Legislature(2005 - 2006)SENATE FINANCE 532

04/19/2005 09:00 AM FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSSB 142(L&C) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Scheduled But Not Heard
Heard & Held
Moved CSSB 100(FIN) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
     CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 70(JUD)                                                                                             
     "An Act relating to  controlled substances regarding the crimes                                                            
     of   manslaughter  and   misconduct   involving  a   controlled                                                            
     substance;  relating to  listing certain  anabolic steroids  as                                                            
     controlled  substances;   amending  Rule 41,  Alaska  Rules  of                                                            
     Criminal Procedure; and providing for an effective date."                                                                  
     This was the first hearing for this bill in the Senate Finance                                                             
This  was the third  hearing  for this  bill in  the Senate  Finance                                                            
DEAN GUANELI,  Chief Assistant Attorney General, Criminal  Division,                                                            
Legal Services Section-Juneau,  and Chief Assistant Attorney General                                                            
Office of  Special Prosecutions  & Appeals,  Office of the  Attorney                                                            
General,  stated  that  this bill,  which  is  referred to  "as  the                                                            
Governor's  Methamphetamine  bill,  … makes  a number  of  important                                                            
changes to Alaska Law to  provide additional disincentives to people                                                            
who  manufacture  methamphetamine".  The  bill  would  also  provide                                                            
additional  protection  to children  in an  effort  to reduce  their                                                            
exposure to the substance.                                                                                                      
Mr. Guaneli  stated  that Section  1 of the  bill provides  findings                                                            
about the dangers  of the manufacturing  of methamphetamine  (Meth).                                                            
The findings  are directly  related to provisions  in Sec. 5  of the                                                            
bill that would  require a cash only bail of $250,000  were a repeat                                                            
Meth offender caught manufacturing the substance.                                                                               
11:59:52 AM                                                                                                                   
[NOTE: Co-Chair Wilken assumed chair of the meeting]                                                                            
Co-Chair  Wilken  clarified  that  Mr.  Guaneli's  remarks  were  to                                                            
Version 24-GS1049\L of the bill.                                                                                                
Senator  Bunde moved  to  adopt the  Finance  committee substitute,                                                             
Version 24-GS1049\L as the working document.                                                                                    
There being  no objection,  Version "L" was  ADOPTED as the  working                                                            
Mr. Guaneli  argued  that the repeat  Meth offender  cash only  bail                                                            
level was warranted  as such a person  would be aware of  the drug's                                                            
Mr. Guaneli noted  that Sec. 2 includes language that  would subject                                                            
a person who manufactures  or sells a drug in violation of the State                                                            
drug laws to someone  who dies as a direct result  of ingesting that                                                            
drug, to the State's  manslaughter Statute. This would  include such                                                            
things as drug  overdoses from the use of such as  heroin, Meth, and                                                            
cocaine and a "date rape" drug.                                                                                                 
12:01:52 PM                                                                                                                   
Mr. Guaneli  stated that  language included  in Sec. 3, page  three,                                                            
beginning on line four  is an attempt to address evolving techniques                                                            
of Meth  manufacturing.  State Crime  Lab chemists  have  determined                                                            
that new techniques include  such things as mixing the components in                                                            
an organic solution.                                                                                                            
Mr.  Guaneli stated  that  Sec. 4,  beginning  on page  three,  line                                                            
seven,  was  added  by  the  Senate  Health,  Education  and  Social                                                            
Services  Committee  at the  request of  Senator  Hollis French,  to                                                            
address muscle enhancing  "anabolic steroids", which like marijuana,                                                            
"are prohibited  under federal  law", but  are not prohibited  under                                                            
State law.  It would be "appropriate"  to prohibit such drugs  under                                                            
State law,  as "it is difficult  to get  the federal authorities  to                                                            
prosecute cases involving small amounts of these drugs".                                                                        
[NOTE: Co-Chair Green reassumed chair of the Committee.]                                                                        
Mr.  Guaneli  pointed out  that  a  technical  correction  regarding                                                            
language  in Sec. 4(f), page  three, line 20  of the bill,  could be                                                            
considered  as  the language  is  unnecessary  since  State  Statute                                                            
specifies that  the word "includes"  means "but is not limited  to".                                                            
Co-Chair Green understood therefore that the term is redundant.                                                                 
Mr. Guaneli  suggested that  consideration  be provided to  striking                                                            
the  phrase ",  but is  not limited  to,"  as its  inclusion  "could                                                            
create some difficulties for the Courts in interpretation…"                                                                     
Conceptual Amendment #1:  This amendment deletes the phase ", but is                                                            
not  limited to,"  after  the word  "includes"  in Sec.  4(f),  page                                                            
three, line 20 of the bill.                                                                                                     
Co-Chair Wilken moved to adopt Conceptual Amendment #1.                                                                         
There being no objection, Conceptual Amendment #1 was ADOPTED.                                                                  
Mr. Guaneli  stated that  Sec. 6  and Sec. 7  are "enhanced  penalty                                                            
provisions"  in regards to individuals  who manufacture Meth  in the                                                            
presence of or assistance  by children. Provisions in Sec. 8 provide                                                            
definitions to further the enhanced penalty provisions.                                                                         
Co-Chair Green  noted that, in addition  to endangering children  by                                                            
exposing  them to the manufacturing  of Meth  in a building,  Sec. 8                                                            
would allow that endangerment to include vehicles.                                                                              
12:06:44 PM                                                                                                                   
Mr. Guaneli concurred.  He noted that because newer  Meth production                                                            
techniques require minimal  amounts of lab equipment, they are quite                                                            
portable. Meth  labs have been found  in motorhomes and in  the back                                                            
of cars.                                                                                                                        
Mr.  Guaneli  stated that  Sec.  9 and  Sec.  10 were  developed  in                                                            
response to  concerns raised during  the Committee's April  13, 2005                                                            
hearing on the bill. These  sections would require the Department of                                                            
Public  Safety  to  maintain  on its  Internet  website  a  complete                                                            
listing  of properties  in  which illegal  Meth labs  had  operated,                                                            
regardless  of whether the  site had been  re-mediated or not.  Real                                                            
estate  agents  and  others  desiring  to  purchase  property  could                                                            
consult this information  for "full and complete information"  about                                                            
a property.                                                                                                                     
Co-Chair Green asked for  confirmation that the information would be                                                            
public information.                                                                                                             
Mr. Guaneli understood  that the information "would  be available to                                                            
Co-Chair Green  recalled that this issue was the primary  concern of                                                            
realtors who had testified.                                                                                                     
Mr. Guaneli  informed  that Sec. 11  relates to  rules that  must be                                                            
amended  in response  to proposed  bail  provisions.  The bill  also                                                            
contains applicability and effective date provisions.                                                                           
12:08:52 PM                                                                                                                   
Mr. Guaneli  concluded  that the  work conducted  during the  Senate                                                            
committee process has resulted in an improved bill.                                                                             
AT EASE 12:09:21 PM / 12:10:02 PM                                                                                           
Senator   Stedman  questioned   the  reason   for  the  bill   being                                                            
accompanied by zero fiscal  notes, as he assumed that the bill could                                                            
result in more incarcerations.                                                                                                  
Mr. Guaneli responded  that whenever criminal statutes  are enacted,                                                            
there  is "the  hope that  there would  be some  deterrent  affect".                                                            
However, it  is difficult to determine  the extent of the  deterrent                                                            
in regards to  Meth offenders, particularly those  who are addicted.                                                            
Nonetheless, there is optimism  that Meth production in the presence                                                            
of children would  be deterred. Therefore, the number  of people who                                                            
would  be   prosecuted  for   child  endangerment   should   not  be                                                            
significant.  The additional penalties  being proposed could  result                                                            
in one or two  additional years of  imprisonment. The Department  of                                                            
Corrections has anticipated that such cases would be limited.                                                                   
Co-Chair Green ordered the bill HELD in Committee.                                                                              

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