Legislature(1993 - 1994)

04/26/1994 05:55 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  SB 276:   An Act  relating to criminal  justice information;                 
            providing  procedural  requirements  for obtaining                 
            certain   criminal   justice    information;   and                 
            providing for an effective date.                                   
            The  committee  ADOPTED CSSB  276(FIN)  work draft                 
            dated February 16, 1994 which incorporated  Senate                 
            Judiciary  Committee  amendments  of February  15,                 
            1994.    Dean J.  Guaneli,  Chief,  Legal Services                 
            Section,  Criminal  Division,  Department of  Law,                 
            testified  in  support  of  SB  276,  and  offered                 
            amendment 1 which  replaced wording for  mandatory                 
            fingerprinting.  Discussion  followed between  Co-                 
            chairs  Pearce,  Frank, Senators  Kerttula, Kelly,                 
            Rieger, and Sharp regarding various aspects of the                 
            bill. Duncan  Fowler,  Ombudsman,  Office  of  the                 
            Ombudsman, spoke in support of  SB 276.  Amendment                 
            1 was  ADOPTED.   Senators  Rieger,  Kerttula  and                 
            Kelly  agreed to  form a  subcommittee to  propose                 
            amendments  on issues  discussed.   CSSB  276(FIN)                 
            work draft as amended was  HELD in committee until                 
            March  12, 1994 or until the subcommittee proposes                 
            a new work draft.                                                  
  SENATE BILL NO. 276                                                          
       An  Act  relating  to  criminal  justice   information;                 
       providing procedural requirements for obtaining certain                 
       criminal  justice  information;  and  providing for  an                 
       effective date.                                                         
  CO-CHAIR  PEARCE  invited  Dean  J.  Guaneli,  Chief,  Legal                 
  Services Section,  Criminal Division, Department  of Law, to                 
  speak to SB 276.                                                             
  DEAN GUANELI  said that for  a number of  years it  had been                 
  recognized  that  the  state statutes  relating  to criminal                 
  justice  information  systems,   providing  safeguards   and                 
  oversight over those systems, were in need of amendment.  He                 
  noted  that   the  legislative  auditor,   the  Division  of                 
  Legislative  Legal  Services,   and  consultants  with   the                 
  Department of Public Safety had recommended changes.  SB 276                 
  was  a  product  of  several  years  of  effort  to  provide                 
  oversight over  criminal justice information systems, to set                 
  guidelines of how the information  in those computer systems                 
  would  be disseminated,  and to  make  other changes  to the                 
  system   that   were   needed   to   provide   adequate  and                 
  comprehensive records.   He informed the committee  that, at                 
  the present time,  no state  statute required an  individual                 
  under arrest  to be  fingerprinted.   In a  large number  of                 
  instances, fingerprints  were not taken.   He said  the only                 
  way  to  have an  accurate  information system,  which keeps                 
  track of criminal history records, was to link those records                 
  to fingerprints.   This bill  mandated that fingerprints  be                 
  taken and if  for some  reason a person  bypassed the  first                 
  process, it mandated they be taken at  the next stage of the                 
  Mr. Guaneli felt that the need for this legislation was also                 
  made clear by  federal legislation.   The Brady Bill was  on                 
  example.  He felt strongly  that if criminal history records                 
  were going to be  given out - they should be  accurate.  The                 
  FBI had  criminal standards for criminal justice information                 
  systems and those standards had been followed in SB 276.  He                 
  pointed out  that  there  had been  a  separate  bill  going                 
  through   Senate   Judiciary   Committee    that   addressed                 
  fingerprinting  requirements  only,   and  more  simply  and                 
  directly than  SB 276.   From that  bill, he  had drafted  a                 
  finger-printing provision preferable  to the  section in  SB
  276 in  the form  of  amendment 1,  and  offered it  to  the                 
  committee for consideration.                                                 
  Co-chair  Pearce reminded the committee that when SB 276 had                 
  been  received  in  the Senate  Finance  Committee  that the                 
  Senate  Judiciary  Committee  had  passed  SB  276  with  an                 
  amendment dated February  15, 1994,  without drafting a  CS.                 
  She directed the  members' attention  to CSSB 276(FIN)  work                 
  draft dated  February 16,  1994 that  did incorporate  those                 
  Senate  Judiciary  amendments.   Co-chair  Frank  MOVED  for                 
  adoption of CSSB 276(FIN) work draft dated February 16, 1994                 
  for  discussion purposes.  No objection  being heard, it was                 
  Discussion was had by Senators  Kerttula and Kelly regarding                 
  the fiscal notes attached to the  bill.  Senator Kelly asked                 
  if the fiscal note for the  Department of Corrections in the                 
  amount  of  $181,874  would  include  staffing  requirements                 
  required SB 276.  Since there  was not a representative from                 
  the Department of Corrections, Co-chair Pearce requested the                 
  department  to  provide that  information to  the committee.                 
  Senator Kelly  asked if  the amendment  now incorporated  in                 
  CSSB  276(FIN)  work draft  would  effect the  Department of                 
  Corrections fiscal note.                                                     
  Senator Kelly  asked what  fiscal effect  amendment 1  would                 
  have on SB  276.  Mr.  Guaneli said that  the Department  of                 
  Corrections  already  required  that everyone  brought  into                 
  their  facilities be  fingerprinted.    In  some  instances,                 
  however, individuals were being missed, and this legislation                 
  would  tighten up  procedures.   He  said the  Department of                 
  Corrections did  not anticipate any  significant increase in                 
  the  number  of fingerprints  taken,  and therefore  did not                 
  believe there would be  a fiscal impact.  He  believed there                 
  might  be  a slight  impact  on local  police  agencies, but                 
  admitted it was hard to assess.  The bill had the backing of                 
  the Alaska Association of the  Chiefs of Police because they                 
  realized  fingerprinting  requirements,  although   a  small                 
  burden,  was  necessary  in  order  to provide  an  accurate                 
  criminal justice information system.                                         
  Mr.  Guaneli felt  that SB  276 established  a framework  to                 
  improve  the  information   systems  that  currently  exist.                 
  Efforts  were underway  to  link existing  systems scattered                 
  among the  departments and make  them more efficient.   This                 
  bill  would   also   establish   a   board   consisting   of                 
  commissioners  from  effected  departments  to oversee  that                 
  Senator  Kerttula said this system  was going to cost money.                 
  He  objected  to  fiscal notes  that  did  not  lay out  the                 
  complete cost.  Mr. Guaneli said he  would like to point out                 
  that  the  improvements  in  this  bill would  be  supported                 
  partially  by federal  funding.   If this legislation  is in                 
  place,  the  Department of  Safety  could take  advantage of                 
  federal  funding  and  federal  information  systems.    Mr.                 
  Guaneli  did admit  the  state would  have some  expenses in                 
  setting up the new framework.                                                
  In answer to Senator Rieger,  regarding page 4, lines 12-14,                 
  stating that the  commissioner could exempt certain  persons                 
  from the  fingerprinting requirements,  Mr. Guaneli said  it                 
  was  intended   to  prevent   certain  circumstances   where                 
  fingerprints would have  to be taken repetitively.   Senator                 
  Rieger asked if the provision requiring fingerprinting to be                 
  done  within 24  hours  was always  practical, and  could it                 
  cause any kind of  "Miranda rights" allowing a person  to go                 
  free if the fingerprints  were not taken.  Mr.  Guaneli felt                 
  the 24-hour  requirement was  reasonable and  if it  did not                 
  happen, technically an arrest warrant could be issued.  More                 
  practically, when the  person appeared  in court, the  judge                 
  would probably  order fingerprints taken  at that time.   He                 
  did not  believe it  could cause  a person  to be  set free.                 
  However, he believed if a person  was arrested again and had                 
  not been fingerprinted  the first time, their  offense could                 
  be treated as a first rather than a second offense.                          
  In answer to Senator Rieger,  Mr. Guaneli voiced his opinion                 
  that it was reasonable for regulations to be adopted, people                 
  to be trained, and the advisory board to  be formed in order                 
  to make policy decisions by the July 1, 1994 effective date.                 
  DUNCAN FOWLER, Ombudsman, Office of the Ombudsman, testified                 
  in support of SB 276.   He said the Office of the  Ombudsman                 
  had been interested  in this legislation for the  past three                 
  years.    He  felt  it  was  an important  piece  of  policy                 
  legislation  that  insured  the integrity  of  the  criminal                 
  justice system records,  enabled citizens to  correct errors                 
  in  their  criminal records,  and most  importantly, defined                 
  rules for the collection, access and use of criminal justice                 
  information.  It would also set  out penalties for the abuse                 
  of information which  was not addressed  now.  He said  over                 
  the past few years, one to two serious complaints a year had                 
  been  filed   regarding  the  misuse  of   criminal  justice                 
  information.  He  believed some of them were serious enough,                 
  if  this  framework   had  been  in  place,   to  have  been                 
  prosecuted.  He reiterated that he supported SB 276 and felt                 
  it would significantly  assist the state  in tying up  loose                 
  ends in this area.                                                           
  Senator   Kerttula   said   that    California   was   using                 
  fingerprinting  to  detect  welfare fraud.    Senator Rieger                 
  asked  if Senator Kerttula was suggesting an amendment to SB
  276.  Senator Kerttula  agreed that he would not  be opposed                 
  to it.                                                                       
  CHIP  THOMA,  testifying  as  a  private citizen,  spoke  in                 
  support of  SB 276.  He said that in 1972 he worked with the                 
  late Senator Terry Miller on previous legislation SB 378 and                 
  SJR 9 on the  right to privacy.  He said legislative history                 
  and the public's perception of the possible misuse of police                 
  records supported the  reasoning for  this legislation.   He                 
  urged the committee's support of SB 276.                                     
  Co-chair Pearce asked  the committee's will on  amendment 1.                 
  Mr.  Guaneli again  spoke to the  amendment.   Senator Sharp                 
  MOVED for  the conceptual  adoption of  amendment  1 by  Mr.                 
  Guaneli.  No objection having been raised, the amendment was                 
  ADOPTED  for incorporation  within  a new  Finance Committee                 
  Substitute for the bill.                                                     
  In answer to Senator Rieger, regarding page 8, provisions on                 
  how  criminal  justice  information  may  be  released,  Mr.                 
  Guaneli said that there were no specific  provisions, but at                 
  this  time it was done occasionally on a case by case basis.                 
  Mr. Guaneli  said these new  provisions were recommendations                 
  made several years  ago by consultants to  the Department of                 
  Public Safety in  a report that  had found  its way into  SB
  276.  Senator Kerttula voiced his concern over privacy abuse                 
  issues in  those  provisions.   Mr.  Guaneli said  that  the                 
  preface for  the  entire section  declared criminal  justice                 
  information confidential.  That  provision did not currently                 
  exist.   In addition,  the United  States Supreme  Court had                 
  interpreted the law to say  that information within criminal                 
  justice  information  systems   (computerized  data   bases)                 
  involve some  questions of  privacy even  when all  that was                 
  kept are public records  and convictions.  If  anything more                 
  than statistics were given out, such as names and dates, the                 
  law recognized this as confidential information.  He felt it                 
  was a good idea to have protections on this information.  He                 
  spoke  of  an  instance  where  records were  requested  for                 
  members of the  ethic's committee  and the department  asked                 
  the members to  sign a waiver.   This helped the  department                 
  realize from time to time the legislature would request such                 
  In  answer  to  Senator  Rieger,  Mr. Guaneli  said  current                 
  offender  information refers  to someone  who was  currently                 
  charged with an  offense, was moving  their way through  the                 
  criminal  justice  information  system,  or  was  under  the                 
  supervision  of  the  system   (someone  in  prison,  etc.).                 
  Senator Rieger asked if a  request could be made for  a list                 
  of individuals who  had been  convicted of a  felony in  the                 
  last  ten years.   Mr.  Guaneli said  that this  legislation                 
  allowed the Department  of Safety to  charge a fee for  that                 
  service.  He  said that at  the present the courts  were not                 
  linked  by any  computer system.    Those records  were kept                 
  within the Department of Public Safety and were public.                      
  Senator Rieger said that a blanket release  of past criminal                 
  offenses   or   past   convictions   which   would   include                 
  misdemeanors  made  him very  uncomfortable.   Senator Kelly                 
  voiced similar concerns.                                                     
  Senators  Sharp  and Kelly  asked  for clarification  on the                 
  fiscal  note for  the  Department of  Corrections  regarding                 
  overtime for training and the length of the training.                        
  Co-chair Pearce asked Senator Rieger to chair a subcommittee                 
  which included Senators  Kelly and Kerttula.   She announced                 
  that SB 276 would be HELD in committee until March 12, 1994,                 
  or until the subcommittee proposed a new work draft.                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects