Legislature(2001 - 2002)
03/27/2002 01:35 PM CRA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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.