Legislature(2017 - 2018)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)
04/18/2018 01:30 PM JUDICIARY
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HB 355-FIRE;FOREST LAND; CRIMES;FIRE PREVENTION 2:18:06 PM CHAIR COGHILL announced the consideration of HB 355 and noted the proposed committee substitute (CS). 2:18:48 PM SENATOR COSTELLO moved to adopt the Senate CS for CSHB 355, version 30-LS1382\U, as the working document. 2:18:59 PM CHAIR COGHILL objected for an explanation of the changes. 2:19:04 PM ALLIANA SALANGUIT, Staff, Representative David Guttenberg, Alaska State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, explained that version U of HB 355 updates the language in Section 8, page 3, line 11- 15. It reads: Sec. 41.15.070. Disposal of burning materials. During the fire season or a burn closure or restriction established under AS 41.15.050, a person may not discard any lighted tobacco, cigar, cigarette, match, firecracker, or other burning material on forested land. She advised that this conforming change makes Section 8 consistent with Section 5 that talks about fire season. CHAIR COGHILL asked if this addressed the inconsistency that Senator Wielechowski brought up in a previous meeting. MS. SALANGUIT said yes. SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked if littering laws, and perhaps others, would prohibit someone from discarding these materials during any season. 2:20:21 PM CHRIS MAISCH, State Forester and Director, Division of Forestry, Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Fairbanks, Alaska, replied he was not aware of any laws the Division of Forestry would enforce, but local laws may prevent people from discarding trash or other materials. Section 8 now conforms with the purpose of fire protection in Section 5. SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI said he was satisfied. 2:20:54 PM CHAIR COGHILL removed his objection and version U was adopted. He noted the proposed amendments and advised that if any were adopted they would be conformed to version U. He opened public testimony. 2:22:38 PM JEFF TUCK, President, Alaska Fire Chiefs Association, Kenai, Alaska, testified in support of HB 355. It will provide the Division of Forestry with prevention tools to better do their job. He expressed hope that the proposed amendments would do the same. CHAIR COGHILL asked Senator Shower to present the proposed amendments. 2:23:53 PM SENATOR SHOWER moved Amendment 1, labeled 30-LS1382\O.16. 30-LS1382\O.16 Radford 4/18/18 AMENDMENT 1 OFFERED IN THE SENATE BY SENATOR SHOWER TO: CSHB 355(JUD) Page 2, line 16: Delete "investigating," Page 4, line 16-17: Delete ",investigate," CHAIR COGHILL objected. SENATOR SHOWER explained that this and the other amendments address what he views to be enforcement powers that are too broad and vague. He opined that "investigating" is not applicable to the title. The same reasoning applies to the deletion on page 4. 2:25:28 PM MS. SALANGUIT advised that the sponsor opposes the amendment. She noted that this and the other amendments were presented in the other body and were not adopted. 2:25:41 PM SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked Mr. Maisch why the Division of Forestry needs the ability to investigate. MR. MAISCH replied the division's fire prevention officers are specifically trained in the cause and determination of wildland fires. This is expertise that other state agencies do not have. He explained that the ability to investigate is important when there are smoke reports. He highlighted that following a fire emergency, an individual's constitutional rights are maintained and warrants are used to do more detailed investigations. 2:26:37 PM At ease CHAIR COGHILL asked Senator Shower if he maintained the amendment. SENATOR SHOWER said yes. CHAIR COGHILL asked for a roll call. 2:26:46 PM A roll call vote was taken. Senators Shower and Kelly voted in favor of Amendment 1 and Senators Costello, Wielechowski, and Coghill voted against it. Therefore, Amendment 1 failed by a 2:3 vote. 2:27:35 PM SENATOR SHOWER moved Amendment 2, labeled 30-LS1382\O.17. 30-LS1382\O.17 Radford 4/17/18 AMENDMENT 2 OFFERED IN THE SENATE BY SENATOR SHOWER TO: CSHB 355(JUD) Page 2, lines 14-15: Delete "or administering the provisions of this chapter" CHAIR COGHILL objected. SENATOR SHOWER said the reasoning is the same as with the previous amendment. The powers this language grants are too broad when the paragraph specifically talks about the right of entry to control and suppress fires. He opined that this needs to be rewritten and placed in a separate section. MS. SALANGUIT stated that the sponsor opposes this amendment. It is more restrictive for the division and would allow permits to be issued only for setting fires and the use of burning devices. MR. MAISCH confirmed that Amendment 2 would be more restrictive and would limit the division right to enter only during an emergency to suppress and control wildland fires. CHAIR COGHILL asked Senator Shower if it was his intention to make it more restrictive. SENATOR SHOWER said he didn't believe it would be more restrictive. His view is that the amendment makes enforcing this chapter less restrictive for the division. It does not stop them from responding to and controlling and suppressing wildland fires or suspected wildland fires. MR. MAISCH pointed out that one of the sections talks about other types of land uses. This includes things like timber harvesting and land clearing, both of which could cause fires. The amendment would prevent the division's ability to work under those scenarios. 2:29:47 PM CHAIR COGHILL maintained his objection to Amendment 2. SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked for more examples of why this power is needed. MR MAISCH said other provisions of this chapter include the section that refers to destructive agents such as insect infestations. AS 41.17.082(d) outlines the process the commissioner must use to identify a zone of infestation and deal with the destructive agents. The proposed amendment would restrict that authority. CHAIR COGHILL asked for a roll call. 2:31:04 PM A roll call vote was taken. Senator Shower voted in favor of Amendment 2 and Senators Wielechowski, Kelly, Costello, and Coghill voted against it. Therefore, Amendment 2 failed by a 1:4 vote. 2:31:34 PM SENATOR SHOWER moved Amendment 3, labeled 30-LS1382\O.18. 30-LS1382\O.18 Radford 4/17/18 AMENDMENT 3 OFFERED IN THE SENATE BY SENATOR SHOWER TO: CSHB 355(JUD) Page 3, lines 7-9: Delete all material and insert: "(b) A person may not set fires or use burning devices without a permit as prescribed by the commissioner in regulation." CHAIR COGHILL objected SENATOR SHOWER said the amendment addresses the concern that the language is too broad for what the section tries to accomplish. SENATOR COSTELLO asked if the phrase "conduct other activities" is balanced by the phrase "without a permit as described." She questioned whether a permit would be required to smoke a cigarette. MR. MAISCH said the division opposes Amendment 3. Other activities refers to other types of land uses such as timber harvest and land clearing, both of which would require a permit during fire season. A permit would not be required to smoke a cigarette. SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked if mowing a lawn would be an example of an activity that could increase fire danger, given that hitting a rock could cause a spark and ignite a fire. MR. MAISCH said yes. In a similar example, a hot saw hit a rock during timber harvest and started a large forest fire. SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked to which lands and what times of year Section 7 applies. MR. MAISCH replied it applies to forested lands during the fire season or other times prescribed by the commissioner. The definition of "forested lands" is broad and would include a lawn. SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked if a permit is needed to mow your lawn. MR. MAISCH clarified that a permit is not required but an individual could be cited if it causes a fire. SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked about using a firearm outside. MR. MAISCH said a permit is not needed to use a firearm but anything that can start a fire could be considered under the statute. The purpose of the broad statute is to prevent the risk to public safety that occurs with such ignition devices. SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI maintained that the bill would require a permit to use a firearm. He said he would support the amendment because the language in Section 7 is far too broad at this point. 2:35:35 PM At ease 2:35:40 PM CHAIR COGHILL reconvened the meeting and maintained his objection to Amendment 3. His understanding is that the broader language would only be used during imminent fire danger. SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI said this would apply to all forested land (including lawns) during fire season, which is overbroad. CHAIR COGHILL asked for a roll call. 2:36:57 PM A roll call vote was taken. Senators Wielechowski, Kelly, and Shower voted in favor of Amendment 3 and Senators Costello and Coghill voted against it. Therefore, Amendment 3 passed by a 3:2 vote. 2:37:39 PM SENATOR SHOWER moved Amendment 4, LS-301382\O.19. 30-LS1382\O.19 Radford 4/17/18 AMENDMENT 4 OFFERED IN THE SENATE BY SENATOR SHOWER TO: CSHB 355(JUD) Page 6, following line 16: Insert a new bill section to read: "* Sec. 21. AS 41.15.950 is amended by adding a new subsection to read: (c) A person is not required under this section to disclose a deadly weapon under AS 11.61.220(a)(1)(A) to a peace officer described under (a)(1) of this section." Renumber the following bill sections accordingly. Page 7, line 2: Delete "sec. 21" Insert "sec. 22" Page 7, line 3: Delete "sec. 21" in both places Insert "sec. 22" in both places Page 7, line 4: Delete "Sections 23 and 24" Insert "Sections 24 and 25" Page 7, line 5: Delete "sec. 25" Insert "sec. 26" CHAIR COGHILL objected. SENATOR SHOWER explained that the amendment is intended to avoid potential conflicts between firemen who are not law enforcement and citizens who are armed and do not have the duty to disclose. CHAIR COGHILL asked Ms. Salanguit if the sponsor had seen the proposed amendment. MS. SALANGUIT said yes and the Department of Law could speak to it. 2:40:00 PM AARON PETERSON, Assistant Attorney General, Office of Special Prosecutions, Criminal Division, Department of Law, Anchorage, Alaska, said the way it stands now is that there is a reasonableness requirement that the person who knowingly possesses a concealed firearm is reckless that the person contacting them is a peace officer. Under the circumstance of a fireman who is dressed in a lime green uniform, it would not be reckless to be unaware that a fireman is a peace officer. SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked if this refers to Sec. 11.61.220 (a)(1)(A) which is the affirmative duty to disclose to a police officer that you have a firearm. MR. PETERSON said yes. SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked if he agrees that the amendment clarifies that an individual does not have an affirmative duty to disclose to a peace officer that they have a firearm in their possession. MR. PETERSON confirmed that the amendment would codify that an individual would never have the duty to disclose a concealed firearm, even if the fire prevention officer (FPO) was dressed as a peace officer. 2:43:54 PM SENATOR SHOWER said the amendment tries to clarify that for the purpose of enforcing this chapter. Sec. 41.15.950(a)(1) identifies an employee of the department or other person authorized by the commissioner as peace officers of the state, regardless of their dress. CHAIR COGHILL asked Mr. Peterson if he had a comment. MR. PETERSON said no; he understands the intent of the amendment. SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI said his question was who is defined as a peace officer and Sec. 41.15.950(a) appears to be fairly broad. MR. PETERSON said there are numerous definitions of peace officer throughout the statutes, but the definition in Title 41 is for the purpose of enforcing Title 41. 2:45:33 PM SENATOR SHOWER withdrew Amendment 4. 2:45:56 PM CHAIR COGHILL held HB 355 in committee.