Legislature(1993 - 1994)

01/19/1994 01:36 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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                     HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                   
                        January 19, 1994                                       
                            1:36 p.m.                                          
                                                                               
  TAPE HFC 94-6, Side 2, #000 - end.                                           
  TAPE HFC 94-7, Side 1, #000 - end.                                           
  TAPE HFC 94-7, Side 2, #000 - 433.                                           
                                                                               
  CALL TO ORDER                                                                
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Larson called the House  Finance Committee to order                 
  at 1:36 p.m.                                                                 
                                                                               
  PRESENT                                                                      
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Larson             Representative Hoffman                           
  Co-Chair MacLean            Representative Martin                            
  Vice-Chair Hanley           Representative Navarre                           
  Representative Brown        Representative Parnell                           
  Representative Foster       Representative Therriault                        
  Representative Grussendorf                                                   
                                                                               
  ALSO PRESENT                                                                 
                                                                               
  Senator Rick  Halford; Senator  Dave Donley;  Representative                 
  Joe Sitton, Representative Bill Williams; Arthur H. Snowden,                 
  II,  Administrative  Director, Alaska  Court  System; Edward                 
  McNally, District Attorney, Department of Law; Dean Guaneli,                 
  Chief, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Law; Margot                 
  Knuth, Criminal  Division, Department  of Law;  Brant McGee,                 
  Director,   Office  of   Public   Advocacy,  Department   of                 
  Administration; Paula Terrel, Staff,  Representative Sitton;                 
  Jeanneane Henry, Ketchikan; John Ealey, Anchorage.                           
                                                                               
  SUMMARY INFORMATION                                                          
                                                                               
  HB 28     "An  Act relating  to  the  penalty for  providing                 
            alcoholic beverages to  a person under the  age of                 
            21; and providing for an effective date."                          
                                                                               
            CSHB 28 (JUD) was reported out of Committee with a                 
            "do pass"  recommendation and  with a zero  fiscal                 
            note by  the Department  of Law;  two zero  fiscal                 
            notes by the Department  of Administration; a zero                 
            fiscal note by the Department  of Public Safety; a                 
            fiscal impact  note by the Department  of Revenue;                 
            and with a fiscal impact note by the Department of                 
            Corrections; a fiscal  impact note  by the  Alaska                 
            Court System.                                                      
                                                                               
  HB 195    "An  Act  authorizing  youth courts  by  which  to                 
                                                                               
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            provide for peer adjudication  of minors who  have                 
            allegedly   committed   violations  of   state  or                 
            municipal  laws,  renaming  the   community  legal                 
            assistance grant  fund and  amending the  purposes                 
            for  which grants  may be  made from that  fund in                 
            order   to   provide   financial  assistance   for                 
            organization  and  initial   operation  of   youth                 
            courts,  and  relating  to  young  adult  advisory                 
            panels in the superior court."                                     
                                                                               
            CSHB 195 (FIN) was reported  out of Committee with                 
            a "do pass" recommendation and  a zero fiscal note                 
            by  the  Department  of   Community  and  Regional                 
            Affairs; and a zero fiscal  note by the Department                 
            of Health and Social Services.                                     
                                                                               
  SB 19     "An Act relating to the crime of conspiracy."                      
                                                                               
            HCS  CSSB  19 (FIN)am  was  HELD in  Committee for                 
            further discussion.                                                
  HOUSE BILL NO. 28                                                            
                                                                               
       "An Act relating to the penalty for providing alcoholic                 
       beverages  to  a  person  under  the  age  of  21;  and                 
       providing for an effective date."                                       
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE BILL WILLIAMS  provided members with  written                 
  testimony  in support of  CSHB 28 (JUD) (copy  on file).  He                 
  summarized his written remarks.  He noted that CSHB 28 (JUD)                 
  would make providing alcohol  to a minor a class  "C" felony                 
  on the  second offense, if  the offender had  been convicted                 
  within the past five years.                                                  
                                                                               
  MARGOT KNUTH, CRIMINAL DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF LAW expressed                 
  concern  that  the  legislation  would  not  accomplish  the                 
  sponsor's desired goal as a deterrent.  She pointed out that                 
  the Superior  Court has  a busier  docket than  the District                 
  Court.  She estimated that the offense would receive greater                 
  attention as a  serious misdemeanor than  as a less  serious                 
  felony.                                                                      
                                                                               
  Ms. Knuth emphasized  that the  legislation would result  in                 
  additional costs to the state.   She pointed out that felony                 
  charges would have to  go before a grand jury and/or  have a                 
  preliminary hearing.  She added  that felony cases generally                 
  result in supervision.  She did  not think that offenders of                 
  the offense would warrant costly supervision.                                
                                                                               
  Representative  Parnell asked  if the  Superior  Court could                 
  delegate cases  to the  District Court.   Ms.  Knuth replied                 
  that cases could not  be heard by the District  Court unless                 
                                                                               
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  the  charge  was  reduced  to  a  misdemeanor.    Ms.  Knuth                 
  preferred the revision made in the House Judiciary Committee                 
  to the original legislation.   House Bill 28 was  amended in                 
  the House Judiciary  Committee to reduce the  felony penalty                 
  from the first to the second  offense.                                       
                                                                               
  Representative Martin suggested  that the legislation  would                 
  be a good deterrent.                                                         
                                                                               
  Representative Brown asked if a parent could legally provide                 
  alcohol to their own  under age child.  Ms.  Knuth explained                 
  that statutes that provide permission for a  parent to allow                 
  their child to  consume alcohol would  not be altered.   The                 
  right to consume alcohol  in a religious ceremony would  not                 
  be effected.  The legislation  would only change the penalty                 
  for existing crimes.                                                         
  Ms. Knuth estimated that a superior court judge  would issue                 
  a lesser sentence than a district court judge because of the                 
  seriousness of the offenses before their court.                              
                                                                               
  Representative  Williams  emphasized that  the "slap  on the                 
  wrist"  approach is  not  effective.    He asserted  that  a                 
  stiffer penalty is needed.                                                   
                                                                               
  In response to  a question  by Co-Chair  MacLean, Ms.  Knuth                 
  explained that a bootlegger involved in providing alcohol to                 
  a minor would have additional charges brought against them.                  
                                                                               
  Representative Navarre asked if the legislation would affect                 
  minors who  provide  alcohol to  other  minors.   Ms.  Knuth                 
  explained  that  the age  of majority  would  be 18  for the                 
  offense.  Minors  under the age of  18 would be  referred to                 
  the Division of Family and Youth Services.                                   
                                                                               
  JEANNEANE  HENRY,  KETCHIKAN  testified  on  behalf  of  the                 
  legislation.      She   asserted   that   minors   are   not                 
  psychologically  prepared  for the  consumption  of alcohol.                 
  She strongly urged the Committee to adopt stronger penalties                 
  for providing alcohol to minors.                                             
                                                                               
  Ms. Knuth  interjected that the Department of Law feels that                 
  alcohol consumption  by minors  is a  serious problem.   She                 
  stressed the need for stronger enforcement of existing laws.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Representative Hoffman spoke in support of the  legislation.                 
  He felt that the penalty should match the crime.  Ms.  Knuth                 
  reiterated that the Superior Court  may not issue a  stiffer                 
  sentence.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Representative Brown questioned the zero fiscal  note issued                 
  by the Department  of Law.   Ms. Knuth  emphasized that  the                 
                                                                               
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  Department of Law would try to do more with less.                            
                                                                               
  On  behalf of  the sponsor,  Representative Foster  provided                 
  members with  Amendment 1  (copy on  file).   Representative                 
  Williams explained  that the  amendment provides  that if  a                 
  person dies or is seriously injured as a result of alcoholic                 
  beverages furnished to a minor, the person who furnished the                 
  alcohol would have committed a felony, even if it is a first                 
  offense.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Representative Therriault expressed concern that the penalty                 
  is based on  the outcome of the  act.  He observed  that the                 
  intent of  the defendant would not differ  whether the minor                 
  is injured or causes another to be injured.                                  
                                                                               
  (Tape Change, HFC 94-7, Side 1)                                              
                                                                               
  Representative Foster WITHDREW AMENDMENT 1.                                  
                                                                               
  In response  to a  question by  Co-Chair MacLean,  Ms. Knuth                 
  described other non violent felony crimes.                                   
                                                                               
  Representative Foster MOVED to  report CSHB 28 (JUD) out  of                 
  Committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  with  the                 
  accompanying fiscal notes.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was                 
  so ordered.                                                                  
                                                                               
  CSHB 28 (JUD) was reported out of Committee with a "do pass"                 
  recommendation and with a zero fiscal note by the Department                 
  of  Law;  two  zero  fiscal  notes  by   the  Department  of                 
  Administration;  and  with   a  zero  fiscal  note   by  the                 
  Department  of Public  Safety; a  fiscal impact note  by the                 
  Department  of  Revenue;   a  fiscal  impact  note   by  the                 
  Department  of  Corrections;  a fiscal  impact  note  by the                 
  Alaska Court System.                                                         
  HOUSE BILL NO. 195                                                           
                                                                               
       "An Act authorizing  youth courts  by which to  provide                 
       for  peer adjudication  of  minors  who have  allegedly                 
       committed  violations  of  state  or  municipal   laws,                 
       renaming the community legal assistance  grant fund and                 
       amending the purposes for which grants may be made from                 
       that fund in order to  provide financial assistance for                 
       organization and initial operation of youth courts, and                 
       relating to young adult advisory panels in the superior                 
       court."                                                                 
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE SITTON spoke  in support  of CSHB 195  (JUD).                 
  He provided members with a  sponsor statement and summarized                 
  his  remarks (copy on  file).  He noted  that CSHB 195 (JUD)                 
  has received wide support.  He explained that the bill would                 
                                                                               
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  establish the creation of youth courts  in Alaska.  The bill                 
  would  allow  nonprofit  corporations,   municipalities  and                 
  Native corporations to apply for  a one time matching  grant                 
  of $5,000 thousand  dollars.   Defendants and their  parents                 
  must agree to allow the Youth Court to hear the case and the                 
  Youth Court must  accept jurisdiction.  The  community legal                 
  assistance  grant  fund  would  be  amended to  provide  for                 
  juvenile justice grants  to establish  and organize a  youth                 
  court program.  He stress the Anchorage Youth Court has been                 
  successful.                                                                  
                                                                               
  JOHN EALEY,  PRESIDENT, ANCHORAGE YOUTH COURT  testified via                 
  the teleconference network from Anchorage, in support of the                 
  legislation.  He stressed the success of the Anchorage Youth                 
  Court.                                                                       
                                                                               
  Mr. Ealey explained that all  misdemeanors and most felonies                 
  committed by juveniles could be handled by youth courts.  He                 
  noted that violent felonies such as  rape and murder are not                 
  handled by youth courts.   The intake officers at McLaughlin                 
  Youth  Center  in  Anchorage  recommend   which  first  time                 
  offenders are referred  to the Youth  Court.  Crimes  waived                 
  into an adult court would not be  referred to a youth court.                 
  The  Anchorage  Youth Court  is  funded 100  percent through                 
  volunteer and private donations.                                             
                                                                               
  Representative Brown referred to section 2.                                  
                                                                               
  PAULA TERREL,  STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE  SITTON explained  that                 
  section 2 was added to allow revision to the statutes.                       
                                                                               
  ARTHUR H. SNOWDEN, II, ADMINISTRATIVE DIRECTOR, ALASKA COURT                 
  SYSTEM added that  the statute  change reflect that  funding                 
  for juvenile intake is an executive branch function.                         
                                                                               
  Co-Chair MacLean asked if  regional or village  corporationS                 
  would  be eligible  for the  juvenile justice  grants.   Ms.                 
  Terrel thought that they would be eligible.                                  
                                                                               
  Representative Parnell asked if there would be a savings  to                 
  the Alaska Court System if the legislation is enacted.                       
                                                                               
  Mr. Ealey estimated that the Anchorage Youth Court has saved                 
  the  state $200 thousand dollars.   Mr. Ealey explained that                 
  youth courts are  diversion programs.  No jail  or detention                 
  time would be  incorporated into  penalties issued by  youth                 
  courts.                                                                      
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Larson recommend that on page 1, line 1, "by which"                 
  be deleted for clarification of the title.                                   
                                                                               
  Representative Foster MOVED to Delete on page 1, line 1, "by                 
                                                                               
                                5                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  which."  There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                        
                                                                               
  Representative Navarre MOVED to report CSHB 195 (FIN) out of                 
  Committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  with  the                 
  accompanying fiscal notes.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was                 
  so ordered.                                                                  
                                                                               
  CS HB 195  (FIN) was reported  out of Committee  with a  "do                 
  pass"  recommendation  and   a  zero  fiscal  note   by  the                 
  Department of  Community and  Regional Affairs;  and a  zero                 
  fiscal note by the Department of Health and Social Services.                 
                                                                               
  SENATE BILL NO. 19                                                           
                                                                               
       "An Act relating to the crime of conspiracy."                           
                                                                               
  Representative Grussendorf expressed concern that the fiscal                 
  impact note by the Alaska Court System was reduced to zero.                  
                                                                               
  Representative Brown provided members with Amendment 1 (copy                 
  on file).   She  explained  that Amendment  1 would  prevent                 
  defendants  from  being  convicted  for  the crime  and  the                 
  conspiracy of the crime.                                                     
                                                                               
  DEAN GUANELI,  CHIEF ASSISTANT  ATTORNEY, DEPARTMENT  OF LAW                 
  spoke in opposition  to Amendment  1.  He  pointed out  that                 
  conspiracy  is  a  separate  crime.     He  emphasized  that                 
  prosecutors  may  only be  able to  get  a conviction  for a                 
  separate  lesser  charge,  although  strong  evidence  of  a                 
  conspiracy  exists.     He  added  that  if   a  defendant's                 
  conviction is overturned on appeal there would be no penalty                 
  unless a second conviction exists.                                           
                                                                               
  Mr.  Guaneli  pointed  out  that  conspiracy  would  not  be                 
  subjected to mandatory consecutive sentencing.                               
                                                                               
  (Tape Change, HFC 94-7, Side 2)                                              
                                                                               
  SENATOR  DONELY noted  that charges could  be stacked.   Mr.                 
  Guaneli  acknowledged   that  the   judicial  process   will                 
  determine the interpretation of the  sentencing for multiple                 
  count convictions including  conspiracy.  He noted  that the                 
  Court   of  Appeals  prevents   excessive  sentencing.    He                 
  continued to discuss consecutive sentencing practices.                       
                                                                               
  Representative   Brown   MOVED   to   ADOPT   AMENDMENT   1.                 
  Representative Hanley OBJECTED.  A roll call  vote was taken                 
  on the motion.                                                               
                                                                               
  IN FAVOR: Brown, Hoffman                                                     
  OPPOSED:  Foster,  Grussendorf,  Hanley,   Martin,  Navarre,                 
                                                                               
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  Parnell,       Therriault, Larson, MacLean                                   
                                                                               
  Representative Martin was not present for the vote.                          
                                                                               
  The MOTION FAILED (2-8).                                                     
                                                                               
  Representative Brown provided members with Amendment 2 (copy                 
  on file).                                                                    
                                                                               
  Representative  Brown  explained  that   Amendment  2  would                 
  provide  that the  prosecution would  have to  prove that  a                 
  defendant communicated their agreement to others involved in                 
  the  conspiracy.    She  observed  that, under  the  current                 
  legislation, guilt could be inferred through  circumstances.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Mr. Guaneli spoke against Amendment 2.   He pointed out that                 
  it is difficult  to prove  what words were  spoken when  the                 
  action takes place in secret.                                                
                                                                               
  Representative Hanley  expressed concern that  the amendment                 
  would weaken the legislation.                                                
                                                                               
  Senator Donely interjected  that a defendant could  be found                 
  to  agree  if  they  do  not  actively  disagree.    Members                 
  expressed  concern that  an  individual's  failure to  share                 
  knowledge of a crime, due to  fear of personal injury, would                 
  be interpreted as an agreement.                                              
                                                                               
  BRANT MCGEE, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF PUBLIC ADVOCACY, DEPARTMENT                 
  OF ADMINISTRATION testified  via the teleconference  network                 
  from  Anchorage.   He suggested  that "agree" be  changed to                 
  "communicate  agreement."   Mr. Guaneli  estimated that  the                 
  change suggested by Mr.  McGee would probably have  the same                 
  effect as Amendment 2.                                                       
                                                                               
  Mr. Guaneli assured members that  a defendants mere presence                 
  during contemplation of  a crime would not  be sufficient to                 
  obtain a conviction.                                                         
                                                                               
  Representative   Brown   MOVED   to   ADOPT   AMENDMENT   2.                 
  Representative Hanley OBJECTED.  A  roll call vote was taken                 
  on the motion to ADOPT AMENDMENT 2.                                          
                                                                               
  IN FAVOR: Brown, Hoffman, Grussendorf, Navarre, MacLean                      
  OPPOSED:  Foster,  Hanley,   Martin,  Parnell,   Therriault,                 
  Larson                                                                       
                                                                               
  The MOTION FAILED (5-6).                                                     
                                                                               
  HCS  CSSB  19 (FIN)am  was  HELD  in Committee  for  further                 
  discussion.                                                                  
                                                                               
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  ADJOURNMENT                                                                  
                                                                               
  The meeting adjourned at 3:32 p.m.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
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