Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

02/06/2017 01:30 PM JUDICIARY

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01:33:25 PM Start
01:34:32 PM Confirmation Hearing(s):
01:45:21 PM HB77
02:17:18 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Please Note Time Change --
+ Select Committee on Legislative Ethics TELECONFERENCED
Moved HB 77 Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                   HB 77-2017 REVISOR'S BILL                                                                                
1:45:21 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN announced  that the last order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 77, "An  Act making corrective amendments  to the                                                               
Alaska Statutes  as recommended by  the revisor of  statutes; and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
1:45:57 PM                                                                                                                    
LISA  KIRSCH,  Assistant   Revisor,  Legislative  Legal  Counsel,                                                               
Legislative   Legal   Services,   Legislative   Affairs   Agency,                                                               
explained that  the revisor's bill  is an opportunity  to correct                                                               
any  deficiencies,  conflicts,  and obsolete  provisions  in  the                                                               
statutes.   For  the most  part, she  commented, the  changes are                                                               
minor  because  her   office  avoids  anything  that   may  be  a                                                               
substantive  change  to  the  law.   It  is  generally  "clean-up                                                               
provisions"  and corrections  to  make  the statutes  consistent.                                                               
She offered  to answer specific  questions or go  through section                                                               
by section.                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  CLAMAN asked  that she  highlight three  to five  sections                                                               
that  may be  of  more  interest than  others  which represent  a                                                               
flavor of the changes made.                                                                                                     
1:47:12 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. KIRSCH responded that she could  group them by category.  She                                                               
explained there are a fair  number of sections removing the words                                                               
"but not limited to."  Alaska  has a statutory provision in Title                                                               
1 allowing  her office to  remove that language because  the word                                                               
"including" doesn't  need to be  qualified "but not  limited to."                                                               
She  explained that  provisions with  general application  to the                                                               
statutes as  a whole are  located in  a provision under  Title 1,                                                               
thereby, eliminating  the need to  repeat language over  and over                                                               
CHAIR  CLAMAN  surmised  this  is an  instance  where  words  are                                                               
actually being taken out of the statute book.                                                                                   
MS. KIRSCH  agreed, and  she said the  words are  removed because                                                               
they are unnecessary due to the provision under Title 1.                                                                        
1:47:56 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. KIRSCH  advised that six  sections delete, repeal,  or update                                                               
obsolete   provisions,  22   sections   deal   with  errors   and                                                               
oversights, things that may have  been changed throughout the law                                                               
and then there was one spot that  was missed.  She pointed to the                                                               
end of  the sectional  and advised that  a couple  of definitions                                                               
are  removed because  [the  subject] word  was  removed from  the                                                               
chapter or  the section  that the  word represented.   Therefore,                                                               
there is  no longer a  need for  the definition because  the word                                                               
being defined is no longer included, she said.                                                                                  
MS.  KIRSCH advised  there are  32 sections  where the  revisor's                                                               
office  improved the  former substance  of the  law, often  it is                                                               
grammatical changes  and preferred language.   She explained that                                                               
the  revisor's  office  is directed  by  Legislative  Counsel  to                                                               
follow  the  drafting  manual and  there  are  certain  preferred                                                               
phrases, and  certain grammatical  structures that  are preferred                                                               
over others  so that the  statutes are consistent in  their usage                                                               
of language.                                                                                                                    
1:49:17 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  commented that he  appreciates the                                                               
revisor's  bill  each  year, and  appreciates  tighter  and  more                                                               
minimalistic statutes.   He  said that  having spent  hundreds if                                                               
not thousands of hours doing  similar work on Wikipedia wherein a                                                               
person attempts  to bring things  into conformance of  the Manual                                                               
of Style.                                                                                                                       
MS.  KIRSCH responded  that Representative  Kreiss-Tomkins has  a                                                               
unique taste and that she shares those tastes.                                                                                  
1:50:35 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX asked  whether  there is  anything in  the                                                               
bill, if this  bill had not been introduced, that  would impact a                                                               
criminal case  where a  person may,  or may  not, be  seeing jail                                                               
time  in disregard  of the  intent of  the legislature,  or in  a                                                               
civil case where the person would lose or gain property rights.                                                                 
MS. KIRSCH answered that that is  a broad question, and she could                                                               
not say  with absolute  certainty.  Although,  she said  she does                                                               
know that the  revisor's office has not amended  any criminal law                                                               
provisions, at least nothing under Titles  11 or 12.  Her office,                                                               
she explained,  generally provides the revisor's  bill provisions                                                               
based on what  title it would use, and it  has performed periodic                                                               
reviews  of different  titles  of  the statutes.    There are  no                                                               
changes to criminal law directly,  but she was unsure there might                                                               
not  be a  provision somewhere  that  may affect  a criminal  law                                                               
provision.   Always,  she said,  the  goal is  to avoid  changing                                                               
substantive law.                                                                                                                
MS. KIRSCH related that having said  that, in the event there are                                                               
two provisions that do not match  up and the revisor's office has                                                               
created something that makes it  parallel, it may avoid a problem                                                               
which is  the goal.  Such  that, there may be  something that was                                                               
not changed  in a bill  one year, such  as a definition  was left                                                               
in,  and  a court  might  look  at that  and  say  it creates  an                                                               
ambiguity.   The  purpose of  the office,  in part,  is to  avoid                                                               
conflicts  between two  provisions of  law that  might create  an                                                               
ambiguity problem.                                                                                                              
1:53:00 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. KIRSCH,  in response to Representative  LeDoux, answered that                                                               
there is one revisor, two assistant revisors, and one advisor.                                                                  
1:53:30 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  KIRSCH answered  Representative  LeDoux that  she works  for                                                               
Legislative Legal, and the employees  of revisor's office are the                                                               
primary  employees  involved  in   the  revisor's  bill.    These                                                               
employees have  other duties,  such that all  of the  draft bills                                                               
pass through the hands of one  of the assistant revisors, and the                                                               
hands of  the revisor.   She remarked  that a recent  big project                                                               
was  the  republication   of  the  statutes,  and   it  has  been                                                               
1:54:20 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  said he is  also in favor of  cleaning up                                                               
the statutes whenever possible,  although, he received a concern.                                                               
He pointed to  page 4, last paragraph of  Ms. Kirsch's memorandum                                                               
directed to Chair Claman, dated 1/27/17, which read as follows:                                                                 
     Text of Repealed Paragraphs:                                                                                           
     AS 47.07.900(14)                                                                                                         
          (14)   "nurse   midwife"    means   a   registered                                                                  
     professional  nurse who  is  certified  as an  advanced                                                                    
     nurse   practitioner   under    AS   08.68.850(1)   and                                                                    
     authorized  to  practice  as   a  nurse  midwife  under                                                                    
     regulations    adopted    in   accordance    with    AS                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  advised  the concern  is  regarding  the                                                               
change  to  AK  47.07.900  dealing with  "nurse  midwives."    He                                                               
pointed out  that being from  the Matanuska-Susitna  Valley there                                                               
are quite a few midwives  and nurse midwives, and sometimes there                                                               
is  a running  battle between  nurses  and midwives  as to  their                                                               
respective  roles  and  potential  competition  for  each  other.                                                               
While  looking at  removing the  definition  of "nurse  midwife,"                                                               
which no  longer appears in this  section of statutes -  which is                                                               
the  nursing  board, he  asked  whether  that definition  appears                                                               
elsewhere in  the statutes, because  the midwives have  their own                                                               
board and  would clamor for  equal recognition in statute  if not                                                               
here then somewhere else.                                                                                                       
1:56:04 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  KIRSCH responded  that  she  does not  have  the ability  to                                                               
search  the  electronic database  here,  but  she will  get  that                                                               
information  to  him  later.    She  explained  the  reason  this                                                               
definition is being  removed is because the  term "nurse midwife"                                                               
is no longer used for that chapter.   If there is a need for that                                                               
definition,  it  would  have  to  be  done  through  a  piece  of                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN asked,  in the  event there  are multiple                                                               
chapters dealing  with similar terms, would  the revisor's office                                                               
recommend   removing  those   definitions  mentioned   repeatedly                                                               
throughout the statutes,  or would it recommend  that those terms                                                               
used in  every chapter should  require a definition.   Basically,                                                               
he said, is there an  ability to reference definitions in another                                                               
portion of  the statute  if the  chapter a  person is  looking at                                                               
references a term and does not  define it, or should that term be                                                               
defined repeatedly in each chapter it appears.                                                                                  
1:57:54 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. KIRSCH  related that the  decision is made on  a case-by-case                                                               
basis, but there can certainly  be general definitions that apply                                                               
to multiple  places in the  statutes.   Often, it will  say "this                                                               
term --  whatever that  term is,  say nurse  midwife, --  has the                                                               
meaning  given  in  ___  and  then  it  lists  another  statutory                                                               
section."    Also,  she  reiterated,  Title 1  has  a  number  of                                                               
definitions, such as  municipality or person, of  which are terms                                                               
used  throughout the  statutes.   She  paraphrased  that it  will                                                               
read: "unless  there is a  specific definition that applies  in a                                                               
particular  part  of the  statutes,  this  definition will  apply                                                               
throughout."  She related that  the revisor's office does both of                                                               
those things,  and there  are different reasons  to choose  to do                                                               
one or the other in different parts of the statute.                                                                             
1:58:47 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE REINBOLD  referred to  Sec. 28.  [AS 37.06.020(d),                                                               
page 14, lines 23-25] which read as follows:                                                                                    
          (d) Notwithstanding the guidelines in (b) of this                                                                     
     section, the legislature may  appropriate any amount to                                                                    
     be   community  assistance   [REVENUE  SHARING]   fund.                                                                
     Nothing in this section creates a dedicated fund.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD  noted  that the  revisor's  office  had                                                               
corrected an oversight.                                                                                                         
1:59:27 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  KIRSCH explained  that Sec.  28  replaces "revenue  sharing"                                                               
with  "assistance,"  via  Senate  Bill  210,  passed  during  the                                                               
Twenty-Ninth  Legislature, and  made law  under Chapter  44, 2016                                                               
Session  Laws.   She advised  that those  terms were  replaced in                                                               
that manner  throughout, and  Sec. 28 is  one that  the revisor's                                                               
office missed.                                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE REINBOLD  related that  she could not  recall what                                                               
Senate Bill 210 related to.                                                                                                     
MS. KIRSCH responded that she could not recall.                                                                                 
2:00:18 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE REINBOLD  noted she had five  sections with regard                                                               
to Ms. Kirsch's testimony that  the revisor's office changed "the                                                               
substance or the form of the law."   She referred to Sec. 14, [AS                                                               
14.18.020,  page  9, lines  8-16],  and  asked  how the  form  or                                                               
substance of the law was changed.                                                                                               
MS. KIRSCH advised  this is a section where  the revisor's office                                                               
is  removing  "but  not  limited   to"  which  follows  the  word                                                               
"including."  She  referred to a statutory provision  in Title 1,                                                               
and she paraphrased, "anytime in  the Alaska Statutes that we use                                                               
the word  'including' it is presumed  to be followed by  'but not                                                               
limited to.'"  Therefore, she reiterated, the  words "not limited                                                               
to" are unnecessary and are being removed.                                                                                      
MS.  KIRSCH continued  that the  next change,  "based on"  rather                                                               
than the "basis of," is a language  change and it is not meant to                                                               
change the substance of the law or its meaning.                                                                                 
2:01:52 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD noted  this is  based on  discrimination                                                               
employment which is  a large issue for the public,  and it is not                                                               
known whether the  umbrella is bigger here or if  it is just "not                                                               
limited to" so it sounds like it is a broader umbrella.                                                                         
MS. KIRSCH  reiterated that  the words "but  not limited  to" are                                                               
presumed  to  remain there  due  to  the  provision in  Title  1,                                                               
nothing has been changed by removing them from this section.                                                                    
2:02:27 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE REINBOLD  said it  is important "because  you said                                                               
that -- it is going to change the form or substance of the law."                                                                
MS. KIRSCH  said that she misspoke  and clarified that it  is not                                                               
making  a  substantive  change that  would  actually  change  the                                                               
effect of the  law.  Rather, it is changing  the substance in the                                                               
sense of  the form  of the  language to put  it in  a grammatical                                                               
form, thereby, removing the words  "but not limited to" which are                                                               
already included by virtue of the provision in Title 1.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE REINBOLD asked whether that  is the same for [Sec.                                                               
15.  AS 14.20.450.  Responsibilities of  commission] wherein  the                                                               
revisor's office  eliminates "but not  limited to."   She further                                                               
asked whether there are any other changes in Sec. 15.                                                                           
MS. KIRSCH answered, "No, that's the single change ..."                                                                         
2:03:19 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN advised  that the title of  the previously discussed                                                               
Senate Bill  210, was "Community  Revenue Sharing  Program Change                                                               
to  Community  Assistance Program."    He  remarked that  in  the                                                               
legislature's infinite wisdom it chose to change the name.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD  referred  to Sec.  16  [AS  22.15.100],                                                               
Functions and  powers of district  judge and magistrate,  page 9,                                                               
line 25, and  asked whether there are any  substantive changes in                                                               
their duties or responsibilities.                                                                                               
MS. KIRSCH  responded "No,"  the only change  in that  section is                                                               
the addition  of the word  "those" and  the deletion of  the word                                                               
2:04:47 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD queried  why  the  rivisor's office  put                                                               
these under the substance of the  law if there is just one little                                                               
2:04:58 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  KIRSCH explained  that  it  is referred  to  in that  manner                                                               
because it is  changing the language, it is  making a grammatical                                                               
change.  The word "such" is  one that the revisor's office avoids                                                               
because  it  is  being  used  in this  case  as  a  demonstrative                                                               
adjective.   She  remarked that  the  language was  traditionally                                                               
used by lawyers  but is disfavored in  this day and age,  it is a                                                               
language change to reflect common usage of modern English.                                                                      
2:05:37 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD  referred  to Sec.  23  [AS  23.40.225],                                                               
Exemption based on  religious convictions, page 12,  line 26, and                                                               
asked her to explain.                                                                                                           
MS. KIRSCH  pointed out that it  is also a deletion  of the words                                                               
"but not limited  to" which are unnecessary due  to the provision                                                               
under Title  1, and  reiterated that  "including" is  presumed to                                                               
include those words following it.                                                                                               
2:06:18 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP  commented that  the  deletion  of the  term                                                               
"nurse midwife" was the result of a law passed last year.                                                                       
CHAIR CLAMAN, after  ascertaining no one wished to  testify on HB                                                               
77, closed public testimony.                                                                                                    
2:07:08 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX complimented Ms. Kirsch  on all of the hard                                                               
work  that has  obviously  taken  place, and  that  she is  aware                                                               
Legislative Legal and Research Services  works extremely hard and                                                               
has lost  people in the last  couple of years.   She related that                                                               
there  are  times  Legislative Legal  and  Research  Services  is                                                               
working  almost 24/7,  and the  legislators truly  appreciate its                                                               
work.  In light of how  overworked the staff of Legislative Legal                                                               
and  Research Services  are, she  asked  how necessary  it is  to                                                               
change things, such as Sec. 14,  [AS 14.18.020], page 9, line 14,                                                               
which read as follows:                                                                                                          
             (1) ... noninstructional duties based                                                                          
     on [THE BASIS OF] sex or race; and                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX continued,  as  opposed to  "on the  basis                                                               
of."  She said  she looks at that as "six to one  - half dozen of                                                               
the  other" and  that "but  not limited  to" is  not of  any huge                                                               
concern to  her.  She  then expressed  that she would  rather not                                                               
use  the  limited hours  overworking  people  with this  type  of                                                               
"stuff,"  but  the  bill  is finished  and  she  appreciates  the                                                               
2:09:32 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.   KIRSCH   responded  that   at   the   danger  of   becoming                                                               
philosophical,  she views  her duty  as a  revisor to  create the                                                               
best possible  law she can.   She remarked  that she is  proud of                                                               
the body of  law in Alaska, as opposed to  a person working their                                                               
way through the federal statutes  or regulations.  Given the laws                                                               
she has  reviewed from other  states, jurisdictions,  and federal                                                               
law, she pointed out that Alaska  has a sensible, coherent, and a                                                               
consistent body of  law that she appreciates and  it is important                                                               
to her.   While it may  appear there are differences  without any                                                               
important  distinction,  legal  cases  can sometimes  turn  on  a                                                               
single word,  she pointed out.   The revisor's office  tries hard                                                               
to create  a sensible, consistent,  coherent body of law  that is                                                               
not caught  up in needless legal  terms, or terms of  art, making                                                               
it  more difficult  for  the average  person  to understand,  she                                                               
remarked.   The changes may appear  to be minor changes,  but she                                                               
takes them  seriously, and it is  important to her as  a revisor,                                                               
she stressed.                                                                                                                   
2:11:28 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN referred  to work  she does  in reviewing                                                               
the statutes,  and asked  whether the  revisor's office  has ever                                                               
discovered any problematic conflicts in the law.                                                                                
MS.  KIRSCH  responded  that,  in   part,  the  revisor's  office                                                               
performs a  review of  a certain group  of titles  and determines                                                               
the changes during the interim.   Of course, she said, during the                                                               
session if it  discovers difficulties or problems  in the context                                                               
of  an  open section  in  a  bill,  it  will suggest  the  change                                                               
improving  the   section,  or  correcting   a  problem,   to  the                                                               
legislator to possibly include the  change as part of their bill.                                                               
In that  manner the body has  a chance to  look at it and  in the                                                               
event the bill passes, those changes are made.                                                                                  
2:12:33 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP  noted  that  it is  amazing  how  much  the                                                               
revisor's office  catches how one  statute changes so  many other                                                               
areas in  the law, and  it gets into  repealers.  He  thanked the                                                               
revisor's office for all the  work it does in helping legislators                                                               
catch things  which seem  to be  the bigger  projects legislators                                                               
take on, the spider's web is enormous  in the law and it has been                                                               
effective in catching those, he commented.                                                                                      
2:13:22 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   EASTMAN  referred   to   Ms.  Kirsch's   earlier                                                               
testimony  about the  difference  between  Alaska's statutes  and                                                               
other  state's  statutes,  and  related  that  her  comments  are                                                               
accurate and  he appreciates there  is someone going  through and                                                               
performing that  work.   He offered  that it  gives him  peace of                                                               
mind  as an  Alaskan  that  the major  errors,  if  any, will  be                                                               
2:13:53 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN observed  that the use of "but not  limited to" is a                                                               
conversation he  has had  when drafting  contracts as  to whether                                                               
those words were necessary.  He  offered that "we are not always"                                                               
using words  economically and  he appreciates  the details.   The                                                               
legislature  gives Legislative  Legal and  Research Services  the                                                               
largest  dose of  work during  session and  appreciates that  the                                                               
revisor's office's work  takes place out of session so  it is not                                                               
burning  the  midnight   oil.    He  said   he  also  appreciates                                                               
Representative  LeDoux's   perspective  that   it  can   be  time                                                               
2:15:21 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE FANSLER  said he, too,  is appreciative of  all of                                                               
the  hard  work,  and  to  tend  toward  Representative  LeDoux's                                                               
comments, he  related that, hopefully, as  technology advances it                                                               
will  cut  down  on  some  of these  kinds  of  situations.    He                                                               
suggested,  in not  wishing to  burn the  legislature's employees                                                               
out with this  type of work, perhaps  legislators should consider                                                               
all of the ramifications when drafting their legislation and put                                                                
it in on the front end.                                                                                                         
CHAIR CLAMAN offered the members an opportunity to review his                                                                   
book relating to Uniform Law Recommendations and a manual on how                                                                
to write clear and concise legislation.                                                                                         
2:16:33 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE FANSLER moved to report HB 77, Version 30-                                                                       
LS0010\O out of committee with individual recommendations and                                                                   
the accompanying zero fiscal notes.  There being no objection,                                                                  
HB 77 passed from the House Judiciary Standing Committee.