Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/04/1993 03:00 PM HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES STANDING COMMITTEE March 4, 1993 3:00 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Rep. Cynthia Toohey, Co-Chair Rep. Con Bunde, Co-Chair Rep. Gary Davis, Vice Chair Rep. Al Vezey Rep. Pete Kott Rep. Irene Nicholia Rep. Tom Brice MEMBERS ABSENT Rep. Harley Olberg Rep. Bettye Davis COMMITTEE CALENDAR *HB 28: "An Act relating to the penalty for providing alcoholic beverages to a person under the age of 21; and providing for an effective date." PASSED WITH INDIVIDUAL RECOMMENDATIONS *HB 3: "An Act relating to public home care providers; and providing for an effective date." NOT HEARD - HELD TO TIME CERTAIN *HB 4: "An Act adding as an aggravating factor at sentencing that a victim was elderly or disabled; and relating to failure to report harm or assaults of the elderly or disabled." NOT HEARD - HELD TO TIME CERTAIN *HCR 7: Relating to Alcohol-related Birth Defects Awareness Week. NOT HEARD - HELD TO TIME CERTAIN (* First public hearing.) WITNESS REGISTER REP. BILL WILLIAMS Alaska State Legislature State Capitol Building Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Phone: (907) 465-3424 Position Statement: Sponsor of HB 28 CHERI DAVIS P.O. Box 5723 Ketchikan, Alaska 99901 Phone: (907) 225-6304 Position Statement: Supported HB 28 PETER JENSEN, President Alaskans for Drug-Free Youth-Ketchikan P.O. Box 7032 Ketchikan, Alaska 99901 Phone: (907) 225-2277 Position Statement: Supported HB 28 JEANNEANE HENRY 2428 Dunton St. Ketchikan, Alaska 99901 Phone: (907) 225-2428 Position Statement: Supported HB 28 LYNDA ADAMS P.O. Box 7171 Ketchikan, Alaska 99901 Phone: (907) 225-6227 Position Statement: Supported HB 28 GIGI PILCHER, Director Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program P.O. Box 6552 Ketchikan, Alaska 99901 Phone: (907) 225-0202 Position Statement: Supported HB 28 JOHN SALEMI, Director Public Defender Agency 900 W. Fifth Ave. Anchorage, Alaska 99501 Phone: (907) 279-7541 Position Statement: Questioned benefit of HB 28; discussed enforcement costs RANDALL MADIGAN P.O. Box 2051 Nome, Alaska 99762 Phone: (907) 443-5103 Position Statement: Supported HB 28 THEO SMELCER Substance Abuse Program coordinator Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association 401 E. Fireweed Anchorage, Alaska 99503 Phone: (907) 276-2700 work Phone: (907) 349-1212 home Position Statement: Supported HB 28 FRANCIS YOUNG 537 Tower Rd. Ketchikan, Alaska 99901 Phone: (907) 225-3528 Position Statement: Supported HB 28 PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 28 SHORT TITLE: PENALTY FOR PROVIDING ALCOHOL TO A MINOR SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) WILLIAMS,Phillips,B.Davis, Nicholia,Olberg,Bunde,Kott TITLE: "An Act relating to the penalty for providing alcoholic beverages to a person under the age of 21; and providing for an effective date." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/04/93 31 (H) PREFILE RELEASED 01/11/93 31 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 01/11/93 31 (H) HES, JUDICIARY, FINANCE 01/13/93 54 (H) COSPONSOR(S): OLBERG 01/14/93 62 (H) COSPONSOR(S): BUNDE 02/10/93 312 (H) COSPONSOR(S): KOTT 03/04/93 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 3 SHORT TITLE: REGULATION OF HOME CARE PROVIDERS SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MACKIE,Ulmer TITLE: "An Act relating to public home care providers; and providing for an effective date." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/04/93 25 (H) PREFILE RELEASED 01/11/93 25 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 01/11/93 25 (H) HES, JUDICIARY, FINANCE 03/04/93 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 4 SHORT TITLE: PROTECT ELDERLY AND DISABLED ADULTS SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MACKIE TITLE: "An Act adding as an aggravating factor at sentencing that a victim was elderly or disabled; and relating to failure to report harm or assaults of the elderly or disabled." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/04/93 25 (H) PREFILE RELEASED 01/11/93 25 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 01/11/93 25 (H) HES, JUDICIARY, FINANCE 03/04/93 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HCR 7 SHORT TITLE: ALCOHOL-RELATED BIRTH DEFECTS AWARENESS BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) NICHOLIA,Brice,Nordlund, Finkelstein,Parnell,James,Navarre,Menard,Ulmer, Brown,B.Davis,Sitton,Toohey TITLE: Relating to Alcohol-Related Birth Defects Awareness Week. JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/19/93 389 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 02/19/93 390 (H) HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES 02/22/93 421 (H) COSPONSOR(S): B.DAVIS, SITTON 03/04/93 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 93-29, SIDE A Number 000 CHAIR TOOHEY called the meeting to order at 3:12 p.m. and noted members present. She announced the committee would hear HB 28, but that HB 3, HB 4, and HCR 7, would be heard Monday, March 8, at the sponsors' request. HB 28: PROVIDING ALCOHOL TO A MINOR Number 032 REP. BILL WILLIAMS testified in Juneau as PRIME SPONSOR in support of HB 28. He read a sponsor statement, which is on file in the committee room. In summary, the statement said that the bill was similar to legislation introduced in the previous session by Rep. Cheri Davis, which would attempt to deter people from providing alcohol to minors by changing the offense from a misdemeanor to a Class "C" felony punishable by up to five years' imprisonment and $50,000 in fines as a deterrent. Number 063 REP. VEZEY said the Department of Corrections already faces problems with prison crowding, and wondered whether imprisonment was an appropriate sanction for providing liquor to minors. REP. WILLIAMS said he wanted to make the law stringent enough to serve as a deterrent to providing alcohol to children, who lack adult judgement in the use of alcohol. Number 096 REP. VEZEY said those convicted of misdemeanors in Alaska face insignificant fines, while federal misdemeanors carry fines of up to $250,000 and therefore carry significant economic motivation for compliance. He questioned whether the bill, which fiscal notes indicated would cost $670,000 a year, was worthwhile enough to justify cutting other state programs by $670,000. Number 118 REP. WILLIAMS said that legislators had to consider the cost of seeing a minor die from consuming alcohol, and asked how it was possible to put a price tag on such an occurrence. (Rep. Kott arrived at 3:22 p.m.) Number 140 REP. BUNDE said he favors the principle of the bill, as he believes that alcohol is chronically abused and that there is a problem with minors drinking. He questioned the accuracy of the fiscal notes and asked if a representative from the Department of Corrections could comment on them. He also asked whether the bill would apply to parents who provided alcohol to their minor children. REP. WILLIAMS answered that the bill as written did apply to parents. Number 162 REP. G. DAVIS expressed agreement with the bill's content, but concern with its fiscal notes. He said that any bill carrying a cost would be weighed by the Finance Committee, and he would be giving closer examination to bills submitted later in the session. REP. WILLIAMS offered to return to the committee later with a representative from the Department of Corrections. Number 195 REP. BUNDE said he did not mean to imply that Rep. Williams had to have a representative from the Department of Corrections appear before the House Health, Education and Social Services Committee but he did encourage Rep. Williams to have such people defend the fiscal note for HB 28 in the next committee of referral (Judiciary). CHERI DAVIS, A FORMER STATE REPRESENTATIVE FROM KETCHIKAN, testified via teleconference from Ketchikan in support of HB 28. She said she had introduced the bill in the previous session (1992) but it had died as time ran out in the last days of the session when the bill encountered some opposition. She thanked Rep. Williams for reintroducing the bill. She said the fiscal notes were based on a worst-case scenario, not accounting for any possible deterrent effect of increasing the penalty. She said the bill was aimed at the serious problems experienced in Ketchikan with adults providing alcohol to minors without due regard for the possible consequences. She said the overall system of dealing with alcohol-related crimes needs overhauling, and said the Alaska Sentencing Commission was studying mandatory sentences. Number 242 REP. G. DAVIS asked Ms. Davis what the fiscal note was for her original bill. MS. DAVIS answered that she could not recall, but $600,000 was far higher than the fiscal note of under $70,000 per year that she recalled. She said HB 28 requires conviction of a person for acting with criminal negligence, a serious charge requiring much effort to prove in court and unlikely to arise on a casual basis. CHAIR TOOHEY noted that an examination of the fiscal note for Ms. Davis' bill showed a fiscal note of $54,000. Number 265 REP. BRICE asked what concerns were raised at the end of the previous year's legislative session that impeded the bill's progress. Number 270 MS. DAVIS said a few legislators felt that providing alcohol to minors was acceptable and that they themselves had provided alcohol to minors when they were barely past the age of majority. She said most people understand that alcohol affects minors differently than it does adults, and that minors lack the ability to treat alcohol responsibly. Ms. Davis also said that politics played a part in the death of her bill, as she had angered the chair of a committee, who had then held the bill from passage. Number 295 PETER JENSEN, PRESIDENT OF ALASKANS FOR DRUG-FREE YOUTH- KETCHIKAN, testified via teleconference from Ketchikan in support of HB 28. Number 300 JEANNEANE HENRY testified via teleconference from Ketchikan in support of HB 28. She told the story of how her 17 year old son, Joshua, and a friend of his were struck by a car and killed while riding a motorbike 14 months ago after an adult had furnished the boys and three other minors with a gallon bottle of vodka. She said none of the teens had fake identification cards or had tried to buy alcohol, and they would have lived if not for the adult's actions. She said there were economic and civil rights concerns with the bill. Number 326 MS. HENRY said there were eight teen deaths in Ketchikan in 1992, four of them alcohol-related. She announced her plans to send to all state legislators information showing why adolescents are unable to deal with alcohol or other drugs. She read a 1988 statement from the state office of Alcohol and Drug Abuse regarding the fiscal impact of alcohol abuse in the state, saying that for each dollar of alcohol tax revenue, the government pays out $13.42. She said that the state collects $15 million in alcohol taxes in a year, but alcohol costs the state and its people about $300 million per year. She said the state subsidizes the alcohol industry. (Rep. Brice departed at 3:30 p.m.) (Rep. Bunde departed at 3:35 p.m.) Number 372 LYNDA ADAMS testified via teleconference from Ketchikan in support of HB 28 as an effective enforcement effort to reduce minor consumption of alcohol. She mentioned the Healthy People 2000, a federal health promotion and disease prevention objective, which includes aims to have states reduce minors' access to alcohol. She said laws barring access are not sufficient, and other methods are needed. She recalled provisions under consideration for addition to the bill last year and asked that they be included in HB 28, including a requirement that signs be posted at liquor stores warning of the legal penalties for providing alcohol to minors and making it a misdemeanor for minors to solicit adults to provide them with alcohol. (Rep. G. Davis departed at 3:44 p.m.) GIGI PILCHER, DIRECTOR OF THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND SEXUAL ASSAULT PROGRAM IN KETCHIKAN, testified via teleconference from Ketchikan in support of HB 28. She said most sexual assault and sexual abuse of teenagers in Ketchikan have involved alcohol, with adults luring the minors with drugs or alcohol before assaulting them. She said the community is organizing against that abuse. She said she recently ended service on the Alaska Sentencing Commission and she understands the need to consider alternatives to incarceration. She asked the committee to consider the value of children and the message sent by minimizing adult abuse of children. REP. BUNDE noted that HB 28 would punish those who provide alcohol to minors, but lacked provisions that might prevent such action in the first place. He asked Rep. Williams if he would support changing the bill to require signs at liquor stores or other education efforts. REP. WILLIAMS said he believed that would help and that anything to stop the practice would help. REP. BUNDE asked Rep. Williams if the signage requirement should be included in statute. REP. WILLIAMS answered that Ms. Davis might be better able to answer the question. Number 466 MS. DAVIS, testifying via teleconference from Ketchikan, said it would be a worthwhile goal and that was why it had been included in amendments to her bill in 1992. She recommended that Rep. Williams, rather than delay the bill by amending it in the HESS Committee, should submit such amendments in the next committee of referral, the House Judiciary Committee. Number 475 REP. BUNDE asked Rep. Williams if that was his intention. REP. WILLIAMS said yes. (Rep. Vezey and Rep. Kott returned at 3:45 p.m.) Number 482 JOHN SALEMI, DIRECTOR OF THE ALASKA PUBLIC DEFENDERS AGENCY, and a former member of the ALASKA SENTENCING COMMISSION, testified via teleconference from Anchorage concerning HB 28. While he did not oppose the bill, he said problems with alcohol are not due to lax laws; Alaska has some of the strictest alcohol laws in the nation. His 13 years as an Alaska public defender convinced him prohibition of alcohol would cut state police, prison and legal costs by half and ensure a safer state. He said current law grants judges the ability to sentence misdemeanants to up to a year in prison, which is sufficient. He added that those who commit felonies seldom think through the consequences, and for some people, imprisonment is not a deterrent. Given finite state resources, he suggested that alternatives to tougher laws might be appropriate, such as posting signs outlining current penalties for providing alcohol to minors. Number 542 MR. SALEMI said he would rather put the proposed $600,000 cost of enforcement of the bill into alcohol education. He said some social problems cannot be fixed by passing laws. He said it was hard to estimate on a fiscal note the costs of enforcing a law, but he has 54 attorneys serving 17,000 cases in FY92 and cannot take on more cases. Number 577 REP. BUNDE said that while education about alcohol was important, children sometimes contribute to their own victimization. He commented on sentencing, saying that judges frequently give out only a fraction of the maximum sentences available to them. He said he believed that imprisonment was the best way to treat some incorrigible offenders and he was willing to pay the costs. TAPE 93-29, SIDE B Number 000 RANDALL MADIGAN, A SUBSTANCE ABUSE COUNSELOR FROM NOME, representing himself, testified in support of HB 28. He said the stiffer sentences possible through the bill would deter adults and youth alike. He said he was tired of seeing the same people repeatedly arrested for providing alcohol to minors in the Nome area, but receiving little punishment. While he spoke in favor of prevention, he said youths and adults alike would fear two years in jail more than a $50 fine. Number 033 REP. BUNDE noted that it was currently legal for parents to provide alcohol to their children. He asked whether the tougher sanctions allowed under HB 28 would have any impact on bootleggers in the Bush. MR. MADIGAN said he was not sure, but it might be possible. Number 062 REP. KOTT asked whether tougher, longer sentences would make any difference in the cases of those arrested repeatedly for providing alcohol to minors in the Nome area. MR. MADIGAN said HB 28 might deter some people from starting to provide alcohol to minors. Number 090 REP. KOTT commented that repeated violations might indicate a judicial problem in the Nome area. MR. MADIGAN repeated that HB 28 might serve as a deterrent. Number 102 THEO SMELCER, SUBSTANCE ABUSE PROGRAM COORDINATOR FOR THE ALEUTIAN PRIBILOF ISLANDS ASSOCIATION, testified in support of HB 28. She said many people in St. Paul go to jail for providing alcohol to minors, but the offense usually results in probation problems and does not serve as much of a deterrent. She said association officials would like the assistance of the courts in fighting the alcohol problems. Number 141 FRANCIS YOUNG, REPRESENTING HERSELF, testified via teleconference from Ketchikan in support of HB 28, saying that laws against providing alcohol to minors are part of the educational and prevention effort. She supported an amendment that would require charging minors with misdemeanors for soliciting alcohol from adults as a way to hold minors responsible for their actions. She said longer sentences would serve as a deterrent. Number 161 CHAIR TOOHEY invited those testifying in Ketchikan to send written testimony to the committee for inclusion into the record. She closed public hearing of HB 28 and invited discussion by the committee. REP. KOTT said that the committee would have to look at other state laws concerning alcohol, as the bill would establish stringent penalties for contributing to the delinquency of minors through alcohol, penalties which might be out of balance with those for driving while under the influence of alcohol. REP. BUNDE moved passage of HB 28 from the committee with individual recommendations and asked unanimous consent. CHAIR TOOHEY asked for objections, and, hearing none, declared HB 28 PASSED FROM THE COMMITTEE WITH INDIVIDUAL RECOMMENDATIONS. She then ADJOURNED the meeting at 4:07 p.m.