Legislature(2001 - 2002)

03/27/2002 01:35 PM CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                                                                                                                              
         HB 135-EXCESSIVE POLICE SERVICES:FEES/ TENANCY                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MARIDON BORIO, Staff to Representative  Gretchen Guess, asked that                                                              
Nathan Johnson present the bill via teleconference.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
NATHAN  JOHNSON,  Legislative  Aide   to  Representative  Gretchen                                                              
Guess,  explained  the  bill  was  designed  to  enable  municipal                                                              
governments to  enact an ordinance  to assess a fee  for excessive                                                              
police  visits.  The  fee  is  granted  lien  status  against  the                                                              
nuisance  property.   The  municipality   would  have   to  define                                                              
"excessive"  and make provisions  to exempt  property owners  that                                                              
are  taking  prompt corrective  action.  They  have also  added  a                                                              
provision to give  the landlord grounds to evict  a tenant for any                                                              
conduct or behavior that might result  in a fee under the statute.                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TIM ROGERS, Legislative  Program Coordinator for  the Municipality                                                              
of Anchorage,  said the municipality  supports the bill  and there                                                              
is a letter  in the packets from  the deputy police chief  for the                                                              
municipality giving some reasons  for their support. Last year the                                                              
Municipal Assembly  unanimously passed a resolution  in support of                                                              
the bill. The  civil abatement process is the  only tool currently                                                              
available and  it is lengthy, costly  and requires going  to court                                                              
to resolve  the issue.  This bill offers  an intermediate  step to                                                              
encourage  landlords to  take action  to solve  some of the  crack                                                              
house problems they currently have.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
DAN  LORING  from  the Fairview  Neighborhood  district  spoke  in                                                              
personal support  of the bill. It  will help make  improvements to                                                              
that neighborhood.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
There was no further testimony on HB 135.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON asked for a motion to adopt amendment #1.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LINCOLN said she met with  Representative Guess to discuss                                                              
the amendment and she agreed to the changes.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LINCOLN made a motion to  adopt 22-LS0421\SA.1 Cook 2/5/02                                                              
as amendment #1. On page 1, line  14 "that involve" is deleted and                                                              
"unless the  calls are reasonable  justified or involve  potential                                                              
child  neglect,"  is  inserted.  On  page  2,  line  1,  following                                                              
"11.41.270."  insert  "An  ordinance adopted  under  this  section                                                              
shall  define   'reasonably  justified'   for  purposes   of  this                                                              
subsection. (b)"                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
She wanted  to ensure  that in  cases of  potential child  neglect                                                              
people weren't reluctant  to call in a report  because they didn't                                                              
want to risk imposition of a fine.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON thought the second  part of the amendment was a                                                              
bit confusing.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOHNSON  said  he  was  a  bit   surprised  and  wished  that                                                              
Representative Guess could speak to the change.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TORGERSON  reminded Mr. Johnson that Senator  Lincoln met                                                              
with Representative  Guess and she agreed to the  changes. He then                                                              
asked him to state his objections for the record.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHNSON said,  there is a bit of a conflict  because all calls                                                              
are  probably  reasonably  justified. They  aren't  talking  about                                                              
frivolous calls;  there might be  justified calls to  the property                                                              
every day of  the week. "What we're  trying to get at  is the fact                                                              
that  the conduct  of inhabitants  is repeated  and continuing  to                                                              
such an  extent that  we're trying  to reach  the problem  and get                                                              
some  leverage  for  the  community   to  abate  or  correct  that                                                              
behavior."  He's a bit  confused  by the intent  of the  amendment                                                              
because  most calls  are  probably  justified; they're  after  the                                                              
chronic problem. "With that said,  I'll let the committee do their                                                              
will."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LINCOLN replied this is the will of the sponsor.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TORGERSON asked  for further  discussion  and there  was                                                              
none.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
There was no objection to the adoption to amendment #1.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR AUSTERMAN stated  his support of the bill  because in some                                                              
areas of  the state it  is well justified.  It is a  good concept.                                                              
His  only concern  was that  some bars  around the  state have  an                                                              
atmosphere  that generates  problems. In  his community,  bars are                                                              
very quick to call  the police to try to control  a problem before                                                              
it gets  out of  hand. He  is concerned  that this  could be  used                                                              
against  those bars  and might  cause  them to  quit making  calls                                                              
thereby exasperating  the problem  and leading to  someone getting                                                              
badly hurt.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  AUSTERMAN made  a  motion  to move  CSHB  135 (CRA)  from                                                              
committee    with   attached    fiscal    note   and    individual                                                              
recommendations.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
There being no objection, CSHB 135 (CRA) moved from committee                                                                   
with individual recommendations.                                                                                                

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