Legislature(1993 - 1994)
02/07/1994 01:40 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATOR TAYLOR introduced SB 221 (ARREST OF MINORS FOR CONSUMING ALCOHOL) and immediately turned to the Legislative Teleconference Network in Ketchikan, to hear CHERI DAVIS, representing Alaskans for a Drug Free Youth. MS. DAVIS expressed appreciation for SB 221, and she explained the problems encountered in Ketchikan without the provisions of the proposed legislation, but using local ordinances. She expressed concern for the safety of the young people in Ketchikan and urged the legislature to pass the bill as soon as possible. LYNDA ADAMS, Executive Director for Alaskans for a Drug Free Youth, explained, although the City of Ketchikan had an ordinance to help the problem with minors consuming within the city limits, the problem has still not been addressed outside the city. She thought the legislation would tighten up the whole island for minors, and she submitted additional support from the State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Advisory Board when it last met in Juneau. Number 053 LT. CHUCK MALLOT said the Ketchikan Police Department wishes to go on record in support of SB 221, and he described the consumption of alcohol by 20% of school age minors in Ketchikan. He quoted from case law that forbids the arrest of a minor, who appears under the influence of alcohol. The City of Ketchikan passed an emergency ordinance to assure the immediate safety of the young people who have been drinking, however; the ordinance only applies within the City of Ketchikan. MR. MALLOT urged the passage of SB 221 to extend this protection to the remainder of the First Judicial District. There being no others on the teleconference network to testify, SENATOR TAYLOR called on MARGO KNUTH, Asst. Attorney General, Criminal Division, Department of Law, to testify. Number 116 MS. KNUTH said the Department of Law very much supports the legislation, and she reviewed the arrest of minors consuming before the ruling by two judicial officers in the First Judicial District, which prohibits a warrantless arrest for a minor consuming, unless the alcohol is consumed in the presence of the officer. She said the legislation would return the law in the First Judicial District to protect the young people - instead of walking away from them. Both SENATOR JACKO and SENATOR LITTLE asked why there was a zero fiscal note. MS. KNUTH explained it was happening every where else in the State, except for the First Judicial District, where it was done until the last eight or nine months. She suggested that no arrest of minors consuming during that period might have saved money. SENATOR JACKO asked if a fiscal note reflected the cost of the activity. Number 158 MS. KNUTH said the fiscal note reflected the costs associated with the legislation, and SENATOR TAYLOR agreed. SENATOR LITTLE clarified the juvenile arrested for consuming would be turned over to their parents. MS. KNUTH explained the legislation does not address what happens to the minor after the warrantless arrest. SENATOR TAYLOR didn't think the parents intended, or society would support, an officer finding an obviously intoxicated young person on the street at night, the officer would issue a ticket, and walk away. He said this was happening in the First Judicial District. MS. KNUTH expressed her appreciation to the people of Ketchikan and Alaskans for a Drug Free Youth for their involvement in the alcohol problem, instead of just concentrating on the hard drugs. SENATOR TAYLOR added his appreciation, also. SENATOR JACKO moved to pass SENATE BILL NO. 221 from committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal note. Without objections, so ordered.