Legislature(1997 - 1998)

02/23/1998 01:45 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
           HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                             
              February 23, 1998                                                
                 1:45 P.M.                                                     
                                                                               
TAPE HFC 98 - 38, Side 1                                                       
TAPE HFC 98 - 38, Side 2                                                       
                                                                               
CALL TO ORDER                                                                  
                                                                               
Co-Chair Gene Therriault called the House Finance Committee                    
meeting to order at 1:45 p.m.                                                  
                                                                               
PRESENT                                                                        
                                                                               
Co-Chair Hanley    Representative Kelly                                        
Co-Chair Therriault   Representative Kohring                                   
Representative Davies  Representative Martin                                   
Representative Davis   Representative Moses                                    
Representative Foster  Representative Mulder                                   
Representative Grussendorf                                                     
                                                                               
ALSO PRESENT                                                                   
                                                                               
Senator Dave Donley; Senator Fred Dyson; Representative                        
Beverly Masek; Representative Ethan Berkowitz; Juanita                         
Hensley, Division of Motor Vehicles, Department of Public                      
Safety; Anne Carpeneti, Assistant Attorney General, Legal                      
Services Section, Criminal Division, Department of Law;                        
Jayne Andreen, Executive Director, Council of Domestic                         
Violence and Sexual Assault.                                                   
                                                                               
SUMMARY                                                                        
                                                                               
HB 231 "An Act relating to regulation of snowmobiles."                         
                                                                               
                                                                               
CSHB 231 (FIN) was REPORTED out of Committee with                              
"no recommendation" and with a fiscal impact note                              
by the Department of Administration.                                           
                                                                               
HB 245 "An Act relating to minimum sentences for assault                       
in the fourth degree that is a crime involving                                 
domestic violence; providing that a prisoner may                               
not contact the victim of the offense when                                     
provided access to a telephone or otherwise                                    
immediately after an arrest; and amending Rule                                 
5(b), Alaska Rules of Criminal Procedure."                                     
                                                                               
CSHB 245 (FIN) was REPORTED out of Committee with                              
"no recommendation" and with two fiscal impact                                 
notes, one by the Department of Administration and                             
one by the Department of Corrections; and with two                             
zero fiscal notes, one by the Department of                                    
Administration and one by the Department of Public                             
Safety.                                                                        
                                                                               
SJR 3 Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the                        
State of Alaska limiting the rights of prisoners                               
to those required under the Constitution of the                                
United States.                                                                 
                                                                               
 HCS CSSJR 3 (FIN) was REPORTED out of Committee                               
with a "do pass" recommendation and with a fiscal                              
impact note by the Office of the Lieutenant                                    
Governor and a zero fiscal note by the Department                              
of Administration.                                                             
HOUSE BILL NO. 231                                                             
                                                                               
"An Act relating to regulation of snowmobiles."                                
                                                                               
Co-Chair Therriault provided members with a proposed                           
committee substitute, Work Draft 0-LS0501\L, dated 2/23/98                     
(copy on file).  He noted that the sections relating to                        
accident reporting and required equipment were deleted.  The                   
sponsor indicated that these subjects might be considered in                   
separate legislation at another time.                                          
                                                                               
Representative Foster asked if bush areas would be exempted.                   
He felt that registration of snow machines in bush areas                       
would be onerous.                                                              
                                                                               
JUANITA HENSLEY, DIVISION OF MOTOR VEHICLES, DEPARTMENT OF                     
ADMINISTRATION noted that the registration of snowmobiles is                   
currently under Title 5.  Currently, all snowmobiles are                       
required to be registered.  The legislation would move                         
registration of snowmobiles from Title 5 and place it in                       
Title 28.  Snowmobiles would be registered at the time of                      
sale.                                                                          
                                                                               
Co-Chair Therriault pointed out that there is no new                           
requirement.  Ms. Hensley noted that current statutes                          
require payment of a fee.  The only change would be to                         
authorize snowmobile dealers to register the machine at the                    
time of sale.                                                                  
                                                                               
Representative Martin questioned if the law should be                          
repealed.  Ms. Hensley clarified that registration is                          
required every two years.  Registration can occur through                      
the Internet, phone, or by mail.  She emphasized that the                      
legislation will protect owners from theft.  She noted that                    
the legislation was requested by the industry and owners of                    
snow machines.                                                                 
                                                                               
Representative Martin questioned if the legislation would                      
burden the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV).  Ms. Hensley                      
noted that the sponsor worked to limit the amount of work                      
that the DMV has to perform.  One full time position would                     
negotiate contracts with dealers, and audit and train                          
dealers.  She did not think that the legislation would add                     
very much to their workload.                                                   
                                                                               
There are approximately 14,000 snow machines that are                          
currently registered.  Snow machine clubs estimate that                        
there are approximately 70,000 unregistered snow machines.                     
They expect another 8,000 new snow machines to be registered                   
per year.  The Division would have to register approximately                   
10,000 a year due to a turnover of used machines.  She                         
discussed the Division's fiscal note.  She observed that                       
$100 thousand dollars in revenues would be generated in the                    
first two years.                                                               
                                                                               
Co-Chair Therriault noted that the Division of Parks would                     
use the statistics on the number of registered vehicles to                     
apply for federal grants.                                                      
                                                                               
In response to a question by Representative Kelly, Ms.                         
Hensley clarified that snow machines are not titled.  Lien                     
holders are not identified on registration. Lien holders                       
could be identified by implementing programming changes.                       
The programming changes would require additional costs.                        
                                                                               
Representative Grussendorf spoke in support of the                             
legislation.                                                                   
                                                                               
In response to a question by Representative Mulder, Ms.                        
Hensley noted that registration costs $10 dollars every two                    
years.  She stated that the registration fee is sufficient                     
to administer the program.                                                     
                                                                               
In response to comments by Representative Martin, Co-Chair                     
Therriault clarified that money collected for registration                     
is not used to match federal funds.  Ms. Hensley explained                     
that federal grants are based on the number of snow machines                   
that are registered.                                                           
                                                                               
Representative Kohring noted that the public is not adhering                   
to the laws regarding registration of snowmobiles.  He                         
questioned if the law should be repealed.                                      
                                                                               
Representative Foster asked what is the fine or penalty for                    
not registering a snowmobile.  Ms. Hensley stated that the                     
fine would be the same as for not registering a car.  Four-                    
wheelers are not required to be registered.                                    
                                                                               
Representative Davies spoke against repealing the statute.                     
                                                                               
Representative Davies MOVED to ADOPT Work Draft 0-LS0501\L,                    
dated 2/23/98.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                   
                                                                               
Representative Davies MOVED to report CSHB 231 (FIN) out of                    
Committee with the accompanying fiscal notes.  There being                     
NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                               
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 3                                                  
                                                                               
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State                        
of Alaska limiting the rights of prisoners to those                            
required under the Constitution of the United States.                          
                                                                               
Senator Donley provided members with a proposed committee                      
substitute, Work Draft 0-LS0268\L, dated 2/13/98(copy on                       
file).  He spoke in support of the proposed committee                          
substitute.                                                                    
                                                                               
Senator Donley provided members with a proposed letter of                      
intent (copy on file).  He spoke in support of the letter of                   
intent.  He maintained that the proposed letter of intent                      
would give the Court additional, clear guidance in regards                     
to the Legislature's intent in adopting SJR 3.                                 
                                                                               
Senator Donley reviewed changes incorporated by the proposed                   
committee substitute.  He observed that specific reference                     
to Article 1, section 12 was deleted.  The language was                        
changed to read:  "Notwithstanding any other provision of                      
this constitution."  The intent is to cover all unique and                     
special rights given to convicted prisoners by the Alaska                      
State Constitution that are not currently guaranteed under                     
the federal Constitution.                                                      
                                                                               
Co-Chair Hanley MOVED to ADOPT Work Draft 0-LS0268\L, dated                    
2/13/98.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                         
                                                                               
Representative Grussendorf spoke in support of                                 
rehabilitation.  He asked if federal standards deny efforts                    
to rehabilitate prisoners.  Senator Donley stressed that the                   
legislation creates a baseline.  Rehabilitation programs                       
could still be funded through the budget.  The legislation                     
speaks to the minimum required.  Prisoners would no longer                     
be able to sue to enforce a right of reformation, except as                    
required under the federal Constitution.  He maintained that                   
the legislation would allow decisions to be based on what is                   
appropriate within the budget process.                                         
                                                                               
Representative Martin MOVED to report HCS CSSJR 3 (FIN) out                    
of Committee with the accompanying fiscal notes and letter                     
of intent.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                       
HOUSE BILL NO. 245                                                             
                                                                               
"An Act relating to minimum sentences for assault in                           
the fourth degree that is a crime involving domestic                           
violence; providing that a prisoner may not contact the                        
victim of the offense when provided access to a                                
telephone or otherwise immediately after an arrest; and                        
amending Rule 5(b), Alaska Rules of Criminal                                   
Procedure."                                                                    
                                                                               
JAYNE ANDREEN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, COUNCIL OF DOMESTIC                         
VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT testified in support of HB 245.                    
She observed that she was alerted by a police officer to the                   
problem of abusers calling their victims within hours of                       
their arrest.  She emphasized domestic violence perpetrators                   
who are exercising an on going cycle of control over their                     
victims will use whatever means they have to continue their                    
control.                                                                       
                                                                               
Ms. Andreen stressed that contact by the defendant to the                      
victim should be limited before the first judicial hearing.                    
This allows victims time to decide whether they should seek                    
a civil protective order and to make plans for the safety of                   
themselves and their children.  The judge can determine                        
whether or not there can be contact at the first judicial                      
hearing.                                                                       
                                                                               
Ms. Andreen spoke in support of increased penalties for                        
repeat domestic violence offenders.  She maintained that                       
domestic violence offenders are not held as accountable by                     
the criminal justice system as offenders of other offenses.                    
She stated that the Council supports 30 days for a second                      
offense and 60 days for a third offense when it is a fourth                    
degree assault and a prior history of domestic violence.                       
                                                                               
Ms. Andreen spoke in support of criminalizing unlawful                         
contact.  It is a criminal offense to violate a civil order                    
preventing contact.  There are no quick consequences for                       
someone who has been ordered by the court not to have                          
contact as a condition of pretrial or presentencing release,                   
probation or parole.                                                           
                                                                               
Ms. Andreen pointed out that the these issues fall in line                     
with recommendations of the Governor's Domestic Violence                       
Summit held in December 1997.  The Summit concluded that                       
offenders need to be held more accountable for their                           
actions.  She stressed that the importance of giving the                       
court system and the criminal justice system sanctions and                     
controls in order to hold offenders accountable.  She                          
asserted that it is important that the violation of                            
conditions of release be criminalized.                                         
                                                                               
Co-Chair Therriault provided members with proposed committee                   
substitute, Work Draft 0-LS0450\R, dated 2/21/98 (copy on                      
file).                                                                         
                                                                               
Representative Davies MOVED to ADOPT Work Draft 0-LS0450\R,                    
dated 2/21/98.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                   
                                                                               
Co-Chair Therriault reviewed the committee substitute. "A                      
person is arrested for a crime involving domestic violence"                    
was added on page 1, line 10.  A proposed Amendment 2 would                    
broaden this language by adding "or a crime against a person                   
(copy on file).  There was a conforming change in section 3.                   
There was a court rule change in section 10.  On page 1,                       
line 13 a person is guilty if they "attempt to initiate                        
communication with the alleged victim of the crime that was                    
the basis for the person's arrest."                                            
                                                                               
Representative Davies referred to page 2, line 17.  He noted                   
that AS 12.30.025 specifically exempts domestic violence.                      
                                                                               
ANNE CARPENETI, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, LEGAL SERVICES                     
SECTION, CRIMINAL DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF LAW clarified that                   
AS 12.30.025 should be omitted.                                                
                                                                               
Representative Davies MOVED ADOPT Amendment 1, delete AS                       
12.30.025 on page 2, line 17.  There being NO OBJECTION, it                    
was so ordered.                                                                
                                                                               
Co-Chair Therriault MOVED to ADOPT Amendment 2. Amendment 2                    
would add "or a crime against a person".  There being NO                       
OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                  
                                                                               
Co-Chair Therriault clarified that Amendment 2 includes a                      
title change to incorporate the reference of crimes against                    
a person into the title.                                                       
                                                                               
Representative Davies provided members with a spreadsheet                      
detailing the sentencing of domestic violence cases in 1986                    
(copy on file).  He observed that, in 1986, 400 of 1279                        
domestic violence offenders received no jail time.  He                         
estimated that under HB 245 half of these cases would                          
receive jail time.  He observed that if half of these                          
offenders received 20 days, the budget would be impacted by                    
approximately $400 thousand dollars a year. To approximate                     
the cost of the legislation he assumed that 5 percent of the                   
offenders that did not receive jail time in 1986 would                         
receive 20 days; 10 percent of the offenders that received 1                   
- 5 days in 1986 would receive 15 days; and 15 percent of                      
the offenders that received 6 - 10 days in 1986 would                          
receive 10 days.  He concluded that there would be an                          
additional cost of $87.5 thousand dollars a year.  He                          
maintained that the indeterminate fiscal by the Department                     
of Corrections is under-estimated.                                             
                                                                               
Representative Davies spoke in support of a revised fiscal                     
note for the Department of Corrections of $80 thousand                         
dollars.                                                                       
                                                                               
Ms. Carpeneti observed that the statistics do not identify                     
the number of previous offenses.  She assumed that offenders                   
that did not receive jail time were convicted on a first                       
offense without a violation of a protective order.  She                        
concluded that the legislation does not represent a                            
significant departure from what is currently occurring.                        
                                                                               
Representative Davies argued that there would be a cost.  He                   
requested that the legislation be held for further                             
consideration of the fiscal note.                                              
                                                                               
(Tape Change, HFC 98 - 38, Side 2)                                             
                                                                               
Ms. Carpeneti noted that the Department of Corrections based                   
their fiscal note on estimations by the Department of Law.                     
                                                                               
Representative Fred Dyson acknowledged Representative                          
Davies' logic as irrefutable.  He observed that those that                     
are in the field have a different conclusion.  He spoke in                     
support of moving the legislation.  He suggested that the                      
impact is unknown.  He pointed out that the legislation may                    
act as a deterrent.                                                            
                                                                               
Representative Ethan Berkowitz pointed out that it is hard                     
to determine the cost.  He observed that a reduction of                        
domestic violence cases would be accompanied by a decrease                     
in social costs to the State.  He felt that the legislation                    
would reduce the instances of domestic violence.                               
                                                                               
Representative Davies stated that he supports the                              
legislation.  He expressed concern that the Department has                     
sufficient funding to implement the legislation.                               
                                                                               
Co-Chair Hanley pointed out that the Department of                             
Corrections does not have a lot of options for sentenced                       
offenders.  He stated that the cost will be addressed                          
through the budget.                                                            
                                                                               
Representative Davies emphasized that there is a tendency                      
for the system to adjust to reality.  He suggested that if                     
there are no cells that charges will be adjusted down.                         
                                                                               
In response to a question by Representative Kohring, Co-                       
Chair Therriault clarified that the restriction on calls, to                   
the victim, would only be placed on individuals between the                    
time of arrest and the initial appearance before a judge.                      
The judge would determine if there should be further                           
restrictions on the individual's right to contact a victim.                    
Representative Dyson added that the intent is to prevent                       
intimidation of the victim by the defendant.                                   
                                                                               
Representative Davies MOVED to ADOPT an amended fiscal note                    
for the Department of Corrections of $80 thousand dollars.                     
Co-Chair Therriault OBJECTED.  He observed that the sponsor                    
can work with the Department to refine the fiscal note as                      
the legislation travels through the system.                                    
                                                                               
A roll call vote was taken on the motion to adopt a revised                    
fiscal note of $80 thousand dollars for the Department of                      
Corrections.                                                                   
                                                                               
IN FAVOR: Davies, Grussendorf, Moses                                           
OPPOSED: Davis, Foster, Kelly, Kohring, Martin, Mulder,                        
Therriault, Hanley                                                             
                                                                               
The MOTION FAILED (3-8).                                                       
                                                                               
Representative Davies MOVED to ADOPT Amendment 3.  Co-Chair                    
Therriault OBJECTED.                                                           
                                                                               
Representative Berkowitz explained that Amendment 3 would                      
allow the prosecuting agency to seek an additional crime for                   
the violation of a no contact order.  Co-Chair Therriault                      
questioned if prosecutors could reinstate the suspension of                    
sentence.  Representative Berkowitz noted that the worst                       
recidivists would receive the maximum misdemeanor sentence.                    
They would not have any suspended sentence.                                    
                                                                               
Co-Chair Therriault observed that the amendment would                          
restrict contact of the witness and the victim.                                
                                                                               
Ms. Carpeneti clarified that Amendment 3 addresses what                        
happens to a person after a judge has ordered them not to                      
have contact with a victim or a witness to a crime.  She                       
observed that there is no good, effective way of enforcing a                   
court order for restrictive contact.                                           
                                                                               
Co-Chair Hanley referred to page 1, section 1, subsection                      
(2).  Ms. Carpeneti explained that the "order" refers to                       
release on bail, conditions of probation, or judgement in                      
sentencing.  Subsection 1 observes that the individual has                     
been ordered not to contact the victim or witness as a                         
condition of an order.  Subsection 2 occurs when they have                     
contacted the person in violation of the terms of the order.                   
She acknowledged that a judge could order the person back to                   
jail if there is a suspended sentence or find them in                          
contempt of court.  A contempt finding would result in a                       
$100 dollar fine.  She emphasized that Amendment 3 would be                    
a more effective deterrent then current options available to                   
the court.  She observed that offenders violate their                          
contact orders fairly regularly.  She stressed that                            
Amendment 3 would be an effective deterrent in the most                        
serious cases where people keep contacting their victim.                       
                                                                               
In response to a question by Co-Chair Therriault, Ms.                          
Carpeneti explained that the witness may be a child who                        
lives in the house where there is a domestic violence                          
assault.  Access can be restricted as a condition of release                   
under current law.                                                             
                                                                               
In response to a question by Representative Mulder, Ms.                        
Carpeneti noted that some judges believe they already have                     
the authority to order a defendant not to contact a victim                     
for any period of time that seems reasonable under the                         
circumstances.  Other judges do not think they have the                        
authority.  The amendment would make it clear that all                         
judges have the authority to restrict contact.                                 
                                                                               
A roll call vote was taken on the motion to adopt Amendment                    
3.                                                                             
                                                                               
IN FAVOR: Davies, Foster, Grussendorf, Martin, Mulder,                         
Hanley                                                                         
OPPOSED: Davis, Kelly, Kohring, Therriault                                     
                                                                               
Representative Moses absent from the vote.                                     
                                                                               
The MOTION PASSED (6-4).                                                       
                                                                               
Representative Dyson observed that most members have not had                   
the experience of being beaten until they are terrorized.                      
He recounted his own experiences.  He emphasized the terror                    
victims feel when their abusers confront them.  He stressed                    
that victims would benefit from extra tools to prevent                         
contact by their abusers.                                                      
                                                                               
Co-Chair Hanley MOVED to report CSHB 245 (FIN) out of                          
Committee with the accompanying fiscal notes.  There being                     
NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                               
                                                                               
CSHB 245 (FIN) was REPORTED out of Committee with "no                          
recommendation" and with two fiscal impact notes, one by the                   
Department of Administration and one by the Department of                      
Corrections; and with two zero fiscal notes, one by the                        
Department of Administration and one by the Department of                      
Public Safety.                                                                 
ADJOURNMENT                                                                    
                                                                               
The meeting adjourned at 3:00 p.m.                                             
House Finance Committee 9 2/23/98                                              

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