Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

04/22/2006 09:30 AM JUDICIARY


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Continued from 04/20/06 --
+= SB 316 COURT REVIEW OF STRANDED GAS DECISION TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= SB 313 SALVIA DIVINORUM AS CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 313(JUD) Out of Committee
+= SB 48 PSYCH. EVALUATION/TREATMENT FOR STUDENTS TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 48(HES) Out of Committee
+= HB 446 PENALTY FOR UNLAWFUL TRADE PRACTICE TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 446(JUD) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                                                                                                                                
           HB 446-PENALTY FOR UNLAWFUL TRADE PRACTICE                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:47:39 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  RALPH  SEEKINS  announced  CSHB  446(JUD)  to  be  up  for                                                               
consideration.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CRAIG  JOHNSON,  Staff   to  Representative  Lesil  McGuire,                                                               
introduced  the  bill. The  first  consumer  protection bill  was                                                               
introduced in  1979. Today  Alaska's current  consumer protection                                                               
laws provide the  lowest allowable civil penalties  of any state.                                                               
The  bill is  meant to  strengthen consumer  protection laws  and                                                               
bring the  penalties up  in accordance  with inflation.  The bill                                                               
has seen no opposition to this point.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:49:35 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR HOLLIS FRENCH  remarked that the bill  simply updates the                                                               
amounts of fines and does not change any substantive law.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
ED SNIFFEN, Assistant Attorney General,  Department of Law (DOL),                                                               
testified that  his responsibilities  include enforcement  of the                                                               
Consumer Protection  Act, which the  bill would amend.  He agreed                                                               
with Senator  French's comment that  the bill would  bring Alaska                                                               
Statutes in line with the fines of the current times.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS referred  to page 1, line 6  and questioned whether                                                               
the provision "A  person who violates the terms  of an injunction                                                               
or restraining  order" implies that  the person  would "knowingly                                                               
and willfully" do so. He stated  that was not always clear to the                                                               
average person.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. SNIFFEN agreed  but said there are a number  of statutes that                                                               
have the same implied effect.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
10:53:55 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  SEEKINS asked  Mr. Sniffen  the standard  that is  used to                                                               
bring someone to court.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. SNIFFEN responded that the DOL  looks at a variety of factors                                                               
in each individual  case. It is policy to consider  the impact of                                                               
the conduct  on the citizens  of the  State of Alaska.  There are                                                               
cases involving  private disputes  between individuals  where the                                                               
Department would be unlikely to  spend resources as the impact is                                                               
localized  and  unique  and  does  not  demonstrate  patterns  of                                                               
illegal behavior.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS asked whether it  was normal practice to advise the                                                               
person of  the illegal practice  and to  order them to  cease and                                                               
desist.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. SNIFFEN  said yes.  If the  harm is  not monumental,  the DOL                                                               
will advise  them of the law  and have them sign  an assurance of                                                               
voluntary compliance, which is then filed with the court.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:56:58 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEEKINS closed public testimony.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GRETCHEN  GUESS  moved  to  report  CSHB  446(JUD)  from                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations  and attached  fiscal                                                               
notes. Hearing no objections, the motion carried.                                                                               

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