Legislature(1999 - 2000)

04/26/1999 01:55 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
           HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                              
              April 26, 1999                                                                                                    
                 1:55 P.M.                                                                                                      
TAPE HFC 99 - 103, Side 1                                                                                                       
TAPE HFC 99 - 103, Side 2                                                                                                       
TAPE HFC 99 - 104, Side 1                                                                                                       
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Therriault called the House Finance Committee                                                                          
meeting to order at 1:55 p.m.                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Therriault   Representative Foster                                                                                     
Co-Chair Mulder    Representative Grussendorf                                                                                   
Vice Chair Bunde     Representative Kohring                                                                                     
Representative Austerman   Representative Moses                                                                                 
Representative J. Davies   Representative Williams                                                                              
Representative G. Davis                                                                                                         
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                    
Representative Fred Dyson; Darwin Peterson, Staff, Senator                                                                      
Torgerson; Anne Carpeneti, Assistant Attorney General, Legal                                                                    
Services Section, Criminal Division, Department of Law;                                                                         
Janet Seitz, Staff, Representative Rokeberg; George                                                                             
Utermohle, Legal Counsel, Legislative Affairs Agency                                                                            
TESTIFIED VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
Dave Liebersbach, Director, Division of Emergency Services,                                                                     
Military and Veterans Affairs.                                                                                                  
HB 34 "An Act relating to the crime of misprision of a                                                                          
crime against a child."                                                                                                         
 HB 34 was HELD in Committee for further                                                                                        
HB 67 "An Act relating to release of certain persons                                                                            
alleged to have committed certain sexual                                                                                        
 CSHB 67 (JUD) was REPORTED out of Committee with a                                                                             
"do pass" recommendation and with and a fiscal                                                                                  
impact note by the Department of Administration                                                                                 
and a zero fiscal note by the Department of                                                                                     
Corrections, published date 4/16/99.                                                                                            
CSSB 101(FIN) am                                                                                                                
"An Act relating to disasters and to the disaster                                                                               
relief fund."                                                                                                                   
SB 101 was HELD in Committee for further                                                                                        
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 101(FIN) am                                                                                              
"An Act relating to disasters and to the disaster                                                                               
relief fund."                                                                                                                   
DARWIN PETERSON, STAFF, SENATOR TORGERSON read the sponsor                                                                      
statement in support of SB 101:                                                                                                 
The House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee                                                                               
Substitute for Committee Substitute for Senate Bill 101                                                                         
clarifies the definition of a disaster by replacing                                                                             
vague terminology in statute with more specific                                                                                 
language.  This will direct the executive branch of                                                                             
government in identifying what constitutes a disaster                                                                           
prior to making a gubernatorial disaster declaration.                                                                           
In addition to amending the definition of disaster, HCS                                                                         
CS SB 101(MLV) makes a diversion from current law to                                                                            
the funding limits within the executive branch in                                                                               
reference to disaster emergencies.  The governor is                                                                             
given broad authorization to expend up to $1,000,000 to                                                                         
prevent or minimize the effects of an event or a                                                                                
disaster within the state.  If the governor feels that                                                                          
further expenditures from state funds are necessary in                                                                          
excess of $1,000,000 for a specific event, legislative                                                                          
authorization or a presidential declaration of disaster                                                                         
is required.  Wildland fire disasters are exempt from                                                                           
this policy.                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Therriault asked if the sponsor had concerns with                                                                      
the HCS (STA) version. Mr. Peterson replied that they had                                                                       
concerns with language on page 2, section 3. He explained                                                                       
that there are two caps under current law, one at $500                                                                          
thousand dollars and one at $1 million dollars. These were                                                                      
combined into one cap of $1 million dollars. He recommended                                                                     
that the two limitations remain separate. The caps would be                                                                     
under $500 thousand dollars for a broad variety of events                                                                       
and $1 million dollars for specifically for disasters.                                                                          
Seventy-five percent of disasters since 1978 have been under                                                                    
$500 thousand dollars. This would return to the current                                                                         
statutory limitation.                                                                                                           
Co-Chair Therriault noted that there is no cap on wildlife                                                                      
Mr. Peterson also pointed to page 3, lines 4 - 6. He                                                                            
explained that under current law the Governor must notify                                                                       
the presiding officers if he wishes to spend more than a                                                                        
million dollars. The Senate language required the presiding                                                                     
officer to poll all members of the legislature and receive                                                                      
majority consent. He acknowledged that it could be difficult                                                                    
to contact all members during the interim. The sponsor                                                                          
recommends that the presiding officers contact a majority of                                                                    
members telephonically. There would still need majority                                                                         
consent. If 31 members agree that a special session is not                                                                      
necessary than the governor could go ahead with the disaster                                                                    
Mr. Peterson referred to page 4, definition of disaster. The                                                                    
Senate wanted a more concise definition. "An event such as"                                                                     
may be objectionable due to its broad interpretation.                                                                           
Representative Foster observed that "including" was deleted                                                                     
from page 4, line 9.                                                                                                            
Mr. Peterson explained that the language was amended in the                                                                     
House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee. The intent                                                                       
was to broaden the definition and allow the governor to                                                                         
declare a disaster on any event that resulted in a disaster                                                                     
of $2 million dollars. The Senate definition was more                                                                           
specific. In the Senate version, the governor could spend up                                                                    
to $1 million dollars on disasters that were enumerated. The                                                                    
governor could spend up to $500 thousand dollars on                                                                             
disasters that were not enumerated such as a plane                                                                              
collision. If the governor want to spend more than $500                                                                         
thousand dollars on a disaster that was not enumerated he                                                                       
would have to address the legislature.                                                                                          
In response to a question by Representative Foster, Mr.                                                                         
Peterson noted that if there was a disaster such as a plane                                                                     
crash the governor could spend funds immediately. He                                                                            
estimated that further funding could be obtained within a                                                                       
few hours.                                                                                                                      
Representative Foster recalled an emergency in his district.                                                                    
It took 14 calls and an hour and a half before he was able                                                                      
to reach anyone to respond.                                                                                                     
Representative Austerman concluded that the sponsor's                                                                           
concern is with the addition of "such as". He clarified that                                                                    
the sponsor prefers the Senate version. He ascertained that                                                                     
if the disaster was not defined the governor would have $500                                                                    
thousand dollars.                                                                                                               
Representative Foster noted that a number of people would                                                                       
have to be contacted. Co-Chair Therriault pointed out that                                                                      
the governor would only need to contact further members if                                                                      
he wanted to spend more than $500 thousand dollars.                                                                             
Representative Grussendorf spoke in support of the House                                                                        
State Affairs Committee version. He stated that he would                                                                        
prefer to argue to the funding after the disaster. He did                                                                       
not want to see a delay on funding.                                                                                             
Co-Chair Therriault pointed out that the $500 thousand                                                                          
dollar and $1 million dollar limitations exist in current                                                                       
law. In response to a question by Co-Chair Therriault, Mr.                                                                      
Peterson noted that the current disaster spending limits                                                                        
have not created problems.                                                                                                      
Representative J. Davies stated that page 2, lines 6 and 7                                                                      
needed further clarification.                                                                                                   
"The governor may expend during a fiscal year not more                                                                          
than $1,000,000 of state funds per event to prevent,                                                                            
minimize, or respond to the effects of an event that                                                                            
occurs in the state..."                                                                                                         
He pointed out that if an event is prevented then it is not                                                                     
an event that occurred. He suggested that additional                                                                            
language is needed to clarify this provision.                                                                                   
Representative J. Davies questioned the intent of language                                                                      
on page 3, line 17 - 20.                                                                                                        
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of this                                                                                 
chapter, if the declaration of a disaster                                                                                       
emergency occurs while the legislature is in                                                                                    
session or if a special session is held, actions                                                                                
taken by the governor under this chapter after                                                                                  
the close of the session that are not ratified                                                                                  
by law adopted during that session are void."                                                                                   
He pointed out that action could be the result of a law                                                                         
previously adopted. He maintained that the language is over                                                                     
reaching and should be deleted. He suggested that any                                                                           
actions taken that are inconsistent with law adopted during                                                                     
the session should be void.                                                                                                     
Mr. Peterson stated that the language states that if the                                                                        
governor goes over the cap and the legislature disagrees,                                                                       
that any action taken by the governor would be void.                                                                            
Representative Austerman referred to the Bristol Bay                                                                            
economic disaster.  Mr. Peterson replied that there is no                                                                       
place in the bill that specifically discusses economic                                                                          
disasters. The legislature discusses physical disaster.                                                                         
Representative Austerman questioned if "such as" could open                                                                     
the door to economic disasters.  Mr. Peterson replied that                                                                      
it might be possible if an economic disaster was caused by                                                                      
an event "such as" the ones listed.                                                                                             
Representative J. Davies suggested that it would be                                                                             
difficult to separate natural and economic disasters.  Co-                                                                      
Chair Therriault referred to page 4, lines 2 - 4. He                                                                            
observed that "the occurrence or imminent threat of                                                                             
widespread or severe damage, injury, [OR] loss of life or                                                                       
property" could have an economic impact. He observed that a                                                                     
shortage of food could cause a loss of life and a shortage                                                                      
of fuel during winter months could cause a loss of property.                                                                    
He asked why the Senate added the language.  Mr. Peterson                                                                       
explained that the Senate Finance Committee inserted the                                                                        
language in case a disaster resulted in a shortage of food,                                                                     
water or fuel.  Co-Chair Therriault felt that the language                                                                      
was unnecessary.                                                                                                                
Representative Foster observed that the State Emergency                                                                         
Response Commission passed a resolution signed by Phillip                                                                       
Oates, Commissioner of Military and Veterans Affairs                                                                            
opposing SB 101 (copy on file).                                                                                                 
DAVE LIEBERSBACH, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF EMERGENCY SERVICES,                                                                     
MILITARY AND VETERANS AFFAIRS testified via teleconference.                                                                     
He stated that the Department of Military and Veterans                                                                          
Affairs feels that the House State Affairs Committee version                                                                    
is workable. He referred to the resolution by the State                                                                         
Emergency Response Commission. Discussions with the State                                                                       
Emergency Response Commission indicated that they would not                                                                     
object to the current version.                                                                                                  
Representative Foster questioned if there is a federal                                                                          
definition for "disaster". Mr. Liebersbach clarified that                                                                       
there is a federal definition for "disaster". He explained                                                                      
that the Western Alaska Fisheries disaster was not included                                                                     
under the definition of a major disaster by the presidential                                                                    
declaration. The federal funds for the Western Alaska                                                                           
Fisheries disaster were obtained under a different route.                                                                       
In response to a question by Representative Foster, Mr.                                                                         
Liebersbach noted that the addition of "an event such as" on                                                                    
line 5, page 4 has broaden the legislation sufficiently to                                                                      
allow the support of the department. He pointed out that he                                                                     
did not want to try to delineate every possible disaster for                                                                    
the future. He stressed that there needs to be a broad                                                                          
enough interpretation to allow coverage.                                                                                        
Representative Austerman noted that he requested a breakdown                                                                    
of the $60 million federal dollars appropriated through the                                                                     
Steven's Act.                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Therriault expressed concern with the addition of                                                                      
the language "an event such as".                                                                                                
CAROL CARROLL, DIRECTOR, DIVISION OF SUPPORT SERVICES,                                                                          
DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES stated that the breakdown of                                                                    
federal funds is available and that she would provide it to                                                                     
Representative Grussendorf asked how long the statutory                                                                         
limitation of $500 thousand dollars has been in placed.  Ms.                                                                    
Carroll noted that the limitations have been in placed since                                                                    
the 1970's. Representative Grussendorf pointed out that the                                                                     
value of the funds has decreased.                                                                                               
Co-Chair Therriault noted that the bill proposes one                                                                            
limitation. He questioned if there is a problem with the                                                                        
current statute. Ms. Carroll noted that $500 thousand                                                                           
dollars could be used to advert a disaster or an imminent                                                                       
event that might cause a disaster. Under an actual disaster                                                                     
the entire $1 million dollars would be available. The                                                                           
legislation allows $1 million dollars to be spent on a                                                                          
disaster or to divert a disaster.                                                                                               
Vice-Chair Bunde noted that 75 percent of the disasters that                                                                    
have occur in the state of Alaska since 1978 have been under                                                                    
$500 thousand dollars. He questioned if it would be possible                                                                    
to spend more than $500 thousand dollars within the first                                                                       
few minutes. Ms. Carroll replied that it is difficult to                                                                        
tell. She noted that a lot of money could be spent within a                                                                     
few minutes for a major disaster, if out-of-state resources                                                                     
were used. She stressed that if the state is committed to                                                                       
expend funds that they will be expended.                                                                                        
Representative Foster observed that under the House State                                                                       
Affairs version the Governor would have to contact 6                                                                            
members. He questioned how the decision would be carried. He                                                                    
expressed concern that it could take time. He noted that                                                                        
there would be an executive committee making the decision.                                                                      
Co-Chair Therriault pointed out that the legislation                                                                            
requires that the Governor shall prepare and deliver to the                                                                     
Commissioner's Office and chairs of finance a financing plan                                                                    
describing the amount.                                                                                                          
Representative Foster expressed concern that a decision                                                                         
could be made not to have a special session without input                                                                       
from individual members.                                                                                                        
GEORGE UTERMOHLE, LEGAL COUNSEL, LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS AGENCY                                                                     
responded to previous questions. He emphasized that the                                                                         
listing of events of a similar nature that are classified                                                                       
modifies an event "such as". He clarified that a riot would                                                                     
not be "an event such as" if it were not included in the                                                                        
Co-Chair Therriault asked if economic disasters would be                                                                        
swept in under the list of events "such as". Mr. Utermohle                                                                      
observed that disasters that have an economic affect could                                                                      
be included, but stated that a pure economic disaster as                                                                        
defined in, AS 44 would not be included under the language.                                                                     
Co-Chair Therriault asked why "an event such as" is needed.                                                                     
Representative Grussendorf suggested that a meteorite would                                                                     
not be included without the additional language. Mr.                                                                            
Utermohle noted that the issue is how tight the boundary                                                                        
would be drawn around disasters the governor could declare.                                                                     
Co-Chair Therriault pointed out that the governor would                                                                         
still be able to respond to an event that was not detailed,                                                                     
such as a meteorite, because some of the other events would                                                                     
Vice-Chair Bunde stated that the language clarifies that the                                                                    
events would be natural in nature and exclude economic                                                                          
disasters. Mr. Utermohle agreed.                                                                                                
(Tape Change, HFC 99 -103, Side 2)                                                                                              
Co-Chair Therriault reiterated questions by Representative                                                                      
J. Davies regarding the need for language on page 3, line 17                                                                    
- 20. Mr. Utermohle explained that the language is a                                                                            
modification of existing law. He noted that the language                                                                        
would void actions of the governor not sanctioned by the                                                                        
legislature. He stressed that "it is a function of how tight                                                                    
a rein the legislature wants to keep on the governor. The                                                                       
governor's authority to precede expires when the legislature                                                                    
adjourns if the governor's action was not ratified by the                                                                       
legislature. Under the legislation, a disaster appropriation                                                                    
could be cut off at any time by appropriate legislative                                                                         
In response to a question by Representative Foster, Mr.                                                                         
Utermohle explained that language on page 3, line 4 pertains                                                                    
to delivery of the governor's financing plan. He noted that                                                                     
the other members of the body have the ability to call                                                                          
themselves into special session. Co-Chair Therriault noted                                                                      
that the language on page 3, lines 4 - 6 allows the governor                                                                    
to expend money if the legislature decides not to go into a                                                                     
special session.                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies referred to page 5, lines 5 - 8.                                                                       
Mr. Utermohle noted that the language carries forward                                                                           
existing language. He stated that the following language                                                                        
could be deleted from existing law in order to resolve                                                                          
Representative J. Davies' concerns.                                                                                             
"The governor may expend during a fiscal year not more                                                                          
than $1,000,000 of state funds per event to prevent,                                                                            
minimize, or respond to the effects of an event that                                                                            
occurs in the state and that, in the determination of                                                                           
the governor, poses a direct and imminent threat."                                                                              
Vice-Chair Bunde questioned if the governor could declare a                                                                     
disaster on an event that occurs in Canada or another state.                                                                    
Mr. Utermohle noted that the language clarifies that the                                                                        
Governor is responding to events in the state of Alaska.                                                                        
Vice-Chair Bunde referred to page 3, lines 17 - 20. He                                                                          
questioned if the language is a pocket veto for the                                                                             
legislature. Mr. Utermohle stated that if the legislature                                                                       
does not ratify the governor's actions than his authority to                                                                    
operate ends. It compels the legislature to take action if                                                                      
the disaster is to be addressed.                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies summarized that the legislature                                                                        
would have to ratify disaster expenditures under $1 million                                                                     
dollars. Mr. Utermohle clarified that expenditures after the                                                                    
end of the session or special session would not be                                                                              
authorized. Expenditures during the legislative session                                                                         
would be authorized under the governor's authority. The                                                                         
language speaks to a declared disaster as opposed to an                                                                         
event. An event is not necessarily a disaster.                                                                                  
SB 101 was HELD in Committee for further consideration.                                                                         
HOUSE BILL NO. 34                                                                                                               
"An Act relating to the crime of misprision of a crime                                                                          
against a child."                                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE FRED DYSON, SPONSOR explained that the                                                                           
legislation was the result of a case that occurred in                                                                           
Nevada. A seven-year-old child was molested and killed in a                                                                     
casino restroom. A friend of the perpetrator observed the                                                                       
act. He later gave the perpetrator a ride back to                                                                               
California. The person observing did not act to assist the                                                                      
minor during the assault and murder.                                                                                            
Representative Dyson noted that since this crime eight                                                                          
states have made it a misdemeanor to refuse to go to the aid                                                                    
to a child who is actively being assaulted. He noted that                                                                       
laws to assist were very common in American and English                                                                         
common law over a 130 years ago. The duty to assist did not                                                                     
survive when states moved to statute law. He noted that                                                                         
professional mariners are required to go to the aid of a                                                                        
vessel in need of assistance. Police and military personnel                                                                     
also have a duty to assist those in distress. The                                                                               
legislation would make it a class A misdemeanor to refuse to                                                                    
assist a minor. He observed that it is a positive offense if                                                                    
a person does not help the child because they are afraid for                                                                    
their own life or safety. He noted that fiscal notes are                                                                        
indeterminate because it is unclear how many cases would be                                                                     
prosecuted. He estimated that there would only be one or two                                                                    
cases in a decade. He stressed that a culture's values are                                                                      
reflected in its law. He observed that under current statute                                                                    
a person could sell tickets to an assault of a child with                                                                       
Representative J. Davies spoke in support of the                                                                                
legislation. He asked why it is limited to children.                                                                            
Representative Dyson noted that the Senate version of the                                                                       
legislation was not restricted to children. He stated that                                                                      
the concept of the duty to assist is not common to our                                                                          
statute law. He observed that legislation pertaining to                                                                         
those viewed as incompetent, such as children under the age                                                                     
of majority would be easier to defended. He stated that an                                                                      
argument could be made to extend the law to developmental                                                                       
disabled or profoundly handicapped adults. He stated that he                                                                    
would support an expansion of the legislation.                                                                                  
Vice-Chair Bunde clarified that "child" would be defined as                                                                     
anyone under 18 years of age.  He asked how serious crimes                                                                      
committed by a child would be addressed. Representative                                                                         
Dyson noted that the bill does not speak to anticipated                                                                         
crimes.  He referenced page 1, line 8:                                                                                          
"Witnesses what the person knows or reasonably should                                                                           
know is (A) the murder or attempted murder of a child                                                                           
by another; (B) The kidnapping or attempted kidnapping                                                                          
of a child by another; (C) The sexual penetration or                                                                            
attempted sexual penetration by another."                                                                                       
Representative Dyson stated that "a crime is about to                                                                           
happen" could be added after "reasonably should know".                                                                          
Co-Chair Therriault stressed that consideration should be                                                                       
given to the possible fiscal impact.                                                                                            
Representative Grussendorf questioned the effect the                                                                            
legislation would have on witnesses.  He noted that a person                                                                    
who did not respond during the event could be penalized if                                                                      
they come forth as a witness after the fact. He expressed                                                                       
concern a person may view something but not be sure of what                                                                     
is happening at the time of the event.                                                                                          
Representative Dyson acknowledged the difficulty of knowing                                                                     
if a child is being kidnapped or is just acting up to their                                                                     
parents. He noted that the legislation addresses what a                                                                         
person  "knows" or "reasonably should know." He observed                                                                        
that not being certain of a confusing situation is a                                                                            
positive defense. He added that exceptions are made for                                                                         
those fearing injury: "did not report in a timely manner                                                                        
because the defendant reasonably believed that doing so                                                                         
would have exposed the defendant or others to a substantial                                                                     
risk of physical injury." He observed that people are afraid                                                                    
of involvement in domestic violence cases. He stressed that                                                                     
prosecutors would grant witnesses immunity from prosecution                                                                     
in order to allow testimony against perpetrators.                                                                               
Representative Kohring spoke in support of the legislation                                                                      
and questioned if the penalty should be a felony instead of                                                                     
a misdemeanor. Representative Dyson stated that the penalty                                                                     
was a felony in the original legislation. He explained that                                                                     
the legislation asks that people assist in instances that                                                                       
would be class E felonies. He explained that if the penalty                                                                     
for failing to assist were a felony that the perpetrator and                                                                    
the person who failed to assist could be charged the same.                                                                      
ANNE CARPENETI, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, LEGAL SERVICES                                                                      
SECTION, CRIMINAL DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF LAW acknowledged                                                                      
that no one would disagree that people have a moral                                                                             
obligation to help a child. She stressed that the problem                                                                       
occurs when it is made a crime. She emphasized that the                                                                         
legislation pertains to a person that simply witnesses a                                                                        
crime. She observed that it is already against the law to                                                                       
help a perpetrator during or after a crime. The legislation                                                                     
only addresses a person who witnesses an offense. She                                                                           
acknowledged that the person should go to the aid of the                                                                        
child. The concern is that if a person witnesses a crime and                                                                    
does not report it in a timely manner that they would be                                                                        
lost as a witness. She noted that witnesses would be locked                                                                     
into their previous testimony, for fear that they will be                                                                       
charged if they change their story and tell the truth.                                                                          
Failure to assist was a crime in common law, but fell into                                                                      
disuse due to problems. She suggested that the legislation                                                                      
begin with the most serious crimes, murder, kidnapping and                                                                      
perhaps attempted murder. She stressed that the broader the                                                                     
bill the greater the problems in relationship to witnesses.                                                                     
She noted that the difference between felony and misdemeanor                                                                    
assaults could be subtle. The difference involves the mental                                                                    
state of the perpetrator in relationship to intent,                                                                             
recklessness or criminal negligence. She recommended that                                                                       
felonious assault be deleted and the legislation be limited                                                                     
to murder, kidnapping and perhaps sexual assault in the                                                                         
first degree.                                                                                                                   
Representative Grussendorf observed that the state of                                                                           
Minnesota has a similar law. He asked if other states have                                                                      
broader laws. Ms. Carpeneti did not know.                                                                                       
Vice-Chair Bunde questioned if the person that witnessed the                                                                    
Nevada crime could have been prosecuted in Alaska since he                                                                      
aided the escape of the perpetrator.  Ms. Carpeneti stated                                                                      
that Alaska law states prohibits a person from aiding and                                                                       
helping a person escape with intent.  She felt that it would                                                                    
have been possible to investigate the charge if it the crime                                                                    
had occurred in Alaska. She noted aiding a criminal is a                                                                        
class A felony in Alaska.                                                                                                       
Vice-Chair Bunde asked if Representative Dyson would be                                                                         
willing to drop the assault charge. Representative Dyson                                                                        
stated that he would be willing to drop assault if it were                                                                      
necessary to advance the bill, but that it would not be his                                                                     
Ms. Carpeneti explained that a class A felony has a penalty                                                                     
of one year imprisonment and a $500 thousand dollar fine.                                                                       
In response to comments by Representative Foster, Ms.                                                                           
Carpeneti reiterated that the legislation allows an                                                                             
affirmative defense of fear.                                                                                                    
Representative Dyson gave examples of similar legislation                                                                       
enacted by other states. He noted that Massachusetts has                                                                        
also included armed robbery.                                                                                                    
Representative J. Davies questioned if there would be a way                                                                     
to further delineate assaults. He observed that "assaults                                                                       
punishable as a felony" is a high standard. He suggested                                                                        
that the language could read "an assault such as armed                                                                          
robbery." Representative Dyson explained that felonious                                                                         
assaults include a deadly weapon. He noted that the                                                                             
definition of a deadly weapon is subject to interpretation.                                                                     
Co-Chair Therriault stressed that the general public would                                                                      
not know the level of the offense under the law. Ms.                                                                            
Carpeneti acknowledged that felony is a legal term.                                                                             
Representative Dyson pointed out that there is no penalty                                                                       
for reporting lower level assaults.                                                                                             
In response to a question by Vice-Chair Bunde,                                                                                  
Representative Dyson explained that molestation and abuse                                                                       
were not added in order to clarify the legislation. The                                                                         
intent is that a child in grave danger receives assistance.                                                                     
Vice-Chair Bunde stressed that the legislation needs to be                                                                      
clearly defined.                                                                                                                
Representative J. Davies suggested that "punishable as a                                                                        
felony" be deleted and "an assault that would inflict severe                                                                    
physical harm" be inserted. Ms. Carpeneti stated that the                                                                       
language would improve the legislation. She recommended that                                                                    
the legislation be restricted to murder, kidnapping and                                                                         
sexual assault in the first degree. She added that assault                                                                      
in the first degree could be added. She pointed out that                                                                        
there is no penalty for a person who reports every time they                                                                    
see a child in need.                                                                                                            
Representative J. Davies expressed concern that the use of                                                                      
"felony" would provide a loophole.                                                                                              
Representative Dyson stressed that the legislation pertains                                                                     
to children being assaulted by an adult. Co-Chair Therriault                                                                    
pointed out that the legislation includes children up to the                                                                    
age of 18. Representative Grussendorf noted that the adult                                                                      
could be one or two years older than the victim.                                                                                
Ms. Carpeneti explained that first degree sexual assault is                                                                     
usually sexual penetration without consent. Ms. Carpeneti                                                                       
recommended that sexual penetration without consent could be                                                                    
used to limit the legislation to sexual assault in the first                                                                    
degree. Representative Grussendorf asked if the age of                                                                          
consent would affect the legislation. Ms. Carpeneti                                                                             
clarified that it would not impact the legislation. The main                                                                    
issue is the consent.                                                                                                           
Representative J. Davies asked that the legislation be held                                                                     
for 24 hours to allow an amendment. Representative Dyson                                                                        
supported his request.                                                                                                          
HB 34 was HELD in Committee for further consideration.                                                                          
(Tape Change, HFC 99  - 104, Side 1)                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 67                                                                                                               
"An Act relating to release of certain persons alleged                                                                          
to have committed certain sexual offenses."                                                                                     
JANET SEITZ, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG spoke in support                                                                    
of the legislation. She read from the sponsor statement. She                                                                    
noted that the legislation was proposed to strengthen                                                                           
protection for sexually abused victims.                                                                                         
This bill adds a new section (release in sexual abuse                                                                           
and sexual assault cases) that mandates the court to                                                                            
consider safety of the alleged victim in the following                                                                          
cases: sexual assault [first degree to third degree],                                                                           
Sexual abuse of a minor [first degree to third degree],                                                                         
incest, unlawful exploitation of a minor, and indecent                                                                          
exposure in the first degree.                                                                                                   
The bill permits the judge to impose additional                                                                                 
conditions on a person charged or convicted of these                                                                            
crimes concerning no contact with alleged victim,                                                                               
residing in a place where there is no likelihood of                                                                             
coming in contact with the victim, and taking                                                                                   
medication as prescribe.                                                                                                        
Currently a victim is usually notified of a bail                                                                                
hearing but inquiry by the judicial officer as to if                                                                            
such notification has been made is not statutorily                                                                              
required. This was where the system broke down in my                                                                            
constituent's case. The bill indicates that before a                                                                            
person who is charged or convicted of one of these                                                                              
crimes is released that the judicial officer is                                                                                 
required to ask about the notice of the victim or                                                                               
victim's representative. The judicial officer is also                                                                           
to inquire if the victim or victim's representative is                                                                          
in court and wishes to comment.                                                                                                 
This legislation stems from a situation faced by one of                                                                         
my constituents this past year. This person's young                                                                             
child was sexually abused. The parent was not notified                                                                          
of the bail hearing and the predator, who changed his                                                                           
plea at the last minute, was released back into the                                                                             
community [and is still out in the community awaiting                                                                           
sentencing which has now been scheduled for May] with                                                                           
minimal supervision despite the District Attorney's                                                                             
request for 24-hour supervision. As might be expected,                                                                          
the victim's parent was outraged that the criminal who                                                                          
abused a young child was again in the community without                                                                         
any supervision. I agreed with the parent's concerns                                                                            
and introduced this legislation.                                                                                                
Ms. Seitz explained that the perpetrator was in violation of                                                                    
the three-mile limit within the victim's home. The                                                                              
legislation gives the judicial system a way to assure that                                                                      
the victim's concerns are addressed.                                                                                            
Ms. Seitz explained that the original legislation mandated                                                                      
24-hour close supervision and additional notice to the                                                                          
victim. Discussions with the Department of Law and the                                                                          
Alaska Court System indicated that there could be                                                                               
constitutional concerns with the mandates. The Department of                                                                    
Law suggested language in section 1. This method is used by                                                                     
the Alaska Court System in domestic violence cases. The                                                                         
legislation was referred to the House Judiciary and Finance                                                                     
Representative Grussendorf pointed out that the judge                                                                           
currently has this authority. The legislation directs the                                                                       
Court to act.                                                                                                                   
Representative J. Davies questioned the statutory references                                                                    
Ms. Seitz noted statutes reference by the legislation:                                                                          
11.41.410 Sexual Assault in the First Degree                                                                                    
11.41.420 Sexual Assault in the Second Degree                                                                                   
11.41.425 Sexual Assault in the Third Degree                                                                                    
11.41.434 Sexual Abuse of a Minor in the First Degree                                                                           
11.41.435 Sexual Abuse of a Minor in the Second Degree                                                                          
11.41.438 Sexual Abuse of a Minor in the Third Degree                                                                           
11.41.450 Incest                                                                                                                
11.41.455 Unlawful Exploitation of a Minor                                                                                      
11.41.458 Indecent Exposure in the First Degree                                                                                 
Vice-Chair Bunde expressed concern with page 2, lines 10 -                                                                      
12. Ms. Seitz stated that the intent is that some effort be                                                                     
made to notify the victim. She observed that reasonable                                                                         
effort language came from the Department of Law. Ms.                                                                            
Carpeneti explained that "reasonable effort" was added                                                                          
because defendants are entitled to a bail hearing within a                                                                      
certain period of time. She observed that problems occur                                                                        
when the witness is unavailable. Some hearings cannot be                                                                        
delayed. She noted that bail hearings can occur within a                                                                        
couple of hours.                                                                                                                
Vice-Chair Bunde asked if "reasonable effort" is legally                                                                        
defensible. Ms. Carpeneti stated that it would be legally                                                                       
defensible. She observed that trials allow more time to                                                                         
subpoena witnesses. The problem occurs more often in terms                                                                      
of hearings that are set at the last minute such as a bail                                                                      
hearing. Defendants have a right to appear before a judge                                                                       
within 24 hours to argue the terms of their bail.                                                                               
Representative J. Davies asked if victims receive notice                                                                        
that there is a possibility of a bail hearing within 24                                                                         
hours. Ms. Carpenenti did not know the answer to the                                                                            
Vice-Chair Bunde asked for a guess on how many cases would                                                                      
be involved. Ms. Carpeneti stated that the Department of Law                                                                    
did not submit a fiscal note. She observed that the                                                                             
Department of Corrections could encounter costs associated                                                                      
with transportation of prisoners. Other costs could involve                                                                     
delayed hearings.                                                                                                               
Representative G. Davis questioned if victim's rights groups                                                                    
have been active in assisting in notification. Ms. Carpeneti                                                                    
did not know if victim's rights groups would have time to                                                                       
receive notice. Representative G. Davis thought that some                                                                       
groups have members in the court on an on-going basis.                                                                          
Ms. Seitz noted that the House Judiciary Committee adopted                                                                      
the fiscal note that was submitted to the original version                                                                      
of the legislation.                                                                                                             
Vice-Chair Bunde MOVED to report CSHB 67 (JUD) out of                                                                           
Committee with the accompanying updated fiscal notes. There                                                                     
being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                          
CSHB 67 (JUD) was REPORTED out of Committee with a "do pass"                                                                    
recommendation and with and a fiscal impact note by the                                                                         
Department of Administration and a zero fiscal note by the                                                                      
Department of Corrections, published date 4/16/99.                                                                              
The meeting adjourned at 3:50 p.m.                                                                                              
House Finance Committee 14 4/26/99                                                                                              

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