Legislature(1993 - 1994)

04/28/1993 02:55 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 183
SB 165
HB 67
HB 69
HB 113
HB 133
HB 171
HB 225
HB 235
  CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 69(FIN)                                                
       An Act  relating  to registration  of  and  information                 
       about  sex  offenders  and  amending  Alaska  Rules  of                 
       Criminal Procedure 11(c) and 32(b).                                     
  Co-chair Pearce  directed that CSHB  69 (Fin) be  brought on                 
  for discussion.                                                              
  DOUG WOOLIVER, attorney, House Majority Office,  came before                 
  committee.  He explained that  the legislation would require                 
  persons convicted  of various  sex crimes  to register  with                 
  either  the  Alaska  State   Troopers  or  municipal  police                 
  departments.   Crimes covered  by the  law include:   sexual                 
  assault, sexual abuse  of a  minor, promoting  prostitution,                 
  incest,  and  unlawful   exploitation  of  a  minor.     The                 
  registration   requirement  would   not  only   cover  those                 
  convicted in Alaska but  those with convictions who  come to                 
  Alaska from elsewhere.  Locals have seven days  within which                 
  to register while  those from  outside Alaska have  fourteen                 
  days.  The registration requirement  would be retroactive to                 
  1984.  Individuals with two  or more sex offense convictions                 
  would be  required to comply with  registration requirements                 
  for life while those with a single offense would be required                 
  to register for fifteen years.                                               
  Mr. Wooliver next listed  information that would have  to be                 
  provided  to  law  enforcement authorities  at  the  time of                 
  registration.  With the exception of  fingerprints, driver's                 
  license,  and   aliases  used,  all  information   would  be                 
  available to the public.                                                     
  Mr. Wooliver noted that Alaska leads nationally in instances                 
  of child sexual abuse (six times the national average).  The                 
  state is  second, nationally,  in terms  of sexual  assault.                 
  Sex offenders have a  high recidivism rate.  One out of five                 
  will subsequently be re-arrested.  Sources indicate that sex                 
  offenders are not like other                                                 
  criminals.  They  are "almost impervious" to the benefits of                 
  therapy.   A number  of states  have discontinued  treatment                 
  programs since studies  in Ontario  and Minnesota  indicated                 
  that those who participated in  them actually committed more                 
  violent crimes than those who did  not receive treatment.  A                 
  1983  Iowa study  found that  the average  number of  sexual                 
  assaults  committed against  children  by each  offender was                 
  167.  The average number  of child victims was 76.   Because                 
  of the high rate of sex offenses in Alaska and the high rate                 
  of  recidivism, it is important  for employers and others to                 
  have access to  information regarding offenders in  order to                 
  protect themselves and their children.                                       
  Mr.  Wooliver  attested to  present  lack of  information on                 
  offenders from other states.  He stressed that an additional                 
  benefit  of  the  bill  would  be enhanced  ability  of  law                 
  enforcement to locate sex offenders  if they become suspects                 
  in additional crimes.                                                        
  Eighteen  states   currently  have   similar  sex   offender                 
  registration  laws.    CSHB  69   (Finance)  is  similar  to                 
  legislation  from  other  states  except  that  it  provides                 
  greater public protection by making registration information                 
  more accessible to the public.                                               
  C.E.  SWACKHAMMER,  Deputy  Commissioner,  Dept.  of  Public                 
  Safety, next came  before committee.  He voiced  support for                 
  the  legislation   since  registration  would   serve  as  a                 
  deterrent to  offenders and  provide an  additional resource                 
  for law enforcement personnel.   He further attested to  the                 
  substantial number of victims involved in crimes perpetrated                 
  by sex offenders.                                                            
  CINDY  SMITH,  Executive   Director,  Network  on   Domestic                 
  Violence and Sexual Assault, came before committee,  voicing                 
  support  for the  bill.   She noted  that over the  past two                 
  years, forcible rape  of adult women in Alaska has increased                 
  91%.  In 1992, 530 women reported rape to the police.  There                 
  were  700 confirmed reports  of child sexual  abuse the same                 
  Treatment  personnel who  track offenders  following release                 
  from prison indicate  that recidivism is approximately  80%.                 
  Treatment  staff supports  the  legislation, believing  that                 
  community awareness and monitoring of sex  offender behavior                 
  has potential to reduce that recidivism.  Ms. Smith stressed                 
  that unlike  other criminals,  sex offenders  do not  become                 
  less dangerous over time.                                                    
  Senator Kerttula  noted that the  fiscal note appears  to be                 
  modest  and  asked  if sufficient  financial  resources were                 
  being directed toward the effort.  Mr. Swackhammer indicated                 
  that requested funding would get the program going.                          
  Senator Kerttula MOVED for passage of CSHB 96 (Finance) with                 
  individual recommendation.   Senator Kelly posed  a question                 
  regarding the 14-day  registration requirement for offenders                 
  from outside  Alaska.  Mr. Wooliver acknowledged substantial                 
  discussion of  a 30-day period.  The universal complaint was                 
  that the  time period was  too long.   Many  people come  to                 
  Alaska to fish  or work in the fishing  industry.  Under the                 
  longer time period, "They have enough time to fish and spend                 
  their  whole   summer   there   and   then   leave   without                 
  registering."    The shorter  time  is consistent  with most                 
  states.   Senator Kelly reiterated  concern that 14  days is                 
  too short  a time period.  He  stressed that the bill should                 
  cover  the  offender  who seeks  to  establish  residency in                 
  Alaska.  Senator  Sharp concurred  in concern regarding  the                 
  shorter period, noting that an  individual does not become a                 
  resident until he or she has been  in the state for 30 days.                 
   Mr. Wooliver read a  list of time frames from  other states                 
  ranging from 24 hours to 30 days.                                            
  Senator Rieger inquired regarding the penalty for failure to                 
  register.    Mr.  Wooliver  said  that  it  was  a  Class  A                 
  misdemeanor (up to a year in prison).                                        
  Senator Kerttula restated his MOTION  for passage.  He noted                 
  difficulties associated  with application  of law in  multi-                 
  cultural communities and  states.   No objection to  passage                 
  having  been raised, CSHB  69 (Finance) was  REPORTED OUT of                 
  committee with a $86.5 fiscal note  from the Dept. of Public                 
  Safety,  two  zero notes  from  the Dept.  of Administration                 
  (Public Advocacy and  Public Defender)  and zero notes  from                 
  the Dept. of Corrections  and the Dept. of Law.  All members                 
  present  signed  the committee  report  "no rec."   Senators                 
  Kelly and Jacko were absent and did not sign.                                

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