Legislature(2001 - 2002)
03/25/2002 01:40 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 297-CRIMES: RESTITUTION & AGGRAVATING FACTORS REPRESENTATIVE KEVIN MEYER, sponsor of HB 297, said this bill has been a learning experience for him, as it has become a "Christmas tree" bill. He said that is acceptable to him as the original intent of his legislation is still intact and the additions improve the juvenile restitution program. He explained that Section 2 of the committee substitute contains the contents of HB 297. It adds an aggravating factor when drugs or excessive alcohol are used to incapacitate a person to the point where they become the victim of a sexual assault. He believes the seriousness of such conduct should be elevated in the eyes of the court. He noted that sexual assault is devastating Alaska communities. He began working on this bill because the "date- rape" pill is being used to commit more sexual assaults. Sex offenders who use those pills often do so to prevent the victim from resisting. CSHB 297(JUD) does not require the courts to impose stricter penalties, it simply gives the court the ability to do so. REPRESENTATIVE MEYER explained the other sections of the bill amend the juvenile restitution statutes and were included at the request of Senator Halford. Section 1 creates a new section declaring that if a conviction is set aside, the restitution will remain enforceable. He explained that sometimes a conviction is set aside when part of the sentence was served. Section 1 ensures that restitution is paid even if the conviction is set aside. Section 3 relates to delinquency disposition orders. Under current law, juveniles and parents are required to submit full financial statements when restitution is being decided. Section 3 requires full financial statements only when one party requests them. He noted that in most cases, full financial statements are not necessary because the amount of restitution is less than a permanent fund dividend. However, if damages run into thousands of dollars, full financial statements would be required. Section 4 makes sure that restitution orders are not terminated just because the offender has "aged-out" of the authority of the juvenile system. Restitution must be paid even though the thth offender has reached his or her 19 or 20 birthday. Section 5 relates to the paperwork process for restitution payments. The current process has the paperwork going from the Department of Health and Social Services to the court system to the Department of Law for collection. Section 5 will allow the paperwork to go directly from the Department of Health and Social Services to the Department of Law to make the process more efficient. REPRESENTATIVE MEYER asked the committee to support SCS CSHB 297(HUD) and noted he had several people available to answer questions. SENATOR THERRIAULT asked what is repealed in Section 6. REPRESENTATIVE MEYER said it applies to mandatory financial disclosure. SENATOR DONLEY moved to adopt the proposed Senate Judiciary CS (Luckhaupt 3/22/02, Version S) as the working document of the committee. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR announced that without objection, SCS CSHB 297(JUD) was before the committee. REPRESENTATIVE MEYER asked if the committee needed to take action on the concurrent resolution. SENATOR DONLEY suggested that Chairman Taylor introduce the concurrent resolution on the Senate floor. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR maintained that it is "ready to go." SENATOR THERRIAULT noted that, in general, a bill contains a repeal section when new statutory sections are added but he did not see any. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR clarified that the new material was added to .120. MS. ANNE CARPENETI, representing the Criminal Division of the Department of Law, explained that repealing the section requiring mandatory financial disclosure will make disclosure optional at the request of various parties. For example, if the victim advocate requested financial disclosure, the court would be required to order it. She noted in most cases, financial disclosure is not necessary because the restitution amounts to less than the permanent fund dividend. SENATOR THERRIAULT asked if the language is being repositioned on the bottom of page 2, line 29. MS. CARPENETI said that is correct. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked if the requirement that orders for restitution remain past the age of minority applies to other orders for restitution in district and superior courts. MS. CARPENETI said she believes so. She noted this requirement has been passed by the legislature in all forms of restitution and Section 1 actually clarifies in statute that in a suspended imposition of sentence, the restitution order survives. There being no further testimony, SENATOR DONLEY moved SCS CSHB 297(JUD) from committee with individual recommendations and any accompanying fiscal notes. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR announced that without objection, SCS CSHB 297(JUD) moved from committee. He also announced that the committee would introduce a Senate concurrent resolution to provide for the title changes necessitated by the changes made in the committee substitute. There being no further business to come before the committee, he adjourned the meeting at 3:15 p.m.