Legislature(2001 - 2002)

05/04/2001 05:22 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
             HB 120-CRIME PREVENTION & PRIVACY COMPACT                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  John Coghill testified  that the sponsor  substitute                                                            
for HB 120  provides language for  a privacy compact between  Alaska                                                            
and  other states  and  the  federal government  to  facilitate  the                                                            
exchange of  criminal history records  information for non-criminal                                                             
purposes.  The compact would  be assumed by  statute rather  than by                                                            
reference.    Any changes  to  the  language  in the  compact  would                                                            
necessitate  a state  review  to protect  10  Amendment  rights.  He                                                            
assured members that his  focus was to ensure that the compact could                                                            
never have authority over state.                                                                                                
On pages 1  and 2 there are 10 criteria  for use of the information                                                             
and gives  authority for  receiving the  information to individuals                                                             
who   are   not   associated   with   law   enforcement.    Positive                                                            
identification  would be made using fingerprints that  are submitted                                                            
There are  five major purposes  for the compact  outlined on  page 7                                                            
that  provide  a  legal  framework  for  the  establishment  of  the                                                            
cooperative venture.                                                                                                            
MR.  KEN  BISCHOFF,  Director  of  the  Division  of Administrative                                                             
Services for the Department  of Public Safety, stated strong support                                                            
for the  bill. The  department is  the repository  for all  criminal                                                            
history  records and  they process  about 30,000  fingerprint  based                                                            
criminal history checks.                                                                                                        
TAPE 01-30, SIDE A                                                                                                            
The  state  can  now access  federal  records  but  by  joining  the                                                            
compact, they  could directly access other states'  records as well.                                                            
This would  make accessible  40 percent of  the information  that is                                                            
currently  unavailable.  The compact  does  nothing  to change  what                                                            
individual    legislatures    approve   or    authorize    regarding                                                            
dissemination  laws. They can only use the information  as a compact                                                            
member  if the  Alaska legislature  authorizes  the  release of  the                                                            
information.  Examples of  areas in which  the information  would be                                                            
used  are for  school bus  drivers, day  care workers,  foster  care                                                            
licensing,  teacher  certification  and  nursing home  and  assisted                                                            
living workers.                                                                                                                 
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  asked who was currently being paid  to handle this.                                                            
MR. BISCHOFF  replied that  there is a  criminal history  repository                                                            
staff in Anchorage headed  by criminal records bureau chief, Kathryn                                                            
Monfreda, who is a latent  fingerprint expert. Diane Schenker is the                                                            
criminal justice planner.                                                                                                       
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  thought they had  a retired trooper on contract  to                                                            
put the package together.                                                                                                       
MR.  BISCHOFF  responded  they have  received  federal  and  general                                                            
funding through  the legislature to  begin the process of  rewriting                                                            
the Alaska Public  Safety Information Network. The  contract for the                                                            
project manager  was put to bid and awarded to a retired  major with                                                            
the troopers.  He's working  to develop a  new computer information                                                             
system that will  allow efficient national criminal  history checks.                                                            
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR  commented that  he  had seen  significant  funding                                                            
available for that.                                                                                                             
MR. BISCHOFF  responded that the compact  under consideration  has a                                                            
zero fiscal note. The funding  referred to is for development of the                                                            
new system.                                                                                                                     
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said the  compact simply sets up the bureaucracy and                                                            
the rules for the bureaucracy  that makes up the compact. The actual                                                            
cost is for buying hardware  and software, setting up the system and                                                            
training people to use the system.                                                                                              
MR. BISCHOFF  did not agree. The National  Privacy Compact  is based                                                            
on the Interstate  Identification Index network system  (III), which                                                            
is an FBI system. That  system was paid for and is a federal network                                                            
to which Alaska has access.                                                                                                     
SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked whether  passage of the compact  obligates                                                            
the state to follow through and update the current system.                                                                      
MR.  BISCHOFF  said passage  of  the  compact  carries no  legal  or                                                            
financial obligation  to replace the  system. However, the  computer                                                            
system  that was implemented  in 1984  is obsolete  and not  able to                                                            
meet  current demands.  Although  Alaska  has used  the  III for  35                                                            
years,  it has  just been  used for  law enforcement  purposes.  The                                                            
compact allows  access to that information for civil  purposes based                                                            
upon a set of rules outlined in the compact.                                                                                    
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked who  would be able to use this information for                                                            
civil purposes.                                                                                                                 
MR. BISCHOFF  replied it  would be the department  of public  safety                                                            
criminal records  bureau personal  who would send information  based                                                            
on fingerprint requests  from employers and regulatory agencies that                                                            
are authorized  to receive the information as set  forth in statute.                                                            
The  criminal records  bureau  is the  sole repository  and  control                                                            
point  for fingerprint  information  in Alaska and  every state  has                                                            
such a bureau.                                                                                                                  
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked for  verification that this was to be used for                                                            
civil purposes.                                                                                                                 
MR. BISCHOFF confirmed it was 100 percent for civil use.                                                                        
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked about  provisions for violation of utilization                                                            
of  the  system  since individuals   have to  agree  to  have  their                                                            
fingerprints run through the system for civil purposes.                                                                         
MS.   DIANE  SHENKER,   Criminal   Justice   Planner   Division   of                                                            
Administrative  Services for the Department  of Public Safety,  said                                                            
that  nothing in  the bill  changes  the law  for  violation of  the                                                            
system. State  law requires  an audit system  whereby use is  logged                                                            
and audited. Access may  be terminated and criminal charges referred                                                            
for violations  of release of confidential information.  The FBI has                                                            
similar provisions for action for violations.                                                                                   
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked whether  there have been any violations and or                                                            
terminations of use.                                                                                                            
MS. SHENKER  said there  have been both.  Violations are  discovered                                                            
through investigated  complaints and routine audits.  "A handful" of                                                            
violations   have  been   confirmed   since  they   instituted   the                                                            
accelerated  audit program in the  last several years. As  a result,                                                            
the individuals' access was terminated.                                                                                         
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR commented  that although access was terminated, none                                                            
of the parties were fired. In fact, one violator was promoted.                                                                  
MS. SHENKER  responded that in the  statute and regulations  for the                                                            
department  of public safety as a  repository, they do not  have the                                                            
authority  to terminate an  employee of another  agency but  they do                                                            
have  the authority  to terminate  access  to the  criminal  justice                                                            
information  system.   It's  up  to  the  employer  to  determine  a                                                            
particular personnel action.                                                                                                    
MR. BISCHOFF  acknowledged the issues  that arose several  years ago                                                            
but wanted  to emphasize  that this  is a discrete  process  that is                                                            
easier  to  control.  Although  the  concerns  will  understandably                                                             
continue,  this is a civil  process and access  to the process  will                                                            
not  be widespread.  Through  a given  set of  rules,  his staff  in                                                            
Anchorage would process applicant checks in that shop.                                                                          
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  said he understood  but the network of information                                                             
that is available is being expanded.                                                                                            
MR. BISCHOFF  responded that  the information  they have is  for law                                                            
enforcement  purposes and  could not  be provided  to employers  and                                                            
licensing agencies. Passage  of the bill would allow them to provide                                                            
information for those purposes.                                                                                                 
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  called for further questions or additional  witness                                                            
testimony  and received no  response. He asked  for the pleasure  of                                                            
the committee.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR COWDERY  moved SSHB 120(am)  from committee with  individual                                                            
There being  no objection,  SSHB 120(am)  moved from committee  with                                                            
individual recommendations.                                                                                                     

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