Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

02/02/2006 08:30 AM JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSSB 200(JUD) Out of Committee
Moved SB 210 Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
         SB 210-VIOL. OF ALCOHOLIC BEV. LAWS/FORFEITURE                                                                     
9:51:43 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR RALPH SEEKINS announced SB 210 to be up for consideration.                                                                
SENATOR GENE  THERRIAULT, sponsor,  introduced the bill  and said                                                               
SB  210  makes  changes  to  current law  to  better  assist  law                                                               
enforcement in  protecting communities that have  chosen to limit                                                               
the sale or possession of alcohol under local option laws.                                                                      
HEATHER BRAKES,  staff to  Senator Therriault,  further explained                                                               
that in 2004,  Congress established the Alaska  Rural Justice and                                                               
Law   Enforcement  Commission,   recognizing   that  many   rural                                                               
communities face  the highest alcohol  abuse and  family violence                                                               
rates in  the country.  The Commission  presented recommendations                                                               
to the Alaska  Legislature and SB 210 was drafted  in response to                                                               
some of the recommendations of the Commission.                                                                                  
The bill would  make it clear that alcohol  transported by common                                                               
carrier in  violation of  local option laws  could be  seized and                                                               
forfeited. It  allows the authority to  seize property determined                                                               
to have  been purchased or  obtained through  illegal importation                                                               
or  sale  of  alcohol.  It   proposes  to  streamline  forfeiture                                                               
proceedings for  a person who  may claim an interest  in property                                                               
that  has  been   seized.  SB  210  provides   a  definition  for                                                               
manufacture   of   alcohol   in  the   statutes   and   clarifies                                                               
inconsistency  in  statutes as  it  relates  to the  quantity  in                                                               
There are  over 100 communities  that have chosen a  local option                                                               
to limit  or completely  ban the sale  or possession  of alcohol.                                                               
According  to  the  Department of  Public  Safety's  2004  annual                                                               
report,  bootlegging  remains  a   lucrative  business  in  rural                                                               
9:55:41 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEEKINS   referenced  Page  1,   line  6,  and   the  word                                                               
"municipality"  and  recollected  a   couple  of  years  ago  the                                                               
Legislature used the word "community"  and allowed a community of                                                               
20 or  more to adopt  alcohol possession  limits. He said  at the                                                               
time he wondered  why they would allow a community  of 20 or more                                                               
people to  make a  decision as  to what  constituted a  felony in                                                               
terms of possession, sale, and importation of alcohol.                                                                          
9:58:05 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS called for public testimony.                                                                                      
DOUG  GRIFFIN,   Director,  Alcoholic  Beverage   Control  Board,                                                               
clarified that the term "established  village" is the term of art                                                               
used in Title 4,  which is being amended by Section  1 of SB 210.                                                               
The  definition is  found in  AS 04.21.080(B)(9).  An established                                                               
village  means an  area  that does  not contain  any  part of  an                                                               
incorporated city or another  established village. The definition                                                               
is very clear in statute.                                                                                                       
10:00:18 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  HOLLIS FRENCH  referred to  the forfeiture  timeline. He                                                               
asked whether someone could explain  the minimum timeline between                                                               
the seizure  of alcohol and  some property,  and the sale  of the                                                               
10:02:02 AM                                                                                                                   
CAPTAIN  ED  HARRINGTON,  Alaska State  Troopers,  responded  and                                                               
informed the committee the way  that property is currently seized                                                               
is through  adjudication of  the case  through the  court system.                                                               
Typically the  property is not  forfeited to the state  until the                                                               
case is decided through the  court, which typically takes between                                                               
6 and 12 months.                                                                                                                
10:03:06 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  FRENCH asked  Captain Harrington  whether  SB 210  would                                                               
change that timeline.                                                                                                           
CAPTAIN HARRINGTON  said it  could. He said  the bill  would make                                                               
the procedure  for seizing alcohol consistent  with the procedure                                                               
that  the  state  uses  for  seizing  property  related  to  drug                                                               
activity. It could  shorten the timeframe for  seizure if handled                                                               
in the civil manner.                                                                                                            
10:04:33 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR FRENCH  asked the witness  to explain the changes  in the                                                               
seizure timeframe.                                                                                                              
CAPTAIN  HARRINGTON  replied he  has  not  experienced using  the                                                               
civil process  and could not describe  the steps. He said  it was                                                               
cumbersome  to  use  and  the   troopers  generally  forfeit  the                                                               
property through the  criminal prosecution of the  case. He could                                                               
not say exactly how long the process would take.                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  remarked that it  was important to know  the time                                                               
frame  between the  time  of the  arrest and  the  time that  the                                                               
property would be  disposed of. He said many  people leave Alaska                                                               
in  the winter  and  their  property could  be  used for  illegal                                                               
activity.  He  expressed  concern  that people  should  have  the                                                               
opportunity to assert  claim of their property before  it is sold                                                               
by the state.                                                                                                                   
10:06:48 AM                                                                                                                   
CAPTAIN  HARRINGTON  offered  his experience  was  that  property                                                               
owners  have  always  had  ample   opportunity  to  respond.  The                                                               
Department of  Public Safety (DPS)  does a good job  with keeping                                                               
people informed.                                                                                                                
ANNE CARPENETI, Criminal Division,  Department of Law (DOL), said                                                               
the DOL worked with the sponsor  on the bill and they support it.                                                               
The DOL already  has the opportunity to proceed  civilly to seize                                                               
and  forfeit property  used in  violation  of Title  4. The  bill                                                               
doesn't give  additional authority; it  just defines some  of the                                                               
procedures  to  make it  clearer  of  how  to proceed.  Once  the                                                               
property is  seized and the  DOL does not  know who owns  it, the                                                               
current statute dictates  after 30 days the DPS  would publish it                                                               
in the  newspaper. People who  are acting illegally will  tend to                                                               
not claim that property.                                                                                                        
10:08:48 AM                                                                                                                   
The new provisions clarify the length  of time a person has after                                                               
the notifications have  been posted in the newspaper,  to file an                                                               
answer to  the complaint filed  in court, and they  have recourse                                                               
to  litigation to  recover the  property. SB  210 gives  people a                                                               
timeline to file an answer in court.                                                                                            
SENATOR FRENCH asked  Ms. Carpeneti the number of  days after the                                                               
seizure that the  property would be sold and  the money forfeited                                                               
to the state.                                                                                                                   
MS. CARPENETI  replied at a  minimum it  would take 30  days plus                                                               
the time that  it takes the court to schedule  the hearing, which                                                               
would usually  take about  60 days. It  would probably  take 6-12                                                               
10:10:45 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  SEEKINS  asked  whether  the bill  would  do  anything  to                                                               
interrupt the rights of lien holders.                                                                                           
MS. CARPENETI replied that it would not.                                                                                        
SENATOR  THERRIAULT referred  to  page 3  lines  26-27 and  asked                                                               
whether that language mirrored the  language that dealt with drug                                                               
MS.  CARPENETI said  lines  26-27 were  actually  a statement  of                                                               
current  law.  Alaska  state  law presently  allows  the  DOL  to                                                               
proceed  in   connection  with  a  criminal   prosecution  or  in                                                               
connection  with  an "in  rem"  proceeding  against the  property                                                               
10:12:50 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. GRIFFIN testified in support of  SB 210 and offered to answer                                                               
CHAIR SEEKINS closed public testimony.                                                                                          
SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked whether  a fiscal note  accompanied the                                                               
MS. BRAKES advised the fiscal note was pending.                                                                                 
MS CARPENETI reported the DOL does  not believe SB 210 would have                                                               
a fiscal impact.                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT moved to report SB 210 out of committee with                                                                 
individual recommendations and a pending fiscal note. Hearing no                                                                
objections, the motion carried.                                                                                                 

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