Legislature(1997 - 1998)

05/07/1997 08:15 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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                     HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                   
                           May 7, 1997                                         
                            8:15 A.M.                                          
                                                                               
  TAPE HFC 97-126, Side 1, #000 - end.                                         
  TAPE HFC 97-126, Side 2, #000 - end.                                         
                                                                               
  CALL TO ORDER                                                                
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Therriault  called  the  House  Finance  Committee                 
  meeting to order at 8:15 a.m.                                                
                                                                               
  PRESENT                                                                      
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley                                                              
  Co-Chair Therriault           Representative Kohring                         
  Representative Davies         Representative Martin                          
  Representative Davis          Representative Moses                           
  Representative Foster         Representative Mulder                          
  Representative Grussendorf                                                   
                                                                               
  Representative Kelly was absent from the meeting.                            
                                                                               
  ALSO PRESENT                                                                 
                                                                               
  Senator Jerry  Mackie; George Dozier,  Staff, Representative                 
  Kott;  Dean  Guaneli,   Chief  Assistant  Attorney  General,                 
  Department  of  Law;  Jayne  Andreen,  Council  on  Domestic                 
  Violence  and  Sexual  Assault;  Tuckerman  Babcock,  Staff,                 
  Senator Green.                                                               
                                                                               
  SUMMARY                                                                      
                                                                               
  HB 159    "An Act relating to sale, possession, and purchase                 
            of tobacco  and tobacco  products; amending  Rules                 
            603   and  611(d),   Alaska  Rules   of  Appellate                 
            Procedure; and providing for an effective date."                   
                                                                               
            HB 159 failed to move from Committee.                              
                                                                               
  SB 9      "An Act  relating  to  municipal  capital  project                 
            matching grants for a municipality organized under                 
            federal law  as an  Indian reserve; and  providing                 
            for an effective date."                                            
                                                                               
            SB  9 was  reported out  of Committee  with  a "do                 
            pass" recommendation  and  with  two  zero  fiscal                 
            notes  one by the Department of Administration and                 
            one by the  Department of  Community and  Regional                 
            Affairs, both dated 3/10/97.                                       
                                                                               
  SB 141    "An  Act relating  to permits  to carry  concealed                 
                                                                               
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            handguns;  and  relating  to   the  possession  of                 
            firearms."                                                         
                                                                               
            SB  141   was  HELD  in   Committee  for   further                 
            consideration.                                                     
  SENATE BILL NO. 9                                                            
                                                                               
       "An Act relating to municipal capital  project matching                 
       grants for  a municipality organized under  federal law                 
       as an Indian  reserve; and  providing for an  effective                 
       date."                                                                  
                                                                               
  SENATOR MACKIE, SPONSOR, testified  in support of SB 9.   He                 
  noted that similar  legislation (HB  143) passed the  House,                 
  unanimously,  during the previous  legislative session.   He                 
  stressed that  there has been  no opposition  to SB 9.   The                 
  legislation  clarifies  that  the  community  of  Metlakatla                 
  should be included  in the  capital matching grant  program.                 
  He  explained  that  Metlakatla  received  capital  matching                 
  grants until  it  was pointed  out  that Metlakatla  is  not                 
  defined  in  statute  as a  municipality.    The legislation                 
  clarifies  that Metlakatla would  receive a capital matching                 
  grant, but  would not receive  an unincorporated grant.   He                 
  explained  that  Metlakatla is  the  only Indian  reserve in                 
  Alaska, under 43 U.S.C. 1618(a).  The legislation passed the                 
  Senate unanimously                                                           
                                                                               
  Representative Davis questioned if "is" should be changed to                 
  "as" on page 1, line 8.  Members concluded that the language                 
  should not be changed.                                                       
                                                                               
  Representative Foster MOVED to report  SB 9 out of Committee                 
  with individual  recommendations and  with the  accompanying                 
  fiscal notes.                                                                
  There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                 
                                                                               
  SB  9  was  reported  out  of  Committee with  a  "do  pass"                 
  recommendation  and with two  zero fiscal notes,  one by the                 
  Department of Administration  and one  by the Department  of                 
  Community and Regional Affairs, both dated 3/10/97.                          
  HOUSE BILL NO. 159                                                           
                                                                               
       "An Act relating  to sale, possession, and  purchase of                 
       tobacco and  tobacco products; amending  Rules 603  and                 
       611(d),  Alaska  Rules  of  Appellate  Procedure;   and                 
       providing for an effective date."                                       
                                                                               
  GEORGE  DOZIER,  STAFF,  REPRESENTATIVE  KOTT  testified  in                 
  support of  HB 159.  He explained that  HB 159 would "up the                 
  ante" on violations relating to the sale of tobacco products                 
                                                                               
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  to minors or  the use of  tobacco products  by minors.   The                 
  current penalty for selling tobacco to a minor is  a fine of                 
  up to $300 hundred dollars.  Under HB 159, the penalty would                 
  be a fine of not less than; $250 hundred dollars for a first                 
  offense, $500 hundred dollars for a second offense and $1000                 
  thousand dollars for a third offense.                                        
                                                                               
  Mr. Dozier provided members with Amendment 1 (copy on file).                 
  He explained that  Amendment 1 would  modify the bill to  an                 
  earlier  version.   Under  the  amendment, violations  of AS                 
  11.76.100, sale of  tobacco to a minor;  AS 11.76.105, minor                 
  possession; and  AS 11.76.107, merchant  requirements, would                 
  each carry a  penalty of  $250 hundred dollars  for a  first                 
  offense, $500 hundred dollars for a second offense and $1000                 
  thousand dollars for  a third offense.   The amendment would                 
  place  a  ceiling on  potential fines.    He noted  that the                 
  amendment also addresses concerns that the legislation would                 
  overlap into criminal law, necessitating jury trials.                        
                                                                               
  Mr. Dozier discussed other  provisions of HB 159.   He noted                 
  that  the legislation  establishes requirements  for vending                 
  machine, mail order, or wholesale sales; outlaws the sale of                 
  tobacco in  units of  less than  one  package; and  requires                 
  employers  to  notify  employees regarding  the  provisions.                 
  Employees are required  to sign a  statement that they  have                 
  received   notification  and   that   they  understand   the                 
  provisions for the sell of tobacco.   In addition, section 5                 
  requires the court to separately account for fines collected                 
  under AS  11.76.100, AS 11.76.105  and AS 11.76.107.   These                 
  fines can be used to support municipal law enforcement.                      
                                                                               
  Representative  Martin pointed  out  that children  under 19                 
  years of age could not purchase or use tobacco products.  He                 
  expressed concern that  out-of-state residents would  not be                 
  aware  of  potential violations.    Mr. Dozier  thought that                 
  merchants  would  be required  to post  the  legal age.   He                 
  observed  that  the   age  limit   is  not  being   changed.                 
  Representative Davis pointed out that employees will receive                 
  notification of age requirements for the purchase of tobacco                 
  products.                                                                    
                                                                               
  In  response  to a  question  by Representative  Davies, Mr.                 
  Dozier  explained that  provisions of  AS  11.76.100(a) have                 
  been placed in AS 11.76.107.                                                 
                                                                               
  In response  to comments by  Representative Grussendorf, Mr.                 
  Dozier clarified that federal law  requires that clerks view                 
  identification of anyone who appears to  be under the age of                 
  27.                                                                          
                                                                               
  Representative Davies  expressed concern that  the language,                 
  "contained in a cigarette carton or box," on page 4,  line 4                 
                                                                               
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  would imply that cartons could not  be broken down for sale.                 
  Discussion ensued regarding  the use  of "carton".   Members                 
  clarified that the intent is  that single cigarettes not  be                 
  sold.  Packs  of cigarettes could  be sold.   Representative                 
  Davies observed that promotional boxes contain 4 cigarettes.                 
  Mr. Dozier reiterated that  the concern is with the  sale of                 
  single cigarettes.   Representative  Davies maintained  that                 
  "carton" implies a container of  boxes.  Co-Chair Therriault                 
  observed that further clarification is needed  regarding the                 
  drafter's use of "carton".                                                   
                                                                               
  Representative Davies questioned  if minor consumption would                 
  be  reduced   by  the   legislation.     He  stressed   that                 
  availability needs to be reduced  before consumption will be                 
  effected.   He  maintained  that the  legislation  without a                 
  fiscal note is a "hollow promise".                                           
                                                                               
  Mr.  Dozier  asserted   that  section  5  will   provide  an                 
  inducement for enforcement.  He stressed  that HB 159 is not                 
  an appropriation bill.                                                       
                                                                               
  Representative Davies asked if the sponsor intends to pursue                 
  appropriations that would help to  enhance enforcement.  Mr.                 
  Dozier could not comment.   Representative Grussendorf noted                 
  that the legislation would raise program receipts.                           
                                                                               
  Representative Kohring  spoke  in support  of  HB 159.    He                 
  stated that the legislation is an  alternative to taxes.  He                 
  acknowledged the need for enforcement.                                       
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Therriault pointed out that licenses can be revoked                 
  under the  legislation.  Representative  Davies pointed  out                 
  that unless  the revocation of  the license is  connected to                 
  the purpose of the license that the revocation provision may                 
  be  unconstitutional.   He  maintained that  the legislation                 
  will not be adequately enforced.  He asserted that a tobacco                 
  tax is  the "most realistic way to really begin to solve the                 
  problem."  He stressed that  law enforcement efforts will be                 
  used to  respond to  homicides and  domestic violence  cases                 
  before cases involving minor consumption of tobacco.                         
                                                                               
  Representative Martin expressed concern that  police can use                 
  the legislation to  raise revenues.   He compared  penalties                 
  for  the  consumption  of marijuana  and  the  possession of                 
  tobacco products.                                                            
                                                                               
  Representative Mulder  noted that  there is  a philosophical                 
  difference between proponents  of the tobacco tax  and those                 
  that prefer  to effect  change through  rules and  penalties                 
  that limit access.                                                           
                                                                               
  Representative  Davies emphasized  that access  needs to  be                 
                                                                               
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  restricted to 95 percent or more before it is effective.  He                 
  stated that  studies show  that 35  - 40  percent of  stores                 
  selling tobacco,  in Fairbanks, still provide  cigarettes to                 
  minors.   He stressed that consumption will  not be affected                 
  until 5 percent or less of the stores allow minors access to                 
  tobacco.  He maintained that  increased taxes work to reduce                 
  consumption.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Therriault referred to language on page 2, line 1,                 
  "attempt to purchase".  He observed that minors would not be                 
  able  to  work  with  law  enforcement officers  under  this                 
  language.  Mr. Dozier stated that  the sponsor did not think                 
  children should be used in law enforcement activities.                       
                                                                               
  In response to a question by Co-Chair Therriault, Mr. Dozier                 
  explained that the  fine is  currently not  less; than  $250                 
  hundred dollars for  a first  offense, $500 hundred  dollars                 
  for a second offense and $1000  thousand dollars for a third                 
  offense.  There is no upper limit  on the fine.  Amendment 1                 
  would  delete  "not  less  than" as  relating  to  the  fine                 
  schedules.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Representative Mulder  MOVED to  adopt Amendment  1.   There                 
  being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                       
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Therriault MOVED to delete "or attempt to purchase"                 
  on  page 2, line 1.  He  stressed that the department should                 
  not be precluded  from doing compliance checks.  There being                 
  NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                             
                                                                               
  Representative Mulder MOVED to report CSHB 159 (FIN) out  of                 
  Committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  with  the                 
  accompanying fiscal  notes.  Representative  Foster OBJECTED                 
  for purposes of discussion.  He asked what would happen if a                 
  person was unable to pay their fine.                                         
                                                                               
  DEAN  GUANELI, CHIEF ASSISTANT  ATTORNEY, DEPARTMENT  OF LAW                 
  clarified that  the fine  would have  to be  satisfied.   He                 
  thought that it would be  unconstitutional to send a  person                 
  to  jail  for failure  to pay  the  fine.   He noted  that a                 
  person's permanent fund dividend could be garnished.                         
                                                                               
  Representative  Foster questioned  if the  parents  could be                 
  held responsible.  Representative Grussendorf observed  that                 
  village   public   safety    officers   are    under-funded.                 
  Representative  Foster  noted  that  village  public  safety                 
  officers can  be influenced  by factors  that could  lead to                 
  selective enforcement.   Mr. Guaneli clarified  that parents                 
  would not  be held responsible for their  child's failure to                 
  pay a fine unless the law specifically provides that parents                 
  can be held liable.  He noted that fines are referred to the                 
  collection section in the  Department of Law.  Fines  can be                 
                                                                               
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  collected  through  permanent  fund dividends.    People can                 
  attempt to obtain a set aside or exemption.                                  
                                                                               
  Representative Martin expressed concern  that the children's                 
  actions will  result in  the loss  of  their permanent  fund                 
  dividends without  an awareness  of the  consequences.   Mr.                 
  Guaneli observed that there would be some court process.                     
                                                                               
  Representative  Davies emphasized  that families  would feel                 
  morally obligated to pay the fine.                                           
                                                                               
  In  response  to a  question  by Representative  Foster, Mr.                 
  Guaneli noted that  the penalty for  minor consumption is  a                 
  $300  dollar fine.   He  observed that there  is legislation                 
  pending that would increase the fine.                                        
                                                                               
  Representative Martin expressed concern that the legislation                 
  could be used to raise revenues.  He stated that "if you are                 
  a good  cop, stay around, if you  need money for the village                 
  patrol or municipal patrol, just watch that kid for a day or                 
  two and you got him for  another fine."  He maintained  that                 
  it is not going to be easy to stop the child from smoking.                   
                                                                               
  A roll call  vote was taken on  the MOTION to move  CSHB 159                 
  (FIN).                                                                       
                                                                               
  IN FAVOR: Martin, Mulder, Davis, Kohring, Therriault                         
  OPPOSED:  Moses, Davies, Grussendorf, Foster                                 
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley and Representative Kelly were absent for the                 
  vote.                                                                        
                                                                               
  The MOTION FAILED (5-4).                                                     
                                                                               
  HB 159 failed to move from Committee.                                        
  SENATE BILL NO. 141                                                          
                                                                               
       "An  Act   relating  to  permits   to  carry  concealed                 
       handguns; and relating to the possession of firearms."                  
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Therriault  noted  that  Amendments  1  -  6  were                 
  provided  to  the  Committee on  5/6/97.    Amendment 1  was                 
  adopted on 5/6/97.                                                           
                                                                               
  Representative Davies deleted lines 9 - 14 from Amendment 2.                 
  He MOVED to  adopt Amendment  2 as amended  (copy on  file).                 
  Co-Chair   Therriault   OBJECTED.     Representative  Davies                 
  explained  that  the  amendment   would  prohibit  concealed                 
  weapons on school buses and in domestic violence facilities.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
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  Representative Davies WITHDREW Amendment 2.                                  
                                                                               
  Representative Davies MOVED  to adopt  Amendment 7 (copy  on                 
  file).  Co-Chair Therriault OBJECTED.  Representative Davies                 
  explained that the amendment would prohibit all weapons from                 
  domestic violence facilities.  He emphasized that the threat                 
  of  violence,  in shelters,  is  high due  to  the emotional                 
  situations in which victims are involved.  He  observed that                 
  shelters support the amendment.                                              
                                                                               
  Representative Martin  spoke in opposition  to Amendment  7.                 
  He suggested that women in shelters should be able to defend                 
  themselves.                                                                  
                                                                               
  Representative  Kohring  stressed  that individual  shelters                 
  should  be  given  a  choice.    Representative  Grussendorf                 
  pointed out  that the amendment  was brought forward  by the                 
  shelters.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Representative Davies stressed  that it  is better to  teach                 
  men  not  to  be  violent  than  to teach  women  to  defend                 
  themselves against violent men.                                              
                                                                               
  JAYNE  ANDREEN,  EXECUTIVE  DIRECTOR,  COUNCIL  ON  DOMESTIC                 
  VIOLENCE  AND   SEXUAL  ASSAULT  testified   in  support  of                 
  Amendment 7.   She emphasized  that shelters should  be safe                 
  havens  for victims of  domestic violence.   She pointed out                 
  that there are children in the shelters.  She cautioned that                 
  children could be  harmed if victims began  shooting back at                 
  perpetrators.   She asserted  that law  enforcement agencies                 
  should  handle  violent  situations.     She  stressed  that                 
  shelters  have  good  "lock  down"  procedures  to   protect                 
  victims.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Mr.  Babcock  disagreed  that  support  for Amendment  7  is                 
  universal.   He  indicated that  not  all the  shelters have                 
  vocalized their support.   He maintained that  the amendment                 
  should be contained in separate  legislation.  He emphasized                 
  that shelters can post signs prohibiting weapons.                            
                                                                               
  A roll call vote was taken on the MOTION to  adopt Amendment                 
  7.                                                                           
                                                                               
  IN FAVOR: Davies, Grussendorf, Moses, Therriault                             
  OPPOSED:  Mulder, Foster, Kohring, Martin                                    
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley  and Representatives  Davis, and  Kelly were                 
  absent from the vote.                                                        
                                                                               
  The MOTION FAILED (4-4).                                                     
                                                                               
  Representative Davies MOVED to adopt  Amendment 2.  Co-Chair                 
                                                                               
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  Therriault OBJECTED.   Representative Davies explained  that                 
  the  amendment  would  prohibit  concealed  weapons  from  a                 
  residence, unless the permittee first obtained permission of                 
  an  adult residing  there  to  bring  the handgun  into  the                 
  residence.                                                                   
                                                                               
  In response to a question by Representative Martin, Co-Chair                 
  Therriault  clarified that  the amendment  only  pertains to                 
  concealed handguns.                                                          
                                                                               
  Mr.  Babcock noted  that  section 16  (a)(5)  would add  new                 
  language into  statute.   This subsection  would prohibit  a                 
  concealed  weapon  from  an  office  of the  State,  federal                 
  government or  a political  subdivision of  the  State.   He                 
  stated  that  the focus  of the  legislation  is to  allow a                 
  concealed weapon permittee to  go any where that  they could                 
  go with an open hand gun.                                                    
                                                                               
  Mr. Babcock maintained  that additional statutory  authority                 
  is unnecessary to restrict concealed weapons in correctional                 
  facilities.  He  asserted that law enforcement  agencies can                 
  restrict open carry in their facilities without Amendment 2.                 
  He maintained  that  AS 11.61.210  (a)(7) already  prohibits                 
  possession of firearms within school buildings or grounds, a                 
  school  parking  lot,  or while  participating  in  a school                 
  sponsored event.   He asserted  that there will  never be  a                 
  case  when  a  school bus  will  not  be used  for  a school                 
  sponsored event  or to  go to  the school  parking lot.   He                 
  concluded that  concealed weapons  are prohibited on  school                 
  buses, under existing state law, without  written permission                 
  of the administrator of  the school or school district.   He                 
  added that the federal government already bans possession of                 
  fire arms in  federal buildings.   He noted  that any  state                 
  agency or political  subdivision has  the power to  prohibit                 
  firearms  in  their facilities  by posting  a  notice.    He                 
  stated  that  anyone  violating   a  trespass  notice,   for                 
  concealed  weapons,  is  subject  to  the  same  penalty  as                 
  proposed by the amendment.                                                   
                                                                               
  Representative  Davies   did  not   think  that   the  daily                 
  transportation  of  students   on  school  buses   would  be                 
  considered a school sponsored event.                                         
                                                                               
  DEAN  GUANELI, CHIEF ASSISTANT  ATTORNEY, DEPARTMENT  OF LAW                 
  disagreed with comments by Mr. Babcock.  He emphasized that,                 
  in order to  convict under criminal law, prosecutors have to                 
  prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a law was violated.  He                 
  stressed that any uncertainty in  the interpretation will be                 
  construed against the State, in favor  of the defendant.  He                 
  stressed that, if school buses are to be protected, specific                 
  language should be added into statute.                                       
                                                                               
                                                                               
                                8                                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Therriault  expressed concern  that  the amendment                 
  could pertain  to any  school bus.   Mr.  Guaneli emphasized                 
  that  a  "school  bus" would  be  a  bus  used to  transport                 
  students in a school  sponsored activity.  He did  not think                 
  that the  prohibition would pertain to school buses that are                 
  rented in the summer for other purposes.                                     
                                                                               
  Mr. Babcock stressed that AS 11.61.210 (a)(7) also prohibits                 
  possession  of  firearms  on  a  school  parking  lot.    He                 
  reiterated that the amendment is unnecessary.                                
                                                                               
  Representative   Martin  pointed   out  that   students  are                 
  transported  by boat  and airplanes.   Representative Davies                 
  clarified  that  it  was not  his  intention  to  expand the                 
  prohibition to include transportation of students by boat or                 
  plane.                                                                       
                                                                               
  Representative Kohring spoke in opposition to the amendment.                 
  He  asserted  that  the   amendment  would  add  unnecessary                 
  provisions.                                                                  
  Representative   Davies  MOVED   to   divide  Amendment   2.                 
  Representative Kohring OBJECTED.                                             
                                                                               
  A roll call vote was taken on the MOTION to divide Amendment                 
  2.                                                                           
                                                                               
  IN FAVOR: Davies, Grussendorf, Moses                                         
  OPPOSED:  Davis, Foster, Kohring, Martin, Therriault                         
                                                                               
  The MOTION FAILED (3-6).                                                     
                                                                               
  Co-Chair Hanley  and Representatives Kelly  and Mulder  were                 
  absent from the vote.                                                        
                                                                               
  A roll call vote was taken on the MOTION  to adopt Amendment                 
  2.                                                                           
                                                                               
  IN FAVOR: Davies, Grussendorf, Moses                                         
  OPPOSED:  Davis, Foster, Kohring, Martin, Therriault                         
                                                                               
  Co-Chair  Hanley and  Representatives Kelly and  Mulder were                 
  absent from the vote.                                                        
                                                                               
  The MOTION FAILED (3-6).                                                     
                                                                               
  SB 141 was HELD in Committee for further consideration.                      
  ADJOURNMENT                                                                  
                                                                               
  The meeting adjourned at 10:03 a.m.                                          
                                                                               
                                                                               
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