                                                               
physical, social,  mental, and educational  defects which  take a                                                               
heavy financial and  emotional toll on Alaska.   Violence doesn't                                                               
end when the  relationship ends, separation is  often the highest                                                               
time of  lethality risk  for victims  and their  children because                                                               
abusers are  struggling to  maintain the  power and  control they                                                               
have exerted in the relationship, she said.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
5:04:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  PATE  explained  that  the  rebuttable  presumption  against                                                               
awarding a parent  joint or sole custody passed in  2004, and was                                                               
enacted  to ensure  that courts  made  consideration of  domestic                                                               
violence a  priority in deciding  custody of children.   Prior to                                                               
the enactment of  the law, domestic violence was just  one of the                                                               
nine best  interest's factors  that courts  could consider.   The                                                               
best interest's factors are things  that the court is supposed to                                                               
review and make findings about if  there is evidence of it before                                                               
the court.   The court then has discretion to  apply those "so by                                                               
making domestic  violence by clear  and convincing  evidence, the                                                               
hardest factor to  prove, we've made domestic  violence harder to                                                               
prove  than anything  else in  the case."   The  2004 legislature                                                               
heard testimony regarding victims  and children killed by abusers                                                               
during  a custody  case, given  the  enormity of  the problem  in                                                               
Alaska, making  DV one  of the nine  best interest's  factors was                                                               
not adequate protection  for Alaska children.  Now,  by making it                                                               
harder  to  prove than  anything  else,  it is  less  protective.                                                               
Previously, courts sometimes failed  to hear evidence of domestic                                                               
violence,  minimize the  importance of  it, or  failed to  put in                                                               
place  rehabilitative programs  for  a parent  who has  committed                                                               
domestic violence.   She  opined that  it is  surreal for  her to                                                               
hear some of  the testimony today because  having litigated these                                                               
cases  in courts  for so  long, ANDVSA  has found  it is  hard to                                                               
prove  domestic violence.   It  is  still a  private issue,  it's                                                               
clouded  in shame  and fear,  many  victims never  report to  law                                                               
enforcement, they don't tell family  or friends, they don't go to                                                               
a doctor, they make excuses for  their injuries when they go to a                                                               
doctor, and they're  not great at preserving evidence.   Often it                                                               
is the abusive  partner who might be savvy at  building a history                                                               
of evidence  to show that  the other  party is crazy,  or destroy                                                               
any evidence of  the violence.  Therefore, when a  victim goes to                                                               
custody court  she often doesn't  have an arsenal of  evidence to                                                               
corroborate her story.   Many of these cases rely  upon "he said,                                                               
she said"  so a clear  and convincing evidence standard,  even in                                                               
the  best interest's  factors, will  make it  especially hard  to                                                               
prove domestic violence, she advised.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
5:06:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. PATE  referred to Sec. 7  of the bill and  said the committee                                                               
substitute not  only removes protections  for children,  it makes                                                               
it harder to  prove domestic violence.  As an  advocate, they are                                                               
often  asked why  victims stay  in violent  relationships, it  is                                                               
known that  victims stay  because they believe  they have  no way                                                               
out, no financial  means, fear of being killed if  they leave, or                                                               
they've  been  told  by  their abusive  partner  they  will  lose                                                               
custody of  their children if  they leave.   By making  it harder                                                               
for victims  to reach  out for  help and  obtain a  custody order                                                               
that  is  protective of  children,  the  state is  ensuring  that                                                               
children  will grow  up  exposed to  domestic  violence.   ANDVSA                                                               
urges the committee to oppose this legislation.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
5:07:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. PATE  referred to Mr.  Harrington's testimony  regarding case                                                               
law  since  2004  regarding rebuttable  presumption,  and  agreed                                                               
there has been no less than  20 cases by the Alaska Supreme Court                                                               
interpreting it,  and many have  restored some discretion  to the                                                               
courts.    She  said  in   order  to  overcome  the  presumption,                                                               
basically  a  parent  has  to  show that  they  are  not  abusing                                                               
substances,  that  they've  done   some  type  of  rehabilitative                                                               
program -  there is not a  requirement that they do  a batterer's                                                               
program or  a certified batterer's  program because it  was taken                                                               
out under  Stephanie F.  v. George  C., [270  P. 3d  737 (2012)].                                                             
They just  have to do  some type  of program such  as counseling,                                                               
alcohol or  anger management programs,  it is whatever  the court                                                               
believes is necessary  for the parent to  overcome whatever their                                                               
history  of domestic  violence is.   And  that it's  in the  best                                                               
interests for  that parent to  have custody based on  the history                                                               
of  domestic violence.   Also,  she related,  if there  is not  a                                                               
batterer's  program in  a certain  location, the  court does  not                                                               
have to  put that requirement in  place.  She said  she has heard                                                               
about the high cost of supervised  visitation and how hard it can                                                               
be, and pointed  out that in most  of their cases it  is a family                                                               
member or  friend performing the  supervised visitation.   Courts                                                               
can  be  incredibly  liberal  in  their  interpretation  of  what                                                               
supervised visit  is, for example,  she recently spoke with  a DV                                                               
victim involved in a custody case  who advised that the judge had                                                               
ordered that  the presumption applied.   She explained  that this                                                               
was a case  where the abusive parent had come  to the house drunk                                                               
and  started strangling  the victim  in front  of her  mother and                                                               
some other  people, and their 3  year old child took  a stick and                                                               
started hitting the  parent who was strangling the  mother.  When                                                               
the police  were called  [the abuser]  hid under  the bed  in the                                                               
house, and was arrested.  At  the custody hearing the judge found                                                               
that it was  a serious incident of domestic  violence and applied                                                               
the rebuttable presumption,  but allowed that parent to  go to an                                                               
alcohol program as their rehabilitative  program, and allowed the                                                               
father's live-in  girlfriend to  be the supervisor  of his  3 day                                                               
visit each week, which included over-nights.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
5:10:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  PATE  related  that  there  as  a  wide  range  of  what  is                                                               
considered supervised visitation  in this state.   Alaska has too                                                               
few  attorneys  representing  victims of  domestic  violence  and                                                               
sexual assault, her  agency has three attorneys and  a small army                                                               
of pro bono attorney to assist,  but the agency still has to turn                                                               
away one in two  cases.  If someone does not  have an attorney it                                                               
is  difficult  to  prove  domestic violence,  if  the  agency  is                                                               
involved in a case and the  other parent is indigent, they have a                                                               
right to a  free attorney.  She said her  agency believes that is                                                               
incredibly important,  that these cases involve  very fundamental                                                               
rights, rights  to your child,  rights to the upbringing  of your                                                               
child, and  that everyone should  have due process in  court when                                                               
that decision  is being made.   In addressing  the jurisdictional                                                               
statement, she  said that  one of the  important things  that has                                                               
happened over  the last  few years,  especially in  Anchorage, is                                                               
when there  is a domestic  violence protection order  filed, that                                                               
case  is consolidated  with the  divorce or  custody case  so the                                                               
divorce  or custody  judge,  who is  making  decisions about  the                                                               
children in the long term,  makes the decision about the domestic                                                               
violence  protection  order.   Therefore,  she  pointed out,  the                                                               
judge  has the  full information  about  the family  in making  a                                                               
decision as  to whether  domestic violence  has occurred  and how                                                               
that will  affect the custody  case down  the road.   She thanked                                                               
the committee for its time and expertise.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
5:11:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRENDA STANFILL,  Executive Director, Interior Alaska  Center for                                                               
Non-Violent Living,  noted that  [Version I] Sec.  2 and  Sec. 7,                                                               
appears to still include a conviction,  so it is either clear and                                                               
convincing  or  has  been  convicted   of  a  crime  of  domestic                                                               
violence.   She referred to Sec.  2 [AS 25.20.061, page  1, lines                                                               
13-15, and page 2, line 1] which read:                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     If  visitation is  awarded to  a parent  who the  court                                                                
     finds by  clear and  convincing evidence has  a history                                                            
     of perpetrating [COMMITTED  A CRIME INVOLVING] domestic                                                                
     violence  or  been  convicted   of  a  crime  involving                                                                
     domestic violence, against ...                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. STANFILL  said the same  language is  located in Sec.  8, and                                                               
opined  this  is  taking out  the  rebuttable  presumption,  it's                                                               
moving it into something the  court can consider, and it's moving                                                               
it to  clear and convincing  evidence or  a conviction.   Both of                                                               
those  create  some challenges,  she  explained,  when trying  to                                                               
prove  domestic  violence  has occurred,  or  oftentimes  as  the                                                               
sponsor said, the state does not  want people to be considered to                                                               
be a  domestic violence offender because  something has happened.                                                               
Putting someone in  fear is a domestic violence  crime that could                                                               
happen one  time and  a person could  plead "no  contest" because                                                               
they  believed  they put  someone  in  fear  and now  this  would                                                               
automatically  go  against  a  person as  now  being  a  domestic                                                               
violence  offender.   She said  she disagrees  that this  changed                                                               
much from the  first bill which required a conviction.   In 2004,                                                               
this rebuttable  presumption was important to  her agency because                                                               
she had two wonderful women dead.   She related that in 2001, the                                                               
two women  within six weeks of  each other were both  murdered by                                                               
their  abusive partner  while  trying  to accommodate  visitation                                                               
with their  children.   The first woman's  final words  in court,                                                               
begging  the judge,  to please  put  something in  place to  help                                                               
protect her in these exchanges  because she was very fearful that                                                               
she was going  to be killed."   This judge told her  that she and                                                               
her abusive  partner were both  adults and to  work it out.   She                                                               
was  murdered three  days later  and her  child was  in the  next                                                               
room.   She said these are  the types of issues  where each judge                                                               
rules on  the bench having  their own perspective, and  their own                                                               
history  and  belief  system.     One  of  the  reasons  for  the                                                               
presumption was to  make sure the court prioritizes  the issue of                                                               
domestic violence.   Currently, the presumption  reads that after                                                               
reviewing  all  of  the  evidence,   the  person  does  have  the                                                               
presumption  of being  a domestic  violence  offender, the  judge                                                               
sets out  what the  person must accomplish  before sole  or joint                                                               
custody can  be awarded to the  person.  She pointed  out that it                                                               
is known  that domestic violence and  divorce is one of  the most                                                               
dangerous  time due  to the  legalities, and  that person  losing                                                               
control over  the person [technical difficulties].   Ms. Stanfill                                                               
opined  there could  be a  discussion regarding  what constitutes                                                               
history and what timing should  be considered, but she likes this                                                               
version of  the bill even  less than  the original version.   She                                                               
urged the  committee to go back  to the bill drawing  board to be                                                               
certain  non-abusive  parents  do  not lose  contact  with  their                                                               
children.  Along  those same lines, she said, it  is important to                                                               
ensure a priority  is kept, when it comes  to protecting Alaska's                                                               
children,  to not  live in  homes where  children will  learn and                                                               
grow up to be a future generation of batterers.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
5:17:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CORRINE VORENKAMP,  Lead Staff Attorney,  Alaska Center  for Non-                                                               
Violent Living, said she shares  the concerns and comments of Mr.                                                               
Harrington,  Ms.  Stanfill,  and  Ms.   Pate,  and  she  is  also                                                               
concerned about the  impact of HB 334 on the  victims of domestic                                                               
violence, including  children who  are substantially  affected by                                                               
domestic  violence  in   their  homes.    She   referred  to  the                                                               
requirement  that there  be a  conviction  and acknowledged  that                                                               
this version does away with what  had been raised before, but she                                                               
opined raising  the standard of  proof to a clear  and convincing                                                               
standard singles out and elevates the  burden of proof on what is                                                               
already  a substantially  under-reported and  extremely difficult                                                               
crime  to prove  under  any  standard.   One  of  the issues  Ms.                                                               
Stanfill discussed  was the  lethality risk,  and she  noted that                                                               
the Center  for Non-Violent  Living as  with Ms.  Pate's program,                                                               
represents victims  of domestic violence often  in custody cases,                                                               
and most  of their clients  have a high  risk of being  killed by                                                               
abusers.   The risks  they face can  include histories  of having                                                               
been   strangled,  threatened   with  firearms,   and  repeatedly                                                               
threatened  that they  would be  killed if  they ever  left their                                                               
abusers, and/or  having their  pets harmed or  killed.   She said                                                               
that only a couple of their  clients have ever reported the abuse                                                               
to anyone  and they served  56 clients  last year, with  only one                                                               
client's abuser  convicted of a  crime of domestic  violence even                                                               
though there  have been  horrific abuses in  the majority  of the                                                               
cases  they represent.    Ms. Vorenkamp  related  that just  last                                                               
year, Mandy  Clemons applied for  a protective order on  her own,                                                               
but the  court found that she  had not proven there  was domestic                                                               
violence,  and even  the ex  parte order  she sought  was denied.                                                               
Ms.  Clemons  did  later  obtain  counsel  through  Alaska  Legal                                                               
Services Corporation  and her attorney was  capably attempting to                                                               
establish that  the domestic violence presumption  was applicable                                                               
and that  visitation with her  children should be  supervised for                                                               
her safety and her children's  safety.  Meanwhile, her abuser had                                                               
unsupervised visitation before the  custody trial on those issues                                                               
could be  held.  Ms. Clemons  was killed in her  child's presence                                                               
during the custody exchange.  She  advised that the trial has not                                                               
yet taken place,  but pointed out that Ms.  Clemon's batterer had                                                               
never been charged  with a crime of domestic violence  and had no                                                               
prior history.   Ms. Clemons was unable to prove,  even at the ex                                                               
parte level, an obviously true threat, she expressed.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
5:21:30 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  VORENKAMP underscored  the  concern that  these are  already                                                               
tough cases, and  singling out and elevating the  burden of proof                                                               
will  significantly impact  real  victims  of domestic  violence.                                                               
She urged  the committee  to reconsider the  goals here  and what                                                               
the  legislation is  trying to  accomplish.   She noted  that the                                                               
rebuttable presumption  is two prior crimes  of domestic violence                                                               
proven to judge  by a preponderance of the  evidence standard, or                                                               
one  that has  caused serious  physical injury,  which is  a high                                                               
standard under Alaska's statutes.   It is defined in criminal law                                                               
statutes and basically requires  severe and protracted impairment                                                               
of health  or loss or  function of a body  member or organ.   She                                                               
described  that as  a high  level  of injury,  not necessarily  a                                                               
broken bone,  but one that  significantly impacts  someone's life                                                               
for  a substantial  period  of time  and the  problem  is in  the                                                               
proof,  she   explained.    She   noted  that   Fairbanks  judges                                                               
consolidate   protective   order    proceedings,   rarely   apply                                                               
collateral estoppel  to the protective order  proceeding hearings                                                               
when those issues are contested in  a custody case, and are still                                                               
having  a  difficult  time  establishing  even  sometimes  severe                                                               
domestic violence.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
5:23:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  VORENKAMP said  the presumption  statute currently  requires                                                               
both a  proof of  those two  crimes by  the preponderance  of the                                                               
evidence standard.   She pointed  out that even when  that's been                                                               
proven,  the   judges  have  discretion,  under   the  rebuttable                                                               
presumption statute,  to not order supervised  visitation if they                                                               
do not think  it is necessary, or in the  child's best interests.                                                               
The  National Council  of  Juvenile and  Family  Court Judges  in                                                               
1994, noted there  should be a presumption  that it's detrimental                                                               
to  a child  to be  placed  in a  sole  or joint  custody with  a                                                               
perpetrator  of family  violence.   She  explained that  Alaska's                                                               
rebuttable presumption  comes from research and  information that                                                               
legal  shared  custody  can  be   detrimental  to  the  children,                                                               
harmful, and dangerous.  When  there is proven domestic violence,                                                               
the  judges have  discretion to  fashion  something different  if                                                               
they  do not  think supervised  visitation is  appropriate.   She                                                               
urged the  committee to  reconsider the  changes here  that would                                                               
make it so hard to prove domestic violence.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
5:25:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ALLEN BAILEY,  Law Offices of  Allen Baily,  said that he  has 42                                                               
years of experience working with  domestic violence victims, is a                                                               
former  member  of the  American  Bar  Association Commission  on                                                               
Domestic and Sexual Violence, and  was chair of that commission's                                                               
Domestic  Violence  Committee.   He  related  that he  posted  an                                                               
article  from  the  House Health  and  Social  Services  Standing                                                               
Committee hearing on  the website.  He remarked,  the original HB                                                               
334 [Version H]  was a bad option with  no reality-based purpose,                                                               
it  appears  to  have  been  based on  anecdotes  for  which  the                                                               
committee only heard  one side.  However, he  said, the committee                                                               
substitute  for HB  334  [Version  I] is  truly  a horrible  idea                                                               
because  it  makes  intimate  partner  violence,  that  can  harm                                                               
children and its  direct victims in long lasting  ways, the least                                                               
important criterion for child custody  under AS 25.24.150(c).  He                                                               
said  he found  it  amazing that  that could  be  done by  simply                                                               
inserting  a  clause  requiring proof  by  clear  and  convincing                                                               
evidence of  every part  of the statute  that refers  to domestic                                                               
violence.   It's interesting, he  noted, that it goes  from being                                                               
almost  impossibly  difficult  under  the  original  HB  334,  to                                                               
something that degrades domestic  violence to the least important                                                               
criterion, in statute, for the  selection of child custody simply                                                               
by requiring  a higher  burden of  persuasion of  the court.   He                                                               
noted  there are  few other  kinds of  civil litigation  in which                                                               
that level  of proof  is required,  one is child  in need  of aid                                                               
litigation,  and certain  parts  of the  court's  findings.   The                                                               
important  issue  here is  that  no  order regarding  custody  of                                                               
children will be made without  findings concerning whether or not                                                               
allegations  of   domestic  violence   have  been  proved   by  a                                                               
preponderance of the evidence.  In  the event the court makes the                                                               
finding that  it is so proved,  then the court takes  some action                                                               
in pursuit of  whether or not there's going to  be a presumption.                                                               
He pointed  out that the court  must find at least  two incidents                                                               
of  domestic violence  have occurred,  or one  incident involving                                                               
serious physical  injury.   The statute was  written that  way to                                                               
relieve  people in  the circumstances  described by  Ms. Koeneman                                                               
where she  said she  threw something  in a moment  of anger  in a                                                               
domestic  dispute.   First  of  all,  he  related, if  you  throw                                                               
something and  it isn't  thrown at  someone, it  would only  be a                                                               
domestic  violence crime  if  it caused  physical  damage to  the                                                               
object  that is  thrown  or some  other object  -  that would  be                                                               
destruction of property.  If it is  thrown at a person, that is a                                                               
legitimate definition of  a fourth degree assault  if that person                                                               
is in fear.   He drew the committee's attention  to the materials                                                               
he deposited  on the legislature's  website for this  bill, dated                                                               
March 24 and March 29, 2016,  including an article published in a                                                               
peer  reviewed  journal,  The   Family  Law  Quarterly,  entitled                                                             
"Prioritizing Child  Safety as the Prime  Best Interests Factor."                                                               
He described  it as  an accurate  discussion of  current research                                                               
concerning children in custody litigation.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
5:32:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ALLEN LEVY,  Physiological Associate, advised he  is a recognized                                                               
expert on domestic violence and  the effects of domestic violence                                                               
on children.   When discussing domestic violence  it is important                                                               
to not  treat it as a  unitary phenomenon because there  are four                                                               
recognizable types,  and he  agreed with  supporters of  the bill                                                               
that the  current definition of  domestic violence in the  law is                                                               
completely  inadequate.   If  the  problem is  to  be solved,  he                                                               
stressed, it is  not with HB 334 as currently  written in that it                                                               
requires  a  serious new  look  at  domestic violence  in  making                                                               
Alaska's  statutes accurately  reflect  the  reality of  domestic                                                               
violence.   Mr.  Levy  read  his testimony  into  the record,  as                                                               
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     I testified  previously on  this bill  in front  of the                                                                    
     Health  &  Social  Services Committee.    I  am  deeply                                                                    
     troubled  my testimony  and the  testimony  of so  many                                                                    
     others, experts  on domestic  violence and  the victims                                                                    
     of  domestic  violence  appear to  have  been  ignored.                                                                    
     This bill still has legs  and it is walking steadily in                                                                    
     the  wrong  direction.   If  this  bill passes  in  its                                                                    
     current   form,   or   with  the   substitution   being                                                                    
     considered  before this  committee  today,  then I  say                                                                    
     "Heaven forgive you for you know  not what you do."  It                                                                    
     seems  as if  there is  momentum from  a vocal  special                                                                    
     interest group to support this  bill.  Please listen to                                                                    
     the real experts, those who  are standing up to protect                                                                    
     the  vulnerable and  voiceless, the  children who  have                                                                    
     had to  cower in the  night listening to  the violence,                                                                    
     and  the survivors  who  at great  cost  and risk  have                                                                    
     struggled to  free themselves  and their  children from                                                                    
     this reign  of terror.   If you are inclined  to ignore                                                                    
     those  voices, if  you find  yourself tempted  and even                                                                    
     seduced by the  voices of those who  are crying because                                                                    
     they  can no  longer  batter and  terrorize those  whom                                                                    
     they should have  been loving.  The  apologies of those                                                                    
     who are  really only sorry  that they got caught.   The                                                                    
     voices of those who falsely  play the victim then I say                                                                    
     to  you,  go ahead,  pass  this  bill, pass  this  bill                                                                    
     please.   Ignore the fact  that Alaska has  the highest                                                                    
     rate of  domestic violence in  the nation.   Ignore the                                                                    
     fact  that domestic  violence  costs  this nation  $5.8                                                                    
     billion  annually.   Ignore  the  fact that  statistics                                                                    
     show that more  than one in ten  women in relationships                                                                    
     experience domestic  violence every  year.   Ignore the                                                                    
     fact  that those  statistics significantly  underreport                                                                    
     the  actual  number  of  domestic  violence  incidents.                                                                    
     Ignore  the fact  that homicide  is the  eighth leading                                                                    
     cause of death  in Alaska and that 69  percent of those                                                                    
     deaths  were  linked  to  sexual  assault  or  domestic                                                                    
     violence.   This  bill  was put  forward  to support  a                                                                    
     father who quote  "inadvertently violated a restraining                                                                    
     order."    Excuse  me,  ignore  the  fact  that  nobody                                                                    
     inadvertently  violates a  restraining  order.   Ignore                                                                    
     the fact that  the sponsor of this  bill apparently did                                                                    
     not bother to speak to  this man's victims and that ...                                                                    
     victims  at  a  court   after  hearing  evidence  found                                                                    
     actually needed protection.  Ignore  the fact that this                                                                    
     is special  interest's legislation  of the  worst kind.                                                                    
     And  please ignore  the voices  of the  victims as  the                                                                    
     supporters of this bill are.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     I will  share with you  now the  voice of one  victim I                                                                    
     encourage you to ignore.   The voice of one survivor of                                                                    
     domestic  violence at  the sentencing  of the  batterer                                                                    
     ... the  man who battered  her and her children.   This                                                                    
     is a  woman who managed  to get free of  that batterer,                                                                    
     although he  had previously  never been  convicted, she                                                                    
     was  able to  get some  measure of  protection for  her                                                                    
     children under  the statutes that this  bill is seeking                                                                    
     to  eliminate.    But  after  the  father  successfully                                                                    
     rebutted  the presumption  under  the current  statute,                                                                    
     one of  her sons came  back from his father  covered in                                                                    
     bruises from being beaten with  a belt.  The father was                                                                    
     able to plead to a significantly reduced charged.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Here  are her  words at  the sentencing  hearing: I  am                                                                    
     here to  speak on behalf  of the victims of  this man's                                                                    
     crimes, my sons,  my husband, and myself.   His charges                                                                    
     are on the record but he  is pleading to less than what                                                                    
     he  is charged  with and  much  less than  what he  has                                                                    
     actually done.   Two of  his crimes were  assaulting my                                                                    
     husband and  assaulting my  son.  A  key element  of an                                                                    
     assault charge  is fear in the  mind of the victim.   I                                                                    
     am here  to say that our  fear of this man  is real and                                                                    
     present every  day.  Although today's  hearing will put                                                                    
     a  close in  the formal  proceedings, my  life and  the                                                                    
     life of  my family will go  on, and it will  go on with                                                                    
     fear.  He  has put fear in our hearts  and we fear that                                                                    
     it will not stop.  The man  you see before you is a man                                                                    
     of many faces.  In court  and to his many friends he is                                                                    
     charming,   eloquent,   a   smooth   talker,   likable,                                                                    
     charismatic, and apparently sincere.   But he has shown                                                                    
     in the  past, and we fear  he will continue to  show to                                                                    
     us faces that he feels  entitled by right to inflict on                                                                    
     us.   To the son he  beat black and blue  he showed the                                                                    
     face of  force, violence, and  terror.  To  my husband,                                                                    
     he showed the face of threats  and violence.  To me, he                                                                    
     shows the  face of domination  and control.   He stands                                                                    
     before  you now,  your honor,  contrite and  respectful                                                                    
     but we  know in fear in  our hearts that he  is keeping                                                                    
     his  other  less  honorable  and  more  chilling  faces                                                                    
     reserved for  us in the future.   He is a  batterer and                                                                    
     such men known  to the experts for what  they truly are                                                                    
     do not  easily give up their  violent controlling ways.                                                                    
     Apparently the  deal is done  and my family and  I must                                                                    
     accept the  verdict of  the court.   But hear  us, your                                                                    
     honor, and know that we will  live in fear, and we fear                                                                    
     that  we will  be  standing before  you  again on  some                                                                    
     unknown  future   date,  again  the  victims   of  this                                                                    
     batterer's  unrelenting  need  to  inflict  domination,                                                                    
     violence, and  control of those  he has selected  to be                                                                    
     his victims.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     So  please, committee,  go ahead,  pass  this bill  and                                                                    
     make it impossible for victims  of domestic violence to                                                                    
     get protection and  safety.  Pass this bill  and make a                                                                    
     parent's right  to batter and terrorize  more important                                                                    
     than a  child's right to  live in safety  and security,                                                                    
     that "might  makes right," and  that the  system favors                                                                    
     the powerful and cruel.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
5:40:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
FRED TRIEM, Attorney, advised he is 75 years of age, and is                                                                     
actively practicing law, often in the area of domestic relations                                                                
law.   He said he supports  the original version [Version  H] and                                                               
opposes  the   committee  substitute   [Version  I],   which  was                                                               
undermined  by  the House  Health  and  Social Services  Standing                                                               
Committee.   Thereby, violating  the Satchel Paige  law -  "if it                                                               
ain't broke,  don't fix  it," which the  House Health  and Social                                                               
Services Standing  Committee violated.   He explained  the wisdom                                                               
of  legislation,  as  follows:  Good laws  express  standards  of                                                               
conduct in language  that is concise and not  ambiguous; bad laws                                                               
are   ambiguous,   loosie-goosie,   amorphous  and   subject   to                                                               
misinterpretation and  disputes about the meaning.   The original                                                               
version, he said, cured some  major problems in Alaska's domestic                                                               
relations  law in  that it  eliminates  the bad  vague phrase  "a                                                               
history of  perpetrating" and replaces  it with a  concise phrase                                                               
"convicted."  Everyone  knows the meaning of  the word convicted,                                                               
it is a precise term.  When a  judge has a case with the issue of                                                               
whether  a  person  has  been  convicted  of  a  crime,  a  legal                                                               
assistant  can   go  to  CourtView   and  answer   that  question                                                               
immediately, he said.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
5:43:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TRIEM  said  that  legislatures should  try  to  refine  the                                                               
language  in  laws to  allow  people  interpreting them  to  know                                                               
exactly what is meant and  avoid lengthy litigation.  He advised,                                                               
within the  Alaska Digest, Section  "Words and Phrases,"  is part                                                             
of Alaska's  legal history  in which  little snippets  are listed                                                               
from Supreme Court  decisions.  He then turned to  the meaning of                                                               
"clear and  convincing evidence"  and read a  sound bite  from an                                                               
Alaska  case  in 1994,  which  gives  one  meaning to  clear  and                                                               
convincing  evidence.   He  then turned  to  the supplement  from                                                               
2011,  and  said  two  more  decisions  are  reported  that  give                                                               
different interpretations of  clear and convincing, so  it is not                                                               
a  precise  term.    Within  Black's  Law  Dictionary  for  every                                                             
definition  in  the  dictionary,  the Alaska  Supreme  Court  has                                                               
issued  three or  four  more.   Therefore,  clear and  convincing                                                               
evidence, as  used by the  committee, is  not an exact  term and;                                                               
therefore,  takes the  state back  to  re-infecting Alaska's  law                                                               
with  an even  worse version  than before  the original  bill was                                                               
introduced.  He offered that  by introducing clear and convincing                                                               
just  exacerbates  the problem  of  vagueness.    He said  he  is                                                               
advocating turning back  to the original version of  the bill and                                                               
use that  as a  launching pad  for the  discussion.   The version                                                               
forwarded  to the  House Judiciary  Standing  Committee from  the                                                               
prior  committee,  Sec.  7,  would amend  subsection  (6)  of  AS                                                               
25.24.150(c) by  removing one  of the  most important  pillars of                                                               
Alaska's domestic relations  child custody law.   He explained it                                                               
is the  requirement that the  court consider the  willingness and                                                               
ability  of each  parent to  facilitate and  encourage visitation                                                               
with  the  other parent.    That's  a  major factor  when  giving                                                               
custody to  one parent, to be  sure other parent will  be able to                                                               
see the children and, he described that as a terrible mistake.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX asked whether that was in Sec. 6.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TRIEM  said  he  is working  off  the  committee  substitute                                                               
Version N, page 4, Sec. 7.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX related that the committee is on Version I.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT  noted  that  it  is  the  same  in  both                                                               
versions, page 4, lines 29-31, to page 5, lines 1-5, which read:                                                                
                                                                                                                                
               (6) the willingness and ability of each                                                                          
     parent  to   facilitate  and  encourage  a   close  and                                                                    
     continuing  relationship between  the other  parent and                                                                    
     the child  [, EXCEPT  THAT THE  COURT MAY  NOT CONSIDER                                                                    
     THIS WILLINGNESS  AND ABILITY IF ONE  PARENT SHOWS THAT                                                                    
     THE OTHER  PARENT HAS SEXUALLY ASSAULTED  OR ENGAGED IN                                                                    
     DOMESTIC VIOLENCE  AGAINST THE  PARENT OR A  CHILD, AND                                                                    
     THAT A  CONTINUING RELATIONSHIP  WITH THE  OTHER PARENT                                                                    
     WILL  ENDANGER  THE  HEALTH OR  SAFETY  OF  EITHER  THE                                                                    
     PARENT OR THE CHILD];                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
5:47:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TRIEM, in  response  to  Chair LeDoux,  agreed  it is  still                                                               
there, and offered that everything  he said applies to Versions I                                                               
and N.  He stressed to not  emasculate this law by taking out the                                                               
words that would allow a court to consider the willingness ...                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX interjected that is where she is getting confused.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT  referred to page  4, line 17, "Sec  7. AS                                                               
25.24.150(c) is amended  to read" and that  everything in capital                                                               
letters is removed  has been removed from this  bill.  Therefore,                                                               
on page 4,  line 31, "EXCEPT THAT THE COURT  MAY NOT CONSIDER THE                                                               
WILLINGNESS  AND  ABILITY IF  ONE  PARENT  SHOWS THAT  THE  OTHER                                                               
PARENT  HAS SEXUALLY  ASSAULTED OR  ENGAGED IN  DOMESTIC VIOLENCE                                                               
AGAINST  THE   PARENT  OR   A  CHILD,   AND  THAT   A  CONTINUING                                                               
RELATIONSHIP WITH  THE OTHER PARENT  WILL ENDANGER THE  HEALTH OR                                                               
SAFETY OF EITHER THE PARENT OR  THE CHILD]."  It has been changed                                                               
to read ...                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
5:48:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX  interjected that  she saw  that, but  surmised that                                                               
Mr.  Triem was  confused because  he  believes the  court was  no                                                               
longer  able to  consider the  willingness.   She said  she still                                                               
thinks Mr. Triem may be confused.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  TRIEM  said he  was  not  willing  to admit  confusion,  and                                                               
referred  to the  importance of  this provision  noting that  the                                                               
language has been bracketed and  that the committee is taking out                                                               
the  prior committee's  recommendation,  which is  to remove  the                                                               
language Representative Millett read.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  LEDOUX agreed,  except that  that is  taking out  that the                                                               
court may not consider the  willingness and ability if one parent                                                               
has engaged  in domestic  violence, and it's  going back  to just                                                               
plain,  "(6)  the  willingness  and ability  of  each  parent  to                                                               
facilitate  and encourage  a  close  and continuing  relationship                                                               
between the other parent and the child."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRIEM  confessed error because  Version N, which  he received                                                               
from the other committee, deletes more  of the good language.  He                                                               
then  realized that  the drafting  error  had been  cured and  he                                                               
withdrew his objection to the  language.  He thanked Chair LeDoux                                                               
for pressing him on that issue.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
5:50:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. TRIEM stated that "this  hurriedness that you're experiencing                                                               
here illustrates  that the  problem that 90  days is  not enough,                                                               
and I respectfully urge you ..."                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX interrupted and said  the committee is staying on HB                                                               
334.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
5:51:0 PM                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
STEVEN  SAMUELSON  offered that  he  has  experience with  people                                                               
working with him on a boat,  or away from families, going through                                                               
a divorce, and the  effect it has on them.   Alaska is a resource                                                               
state and people can  be out on the water for a  month at a time.                                                               
He  said  the bill  pertains  to  the  child  which is  the  most                                                               
important,  and he  likes that  it puts  both individuals  on the                                                               
spot and makes  it a level playing  field.  He said  he could see                                                               
someone out  in the field  trying to work  with a lawyer  and set                                                               
dates  could hinder  their effectiveness  to fight  in court  and                                                               
defend  themselves.     People   in  the  field   have  expressed                                                               
frustration and tears  because the other parent  plays games, and                                                               
they  are out  in the  middle  of the  ocean trying  to bring  in                                                               
income to pay  for the proceedings, pay for the  divorce, and pay                                                               
to be  sure they can  see their child.   He pointed out  that the                                                               
first person  that runs out  of money is  done.  He  related that                                                               
people  in  bad  relationships,  or  were  in  previous  domestic                                                               
violence  relationships,  tend  to  continue to  get  into  those                                                               
relationships.   He continued that  just because the  parent with                                                               
the child  was in a bad  relationship that doesn't mean  they are                                                               
not going  to get back  into another relationship,  which affects                                                               
the child from a different individual.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SAMUELSON said  he  could have  been  charged with  domestic                                                               
violence but because his wife was honest, he was not charged.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
5:58:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CARMEN  LOWRY, Executive  Director,  Alaska  Network on  Domestic                                                               
Violence  and  Sexual  Assault  (ANDVSA),  advised  that  as  the                                                               
representative  of the  Alaska Network  on Domestic  Violence and                                                               
Sexual  Assault  (ANDVSA) it  is  opposed  to the  original  bill                                                               
(Version H)  and is further  opposed to the  committee substitute                                                               
(Version I).                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
5:59:13 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN asked what she is in favor of.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. LOWRY responded  that that answer "would take  more time than                                                               
I have right now."                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR LEDOUX  closed public testimony after  ascertaining that no                                                               
one further wished to testify.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
[HB 334 was held over.]                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 214 - Sponsor Statement.pdf HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 214
HB 214 - Sectional Analysis.pdf HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 214
HB 214 - CS Version P.pdf HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 214
HB 214 - Summary of Changes - Version W to Version P.pdf HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 214
HB 214 - Version W.pdf HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 214
HB 214 - Fiscal Note - ACS-TRC-03-17-16.PDF HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 214
HB 214 - Fiscal Note - DOA-DRM-03-11-16.PDF HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 214
HB 214 - Fiscal Note - DOLWD-WCAC-03-08-16.PDF HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 214
HB 214 - Supporting Documents - Numbers of Cases and Published Decisions.pdf HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 214
HB 214 - Supporting Documents - Number of Supreme Court Appeals and Petitions for Review.pdf HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 214
HB 334 - Sponsor Statement.pdf HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 334
HB 334 - CS Version I.PDF HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 334
HB 334 - Fiscal Note-ACS-TRC-04-05-16.pdf HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 334
HB 334 - Supporting Documents - Article KTOO 03.27.16.pdf HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 334
HB 334 - Supporting Documents - STEPHANIE F. v. GEORGE C., 270 P. 3d 737 (2012).pdf HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 334
HB 334 - Letter of Support - Grant 03.17.16.pdf HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 334
HB 334 - Letter of Support - Swanson 03.17.16.pdf HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 334
HB 334 - Letter of Opposition - Levy.pdf HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 334
HB 334 - Letter of Opposition - ANDVSA 04.08.16.pdf HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 334
HB 286 - Sponsor Statement - Governor's Transmittal Letter.pdf HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 286
HB 286 - Sectional Analysis.pdf HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 286
HB 286 - CS Version N.PDF HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 286
HB 286 - Explanation of Changes - ver A to ver N.pdf HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 286
HB 286 - Version A.pdf HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 286
HB 286 - Fiscal Note-DFG-CO-04-04-16.pdf HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 286
HB 286 - Fiscal Note-DPS-AWT-12-18-15.pdf HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 286
HB 334 - Letter of Support - Triem 04.09.16.pdf HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 334
HB 334 - Letter of Opposition - Bailey.pdf HJUD 4/9/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 334