Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/28/1994 09:10 AM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
CHAIRMAN LEMAN brings up HJR 43 (RIGHTS OF CRIME VICTIMS) as the next order of business before the Senate State Affairs Committee. The chairman notes the existence of a committee substitute. Number 544 SENATOR MILLER makes a motion to adopt SCS CSHJR 43(STA) in lieu of CSHJR 43(FIN). Number 542 CHAIRMAN LEMAN, hearing no objection, states the cs has been adopted in lieu of CSHJR 43(FIN). The chairman notes the presence of Eric Musser from the office of Representative Porter, the prime sponsor of HJR 43. The chairman invites Senator Donley to testify. Number 524 SENATOR DONLEY expresses concern that it would not be wise to pass victim's rights as a constitutional amendment. This is a totally new area of the law. With new developments in the law, there is frequently a lot of litigation and a lot of judicial time being spent interpreting these developments. Senator Donley thinks it is best to develop a baseline of statutory laws before passing a constitutional amendment. The caveat added by the house on page 2, line 9, is simply not sufficient to prevent judicial expansion of the intent of the constitutional amendment. SENATOR DONLEY says the senate version of this constitutional amendment has much stronger language deferring to the statutory direction from the legislature. Senator Donley thinks HJR 43 would open a huge legal can of worms. Number 474 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks Senator Donley if he prefers the language in SJR 2 to the language in HJR 43. SENATOR DONLEY replies he prefers SJR 2. He prefers specifications that victims and rights be defined in statute. There is no provision in HJR 43 defining "victim" by the legislature. Senator Donley asks who is a victim and to whom should we extend these rights. HJR 43 does not defer that decision to the legislature in any way, shape, or form. SENATOR DONLEY asks that the legislature be deferred to in defining "victim" and "victim's rights", and that the legislature have the ability to do so by statute. Number 440 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks if there could possible be an adverse affect if the legislature does not provide for those rights. SENATOR DONLEY responds that is a danger. But by establishing victim's rights in the constitution, a baseline would be created. By having language deferring to the legislature in defining these terms, the courts could look to existing statutes as the baseline. Number 421 SENATOR TAYLOR comments he is curious about the resolution addressing penal administration. He is trying to think of a situation where a victim could actually be a perpetrator. CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks Senator Donley if he has any objection to incorporating section 1. SENATOR DONLEY says he has no opposition to that. CHAIRMAN LEMAN and SENATOR DONLEY discuss the differences between SJR 2 and HJR 43. There are differences in the drafting style. Number 385 CHAIRMAN LEMAN states that HJR 43 says victims are entitled to seek k restitution, while SJR 2 says victims are entitled to restitution. The Senate State Affairs Committee deleted the word "seek" in its' committee substitute. The chairman thanks Senator Donley for his comments. Number 370 SENATOR TAYLOR expresses concern that what the legislature is trying to do with these resolutions, should have been common sense treatment by the enforcement arm of government. Senator Taylor states his dissatisfaction with the District Attorney's Office in particular. He says what the committee is really talking about is making police and district attorney's act nicer toward victims. Number 360 SENATOR DONLEY asks why "...the right to information about the conviction, judgement, sentence, disposition, imprisonment, criminal record, and release...." is not included in HJR 43. CHAIRMAN LEMAN says he spoke to Representative Porter, and his conclusion was that information is available in conjunction with the other rights, and that it would be redundant to include that language. Number 348 SENATOR TAYLOR says there is a problem with the district attorney's office not believing people were victimized. CHAIRMAN LEMAN says just the assertion by someone that they are a victim, does not make them a victim. SENATOR TAYLOR states he believes strongly in restitutional sentences. However there can be problems. Senator Taylor relates an incident to illustrate potential problems. Number 305 CHAIRMAN LEMAN appreciates Senator Taylor's comments, and says we need to make sure there is fairness in the system. The chairman asks if anyone else wishes to testify on HJR 43. Hearing none, the chairman asks the pleasure of the committee. Number 290 SENATOR MILLER makes a motion to discharge HJR 43 from the Senate State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations. Number 280 CHAIRMAN LEMAN, hearing no objection, orders HJR 43 released from committee with individual recommendations.