Legislature(1993 - 1994)

01/21/1994 01:30 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 21, 1994                                       
                            1:44 p.m.                                          
                                                                               
  TAPE HFC 94-9, Side 2, #000 - end.                                           
  TAPE HFC 94-10, Side 1, #000 - end.                                          
  TAPE HFC 94-10, Side 2, #000 - 346.                                          
                                                                               
  CALL TO ORDER                                                                
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Larson called the House  Finance Committee to order                 
  at 1:44 p.m.                                                                 
                                                                               
  PRESENT                                                                      
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Larson                                                              
  Co-Chair MacLean            Representative Martin                            
  Vice-Chair Hanley                                                            
  Representative Brown        Representative Parnell                           
  Representative Foster                                                        
                                                                               
  Representatives Grussendorf, Hoffman, Navarre and Therriault                 
  were not present for the meeting.                                            
                                                                               
  ALSO PRESENT                                                                 
                                                                               
  Representative   Jeannette   James;   Representative   David                 
  Finkelstein; Edward McNally,  District Attorney,  Department                 
  of Law; Dean Guaneli, Randy Crawford, Alaska State Troopers,                 
  Department  of Public  Safety;  Assistant Attorney  General,                 
  Department of Law; Barbara Bennett, Chair, Coalition for the                 
  Homeless;   Helen   Farmer,   Anchorage;  Charles   Lippitt,                 
  Anchorage;  Joe  Lawlor,  Homer; Carl  Kronberg,  Ketchikan;                 
  Christine Hoss, Alaska Legal Services; James Fisher, Juneau;                 
  Sherrie  Goll,  Alaska  Women's  Lobby;  Robert   Vanhatten,                 
  Fairbanks.                                                                   
                                                                               
  SUMMARY INFORMATION                                                          
                                                                               
  HB 222    "An  Act relating  to  landlords  and tenants,  to                 
            termination of  tenancies and  recovery of  rental                 
            premises, to tenant responsibilities, to the civil                 
            remedies  of  forcible  entry   and  detainer  and                 
            nuisance abatement,  and  to the  duties of  peace                 
            officers to notify  landlords of arrests involving                 
            certain illegal activity on rental premises."                      
                                                                               
            CSHB 222 (JUD)  was HELD in Committee  for further                 
            discussion.                                                        
                                                                               
  SB 19     "An Act relating to the crime of conspiracy."                      
                                                                               
                                                                               
                                1                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
            HCS CSSB 19  (FIN) was  reported out of  Committee                 
            with a  "do  pass" recommendation  and  with  four                 
            fiscal  impact notes,  two  by  the Department  of                 
            Administration,   one   by   the   Department   of                 
            Corrections and  one by  the Alaska  Court System;                 
            and  with  two  zero  fiscal  notes,  one  by  the                 
            Department of  Law and  one by  the Department  of                 
            Public Safety.                                                     
  SENATE BILL NO. 19                                                           
                                                                               
       "An Act relating to the crime of conspiracy."                           
                                                                               
  Representative Brown provided members with AMENDMENT 3 (copy                 
  on file).  Representative Brown  MOVED to ADOPT AMENDMENT 3.                 
  She expressed concern that an individual's "mere presence at                 
  the time  that two or  more persons  agreed to engage  in or                 
  cause the performance  of a serious felony offense,"  not be                 
  construed as agreement in the action.                                        
                                                                               
  Representative Brown MOVED to AMEND Amendment 3  by adding a                 
  "." after "offense"  and deleting the  rest of Amendment  3.                 
  There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                 
                                                                               
  EDWARD MCNALLY, DISTRICT ATTORNEY,  ANCHORAGE, DEPARTMENT OF                 
  LAW testified via the teleconference network from Anchorage.                 
  He asserted that  Amendment 3 is unnecessary,  redundant and                 
  possibly confusing to existing law.   He observed that in at                 
  least three separate citations existing law states that mere                 
  presence or  knowledge  of a  crime  is not  sufficient  for                 
  prosecution.                                                                 
                                                                               
  DEAN GUANELI,  CHIEF ASSISTANT  ATTORNEY, DEPARTMENT  OF LAW                 
  suggested that if Amendment 3 is adopted that it be added to                 
  subsection (a) on page 1.                                                    
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Larson  MOVED  to  AMEND  Amendment  3  by  adding                 
  Amendment 3  to page 1,  line 8 of  CSSB 19 (FIN)am.   There                 
  being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                       
                                                                               
  Representative Parnell asked if the  fact that mere presence                 
  is not enough to  convict a person under the  statutes would                 
  be part of  the jury  instructions.  Mr.  McNally   believed                 
  that juries would receive such instructions.                                 
                                                                               
  BRANT MCGEE, DIRECTOR, OFFICE OF PUBLIC ADVOCACY, DEPARTMENT                 
  OF ADMINISTRATION  testified via the  teleconference network                 
  from Anchorage.   He pointed  out that conspiracy  is a  new                 
  offense.  He  maintained that  the court may  not apply  the                 
  same construction to a conspiracy statute  that they do to a                 
  homicide statute.                                                            
                                                                               
                                                                               
                                2                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Mr. Guaneli asserted that a charge would not be made without                 
  additional evidence.   Representative  Hanley restated  that                 
  intent and existing case law provides that  mere presence is                 
  not  sufficient  to  bring a  charge  without  an agreement,                 
  intent and an overt action.                                                  
                                                                               
  Representative Brown MOVED to ADOPT AMENDMENT 3, as AMENDED.                 
  Representative Martin OBJECTED.  A roll call vote  was taken                 
  on the motion.                                                               
                                                                               
  IN FAVOR: Brown, Hanley, Parnell, MacLean, Larson                            
  OPPOSED:  Martin, Foster                                                     
                                                                               
  Representatives Grussendorf, Hoffman, Navarre and Therriault                 
  were not present for the vote.                                               
                                                                               
  The MOTION PASSED (5-2).                                                     
                                                                               
  Representative Brown provided members with AMENDMENT 4 (copy                 
  on  file).  She MOVED  to ADOPT AMENDMENT  4.  She explained                 
  that the amendment would disallow  a conspiracy comprised of                 
  two persons  if one  of the  persons was  a law  enforcement                 
  official  or a  person  working in  cooperation  with a  law                 
  enforcement official.                                                        
                                                                               
  Mr. Guaneli expressed objection to Amendment 4.  He asserted                 
  that the  amendment would  limit prosecution.   He  observed                 
  that an undercover law enforcement officer may be approached                 
  in  a  narcotics  sale  by an  individual  who  obtains  the                 
  narcotics  from a third  unseen individual.   He pointed out                 
  that individuals  that work undercover with  law enforcement                 
  officers may commit crimes at a  later time.  Their previous                 
  association  with   law  enforcement  officers   may  hinder                 
  prosecution of an unrelated act of conspiracy.                               
                                                                               
  Mr.  McNally  expressed   concern  that  in  a   two  person                 
  conspiracy  case  if  one  defendant  cooperates   with  law                 
  enforcement the conspiracy charge would be nullified.                        
                                                                               
  RANDY CRAWFORD, ALASKA STATE  TROOPERS, DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC                 
  SAFETY  testified   via  the  teleconference   network  from                 
  Anchorage.  He  pointed out  that most operations  involving                 
  undercover agents are recorded.  He noted that it is typical                 
  for persons being arrested to  come forward with information                 
  about  a third person or about an additional crime involving                 
  others.                                                                      
                                                                               
  Representative MOVED to ADOPT AMENDMENT 4.  A roll call vote                 
  was taken on the motion.                                                     
                                                                               
  IN FAVOR: Brown                                                              
  OPPOSED:  Foster, Hanley, Martin, Parnell, MacLean, Larson                   
                                                                               
                                3                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Representatives Grussendorf, Hoffman, Navarre and Therriault                 
  were not present for the vote.                                               
                                                                               
  The MOTION FAILED (1-6).                                                     
                                                                               
  Representative Brown provided members with AMENDMENT 5 (copy                 
  on file).   She MOVED to  ADOPT AMENDMENT 5.   She explained                 
  that the amendment  would allow an individual involved  in a                 
  conspiracy to renounce their involvement.                                    
                                                                               
  Mr. Guaneli observed  that the  amendment would address  how                 
  the end of the  conspiracy is calculated for purpose  of the                 
  five year  statute of  limitations.   He did  not think  the                 
  amendment  was  necessary.     He  asserted  that   language                 
  contained   in   the   legislation   better  clarifies   the                 
  calculation.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Representative Brown  referred to subsection 3  of Amendment                 
  5, "the  defendant abandons  the agreement  by advising  the                 
  persons with whom the defendant agreed".                                     
                                                                               
  Mr.  Guaneli  observed  that when  an  individual  agrees to                 
  engage  in a criminal act a  process is begun that can "take                 
  on a  life of  its own,"  even if  the individual  renounces                 
  their involvement.  He added that it is difficult to prove a                 
  renunciation that takes place in secret.                                     
                                                                               
  (Tape Change, HFC 94-10, Side 1)                                             
                                                                               
  Representative Brown WITHDREW  AMENDMENT 5.  There  being NO                 
  OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                
                                                                               
  Representative Martin MOVED to report HCS  CSSB 19 (FIN) out                 
  of Committee with  individual recommendations  and with  the                 
  accompanying fiscal notes.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was                 
  so ordered.                                                                  
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Larson noted that the bill would not be transmitted                 
  until absent members have a chance to review the Committee's                 
  proceedings on Monday, 1/24/94.                                              
                                                                               
  HCS CSSB 19 (FIN) was reported  out of Committee with a  "do                 
  pass" recommendation and with four  fiscal impact notes, two                 
  by the Department  of Administration, one by  the Department                 
  of Corrections and one by the  Alaska Court System; and with                 
  two zero fiscal notes, one by the Department of Law and  one                 
  by the Department of Public Safety.                                          
  HOUSE BILL NO. 222                                                           
                                                                               
       "An  Act   relating  to   landlords  and   tenants,  to                 
                                                                               
                                4                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
       termination  of  tenancies   and  recovery  of   rental                 
       premises, to  tenant  responsibilities,  to  the  civil                 
       remedies of  forcible entry  and detainer  and nuisance                 
       abatement,  and  to  the duties  of  peace  officers to                 
       notify landlords  of arrests involving  certain illegal                 
       activity on rental premises."                                           
                                                                               
  REPRESENTATIVE   JEANNETTE   JAMES   reviewed  her   sponsor                 
  statement.  She  noted that  CSHB 222 (JUD)  would allow  an                 
  expedited  eviction of a tenant  who damages the premises or                 
  fails to pay  rent, make the  legal obligations of a  tenant                 
  more  stringent,  expand   the  state's  nuisance  abatement                 
  statutes to  include more  offenses, make  the process  more                 
  accessible  for  landlords  and  require peace  officers  to                 
  notify  the landlord  when a  tenant has  been arrested  for                 
  certain criminal offenses.                                                   
                                                                               
  ROBERT VANHATTEN, FAIRBANKS testified via the teleconference                 
  network from Fairbanks.  He spoke  in opposition to CSHB 222                 
  (JUD).    He noted  that  renters  would have  less  time to                 
  relocate.                                                                    
                                                                               
  BARBARA BENNETT, CHAIR, ALASKA COALITION  ON HOUSING AND THE                 
  HOMELESS  testified  via  the  teleconference  network  from                 
  Anchorage.    She  maintained  that  the  legislation  would                 
  exacerbate  the  problem of  homelessness.   She  noted that                 
  there is  a  2 percent  availability  in rental  housing  in                 
  Anchorage.  She  suggested that mediation be used to resolve                 
  difficulties between renters and landlords.                                  
                                                                               
  Representative James  maintained that  more landlords  would                 
  rent  their  property  if  legislation  supporting  stronger                 
  landlord rights is passed.                                                   
                                                                               
  ALICE  BREWER, ANCHORAGE  testified  via the  teleconference                 
  network in support of CSHB 222 (JUD).  She asserted that the                 
  legislation will help  good tenants.  She suggested that the                 
  10 day notice on page 2, line  16 be changed to 5 days.  She                 
  asked that "knowingly" be deleted on page 10, line 4.                        
                                                                               
  JOE  LAWLOR,  ANCHORAGE  testified  via  the  teleconference                 
  network.  He maintained that  the current law is sufficient.                 
  He  asserted  that landlords  need  to screen  tenants.   He                 
  concluded that CSHB 222 (JUD) will increase homelessness.                    
                                                                               
  CARL KRONBERG, ALASKA COALITION ON  HOUSING AND THE HOMELESS                 
  testified via the teleconference network from Ketchikan.  He                 
  pointed  out that there  is a rental  shortage in Ketchikan.                 
  He expressed concerns that there would not be enough time to                 
  assure that tenants receive due process of the law.                          
                                                                               
  CHARLES LIPPITT, ANCHORAGE testified  via the teleconference                 
                                                                               
                                5                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  network.  He spoke  in favor of CSHB 222 (JUD).   He pointed                 
  out that  mortgage companies do  not allow landlords  to pay                 
  their mortgage payments only  if the rent is collected.   He                 
  added  that landlords  must pay a  delinquent rate  if their                 
  payments are  late.   He observed  that  landlords may  rent                 
  properties by phone.                                                         
                                                                               
  BARBARA  HOOD, ANCHORAGE  testified  via the  teleconference                 
  network.  She  maintained that current laws  are sufficient.                 
  She observed that many small landlords are not familiar with                 
  existing  law.   She  noted that  the  legislation does  not                 
  address   abusive  landlords.     She   asserted  that   the                 
  legislation is one-sided.  She concluded that landlords have                 
  remedies under existing law.                                                 
                                                                               
  Representative Parnell asked the fastest eviction time.  Ms.                 
  Hood replied that eviction usually takes  place 2 to 3 weeks                 
  after the rent was due.                                                      
                                                                               
  (Tape Change, HFC 94-10, Side 2)                                             
                                                                               
  CHRISTINE  HOSS,  ALASKA  LEGAL SERVICES  testified  via the                 
  teleconference network from Anchorage.  She pointed out that                 
  there are  problems with  abusive landlords.   She  asserted                 
  that the  legislation would  allow additional  abuses.   She                 
  gave examples of abusive landlords.  She argued that 2 weeks                 
  is  a reasonable time to expect an  eviction.  She felt that                 
  tenants  need  sufficient time  to  defend themselves.   She                 
  maintained that a  shorter eviction period would  provide an                 
  inequality in the landlord\tenant relationship.                              
                                                                               
  JOE  GRAHAM,  ANCHORAGE  testified  via  the  teleconference                 
  network, in favor of CSHB 222  (JUD).  He requested that the                 
  notice  time  be shortened  to  5  days.   He  observed that                 
  landlords do  not receive a  tax break on  uncollected rent.                 
  He asserted that the homeless are the government's problem.                  
                                                                               
  JAMES FISHER,  JUNEAU observed  that there  is a  failure to                 
  perceive how existing law works.  He  asserted that renegade                 
  tenants will  evade a  rental contract,  regardless of  law,                 
  existing or proposed.   He suggested that  legislators would                 
  be blamed  if the  proposed legislation  fails to  solve the                 
  "outlaw" tenant problem.                                                     
                                                                               
  SHERRIE GOLL,  ALASKA WOMEN'S LOBBY testified  in opposition                 
  to CSHB  222 (JUD).   She asserted that CSHB  222 (JUD) will                 
  dramatically  decrease  tenant  protection   in  law.    She                 
  maintained  that  changes   in  landlord/tenant  law  should                 
  balance the interests  of both sides.   She maintained  that                 
  the legislation will have greater impact on minorities.  She                 
  emphasized  that evictions would  take place  before tenants                 
  could defend themselves.  She  observed that the legislation                 
                                                                               
                                6                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  is difficult to understand.  She maintained that current law                 
  presents a balanced representation of landlords and tenants.                 
                                                                               
  CSHB 222 (JUD) was HELD in Committee for further discussion.                 
                                                                               
  ADJOURNMENT                                                                  
                                                                               
  The meeting adjourned at 3:40 p.m.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
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