Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205
04/22/2005 08:30 AM JUDICIARY
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* first hearing in first committee of referral
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HB 88-CRIM LAW: MINORS, SCHOOLS, DRUGS, SENTENCES 10:08:26 AM CHAIR SEEKINS announced HB 88 to be up for consideration. MS. ANNE CARPENETI, Department of Law (DOL) introduced HB 88, which is designed to respond to the problems of violence in schools and also violence among juveniles relating to guns. Under HB 88 juveniles who are 16 or 17 years old who use guns in certain circumstances would be automatically waived to adult court. Those circumstances are; using a gun during a drug felony crime and drive by shootings. The court may mitigate a sentence for a defendant who has cooperated with the authorities in the prosecution of the case. The definition of recreation or youth center has been changed to add those run by private groups. HB 88 makes the aggravating factor apply to arson (AS 11.46.400) but the committee would have to amend it to include a building on school grounds if they want the arson aggravating factor to stay. 10:12:51 AM MS. CARPENETI asserted arson against a school building should be considered. 10:13:06 AM MS. PATTY WARE, director, division of juvenile justice, (DJJ) Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) offered to answer questions. HB 88 adds offenses for juveniles who are age 16 and older in terms of them being processed and treated as an adult. CHAIR SEEKINS said HB 88 sounds strangely familiar. SENATOR THERRIAULT advised it was similar to SB 65. He moved to Amendment 1. Strike Section 1. Hearing no objections, Amendment 1 carried. Chair Seekins announced a brief recess at 10:15:37 AM. Chair Seekins reconvened the meeting at 10:19:59 AM. CHAIR SEEKINS and the committee reviewed CSSB 65(JUD). SENATOR FRENCH commented HB 88 focuses on juveniles who perform adult-type crimes. 10:24:01 AM SENATOR FRENCH said HB 88 is the more likely vehicle to pass legislation this term. He suggested replacing Section 3 of HB 88 with Section 1 of CSSB 65(JUD). SENATOR THERRIAULT commented the only difference is the issue of arson. HB 88 Section 3 added AS 11.46.400, which is problematic. MS. CARPENETI stated the problem would be fixed by an amendment. SENATOR THERRIAULT asked whether the committee wants to delete arson or confine it to arson against school buildings. SENATOR FRENCH asserted arson against school property was a problem in his community. 10:25:08 AM MS. CARPENETI said in order to leave arson in HB 88 the committee would have to limit it to school buildings on school grounds or school busses. SENATOR FRENCH moved Amendment 2. Strike HB 88 Section 3 and insert CSSB 65(JUD) Section 1. Hearing no objections, Amendment 2 was adopted. 10:26:42 AM SENATOR FRENCH proposed Amendment 3, which adds arson. Hearing no objections, Amendment 3 was adopted. 10:29:07 AM SENATOR FRENCH asked Ms. Carpeneti whether the DOL supports the mitigater. MS. CARPENETI replied yes. SENATOR THERRIAULT asked Ms. Carpeneti to comment on the difference in HB 88 and CSSB 65(JUD) in regards to first and second-degree weapon use. 10:31:43 AM MS. CARPENETI said CSSB 65(JUD) included both first and second- degree misconduct involving weapons. HB 88 would not waive for certain behavior, such as possessing a concealed weapon on school grounds and behavior with discharging of a firearm at or in the direction of a building with reckless disregard for physical injury to a person or a dwelling. SENATOR THERRIAULT asked whether the DOL agreed to the narrowing of the statute. MS. CARPENETI advised they spoke against it. SENATOR THERRIAULT asked the reasoning. MS. WARE interjected to explain the thinking had to do with what Senator French mentioned earlier - the decision to waive juveniles into adult court. The discussion centered on the seriousness of second degree versus first degree and possession versus actually using a gun during a crime. In terms of the numbers, in a two-year period the DJJ reported 16 juveniles were charged with misconduct involving weapons in the first degree and the second degree. Under the narrower version, the DJJ would have waived five of these juveniles into the adult system. Under the broader definition, all 16 juveniles would have been waived into adult court. 10:34:18 AM SENATOR GUESS asked Ms. Ware whether the DJJ has the discretion to waive cases into the adult system. MS. WARE replied they do under the existing statutes any offense that is deemed serious enough they connect with the district attorney's office and petition the court for a waiver of the individual into the adult court system. SENATOR FRENCH clarified HB 88 allowed for an automatic waiver. MS. CARPENETI interjected the argument on the other side is that an automatic waiver is a serious step, so they decided it best to best to start with the first degree offense and later look into second degree. SENATOR THERRIAULT agreed with the narrower scope. SENATOR THERRIAULT asked for clarification on Section 1, subparagraph (B). He wondered whether an after school swim club at a local gym would be included. MS. WARE explained the key word in Section 1, subparagraph (B) is "licensed". The DHSS licenses an array of facilities for shelter services for children. The example given would not be covered. SENATOR THERRIAULT asked about a boys and girls club. MS. WARE responded they were not licensed. 10:38:53 AM CHAIR SEEKINS announced the committee would wait for a clean version of the amended bill before going further.