Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/23/1995 02:05 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 23, 1995 2:05 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Cynthia Toohey, Co-Chair Representative Con Bunde, Co-Chair Representative Al Vezey Representative Gary Davis Representative Norman Rokeberg Representative Caren Robinson Representative Tom Brice MEMBERS ABSENT All members present COMMITTEE CALENDAR SB 62: "An Act relating to birth certificates for certain foreign born persons who are adopted." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE *HB 231: "An Act relating to the interview requirements of the State Medical Board." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE * HB 87: "An Act authorizing youth courts to provide for peer adjudication of minors who have allegedly committed violations of state or municipal laws, and renaming the community legal assistance grant fund and amending the purposes for which grants may be made from that fund in order to provide financial assistance for organization and initial operation of youth courts." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE HB 228: "An Act reducing payment levels for the program of aid to families with dependent children and the adult public assistance program." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE HB 104: "An Act relating to disclosures of information about certain minors." HEARD AND HELD (* First public hearing) WITNESS REGISTER SENATOR LYDA GREEN Alaska State Legislature Room 423, State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-6600 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided sponsor statement for SB 62. MAXINE DEVILBISS, Parent HC04-9302 Palmer, AK 99645 Telephone: (907) 745-3483 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 62. DR. DAVID McGUIRE, Chairman State Medical Licensing Board 3601 C Street, Suite 722 Anchorage, AK 99503 Telephone: (907) 561-2878 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 231. BARBARA GABIER, Program Coordinator Division of Occupational Licensing Department of Commerce and Economic Development (DCED) P.O. Box 110806 Juneau, AK 99811-0806 Telephone: (907) 465-2572 POSITION STATEMENT: Indicated the DCED didn't have a problem with HB 231 REPRESENTATIVE BETTYE DAVIS Alaska State Legislature Room 430, State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3875 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided sponsor statement for HB 87. LIZ ROBERTS, Legislative Aide Office of Representative Bettye Davis Alaska State Legislature Room 430, State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3875 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 87. LINDA EGAN, Adult Representative Youth Commission 3136 Pioneer Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 789-3780 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 87. AMY MacKINNON, Student Representative Youth Commission 1114 Glacier Avenue Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 586-3902 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 87. ELMER LINDSTROM, Special Assistant to Commissioner Perdue Department of Health and Social Services Alaska Office Building 350 Main Street, Room 229 Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3030 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 87. CURTIS LOMAS, Program Officer Welfare Reform Program, Division of Public Assistance Department of Health and Social Services Alaska Office Building 350 Main Street, Room 317 Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3347 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 228. ROD MOURANT, Administrative Assistant Representative Pete Kott's Office Room 432, State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3777 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 104. MARGOT KNUTH, Assistant Attorney General Criminal Division Department of Law Court Building, Room 717 Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-3428 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 104. LEE ANN LUCAS, Special Assistant (Legislation) Department of Public Safety 450 Whittier Street Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-4322 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 104. MARGARET W. BERCK, Representative American Civil Liberties Union, Alaska Chapter 227 7th Street Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 586-3309 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 104. PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: SB 62 SHORT TITLE: BIRTH CERTIFICATES FOR CERTAIN ADOPTEES SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) GREEN JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/03/95 164 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/03/95 164 (S) HES 02/15/95 287 (S) HES RPT 3DP 1NR 02/15/95 287 (S) ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DHSS - #1) 02/15/95 (S) HES AT 09:00 AM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 02/15/95 (S) MINUTE(HES) 02/20/95 (S) RLS AT 11:25 AM FAHRENKAMP ROOM 203 02/20/95 (S) MINUTE(RLS) 02/21/95 349 (S) RULES TO CALENDAR 2/21/95 02/21/95 353 (S) READ THE SECOND TIME 02/21/95 353 (S) ADVANCED TO THIRD READING UNAN CONSENT 02/21/95 353 (S) READ THE THIRD TIME SB 62 02/21/95 354 (S) PASSED Y18 N- E1 A1 02/21/95 354 (S) ADAMS NOTICE OF RECONSIDERATION 02/22/95 373 (S) RECONSIDERATION NOT TAKEN UP 02/22/95 374 (S) TRANSMITTED TO (H) 02/27/95 479 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/27/95 479 (H) HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES 03/23/95 (H) HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 231 SHORT TITLE: INTERVIEWS BY THE STATE MEDICAL BOARD SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) TOOHEY JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/03/95 566 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 03/03/95 566 (H) HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES 03/23/95 (H) HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 87 SHORT TITLE: AUTHORIZING YOUTH COURTS SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) B.DAVIS, Davies, Robinson 01/17/95 51 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/17/95 51 (H) HES, JUD, FIN 01/18/95 76 (H) COSPONSOR(S): DAVIES 02/06/95 256 (H) COSPONSOR(S): ROBINSON 03/23/95 (H) HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 228 SHORT TITLE: REDUCTION IN PUBLIC ASSISTANCE PAYMENTS SPONSOR(S): HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/03/95 565 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 03/03/95 565 (H) HES, FINANCE 03/14/95 (H) HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/14/95 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/16/95 (H) HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/16/95 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/16/95 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/23/95 (H) HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106 BILL: HB 104 SHORT TITLE: DISCLOSURE OF JUVENILE RECORDS SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) KOTT, Bunde, Green 01/20/95 101 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/20/95 101 (H) HES, JUD 01/25/95 136 (H) COSPONSOR(S): GREEN 02/10/95 301 (H) SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE INTRODUCED-REFERRALS 02/10/95 301 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/10/95 301 (H) HES, JUD 02/23/95 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 02/23/95 (H) MINUTE(HES) 02/23/95 (H) MINUTE(HES) 02/23/95 (H) MINUTE(HES) 03/23/95 (H) HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 95-27, SIDE A Number 000 CO-CHAIR CON BUNDE called the meeting of the House Health, Education and Social Services standing committee to order at 2:05 p.m. Present at the call to order were Representatives Bunde, Toohey, Rokeberg and Davis. A quorum was present to conduct business. HHES - 03/23/95 SB 62 - BIRTH CERTIFICATES FOR CERTAIN ADOPTEES Number 060 SENATOR LYDA GREEN presented her bill. She said it has been her pleasure to sponsor this bill. Before 1982, Alaska did not have a provision for granting birth certificates to foreign born adopted children. In 1982 when Alaska passed such a law, it was the first state to do so. At that same time, a provision was included that prohibited anyone over the age of 18 from applying for a birth certificate. SENATOR GREEN explained those persons who were over 18 at that time were excluded from ever receiving an Alaska birth certificate. This bill allows those who were adopted as children, but who are now adults, to not be excluded from receiving a birth certificate. Both the U.S. Immigration Office and Division of Vital Statistics anticipate no great impact. This does not allow individuals over the age of 18 to be adopted, since federal law prohibits anyone over that age from being adopted. SENATOR GREEN said this bill would not be an avenue by which a person living in this country could adopt his/her grandmother to make her an automatic citizen of the U.S. This bill is designed for that very small group of people who fell through that window of time and are not allowed to get an Alaska birth certificate. Number 187 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Senator Green to remain at the meeting for a moment. He noted the presence of Representatives Robinson and Brice, who joined the meeting at 2:08 p.m. Number 219 MAXINE DEVILBISS, Parent, testified via teleconference. She and her husband adopted their son Brian from Korea when he was three years old. At the same time, there were a number of other adoptions from Korea. These are children of American Servicemen and Korean women, conceived during the Korean War. When Brian was adopted, Mr. and Mrs. Devilbiss assumed he would receive a birth certificate. They found out they could not get a birth certificate for him. MS. DEVILBISS worked for many years to get a bill through that would allow overseas children to receive Alaskan birth certificates. However, she was amazed to find out that the situation was not retroactive. She appreciates the bill that Senator Green has put forth. The bill will allow Brian, who is 35 years old, to have a birth certificate. There have been times when he has needed one. This measure will be appreciated by Brian and by other adoptees who were over 18 when the 1982 bill was passed. She really appreciates the consideration of this bill. Number 352 CO-CHAIR BUNDE thanked Ms. Devilbiss for her kind words and for her testimony. There were no questions for Ms. Devilbiss, and there was no further public testimony. CO-CHAIR CYNTHIA TOOHEY apologized for waiting this long to pass a bill such as this. She motioned that the bill be moved to the next committee of referral with individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal notes. There were no objections, and the bill was so moved. Number 433 MS. DEVILBISS thanked HESS Committee members on the behalf of her son. She said her son is a very wonderful Alaskan citizen. He has his own business, and Alaska can be proud of him. She wished HESS Committee members good luck and thanked them again. HHES - 03/23/95 HB 231 - INTERVIEWS BY THE STATE MEDICAL BOARD Number 519 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said under existing law, physicians applying for permanent licensures must be interviewed in person by the Alaska State Medical Board or a member of the board. The board, a member of the board or an alternative designated interviewer must interview, in person, the locum tenant physician's interns or resident applicants. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY explained the mandate interview is cumbersome, expensive and of limited value since the license application process, which takes place prior to the applicant being interviewed, is extensive and thorough. An interview is unlikely to reveal any information not already known. HB 231 would allow the interview process to be discretionary. This would relieve the applicant, the board members and the board staff of a significant amount of work. Interviews could be conducted when the Alaskan Medical Board deems it necessary. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said HB 231 is supported by the Alaska State Medical Association, the Alaska State Medical Board, and by the Division of Occupational Licensing (DOL). There is a zero fiscal note. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY announced that the chairman of the State Medical Board was on-line to testify and respond to questions. Number 597 CO-CHAIR BUNDE commented that this bill was heard by the HESS Committee members last year. There is a cumbersome process where someone comes in for a temporary arrangement, perhaps a month or two of filling in for a doctor in a rural community, and they must get to the Medical Board, have an interview, and then return to the rural community. This adds up to considerable cost. Number 640 DR. DAVID McGUIRE, Chairman, State Medical Licensing Board, testified via teleconference. The board has endeavored to do the best it could to be certain licensed physicians in the State of Alaska are appropriately licensed. Members of the board have viewed their job principally as one of patient and consumer protection. The board continues to do so. DR. McGUIRE wanted to reassure all the representatives that this is something which has been considered from a position of patient protection. Patient protection will not be compromised, yet the board and the individuals will be saved a lot of unnecessary hassle. Number 719 DR. McGUIRE said the opinion on this matter was arrived at through research. Dr. McGuire asked his secretary to help him review the licenses issued and to see if there was ever a single instance in which there was an adverse action on a license solely as the result of the interview. To put it another way, if the board thought the application was "clean," meaning problem-free, the doctor wanted to know if there was ever a single time in which the interview discovered something that would cause the board to deny the application. The answer was no. DR. McGUIRE said that situation never occurred, and he cannot find a single instance of that occurrence in the history of the board. From the opposing point of view, if the board receives an application and questions arise about the applicant, the board absolutely wants the prerogative, without any discussion or appeal on the part of the applicant to be able to interview that applicant personally. DR. McGUIRE said there have been many instances in which questions have risen on the application, the applicant has been interviewed by the board and, as a result of the application and the interview, the license has been denied. Number 804 DR. McGUIRE stressed it is therefore imperative that the prerogative be present to interview any person with whom the board does not feel 100 percent confident. They should be required to attend that interview without an explanation from the board. However, if an application is clean and everything is in order, the board would like to have the ability to conduct interviews at the board's discretion. In the past, however, the board has been going through this constant exercise, and they cannot demonstrate that it does any good to anybody. DR. McGUIRE said he would be happy to answer questions. Number 855 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if there were questions of Dr. McGuire, and there were none. He asked for further public testimony, and noted that Barbara Gabier of the Division of Occupational Licensing in Juneau was also available to answer questions. REPRESENTATIVE GARY DAVIS asked Ms. Gabier to indicate with a nod that the Department of Commerce does not have a problem with the bill. BARBARA GABIER, Program Coordinator, Division of Occupational Licensing, Department of Commerce and Economic Development (DCED), did so. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said this bill made it all the way to the floor of the Senate last year, and ran out of time. CO-CHAIR BUNDE closed public testimony, and asked for the wish of the committee. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS motioned for the committee to move HB 231 to the next committee of referral with individual recommendations and accompanying fiscal note. There were no objections. HB 231 was moved out of the House HESS Committee. CO-CHAIR BUNDE called a five minute at-ease at 2:20 p.m. in order for the sponsors of the next bill to prepare for a videotaped presentation. CO-CHAIR BUNDE reconvened the meeting at 2:25 p.m. HHES - 03/23/95 HB 87 - AUTHORIZING YOUTH COURTS Number 969 REPRESENTATIVE BETTYE DAVIS, sponsor of the bill, said this bill was carried all the way through the House and died in Senate Rules last year. This bill had been introduced by then-Representative Joe Sitton. Representative B. Davis said youth courts is a program that means a lot to her. She was in Anchorage when youth courts began there. The program has been very successful. Anchorage is the only Alaskan city that has the program, and she wanted to put it into statute so other cities and areas may also be able to have this model. REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS said this program works. It creates pride in students. Some children who previously experienced problems in school have gone through the program and have changed. It does not matter under what capacity they served. Perhaps they were a juror, or a judge, or a lawyer. Whatever role they participated in, the students participated wholeheartedly. In fact, some of the punishments the students come up with are more restrictive than what is handed down in adult courts. Number 1035 REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS added that many of these youngsters have gone to college and have decided to be lawyers, judges, etc., due to their experiences in the program. Representative B. Davis was pleased to present a videotape that explained youth courts. This has been one of the most popular bills for student study when they participate in the Close-Up program. Representative B. Davis' aide has had many students inquiring about the bill, and asking how they could help get it passed through the House and Senate. Number 1081 LIZ ROBERTS, Legislative Aide to Representative Bettye Davis, said the Close-Up students really liked the fact that Youth Courts represent real democracy. Youth offenders were really going to be tried by their peers, instead of by grownups who live in a different generation and frequently, a different kind of world. MS. ROBERTS explained defendants have to be first-time offenders, they must be charged with a misdemeanor, and they must get permission to be tried in Youth Court. The wonderful thing about being the defendant in Youth Court is that when it is all over and the defendant is found guilty, there is nothing on the individual's criminal record. The person only has community service to perform. The recidivism rate is about 38 percent less than for children who go through the regular juvenile courts. MS. ROBERTS added this is a learning experience for all involved. Number 1140 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he has been previously involved with Youth Court. One of the things he liked the most is that kids can fool adults, but they are not very good at fooling other children. Co- Chair Bunde endorsed the statements of Representative B. Davis in that sometimes young people call for a more severe and/or realistic penalty whereas adults are more inclined to make excuses. REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS added that it is a good way for adults to help students learn and respect the law. This program works. She spoke of a friend's daughter who was having some problems as a teenager. She was running with the wrong crowd. A flyer was sent around to the schools about Youth Courts, and the girl decided she wanted to be involved. Her parents got all the information and got her enrolled. This girl has gone from a "C" student to an "A" student because she now wants to be a lawyer. Number 1209 REPRESENTATIVE CAREN ROBINSON said Youth Courts originated in Texas. Representative Robinson had looked into the program while she was working for Representative B. Davis. That program was just beginning, and it was experiencing incredible success. It was beginning to expand all over Texas. Representative Robinson asked if Ms. Roberts had looked at the Texas program, or if only the Anchorage model was used for the drafting of the bill. REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS said only the Alaska model was used, but there are many states that are starting Youth Courts. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said she may still have some information. Texas was starting to set up training programs for people to visit communities, train the youth, set up the programs and start the operation of the programs. Clearly, the program in Texas was experiencing incredible successes. Number 1261 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY noticed there were three fiscal notes amounting to zero in the packet. She asked if those would carry through for the next ten years, if the program were to continue in Alaska. REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS said this program will never have a state fiscal note. REPRESENTATIVE TOM BRICE commented that while the fiscal notes are currently zero, HESS Committee members need to remember that in the future this program will have a negative impact on state funds. Considering the level of recidivism coming with the bill, the state will see less impact on the juvenile system in the future. The fiscal note, therefore, should be negative. Number 1322 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if the program is funded through federal grants. REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS said the City of Anchorage has received money for this program in a variety of ways. The municipality does give some money toward Youth Courts, but mostly funding comes from volunteers and professionals who want the program to succeed. Donations are also accepted. Therefore, as a whole this program is privately funded. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if the bill passes a mandate onto the city that says it must provide Youth Courts. REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS said no. No mandates are being passed. This is a program that is being picked up by the community. If a community does not choose to implement Youth Courts, that is fine. Number 1354 REPRESENTATIVE NORMAN ROKEBERG said on page 4, lines 1 through 4 of the bill, it reads of a legal assistance grant fund that will be created within the department, and there will be legislative appropriations to the fund. There is a provision in the bill, therefore, to allow for such a fund, and Representative Rokeberg was curious about where this money comes from. This section appears to allow for legislative appropriations if the program can get some. REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS said he was right. Apparently, there is a national organization that provides monies for Youth Courts. That national organization wants the statute to stipulate that if a grant comes through, it is to come through the state agency and then filter down to the organization that organizes the Youth Courts. That is the understanding of Representative B. Davis. If the program never got any money there would be no need to have the statute. However, if the statute is already set up, a system is already in place and the money can filter through the state. Number 1401 CO-CHAIR BUNDE observed that the government will not give the grants directly to non-profits. Money has to filter through the state. For the record, there is no fiscal note involved with these programs, and no general fund expenditures are anticipated with this bill. Number 1420 LINDA EGAN, Representing the Youth Commission in Juneau, said she is one of two adult members of that commission. She introduced a student member of the commission, Amy MacKinnon. Ms. Egan said this has been one of the main projects of the Youth Commission, and a lot of time has been spent in pursuit of the Youth Courts program. The same videotape which will be seen shortly by the HESS Committee members was also seen by Juneau assembly members, school board members and the superintendent of schools. They have been very supportive of this program. MS. EGAN said the law community is very supportive of this concept also. The program on the video is different than the program in place in Anchorage. The video shows a scaled-down version of the program in which the students have already pleaded guilty. In Anchorage, the program is different. However, this type of smaller-scale program is being investigated for Juneau, because of Juneau's smaller population. CO-CHAIR BUNDE summarized the program. He said basically, someone enters the Youth Courts, pleads guilty, and then throws him or herself on the mercy of the Youth Court. Number 1472 AMY MacKINNON, Student representative, Youth Commission, acknowledged that was the way the program would work in Juneau. However, the accused is supposedly going to get more benefit out of their punishment, and they will not have a criminal record. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said whatever the punishment might be, it will not include a criminal record. Ms. MacKinnon acknowledged that he was correct. Co-Chair Bunde asked about Ms. MacKinnon's involvement with the Youth Court. MS. MacKINNON said this was her first year on the program. She began in September. MS. EGAN said Amy was on the Youth Commission, however, she is not involved in the Juneau Youth Court Program. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Ms. Egan and Ms. MacKinnon to talk HESS Committee members through the video. MS. EGAN said the video speaks for itself. Number 1535 A video was presented about Youth Courts, showing how they work, how students can get involved, and a true Youth Court case of a basketball player who was involved in stealing money from a girl's purse. Because it began as a practical joke, and the boy did not want to jeopardize his basketball season, he asked to work through the Youth Court. Number 2041 CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if Amy MacKinnon could tell the HESS Committee members what happened to the basketball player. MS. MacKINNON said the boy had to pay restitution, apologize to the girl and perform community service. Number 2080 ELMER LINDSTROM, Special Assistant to Commissioner Perdue, Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), said the department is supportive of the bill. CO-CHAIR BUNDE closed public testimony. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON made a motion to move HB 87 from committee with individual recommendations and suggested a "strong letter" to the Judiciary Committee to move the bill along. There were no objections, and the bill was passed out of committee. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON noted the bill also had a Finance Committee Referral. She felt the bill is important, and asked if it would be within the bounds of the HESS Committee members to write a letter to the Chair of the Finance Committee saying there is no need to send the bill to that committee. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said that was not the role of the HESS Committee, however, he was sure Representative B. Davis would look into that option. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON offered the HESS Committee's assistance in such a case. REPRESENTATIVE B. DAVIS said she thought the bill may be waived from that committee, but it was not. She said she would continue to look into the matter. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked Ms. Egan and Ms. MacKinnon to give HESS Committee members an update on Juneau's Youth Court program next year. They said they would be happy to do so. Number 2147 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if any student, whether they be a freshman or a senior, can be on the Youth Court as long as their grades are up. The answer was yes. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked if, as a freshman, Ms. MacKinnon would be brave enough to sentence a senior, especially a high school jock. MS. MacKINNON explained that the "jock" would not know who, exactly, handed down the sentence because everyone is in a jury with 11 other people. HHES - 03/23/95 HB 228: REDUCTION OF PUBLIC ASSISTANCE PAYMENTS Number 2169 CO-CHAIR BUNDE introduced the bill and noted it had been heard previously, and was held until this meeting. He asked for public testimony, and there was none. Co-Chair Bunde therefore closed public testimony and committee discussion began. CO-CHAIR BUNDE commented that a similar bill, HB 78, is currently being examined by the committee, however, Co-Chair Bunde would prefer to have HB 228 available should it be needed. If the federal block grants that were discussed come through, HB 228 may provide a useful mechanism for the subsequent processes. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked what Co-Chair Bunde was talking about. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he was talking about HB 228. The other bill to which he was referring was HB 78, which is the combination of one of the Governor's welfare reform bills, and Representative Mark Hanley's bill. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked if that bill would affect HB 228. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said no, they are two entirely different bills. Co- Chair Bunde distributed an amendment. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY moved Amendment 9LS0831-F.1, Amendment 1. Number 2239 CO-CHAIR BUNDE explained that Amendment 1 would remove adult public assistance (APA) from the purview of this bill. APA assists individuals with disabilities. These people do not have many options, and this bill focuses on people who have more options. The amendment has been offered by Co-Chairs Bunde and Toohey. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked for a brief at-ease, and it was granted. It was 2:53 p.m. CO-CHAIR BUNDE called the meeting back to order at 2:54 p.m. He recapped that the amendment would cut APA from reductions. There were no objections to the amendment. Now before the committee was HB 228 as amended. Co-Chair Bunde asked for further discussion. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE asked if the committee is looking at version (f) of the bill. Co-Chair Bunde said yes. Tape 95-27 Number 000 REPRESENTATIVE G. DAVIS moved that CSHB 228(HES) be moved from committee with accompanying fiscal notes and individual recommendations. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE objected for purposes of discussion. He noticed that representatives from the DHSS had arrived at the meeting. He asked if one of those representatives could answer a questions regarding how many recipients receive both APA and Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). CO-CHAIR BUNDE reopened the meeting to public testimony. CURTIS LOMAS, Program Officer, Division of Public Assistance, DHSS, said he did not have an exact figure to give Representative Brice. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said he is not talking about specific people, he wanted to know about families. MR. LOMAS said his guess would be somewhere in the area of 400 to 500 families. That guess, however, is just off the top of his head. There is a total of about 800 situations in which the adult is not included in the assistance unit because the adult is on APA, or the children are housed with another relative who is not needy. REPRESENTATIVE BRICE said he would contact Mr. Lomas at a later time to discuss this. Number 122 CO-CHAIR BUNDE reiterated the motion to move CSHB 228(HES). A roll call vote was taken. Voting "yes" on the bill were Representatives Rokeberg, Toohey, Bunde and G. Davis. Voting "no" were Representatives Robinson and Brice. The bill moved from committee. HHES - 03/23/95 HB 104: DISCLOSURE OF JUVENILE RECORDS Number 160 ROD MOURANT, Administrative Assistant to Representative Pete Kott, said HESS Committee members should have before them the proposed CS for the Sponsor Substitute (SS) for HB 104. This CS was drafted after the last HESS Committee hearing on this bill. At the last hearing, testimony and concerns were heard from the Department of Law (DOL) and the DHSS about the impact of the disclosure of juvenile felony crimes by the DHSS and the effect this would have on federal funding. MR. MOURANT said while Representative Kott still strongly believes educators and the general public have the right to know who the serious juvenile offenders are in society, he does not want to disclose that information at the risk of federal funding for important programs. Therefore, Representative Kott's office is offering version "G", a proposed CS. Number 263 MR. MOURANT explained the way the bill is currently written, it pertains to the statutes that deal with disclosure of information and the public's right to know information. The amendment stipulates that records relating to a juvenile who is arrested for a felony are public information which may be released by the employing agency of the arresting officer in the case of a juvenile committing a felony. MR. MOURANT noted that in a report called "Releasing Juvenile Delinquent's Names to the Media," which was a study done in 1994, by the National Center for Juvenile Justice, only four states and the District of Columbia still forbid the release of serious offender information in the case of juveniles. Those states are Hawaii, North Carolina, Vermont and Wisconsin. Number 324 MR. MOURANT said comments were solicited from the agencies through the committee staff. The proposed CS was circulated early, and comments were asked for. Mr. Mourant was told prior to the HESS Committee meeting that the DOL still had a concern about the impacts of this legislation on potential funding. This is because evidently, even though a juvenile is charged with a felony, the prosecution is not conducted by the District Attorney's (DA's) Office but rather by the Division of Family and Youth Services (DFYS). MR. MOURANT said his office was not aware of that, even at this late date. However, this is an important consideration and it will be brought up in the next committee of referral, which is the Judiciary Committee. That would be the recommendation of Representative Kott, if the HESS Committee members were gracious enough to allow the Judiciary Committee to address the issue of the prosecution of juvenile felons. Number 396 MARGOT KNUTH, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, Department of Law, said the situation is that law enforcement officials would be making these arrests. That is the first step. Therefore, the release of their police blotter information would be coming from the law enforcement agencies instead of from the DHSS DFYS. That avoids the issue of the loss of federal funding, because the DFYS is not releasing that information. MS. KNUTH said she previously pointed out that if the wrong juvenile was arrested, or if it was obvious that the wrong charge was leveled against the juvenile (it should have been a misdemeanor charge) and the charge is reduced right away, that is going to happen once the DFYS is involved in the case. The division is going to reduce the charge, acting with the civil side of the Attorney General's Office. Because they are under that penalty of jeopardizing federal funds, juveniles are going to be in a unique situation, different from that of adults. MS. KNUTH explained that the original arrest information can be released, but correcting information, either immediately or down the road, will not be available for juveniles because it will come from the DFYS and that will jeopardize the funds. This is sort of an anomaly, and the consequences must be weighed. Number 504 CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted the situation is much like the daily news reporting the arrest of a legislator, but news of his/her vindication is usually found in the depths of the paper. Co-Chair Bunde asked for Ms. Knuth's recommendation to cure this problem. MS. KNUTH said there does not seem to be a cure. All that can be done is balance the situation, and decide whether or not the release of information to the public is more important even if there is going to be some mistaken information that cannot be undone. On the other hand, the legislators could decide that the possibility of wrong information is a significant enough factor that they are not comfortable releasing that information. MS. KNUTH added she knows of at least one case in Juneau in which this type of situation occurred. She was working in the DA's Office when an officer from the Juneau Police Department simply arrested the wrong juvenile on a serious offense. He had come to the DA's Office for a warrant, and then he came back the next week asking for another warrant. MS. KNUTH asked the officer why he needed another warrant, and he said, "Oh, that wasn't the right guy after all." Ms. Knuth was horrified. It had not occurred to her that this happened in modern-day law enforcement. Part of the problem is that there are basically two types of law enforcement officers. There is a "new school" of pretty competent people. These people have a fair amount of education and view their job very carefully. There is still, however, an "old school" that the officer of which she spoke would belong to. Things like the arrest of the wrong juvenile did not seem to matter as much. Number 616 MS. KNUTH said part of the officer's analysis had been based on the fact that a juvenile's arrest would not be public anyway, therefore, there was not as much at risk. Ms. Knuth hopes that if this information is publicized, officers like him would take greater care. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked her for a guess on the number of juveniles charged with what would be a felony, if they were an adult, who have their charges reduced. He asked if that was an infrequent occurrence. MS. KNUTH said that was a fairly frequent occurrence, however, more often than not it is a matter of negotiation rather than the initial charge having been incorrect. There is simply a decision to treat it as a lessor offense. Sometimes, the crime was not the higher offense, and that is fairly infrequent. Most of the time, the charge is accurate. However, in terms of what the adjudication ends up being, Ms. Knuth would say as often as half of the time, the charge ends up being reduced from a felony to a misdemeanor for juveniles. This is not because the conduct was not felonious, but because that is the way the system functions. Number 707 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said anybody can look at the records. Before a juvenile is tried, the crime he has committed is listed as a felony as if he were an adult. This is put in the record. However, the non-felony juveniles are not put into the same record. Therefore, this is an arbitrary decision by the police officer. MS. KNUTH interjected that hopefully, the decision is not arbitrary. Sometimes, however, it is a judgement call. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said the juvenile has not gone through the process of adjudication. Number 749 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked Ms. Knuth to talk about cases in which she has been involved where information would be released under HB 104. CO-CHAIR BUNDE acknowledged the presence of Representative Vezey, at 3:10 p.m. MS. KNUTH said burglary in the first degree would be a class B felony. This would be the burglary of a residence. The burglary of a business would be a class C felony. In the case of theft, if the amount stolen is over $500, the theft is considered a felony. Under $500, and it is a misdemeanor. Possession of any illegal drug except marijuana, whether you were going to sell it, use it or give it away, is a felony offense. Most weapons offenses that juveniles will be involved in would be a misdemeanor. Number 869 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON recounted a case in which a group of young men visited an island near Juneau and took a shovel to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Building. The vandalism was a felony. MS. KNUTH said it is not very difficult to do more than $500 worth of damage to property. For example, if a juvenile goes joyriding and damages the car to an amount over $500, that is a felony. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG referred to line 9 of the bill, which says "records relating to the arrest of a juvenile...." He asked if an indictment or arraignment level is reached after the arrest. He does not know the criminal law procedures in various jurisdictions, however, Ms. Knuth brought up the potential for a false arrest situation. Representative Rokeberg asked if there is one more step that could be taken before the information is released. Perhaps this step would help overcome the possibility. Number 939 MS. KNUTH said that is what happens in adult cases. Because the Civil Division of the DOL works with the DHSS on juvenile cases, she does not know if there is a counterpart like that for juveniles. She said she does not know if they are placed before a Grand Jury or not. However, if they are, this is still at a point where the DFYS is involved in the case. She understands the federal government has said the moment documents generated by or going through DHSS are released, the funds are jeopardized. That is why people were trying to work backwards to the arrest, which is about the only thing that happens before DHSS gets involved. Number 993 REPRESENTATIVE AL VEZEY commented it is important to remember that destroying federal property is a federal crime, not a state crime. state and federal statutes are not necessarily the same across the board. Number 1036 LEE ANN LUCAS, Special Assistant (Legislation), Department of Public Safety (DPS), said the department has no philosophical objection of the disclosure of information to identify juvenile felons. As a matter of course, at the time of charge or arrest a press release is generated which is a brief summary of the incident, the date, and time. If the accused was an adult, it would include identifying information. The only difference is for a juvenile, their name is not mentioned. If the intent of this legislation is to just identify the juvenile, the DPS would simply add that information to the press release. MS. LUCAS said on line 9 of the bill, which refers to "records relating to the arrest," it was unclear to the DPS if the bill was referring to the information included in the press release, or if the bill stipulated that more information than that would be released. MS. LUCAS suggested that perhaps the bill could state more specifically what information is released on the juvenile, rather than "records relating to the case." Number 1108 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if anyone in the room could tell her how often innocent juveniles are labeled felons, and how often children are wrongly accused. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked them also to give a number on how many people are charged and not convicted. MS. KNUTH said those are two different questions. She said she does not know how many people are arrested who had nothing to do with the incident. She stated she would like to think the incidents are unusual. Perhaps someone from the DFYS or someone from the Human Services Division of the Attorney General's Office would be able to answer that question. MS. KNUTH said the vast majority of cases are those that are charged with a felony and the charge ends up something short of an adjudication for that felony. This is because on first offenses, there is a fair amount of desire to not go all the way to adjudication. The courts try to use the leverage of the charge and the threat of adjudication to accomplish a number of rehabilitative goals such as restitution, treatment, etc. Number 1189 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if it was being assumed that the crime is a first offense. MS. KNUTH said not necessarily. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said the juvenile could be a hard-core 16-year-old who has lived a life of crime since he was 12. MS. KNUTH said she believes that most individuals are first offenders. Those who are repeat offenders occupy a great deal of paperwork and the attention of the system. However, in terms of numbers coming through, there are a lot of first offenders who are not seen again. Number 1219 REPRESENTATIVE G. DAVIS noted on page 1, line 9, where it says, "records relating to the arrest...", Representative G. Davis said he supposed the bill assumes the records being released are the same as what is being released in an adult case. MS. LUCAS said that is the intent of the bill, but the DPS would be more comfortable if the bill was more specific. CO-CHAIR BUNDE said he would be more comfortable too. For example, in a rape case, the entire record cannot be made public. Those records could not be released in an adult case; however, this bill says, "records relating to the arrest...." A person could point to the statute and demand that it be followed. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said (A) on page 1 may give some direction. There is a standard procedure now set about in existing statutes. Representative Rokeberg said he felt that is what is being reflected. CO-CHAIR BUNDE asked for correction if he was wrong, but he did not believe if someone is the victim of a crime, they wouldn't want their personal lives available to the public as part of the arrest record. Number 1295 MS. KNUTH said this type of information is certainly not available while the investigation is going on, before the case has gone to trial and has been completed. This is because it can interfere with the investigation, it can interfere with a fair trail. If there is a conviction, some records become public at that point. However, the privacy interests of the victim would be weighed with whatever the interest in disclosure is. Generally, the victim's name is going to be retracted. That is required under the Victim's Rights Act for certain cases of sexual abuse and sexual assault offenses. MS. KNUTH said the state would not want a statute that authorizes the disclosure of that type of information in juvenile cases when the state has decided, as a matter of policy, that it does not want that information released in adult cases. CO-CHAIR BUNDE noted that the bill does refer to after the arrest, therefore, it does seem to broaden the scope of information that may be released. Number 1340 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON asked what new crimes are being added over and above what is included under the jurisdiction of SB 54, passed last year, which was the automatic waiver bill. She asked if rape cases would not automatically fall under that bill. MS. KNUTH said the automatic waiver is for juveniles 16 and older. Therefore, this bill could affect an offense committed by a juvenile who is under the age of 16. In addition to that, felonies covered would be the possession of drugs, burglary offenses, property damage and theft of over $500. REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON said therefore, everyone under the age of 16 who commits crimes that would be felonies, if they were adults are being included, plus all those new crimes. MS. KNUTH noted the sponsor has made it very clear he did not intend for any more than police blotter information to be released. Therefore, this is a drafting problem from Legal Services. They have written language which provides for a broader release of information than simply blotter information. Police blotter information basically only includes the name of the juvenile, age and the name of the offense. Ms. Knuth knows the sponsor was only looking to release that information. The bill reflects an inadvertently broader scope. Number 1405 CO-CHAIR BUNDE agreed. However, the state does not want to create statutes that assume goodwill. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG noted that subsection (6) lays out the law enforcement disclosure criteria. The statute could refer into the new addition for the requirements of that criteria. MS. KNUTH said the concern is that (2) is on equal footing with (6). One is talking about juveniles, and the other is talking about everything except juveniles. Therefore, as a matter of statutory interpretation the court would say, "what relates to juveniles is more specific and therefore controlling." MS. KNUTH said what would be most clear would be to amend (2)(A) so it is only authorizing the disclosure of police blotter information, specifically name, age, and offense. This would be better than saying "records relating to the arrest." Number 1462 CO-CHAIR BUNDE said Ms. Knuth has given some direction to the bill's sponsors as far as language, and there is some drafting that does not need to be done at the table. Co-Chair Bunde asked that the last person wishing to testify does so, and the bill will be held until the language is tightened up. Co-Chair Bunde said he is still concerned about the release of information at the time of the arrest and not at the time of the conviction. He does not know if there is a way that can be worked around. It does not appear so. MS. LUCAS said the DPS shares the concerns of the DOL concerning the correction of public misinformation. Number 1509 MARGARET W. BERCK, Representative, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Alaska Chapter, said her organization is essentially opposed to what this bill does for the wholesale release of juvenile records and information regarding juveniles. MS. BERCK had been working with the bill available on the ground floor of the Capitol Building, noted as SSHB 104. She now understands there is a working draft that changes some provisions. However, some general comments she has regarding an earlier version of this bill may be of some assistance to HESS Committee members in making their decision. MS. BERCK said when the bill talks about age 14 and up, and all felony cases, that would include perhaps most juvenile cases. She said she has been practicing criminal law in Juneau since 1976. Ms. Berck indicated she has done many court appointments and has represented many juveniles. Rarely is a juvenile in the court system under age 14. Occasionally someone would be younger, but the incident would stick out in her mind. Therefore, the bill covers about all cases. Number 1578 MS. BERCK said pretty much all of the juvenile cases are initially dealing with felony cases. Rarely is there a juvenile who is in juvenile court because of multiple minor offenses, has been through the revolving door, and who will be shipped off to the juvenile correctional facility. That has happened, however, it is highly unusual. Most juveniles are charged with felonies. If a juvenile is not charged with a felony, he or she does not even get a court appointed attorney. Therefore, most of the cases are charged as felonies, and this bill would sweep in pretty much the entire system. MS. BERCK said Co-Chair Toohey had asked how many juveniles may have been wrongly arrested, at least as far as the initial charges. That is difficult to say. However, as far as Ms. Berck knows, in the last ten years in Juneau, she is aware of only three juvenile cases that actually went to jury trial. Most cases result in some sort of plea-bargaining mechanism. As Ms. Knuth indicated, most of the time juveniles are charged with a felony, the charge is reduced to a misdemeanor, and something is worked out. These cases do not go to trial. Number 1642 MS. BERCK recalled that of the three she knows did go to trial, every single one was acquitted. Because Juneau is a small community, everyone knows who these people are. In one case, although the records were confidential, everyone knew who the alleged perpetrator was and what he had done. Therefore, he waived his own confidentiality because he wanted it in the press that he had been acquitted. MS. BERCK said traditionally, arrest records are much more shaky than the records resulting from the prosecutor's review, the evidence and the charge reviewed by a Grand Jury. In this type of procedure, things are looked at more carefully. Charges are adjusted to particular facts. MS. BERCK said traditionally, arrest records have always been somewhat suspect. In adult cases, arrest records may not necessarily be considered without a subsequent conviction when an adult criminal is being sentenced. Last week, Ms. Berck was involved in a case in which a very old arrest record was considered. The person appealed, and the conviction was overturned. The judge did not consider that arrest record. MS. BERCK continued that in the U.S. Supreme Court decisions regarding Title VII, arrest records have been frowned upon by use of employers because the people who get arrested tend to be non- caucasians. There are many racial problems with arrest records that have been considered in Title VII litigation. Number 1738 MS. BERCK reiterated that traditionally, arrest records have a much more shaky footing because they have not gone through a more detailed analysis by perhaps a Grand Jury or a review by a prosecutor. MS. BERCK responded to the question about what happens in juvenile court, and whether or not there is some sort of mechanism such as an indictment or Grand Jury proceeding. The juvenile procedure does not work that way. There is a petition filed alleging the child to be a delinquent minor as a result of having committed some particular act. The act is described with some detail in the petition, and basically that is it. There is no preliminary hearing or Grand Jury process in the juvenile proceeding. MS. BERCK explained the juvenile is brought into court under that petition. He/she admits or denies the allegation, and then usually returns to court 30 days hence. The judge is told whether or not he/she is going to plea bargain or go to trial. If trial is chosen, the case is set for trial. However, that does not often happen. Number 1790 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY asked if Ms. Berck was basically referring to a child who is guilty. MS. BERCK said a judge once told her, "Everybody is guilty of something. You just have to make sure you have the right charges on them." That is something Ms. Berck often remembers. She referred HESS Committee members back to the bill, the video tape presentation, and earlier discussion about the kinds of felonies. It does not take much to step over the line from a misdemeanor to a felony. It takes one dollar--$499 versus $500. In the circumstance of what the basketball player in the video was charged with, having taken $48 dollars from a purse, she asked HESS Committee members to remember that it all started out as a joke. MS. BERCK said if those boys had taken a backpack with a pair of prescription glasses inside, perhaps also a calculator, and the backpack cost $80, it does not take much to get up to $500. If those boys had taken a credit card and charged $20 worth of gas on that card, it would be a felony. Forgeries are felonies. It does not take much. The question is whether the state really wants to label a boy such as the basketball player for the rest of his life. Does the state want to prevent him from getting a basketball scholarship? Number 1862 MS. BERCK continued that one of the benefits of the Youth Courts was that these children are given the opportunity to work their way out of acquiring a record. These individuals can have a youthful indiscretion that does not affect the rest of their lives. Juvenile records are not necessarily kept completely confidential. The court has the ability to order the release under existing law. On behalf of the ACLU, she asked HESS Committee members to seriously consider whether or not they really want to allow for the wholesale release of all juvenile records, because basically that is what this bill does. Number 1899 CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said she thinks most children are not felons. However, if disclosure were to deter one child from stealing, maybe it is worth it. MS. BERCK did not mean to suggest that all children are felons, and Co-Chair Toohey acknowledged that. CO-CHAIR TOOHEY said that however, most charges are going to fall under felonies. MS. BERCK said if most of the juvenile cases filed are studied, they will involve individuals aged 14 to 18, and they are going to be charged with felony offenses. The question is, how much would this really deter the person? Oftentimes, teenagers do not realize the consequences of their actions. Ms. Berck is of the personal opinion that this is primarily the fault of educators. Number 1942 CO-CHAIR BUNDE thanked those who participated. If he had his preference, juveniles who were convicted of felonies would be subject to disclosure. However, he has problems with the release of information based on the arrest record. There are things that need to be worked out in this bill. There are language and drafting questions, and he would like the bill to be sent back into the subcommittee to see if the problems can be addressed. He said the bill will be held in committee. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said he has not seen an NCAA scholarship contract, and he is not aware of any restrictions concerning felony convictions or arrest records. MS. BERCK did not know of any. She referred Representative Vezey back to the videotape, which he was absent for. One of the concerns raised in this videotape was that a juvenile record may make a difference whether the basketball player would get a college scholarship. Ms. Berck said she would think such a situation may affect scholarships. However, this would probably vary from one university to the next, and also vary with how well one plays basketball. Number 2009 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG assumed there are procedures to remove felony convictions from a juvenile record, if in fact a juvenile has been convicted of a crime that is a felony. He asked if this was possible if an appeal is made to the court to that effect. He asked about the procedures for that. MS. KNUTH said if this is an adjudication on a felony offense, the record is sealed and remains sealed. It is only used by prosecutors and the judge if one is prosecuted as an adult for a felony. Generally, however, if an individual is being treated as a juvenile, all of the proceedings have been confidential. The record is sealed. MS. KNUTH said if the individual is waived and treated as an adult, he/she can be prosecuted. If he/she is convicted of a lessor offense or acquitted, he/she can have the records sealed. Frankly, this may not be worth much after the fact. However, the provision exists in the waiver bill. Number 2062 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG was trying to collect a fact pattern concerning the experience of a friend of his. When his friend was 18, he had a minor traffic violation that ended up affecting his military service career. He subsequently found out the violation had been removed from his record and he did not know it. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said he is interested in the affect of that. If, in fact, these names were divulged and became part of the public record, would there be any procedure to make amends as a juvenile or young adult? Currently, those records can be sealed. He stated it is his understanding that the records have not been removed, they are only sealed. MS. KNUTH said everybody who learns that your son has been arrested for a felony offense is supposed to bear in mind that he is presumed innocent until proven guilty. That is the protection he is offered. Number 2109 REPRESENTATIVE ROBINSON reiterated the case in which a young man broke out the window at the FAA building. The agreement was he should go into the military, and he was subsequently honored two years later in Juneau's Fourth of July Parade when he came home from the Gulf War. Representative Robinson said we must constantly remember who we could be talking about. The man now has a four- year college degree and is doing well. MS. BERCK asked to respond to Representative Rokeberg. It seemed to her, from her earlier version of the bill, it talks about the provisions for sealing the records. This would delete the information set out in (f). CO-CHAIR BUNDE said there is a new CS for that bill, that is a totally new bill. ADJOURNMENT Number 2151 CO-CHAIR BUNDE adjourned the meeting at 4:40 p.m.