Legislature(2005 - 2006)CAPITOL 106

03/01/2005 08:00 AM STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Bill Postponed
Heard & Held
Moved CSHB 116(STA) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Scheduled But Not Heard
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
HB 166-VETERANS' MEMORIAL CERTIFICATES                                                                                        
8:06:09 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON announced  that  the first  order  of business  was                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO. 116, "An Act  relating to the liability of certain                                                               
persons for entry and remaining on licensed premises."                                                                          
8:06:21 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MEYER, Alaska  State Legislature, as sponsor                                                               
of HB  116, said  the proposed  legislation would  protect minors                                                               
who work with peace officers in sting operations.                                                                               
8:06:37 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  ELKINS moved  to adopt  the committee  substitute                                                               
(CS) for 116,  Version 24-LS0379\G, Luckhaupt, 2/9/05,  as a work                                                               
draft.   There  being  no  objection, Version  G  was before  the                                                               
8:07:04 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MEYER  continued  with his  introduction  of  the                                                               
bill.  He noted that Version G  would add a second section to the                                                               
original version, applying the intent  to both instances of civil                                                               
liability as it  pertains to alcohol beverage status.   Version G                                                               
corrects an  oversight in  the civil  liability provisions  of AS                                                               
4.16.049 and .065.   He reminded the committee that,  in the last                                                               
legislative session, he  had brought forth House  Bill 428, which                                                               
created a civil liability penalty  for violations of AS 4.16.060.                                                               
AS 4.16.049  and .065 allow  a person with an  alcoholic beverage                                                               
license to  bring civil action  against a minor who  violates the                                                               
provisions  of  those  statutes,  including:    a  minor  who  is                                                               
knowingly entering  or remaining on  a licensed premise;  a minor                                                               
soliciting  others to  purchase  alcohol for  them;  and a  minor                                                               
presenting false identification.   The fine can be  up to $1,000.                                                               
Representative Meyer said  the problem is that  when the original                                                               
legislation was passed, [underage]  volunteers who may be working                                                               
with  law  enforcement  on  various  sting  operations  were  not                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE MEYER said  the compliance checks done  are a good                                                               
enforcement  tool.   Some establishments  follow  the law  better                                                               
than others.   He  related first-hand  experience in  having been                                                               
asked by  a minor  to buy  alcohol.  When  he refused,  the minor                                                               
told  him that  she was  working with  the Mothers  Against Drunk                                                               
Driving (MADD)  Youth For Action  group, and  she was with  a law                                                               
enforcement officer  who was  in an  unmarked car.   He  said [HB
116] would try to  fill a loophole.  He added,  "I don't think we                                                               
ever intended for establishments to  take action against kids who                                                               
were actually working with law enforcement on sting operations."                                                                
8:09:56 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELKINS asked how many youth have been prosecuted.                                                                
8:10:15 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MEYER said  he doesn't  know the  actual numbers,                                                               
but it's "in the 100s."                                                                                                         
8:10:55 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELKINS asked  how many of the youth  who signed up                                                               
for the program may have been  in trouble for minor consuming and                                                               
did so to try to "clean up their slate."                                                                                        
8:12:20 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MEYER indicated  that others  present to  testify                                                               
may be better able to answer that question.                                                                                     
8:13:35 AM                                                                                                                    
DOUGLAS  B. GRIFFIN,  Director,  Alcohol  Beverage Control  Board                                                               
("ABC"  Board),  Department  of Public  Safety,  in  response  to                                                               
Representative Elkins'  question, said  generally that's  not the                                                               
manner in which  underage people are recruited;  however, he said                                                               
he's not 100 percent certain  the situation Representative Elkins                                                               
described  doesn't exist.   He  listed  some of  the places  from                                                               
which  youth  are recruited,  including:    the Youth  In  Action                                                               
program  in Juneau,  MADD, underage  military personnel,  college                                                               
coeds, and  some high school students.   He noted that  the youth                                                               
are paid about $10 an hour.                                                                                                     
8:14:43 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELKINS asked who runs the program.                                                                               
8:14:56 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. GRIFFIN responded  that he has run the  program through local                                                               
police and it's still possible for  local police to get their own                                                               
grant to  do this  type of  work; however,  since moving  the ABC                                                               
Board  over to  the Department  of Public  Safety, the  board has                                                               
opted  to have  Alaska State  Troopers  run the  operations.   He                                                               
emphasized that the intent is not  to be deceptive; the desire is                                                               
to use underage people who look  their age.  Mr. Griffin reported                                                               
that since the program's inception,  the failure rate has dropped                                                               
from 50 percent to below 10 percent.                                                                                            
8:17:47 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  GRIFFIN,  in  response   to  questions  from  Representative                                                               
Ramras, said  fake identification (ID)  is not used and  often an                                                               
ID is  not used at  all.  Sometimes  a youth participant  may use                                                               
his/her existing ID.   The average age of the  youth is 18, while                                                               
some 19 or 20  years of age are used.  If someone  is used who is                                                               
approaching the  age of 21, they  are dressed to look  young.  He                                                               
reiterated that  the intent is  not to fool people  regarding the                                                               
person's  age.   He added,  "We prefer  to call  these compliance                                                               
8:20:40 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE RAMRAS  said the  program is  successful; however,                                                               
he expressed  concern that hard-working servers  would think that                                                               
a person  showing an ID  wouldn't do so  unless he/she was  21 or                                                               
8:22:02 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  GRIFFIN  said  that's  unfortunate, but  a  server  must  do                                                               
his/her  job.   If the  action  is fought,  perhaps a  prosecutor                                                               
would  decide not  to prosecute,  but  it's not  the ABC  board's                                                               
8:24:00 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON asked the committee  members to keep their questions                                                               
within the context of the bill.                                                                                                 
8:24:23 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG   directed  attention  to   the  phrase                                                               
"otherwise observes"  on [page 1 of  Version G], lines 7  and 13,                                                               
and he  remarked that  that implies visualization.   He  asked if                                                               
there is a possibility of using wiring in the future.                                                                           
8:25:01 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  GRIFFIN said  that's  a good  point  for possible  instances                                                               
where there may not be direct visualization.                                                                                    
8:25:54 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG said he would  work on that in the House                                                               
Judiciary Standing  Committee.  He  said there are  similar kinds                                                               
of situations  regarding underage persons  purchasing cigarettes,                                                               
and he suggested considering similar language for that.                                                                         
8:26:47 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  GRIFFIN   said  cigarettes  are  outside   the  ABC  Board's                                                               
8:27:15 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  asked  about  a  possible  cooperative                                                               
sting involving someone  underage trying to buy  both alcohol and                                                               
cigarettes in a bar.                                                                                                            
8:27:57 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. GRIFFIN  reiterated that the  ABC Board does not  do anything                                                               
related  to  tobacco and,  to  his  knowledge, said  the  tobacco                                                               
industry  doesn't  oversee  anything   related  to  the  sale  of                                                               
alcohol.  He said there are  situations where a person old enough                                                               
to buy  tobacco, but not old  enough to buy liquor,  gets his/her                                                               
license revoked because  of going into a liquor store  to buy the                                                               
8:29:09 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  suggested  finding a  way  to  combine                                                               
tobacco  and  alcohol  as  they  relate  to  compliance,  and  to                                                               
consider narrowing the title of the bill.                                                                                       
8:29:17 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MEYER said  he is  concerned  about youth  having                                                               
access to  tobacco; however,  he said, "I  don't believe  we have                                                               
the civil liability with the tobacco as we do the alcohol."                                                                     
8:29:37 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  asked if  there are  people "unaccompanied,                                                               
unobserved,  and  unwired" who  are  simply  patrolling areas  to                                                               
calculate which areas need the most concentration.                                                                              
8:30:41 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. GRIFFIN answered no.  He  said that does not comport with the                                                               
way the ABC Board operates its  program.  He outlined the program                                                               
again and added that all the  stores are blanketed, and some bars                                                               
as well.                                                                                                                        
8:31:20 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  asked if it  is possible to say  someone is                                                               
"otherwise  observed"   if  he/she   comes  back  with   a  voice                                                               
recording, video recording, or photograph.                                                                                      
8:31:47 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. GRIFFIN  said that may  be a  legal question.   He reiterated                                                               
that recording  equipment is not  currently used.  An  attempt is                                                               
made to have  direct observation, with a police  officer or state                                                               
trooper nearby.                                                                                                                 
8:32:44 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON directed  attention to page 1,  [lines 11-12], which                                                               
read as follows:   "if a person performs an  act proscribed under                                                               
this section".   He asked if that refers to  participation in the                                                               
project or the purchasing of alcohol.                                                                                           
8:33:06 AM                                                                                                                    
MIKE  PAWLOWSKI,  Staff  to Representative  Kevin  Meyer,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature, testifying on  behalf of Representative Meyer,                                                               
sponsor, clarified  that the language  refers to the  acts listed                                                               
in AS 04.16.060 [which read as follows]:                                                                                        
     Sec.  04.16.060.   Purchase by  or delivery  to persons                                                                    
     under the age of 21.                                                                                                       
          (a) A person under the age of 21 years may not                                                                        
     purchase  alcoholic  beverages  or solicit  another  to                                                                    
     purchase alcoholic  beverages for the person  under the                                                                    
     age of 21.                                                                                                                 
          (b) A person may not influence the sale, gift, or                                                                     
     service of an alcoholic beverage  to a person under the                                                                    
     age of  21 years,  by misrepresenting  the age  of that                                                                    
          (c) A person may not order or receive an                                                                              
     alcoholic  beverage  from  a   licensee,  an  agent  or                                                                    
     employee of  the licensee, or  another person,  for the                                                                    
     purpose of selling,  giving, or serving it  to a person                                                                    
     under the age of 21 years.                                                                                                 
          (d) A person under the age of 21 years may not                                                                        
     enter licensed  premises where alcoholic  beverages are                                                                    
     sold and offer or present to  a licensee or an agent or                                                                    
     employee of  the licensee a birth  certificate or other                                                                    
     written evidence  of age, that  is fraudulent  or false                                                                    
     or that is not actually  the person's own, or otherwise                                                                    
     misrepresent  the  person's  age, for  the  purpose  of                                                                    
     inducing the  licensee or an  agent or employee  of the                                                                    
     licensee  to sell,  give, serve,  or furnish  alcoholic                                                                    
     beverages contrary to law.                                                                                                 
          (e) A person under the age of 21 who is seeking                                                                       
     to enter  and remain  in a  licensed premises  under AS                                                                    
     04.16.049(a)(2)  or   (3)  may  not   misrepresent  the                                                                    
     person's  age or  having obtained  the  consent of  the                                                                    
     parent or guardian required by that section.                                                                               
8:34:24 AM                                                                                                                    
CINDY CASHEN,  Executive Director, Mothers Against  Drunk Driving                                                               
(MADD), Juneau Chapter,  stated her support of HB 116.   She told                                                               
the committee that  the Juneau Chapter's Youth  In Action members                                                               
are  trained to  do the  compliance checks.   She  confirmed that                                                               
those picked  to participate  are young  - one of  them is  a 14-                                                               
year-old with braces -  and in no way are supposed  to look 21 to                                                               
fool people.   Ms. Cashen noted that those who  are following the                                                               
law are publicly thanked.                                                                                                       
8:37:08 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  GRIFFIN,  in  response to  a  question  from  Representative                                                               
Elkins regarding how  many cases involve minors  buying liquor in                                                               
a store  versus how  many involve  minors asking  someone outside                                                               
the store to purchase the liquor  for them, said he would have to                                                               
investigate an answer.   He said the main focus  of the ABC Board                                                               
has been to get clerks trained,  and he expressed pleasure at the                                                               
numbers dropping  under 10 percent.   He said the  secondary step                                                               
is getting  people not to  buy for  those underage.   Mr. Griffin                                                               
said the  "shoulder tap"  method of getting  an of-age  person to                                                               
buy for an underage person  [in a compliance check] is relatively                                                               
8:39:08 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELKINS offered his  understanding that most people                                                               
who buy alcohol for underage people are in their early twenties.                                                                
8:39:31 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. GRIFFIN  responded that one  study shows "that 65  percent of                                                               
the alcohol provided to underage  people [is] provided by parents                                                               
of  ... old-enough  friends or  siblings."   He  stated that  the                                                               
compliance check  will not, in  and of itself, solve  the problem                                                               
of underage access  to alcohol, but it's one step  to solving the                                                               
problem.  He said the next step  is to try to educate the public,                                                               
which will probably be done initially  with a media campaign.  He                                                               
said several  groups are working  together to pool money  for the                                                               
media effort.                                                                                                                   
8:41:11 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELKINS  asked Mr.  Griffin how  he would  rate the                                                               
Techniques in Alcohol Management (TAM) program, overall.                                                                        
8:41:35 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. GRIFFIN replied that the  program is not perfect, because the                                                               
participants probably  don't learn  everything they need  to know                                                               
in a  four- to  five-hour class; however,  it provides  a certain                                                               
level  of understanding  and professionalism  to people  who sell                                                               
8:42:26 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  GRIFFIN,  in  response  to a  question  from  Chair  Seaton,                                                               
explained that TAM is one  of about three alcohol server programs                                                               
that the  ABC Board has approved.   The training is  required and                                                               
those  who  have  it  must get  recertified  every  three  years.                                                               
Anyone working  in an establishment  that serves alcohol  must be                                                               
able  to show  their certification  to  a police  officer or  ABC                                                               
Board member upon demand.                                                                                                       
8:44:49 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  GRIFFIN,  in  response to  a  question  from  Representative                                                               
Gatto,  said to  his knowledge  there have  not been  any studies                                                               
done to find out whether one  particular age clerk is more likely                                                               
to sell to  a minor than another.  In  response to Representative                                                               
Gatto's example  that a 21-year-old  clerk may be more  likely to                                                               
sell to  a minor, he  pointed out that  there actually may  be an                                                               
advantage  to  a  younger  clerk's  knowing who's  of  age.    He                                                               
emphasized  that  he doesn't  want  to  jump to  any  conclusions                                                               
regarding a certain age clerk being better than another.                                                                        
8:46:43 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG suggested  it may be a good  idea to add                                                               
a  subsection (e)  to  AS 04.16.065  specifically  saying that  a                                                               
minor not be subject to civil penalty.                                                                                          
8:47:50 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  PAWLOWSKI  responded  that   "the  civil  liability  in  [AS                                                               
04.16.065]  doesn't   trigger  until   there's  a   violation  of                                                               
8:49:32 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG explained that the  purpose of HB 116 is                                                               
to  provide  some immunization  and  assurance  that if  a  young                                                               
person  works for  ABC Board  in conducting  a compliance  check,                                                               
they are not going to be "hit with a civil penalty."                                                                            
8:51:03 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  asked  Mr.   Griffin  if  there  is  a                                                               
statutory  requirement in  regulations  that requires  bartenders                                                               
and servers to have training.                                                                                                   
8:51:35 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  GRIFFIN answered  yes.    He noted  that  the regulation  is                                                               
13 AAC 104.465  and the  statutory  requirement is  AS 04.21.025.                                                               
In  response   to  a   follow-up  question   from  Representative                                                               
Gruenberg, he  said there  is no  provision in  AS 04.24.025 that                                                               
requires  that a  person  who  sells to  a  minor  be ordered  to                                                               
undergo additional  training.  He  said it may be  something that                                                               
occurs, but very often that person is fired.                                                                                    
8:53:51 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  asked if  the ABC  Board would  like to                                                               
have the  authority in AS 04.24.025  to require the  licensee and                                                               
clerk to have additional training.                                                                                              
8:54:15 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. GRIFFIN said he  would like to think about that.   He said he                                                               
thinks the board has the authority  to do that now.  Something in                                                               
statute making it  clear that the board has  that option wouldn't                                                               
hurt, he added, but it may not be necessary.                                                                                    
8:55:26 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON asked  the committee  to  refocus on  the issue  of                                                               
exempting liability.                                                                                                            
8:55:46 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  RAMRAS   congratulated  the  ABC  Board   on  its                                                               
"splendid  approach" over  the last  few years.   Notwithstanding                                                               
that, he said he would oppose  [HB 116].  He indicated that there                                                               
is a  difference between using  the word "compliance"  versus the                                                               
word "sting,"  and he  mentioned being on  "the receiving  end of                                                               
this."    He related  an  anecdote  regarding  a young  woman  he                                                               
overheard on a  plane who was worried about using  her real ID to                                                               
buy  alcoholic  drinks  at bars  on  her  twenty-first  birthday,                                                               
because she  had been  using her  sister's ID  for many  years in                                                               
those same bars.                                                                                                                
8:58:07 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE RAMRAS referred  to a sentence in  the letter from                                                               
the ABC Board  [included in the committee packet],  which read as                                                               
     One  tactic that  has been  raised by  liquor licensees                                                                    
     that  do   not  like   this  increased   oversight  and                                                                    
     enforcement is  the claim  that law  enforcement agents                                                                    
     are  breaking the  law to  enforce the  law by  sending                                                                    
     underage persons  on to licensed premises  in violation                                                                    
     of AS 04.16.049.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  RAMRAS  said, "I  guess  that's  my issue."    He                                                               
observed that  people who work  in the food service  industry are                                                               
often there because  it's the best fit  for them.  He  said he is                                                               
in favor of prosecuting people  who [serve alcohol] to people who                                                               
say they  have left there IDs  at home, for example;  however, he                                                               
expressed concern  for those who  are being shown IDs,  but don't                                                               
catch that  they aren't  valid.   Representative Ramras  said his                                                               
professional bartenders  take the time  to really look at  an ID,                                                               
but  he indicated  that  his  servers are  often  in  a rush  and                                                               
dealing  with many  customers.   Some of  them have  been in  the                                                               
industry  for  a short  time,  and  it's  those servers  who,  he                                                               
indicated, are  being preyed upon.   He  asked, "How long  do you                                                               
look at a piece of ID for?"                                                                                                     
9:03:55 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON asked,  "Is the law that you can't  serve to someone                                                               
under 21, or is the law that you have to check everyone's ID?"                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE RAMRAS answered, "Both."                                                                                         
9:04:37 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON asked if it would  be in violation of law if someone                                                               
over 21 is served alcohol, "with or without ID."                                                                                
9:04:50 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE ELKINS noted that  most establishments have a form                                                               
that a person can fill out swearing that they are 21.                                                                           
9:06:20 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON said it's obvious that  showing the [ID] is not law,                                                               
or everyone  would have to  show their ID  every time.   He asked                                                               
the committee  to refocus  on the  intent of  the bill,  which he                                                               
said is  to allow a  minor to  participate in a  compliance check                                                               
without fear of civil action.                                                                                                   
9:07:44 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GARDNER said she  thinks everyone present is aware                                                               
of Alaska's problem with alcohol.   She said the state has agreed                                                               
to a  minimum drinking age,  and those serving alcohol  cannot do                                                               
so to  those underage.   She  indicated that there  are a  lot of                                                               
programs  to ensure  the law  is followed;  HB 116  would protect                                                               
those  minors  working with  law  enforcement.   She  stated  her                                                               
support of [HB 116].                                                                                                            
9:09:29 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO revealed that in  his 26 years working in an                                                               
ambulance  and  fire  truck  he has  responded  to  more  traffic                                                               
accidents than  he can  count, and many  of those  accidents were                                                               
caused  by either  someone  "drinking too  much  or drinking  too                                                               
young."  He  said the innocent people are often  the ones who are                                                               
the victims.                                                                                                                    
9:09:56 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEATON asked the committee to refocus on the bill.                                                                        
9:10:14 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG,  in response to  Representative Gatto's                                                               
reference  to  the  ABC  Board's  letter,  said  there  are  many                                                               
instances where  the law is  broken to  enforce law, and  he said                                                               
that's an issue that should be considered.                                                                                      
9:11:28 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEATON clarified  that if  the committee  were to  pass HB
116,  those  underage youth  who  work  with law  enforcement  on                                                               
compliance checks  would not be  breaking the law,  because there                                                               
would be a built-in exception to the law.                                                                                       
9:12:02 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG concurred.   He referred to AS 11.81.420                                                               
[(a)], which read as follows:                                                                                                   
     Sec. 11.81.420.  Justification: Performance of public                                                                      
          (a) Unless inconsistent with AS 11.81.320 -                                                                           
     11.81.410, conduct which  would otherwise constitute an                                                                    
     offense is justified when it  is required or authorized                                                                    
     by law or by a judicial decree, judgment, or order.                                                                        
9:12:29 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO moved  to report  HB 116  out of  committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
CHAIR SEATON noted that an objection had been voiced.                                                                           
9:13:51 AM                                                                                                                    
A roll call vote was  taken.  Representatives Gardner, Gruenberg,                                                               
Gatto,  and  Seaton voted  in  favor  of  CSHB 116,  Version  24-                                                               
LS0379\G, Luckhaupt,  2/9/05.  Representatives Elkins  and Ramras                                                               
voted against it.   Therefore, CSHB 116(STA) was  reported out of                                                               
the House State Affairs Standing Committee by a vote of 4-2.                                                                    
9:14:02 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG asked  that  the record  show that  the                                                               
bill passed by a majority of the committee.                                                                                     

Document Name Date/Time Subjects