Legislature(1993 - 1994)

04/18/1994 01:55 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
 SENATOR TAYLOR brought  CSHB 79(FIN) am  (DAMAGE TO PROPERTY BY               
 MINORS) before the committee as the next order of business.                   
                                                                               
 PATTY SWENSON, staff to Representative Con Bunde, related the                 
 intent of HB 79 is provide adequate compensation to organizations             
 or individuals whose property has been vandalized by minors.  The             
 amount of compensation available in current statute is $2,000 and             
 the legislation will raise the amount to $25,000.  She noted the              
 amounts awarded for vandalism in other states, under similar                  
 statutes, range to $10,000 to $15,000, with California being the              
 highest at $25,000.                                                           
                                                                               
 The bill also adds language to current statute that would release             
 parents or legal guardians from liability for damages caused by               
 minors who have run away or are missing, providing that the parent            
 or legal guardian makes a report of that person being missing or a            
 runaway.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 548                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR DONLEY asked what happens when a parent kicks a minor out             
 of the house and some vandalism occurs.  KATHY TIBBLES, Division of           
 Family & Youth Services, responded that it is her understanding               
 that unless the minor runs away and is reported as missing, the               
 parent is still responsible and can't abrogate that responsibility,           
 unless there was a petitioning to allow the court to emancipate the           
 minor.  VINCE USERA, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Law,           
 pointed out that if the minor were under the legal custody of the             
 state, the parent would not be responsible.  SENATOR DONLEY                   
 expressed his concern that he didn't think the legislation was fair           
 to parents who may really be good parents, but just have a bad kid,           
 because there is nothing in the bill to provide them with any                 
 relief.                                                                       
                                                                               
 TAPE 94-37, SIDE B                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 035                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR DONLEY commented that he didn't think parents could even              
 insure against this risk.  MS. SWENSON said that some insurance               
 companies cover this and people do collect on their homeowner's               
 insurance for vandalism that was intentional by a minor.                      
                                                                               
 Number 110                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR also expressed concern with the $25,000 figure,                
 saying that it has been on the books for a number of years at                 
 $2,000, and he would feel more comfortable with a lower number than           
 $25,000.   REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE pointed out that this is a civil              
 action and the case would have to be pled before a court, and                 
 whether the parents are culpable or not culpable should be part of            
 that proceeding.  He thought if it were a jury trial the parents              
 would have an excellent chance of defending themselves.  SENATOR              
 TAYLOR agreed that it was a civil action, but he said it doesn't              
 provide for any defense other than the defense of the child being             
 a runaway and the parent having filed a report.                               
                                                                               
 Number 170                                                                    
                                                                               
 There was discussion on setting some reasonable standards or                  
 defenses for the parents before they are liable.  It was agreed               
 that the bill would be held in committee to be worked on so that              
 there would be a better consensus on it before reporting it out of            
 committee.                                                                    

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