Legislature(1997 - 1998)

05/05/1998 08:40 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                                                                               
             HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                           
May 5, 1998                                                                    
                          8:40 A.M.                                            
                                                                               
TAPE HFC 98 - 152, Side 1.                                                     
TAPE HFC 98 - 152, Side 2.                                                     
                                                                               
CALL TO ORDER                                                                  
                                                                               
Representative Mulder called the House Finance Committee                       
meeting to order at 8:40 A.M.                                                  
                                                                               
PRESENT                                                                        
                                                                               
Representative Mulder  Representative Grussendorf                              
Representative Kelly  Representative Moses                                     
Representative Kohring  Representative J. Davies                               
Representative J. Davies  Representative Martin                                
Representative G. Davis                                                        
                                                                               
Representatives Therriault, Hanley and Foster were not                         
present for the meeting.                                                       
                                                                               
ALSO PRESENT                                                                   
                                                                               
Representative Fred Dyson; Susan G. Wibker, Assistant                          
Attorney General, Department of Law; Lisa Torkelson, Staff,                    
Representative Fred Dyson; Juanita Hensley, Division of                        
Motor Vehicles, Department of Administration; Krag Johnsen,                    
Staff, Senator Drue Pearce; Jayne Andreen, Council on                          
Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Juneau; Lisa Nelson,                     
Assistant Attorney General, Department of Law, Anchorage;                      
Bruce Campbell, Staff, Representative Pete Kelly.                              
                                                                               
SUMMARY                                                                        
                                                                               
HB 375 An Act relating to children in need of aid                              
matters and proceedings; relating to murder of                                 
children, criminally negligent homicide,                                       
kidnapping, criminal nonsupport, the crime of                                  
indecent exposure, and the crime of endangering                                
the welfare of a child; relating to registration                               
of certain sex offenders; relating to sentencing                               
for certain crimes involving child victims;                                    
relating to the state medical examiner and                                     
reviews of child fatalities; relating to teacher                               
certification and convictions of crimes involving                              
child victims; relating to access,                                             
confidentiality, and release of certain                                        
information concerning the care of children,                                   
child abuse and neglect, and child fatalities;                                 
authorizing the Department of Health and Social                                
Services to enter into an interstate compact                                   
concerning adoption and medical assistance for                                 
certain children with special needs; authorizing                               
the establishment of a multidisciplinary child                                 
protection team to review reports of child abuse                               
or neglect; relating to immunity from liability                                
for certain state actions concerning matters                                   
involving child protection and fatality reviews                                
and children in need of aid; relating to persons                               
required to report suspected child abuse or                                    
neglect; relating to foster care placement and to                              
payment for children in foster and other care and                              
the waiver of certain foster care requirements;                                
relating to the access to certain criminal                                     
justice information and licensure of certain                                   
child care facilities; amending Rule 218, Alaska                               
Rules of Appellate Procedure; amending Rules 1,                                
3, 15, 18, and 19, Alaska Child in Need of Aid                                 
Rules; and providing for an effective date.                                    
                                                                               
 CS HB 375 (FIN) was reported out of Committee                                 
with a "no recommendation" and with fiscal notes                               
by the Alaska Court System, the Department of                                  
Health and Social Services dated 4/7/98, the                                   
Department of Corrections dated 4/7/98, and the                                
Office of Management and Budget dated 2/2/98.                                  
                                                                               
SB 153 An Act relating to issuance of special license                          
plates to commemorate the arts.                                                
                                                                               
 HCS SB 153 (FIN) was reported out of Committee                                
with a "do pass" recommendation and with a fiscal                              
note by the Department of Administration dated                                 
4/16/98.                                                                       
HOUSE BILL NO. 375                                                             
                                                                               
"An Act relating to children in need of aid matters                            
and proceedings; relating to murder of children,                               
criminally negligent homicide, kidnapping, criminal                            
nonsupport, the crime of indecent exposure, and the                            
crime of endangering the welfare of a child; relating                          
to registration of certain sex offenders; relating to                          
sentencing for certain crimes involving child victims;                         
relating to the state medical examiner and reviews of                          
child fatalities; relating to teacher certification                            
and convictions of crimes involving child victims;                             
relating to access, confidentiality, and release of                            
certain information concerning the care of children,                           
child abuse and neglect, and child fatalities;                                 
authorizing the Department of Health and Social                                
Services to enter into an interstate compact                                   
concerning adoption and medical assistance for certain                         
children with special needs; authorizing the                                   
establishment of a multidisciplinary child protection                          
team to review reports of child abuse or neglect;                              
relating to immunity from liability for certain state                          
actions concerning matters involving child protection                          
and fatality reviews and children in need of aid;                              
relating to persons required to report suspected child                         
abuse or neglect; relating to foster care placement                            
and to payment for children in foster and other care                           
and the waiver of certain foster care requirements;                            
relating to the access to certain criminal justice                             
information and licensure of certain child care                                
facilities; amending Rule 218, Alaska Rules of                                 
Appellate Procedure; amending Rules 1, 3, 15, 18, and                          
19, Alaska Child in Need of Aid Rules; and providing                           
for an effective date."                                                        
                                                                               
Representative Kelly explained that Amendment #5 would                         
replace the most substantive changes as recommended in the                     
previous proposed amendments.  [Copy on File].                                 
                                                                               
BRUCE CAMPBELL, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE PETE KELLY, explained                    
that the new version of Amendment #5 would create "clean-                      
up" language.  He pointed out that Page 2 of the old                           
version of Amendment #5 would be deleted and would be                          
replaced with Amendment #11. [Copy on File].                                   
Representative Martin inquired if this would create a                          
twelve-month waiting period for a hearing.                                     
                                                                               
SUSAN G. WIBKER, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF                     
LAW, acknowledged that the wait would be long, although,                       
within the context of the bill, the State would be going                       
before the Court, requesting that the State terminate                          
services to return the child to the home.                                      
                                                                               
Representative Kelly MOVED to adopt the new version of                         
Amendment #5.  Representative J. Davies MOVED to amend                         
Amendment #5 with Amendment #12.  [Copy on File].                              
Representative Kelly OBJECTED.                                                 
                                                                               
Representative J. Davies explained that Amendment #12 would                    
reverse a couple of deletions made in Amendment #5, which                      
remove the references to domestic violence.  He noted that                     
the purpose of HB 375 is to address child safety and those                     
circumstances in which the child is placed at risk. A                          
reference contained in Amendment #12 speaks to the issue of                    
how domestic violence affects the safety of a child.                           
                                                                               
Representative Kelly replied that the bill addresses the                       
child's best interest with a judge delegated with the                          
authority to consider the child's best needs.  He commented                    
that the portions deleted are addressed.  He believed that                     
the inclusion of Amendment #12 would be an expansion of the                    
domestic violence laws, which would be better addressed in                     
a separate bill.                                                               
                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE FRED DYSON indicated support for language                       
recommended by Representative Kelly.  Representative J.                        
Davies asked if the consideration of domestic violence                         
would limit the considerations of other concerns.                              
Representative Dyson responded that it is presumed that a                      
judge would have the "tools" needed to evaluate the harm a                     
child is suffering as a factor to determine the child's                        
best interest.  Discussion followed among Committee members                    
regarding the child's placement with relationship to                           
witnessing domestic violence within the home.                                  
Representative Kelly remarked that language addressing that                    
concern was contained in Title 25.                                             
                                                                               
Ms. Wibker advised that the Department of Law would not be                     
involved in Title 25 cases which address two parties                           
getting a divorce.  Representative J. Davies asked where                       
the safe place for the child be.                                               
                                                                               
JAYNE ANDREEN, COUNCIL ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL                         
ASSAULT, JUNEAU, agreed that there was language contained                      
in Title 25 which addresses child custody and contested                        
custody between two parents.  She recommended that an                          
underlying premise, which needs to be addressed, is the                        
fact that domestic violence is harmful for children.  The                      
impact of even being exposed to domestic violence has on                       
children is serious.  At this time, estblished in Court, a                     
rebuttal presumption is used to address contested child                        
custody cases.  When there has been a history of domestic                      
violence between the parents, the established presumption                      
is that it would not be in the best interest of the child                      
to be placed in the custody of the batterer.  At this time,                    
it is up to the non-offending parent to prove to the Court                     
why the child should not be placed with the batterer.  She                     
emphasized that the rebuttal presumption shifts the focus                      
of where the burden of proof stands from the victim on to                      
the batterer.                                                                  
                                                                               
A roll call vote was taken on the motion to adopt Amendment                    
                                                                               
IN FAVOR:  Grussendorf, Moses, J. Davies                                       
OPPOSED:  G. Davis, Kelly, Kohring, Martin, Mulder                             
                                                                               
Representatives Foster, Therriault and Hanley were not                         
present for the vote.                                                          
                                                                               
The MOTION FAILED (3-5).                                                       
                                                                               
There being NO FURTHER OBJECTION to the new version of                         
Amendment #5, it was adopted unamended.                                        
                                                                               
Representative Kelly MOVED to adopt the new Amendment #10.                     
[Copy on File].  Representative Mulder OBJECTED for the                        
purpose of discussion.                                                         
                                                                               
LISA TORKELSON, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE FRED DYSON, explained                    
that the language of the amendment would allow the foster                      
parent the ability to access the child's records.  Ms.                         
Wibker noted that the Department of Law supports that                          
language.  Ms. Torkelson noted that the Department of                          
Health and Social Services had provided the proposed                           
language.  Representative Mulder WITHDREW his OBJECTION.                       
There being NO FURTHER OBJECTION, the new Amendment #10 was                    
adopted.                                                                       
                                                                               
Representative Kelly MOVED to adopt Amendment #11.                             
Representative J. Davies OBJECTED.  Representative Kelly                       
noted that the proposed section presented the greatest                         
struggle for the entire working group.  New federal law                        
indicates that some form of emotional damage must be                           
addressed.  Each state can determine how they want to                          
address the rule.  He noted that group had agreed upon the                     
language "mental injury".  He continued, the definition was                    
narrowed down, defining the term and resulting in Amendment                    
                                                                               
Representative J. Davies commented that there is a typo in                     
the amendment placement.  Mr. Campbell agreed, pointing out                    
that it should indicate Page 26, Lines 6 & 7 and Page 57,                      
Line 20.  Representative Kelly stated that the proposed                        
amendment would define what "mental injury" is, bringing                       
the bill a long way from the emotional abuse concern.                          
                                                                               
Representative J. Davies asked the significance of placing                     
"witness" at the end of the amendment.                                         
                                                                               
LISA NELSON, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, DEPARTMENT OF LAW,                    
ANCHORAGE, replied that it would be a "witness" in the                         
preceeding and that witness could either review the child's                    
records or testify based on a hypothetical situation.                          
Representative J. Davies asked if it would be detrimental                      
to drop the word.  Ms. Nelson explained that language came                     
from an already existing child welfare act.  Ms. Wibker                        
explained that a qualified expert witness is a "term of                        
art".  There is a specific statute which deals with                            
testimony provided by an expert; it does not require that                      
the expert witness be at the scene of a crime.                                 
Representative J. Davies WITHDREW the OBJECTION to the                         
language of Amendment #11.  There being NO FURTHER                             
OBJECTION, it was adopted.                                                     
                                                                               
Representative J. Davies WITHDREW Amendment #13, #14, and                      
were WITHDRAWN.                                                                
                                                                               
Representative Kelly MOVED to report CS HB 375 (FIN) out of                    
Committee with individual recommendations and with the                         
accompanying fiscal notes.  There being NO OBJECTION, it                       
was so ordered.                                                                
                                                                               
CS HB 375 (FIN) was reported out of Committee with "no                         
recommendation" and with fiscal notes by the Alaska Court                      
System, the Department of Health and Social Services dated                     
4/7/98, the Department of Corrections dated 4/7/98, and the                    
Office of Management and Budget dated 2/2/98.                                  
                                                                               
(Tape Change HFC 98- 152, Side 2).                                             
SENATE BILL NO. 153                                                            
                                                                               
"An Act relating to issuance of special license plates                         
to commemorate the arts."                                                      
                                                                               
KRAG JOHNSEN, STAFF, SENATOR DRUE PEARCE, stated that in                       
the Legislature's effort to bring state spending in line                       
with our revenues, the State Arts Council has been                             
dramatically reduced.  Alaska is facing a dilemma.  Finding                    
funds for the arts is becoming more and more difficult with                    
a population increasingly adverse to public arts funding.                      
He suggested that we need to look for innovative ways to                       
fund our existing arts program if we want public funding to                    
continue. The proposed legislation provides the Arts                           
Council a tool to use in this effort.                                          
                                                                               
Mr. Johnsen noted that license plates have become an                           
increasingly popular revenue source for states facing                          
budget constraints.  In Alaska, there are a number of                          
specialty plates that support various organizations.  The                      
intent behind adding another specialty plate is to provide                     
the State Arts Council a revenue source to supplement                          
decreasing general fund appropriations.  He added that the                     
plates would be designed in consultation with the State                        
Arts Council and it would be the sole responsibility of the                    
Council to promote the program to success.                                     
                                                                               
JUANITA HENSLEY, DIVISION OF MOTOR VEHICLES, DEPARTMENT OF                     
ADMINISTRATION, requested that the fiscal notes indicate                       
FY99.  She commented that there was no way to determine how                    
many plates would be sold.  It is anticipated that there                       
will be revenue generated which would be indicated by an                       
asterisk on the note.                                                          
                                                                               
Representative Kelly MOVED to adopt Amendment #1.  [Copy of                    
File].  He noted that the amendment would delete                               
"noncommercial" in regards to the University of Alaska                         
license plates.                                                                
                                                                               
Ms. Hensley stated that there exists University plates,                        
however, the way in which the statutes are written, the                        
University plates can not be sold for commercial vehicles.                     
Mr. Johnsen pointed out that Senator Wilken, who had wanted                    
to continue support for the University, had submitted the                      
amendment.                                                                     
                                                                               
Representative Mulder advised that a title change would                        
need to be accompanied with a joint resolution title                           
amendment.  Representative J. Davies requested more                            
information on the commercial license plates.  Ms. Hensley                     
responded that at present time, if a passenger vehicle car                     
was used for business purposes, a person would not be able                     
to purchase a special license plate.  Representative J.                        
Davies commented that he supported the amendment.                              
                                                                               
There being NO OBJECTION, Amendment #1 was adopted.                            
                                                                               
Representative J. Davies asked if the funding source would                     
be general funds or general fund program receipts.  Ms.                        
Hensley replied that initially it would be straight general                    
funds since there are no program receipts coming in yet.                       
She anticipated that the plates would sell and that the                        
general fund would be reimbursed to cover start-up costs.                      
                                                                               
Representative J. Davies MOVED to report HCS SB 153 (FIN)                      
out of Committee with individual recommendations and with                      
the accompanying fiscal note.  Representative Kohring                          
OBJECTED.                                                                      
                                                                               
Representative Kohring voiced concern with the legislation                     
being offered so late in the Session and which he believed                     
should not be a high priority concern for State government.                    
He recommended that the Arts Council should be privatized.                     
                                                                               
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                      
                                                                               
IN FAVOR: Grussendorf, Kelly, Martin, Moses, Mulder,                           
J. Davies                                                                      
OPPOSED:  Kohring, G. Davis                                                    
                                                                               
Representatives Foster, Therriault and Hanley were not                         
present for the vote.                                                          
                                                                               
The MOTION PASSED (6-2).                                                       
                                                                               
HCS SB 153 (FIN) was reported out of Committee with a House                    
Joint Resolution to cover the title change and with a                          
fiscal note by the Department of Administration.                               
ADJOURNMENT                                                                    
                                                                               
The meeting adjourned at 9:50 A.M.                                             
                                                                               
                                                                               
H.F.C. 8 5/05/98 a.m.                                                          

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