Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/08/1993 01:00 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                              
                        February 8, 1993                                       
                            1:00 p.m.                                          
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
  Rep. Brian Porter, Chairman                                                  
  Rep. Jeannette James, Vice Chair, arrived later                              
  Rep. Gail Phillips, arrived later                                            
  Rep. Pete Kott                                                               
  Rep. Joe Green                                                               
  Rep. Jim Nordlund                                                            
  Rep. Cliff Davidson, arrived later                                           
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
  Bills requested by the Alaska Court System.                                  
  HB 73:    "An Act relating to state and local taxation and                   
            other state regulation as affected by the Alaska                   
            Native Claims Settlement Act, as amended, and                      
            related federal statutes; and providing for an                     
            effective date."                                                   
            PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                            
  *HJR 21:  Honoring Thurgood Marshall, 1908 - 1993.                           
            PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                            
  (* First public hearing.)                                                    
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
  CHRIS CHRISTENSEN                                                            
  Staff Counsel                                                                
  Alaska Court System                                                          
  303 K Street                                                                 
  Anchorage, Alaska 99501                                                      
  Phone:  264-8228                                                             
  Position Statement:  Explained proposed committee                            
  RENA BUKOVICH                                                                
  Legislative Aide                                                             
  Rep. Eileen MacLean                                                          
  State Capitol, Room 507                                                      
  Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                    
  Phone:  465-4833                                                             
  Position Statement:  Supported HB 73                                         
  JACK CHENOWETH, Attorney                                                     
  Legal Services Division                                                      
  Legislative Affairs Agency                                                   
  Goldstein Building, Room 405                                                 
  130 Seward Street                                                            
  Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                         
  Phone:  465-2450                                                             
  Position Statement:  Answered questions on HB 73                             
  REP. JOHN DAVIES                                                             
  Alaska State Legislature                                                     
  Court Building, Room 604                                                     
  Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                    
  Phone:  465-4457                                                             
  Position Statement:  Supported HJR 21                                        
  PREVIOUS ACTION                                                              
  BILL:  HB  73                                                                
  SHORT TITLE: ANCSA STATE TAX EXEMPTIONS                                      
  BILL VERSION:                                                                
  SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MACLEAN                                        
  TITLE: "An Act relating to state and local taxation and                      
  other state regulation as affected by the Alaska Native                      
  Claims Settlement Act, as amended, and relate federal                        
  statutes; and providing for an effective date."                              
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  01/18/93       102    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/18/93       102    (H)   CRA, JUDICIARY, FINANCE                          
  01/28/93              (H)   CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124                      
  01/28/93              (H)   MINUTE(CRA)                                      
  01/29/93       174    (H)   CRA RPT  5DP  2NR                                
  01/29/93       174    (H)   DP: SANDERS,BUNDE,WILLIAMS,                      
  01/29/93       174    (H)   DP: OLBERG   NR: DAVIES, WILLIS                  
  01/29/93       174    (H)   -ZERO FISCAL NOTE  (REV)                         
  02/08/93              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                      
  BILL:  HJR 21                                                                
  SHORT TITLE: IN MEMORIAM THURGOOD MARSHALL                                   
  BILL VERSION:                                                                
  SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) DAVIES,Brice,Brown,Carney,                     
  TITLE: Honoring Thurgood Marshall, 1908 - 1993.                              
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  01/29/93       176    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/29/93       176    (H)   JUDICIARY                                        
  02/01/93       201    (H)   COSPONSOR(S):  JAMES                             
  02/03/93       223    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): SANDERS                            
  02/08/93              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                      
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
  TAPE 93-10, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER called the Judiciary Committee meeting to                    
  order at 1:06 p.m. on February 8, 1993.  A quorum was                        
  present.  Chairman Porter announced that a joint meeting of                  
  the House and Senate Judiciary Committees scheduled for                      
  Wednesday for the purpose of continuing confirmation                         
  hearings on public member appointees to the Select Committee                 
  on Legislative Ethics might be rescheduled for the following                 
  REP. GREEN asked if two additional appointees would appear                   
  before the committee.                                                        
  Number 035                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER said that at least two appointees would be                   
  interviewed at the meeting.  He added that if the House                      
  failed to confirm any of the other appointees, however, more                 
  appointees could come before the committee.                                  
  CHAIRMAN PORTER announced that the first agenda item was                     
  three bills that the Alaska Court System wished the                          
  committee to introduce on its behalf.  He called upon Chris                  
  Christensen to address the committee.                                        
  Number 058                                                                   
  called the members' attention to a memorandum outlining the                  
  three proposed bills.  He noted that each of the bills would                 
  get referred to the Judiciary Committee after its                            
  MR. CHRISTENSEN described the first bill, which would allow                  
  magistrates to grant post-conviction relief to defendants in                 
  cases where they had the authority to enter the original                     
  conviction.  Prior to 1990, he said, only superior court                     
  judges had the authority to grant post-conviction relief.  A                 
  1990 law granted the same authority to District Court judges                 
  for cases that had been tried in district court.  Through an                 
  oversight in that legislation, the same authority was not                    
  extended to magistrates.                                                     
  Number 111                                                                   
  MR. CHRISTENSEN explained that the bill would also modify                    
  magistrate jurisdiction with respect to noncriminal                          
  offenses, or those offenses for which a person could get a                   
  fine but no jail sentence, such as a speeding ticket.  He                    
  noted that magistrates were currently allowed to hear some                   
  noncriminal offenses, but not others.  The bill would                        
  authorize magistrates to hear all noncriminal offenses,                      
  including minor fish and game violations.                                    
  Number 140                                                                   
  MR. CHRISTENSEN proceeded to describe the second proposed                    
  bill, which related to payment for legal services.  He                       
  explained that the bill would allow the state to immediately                 
  recover defense costs from any person who had received free                  
  legal services from the state.  Under current law, he noted,                 
  the state was required to wait until three years after the                   
  defendant's release from custody to initiate proceedings                     
  against a defendant.  He added that the state was also                       
  currently prevented from recovering defense costs from a                     
  person who was not convicted.  The bill, he said, also made                  
  a technical change regarding the state's authority to                        
  garnishee a defendant's permanent fund dividend check,                       
  whether or not that defendant was sentenced to jail.                         
  Number 189                                                                   
  MR. CHRISTENSEN described the third piece of proposed                        
  legislation, which he said proposed to repeal a section of                   
  the previous year's omnibus crime law.  He explained that                    
  the new law allowed a three-judge sentencing panel to reduce                 
  a presumptive sentence if the panel found that it would be                   
  "manifestly unjust" to impose the presumptive sentence.  If                  
  the panel found manifest unjustness and found that the                       
  defendant had an extraordinary potential for rehabilitation,                 
  the sentence could not be reduced.  However, in that                         
  situation, the panel could make the defendant eligible for                   
  parole in the second half of the sentence.  Mr. Christensen                  
  said that the court system found this distinction inherently                 
  unworkable in that it did not allow the court to adequately                  
  consider a defendant's rehabilitative potential.                             
  Number 236                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER acknowledged the presence of Reps. James,                    
  Phillips and Davidson.                                                       
  Number 250                                                                   
  REP. GREEN asked Mr. Christensen about the fiscal impact of                  
  the first proposed piece of legislation.                                     
  Number 261                                                                   
  MR. CHRISTENSEN mentioned the dramatically increased                         
  caseload of the court system over the past several years,                    
  and budgets not increasing accordingly.  The court system                    
  constantly sought ways to live within its budget, he said.                   
  He noted that he was hopeful that this change would help                     
  them to keep within that budget.                                             
  Number 272                                                                   
  REP. KOTT asked Mr. Christensen if this bill would result in                 
  the inundation of magistrates with new cases.                                
  Number 286                                                                   
  MR. CHRISTENSEN stated that he did not know the exact number                 
  of new cases that the bill would direct to magistrates.  The                 
  court system believed that this bill would better equalize                   
  caseloads.  He spoke of the heavy caseload of district                       
  judges and indicated this bill would alleviate their heavy                   
  load.  Also, he said, the court system could find no                         
  philosophical reason why magistrates should be allowed to                    
  hear certain noncriminal cases and not others.                               
  Number 321                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER noted the presence of Rep. John Davies and                   
  invited him to join the committee at the table.  Rep. Davies                 
  indicated that he was there to testify on HJR 21 and                         
  therefore declined Chairman Porter's offer.                                  
  Number 326                                                                   
  REP. GREEN asked Mr. Christensen about the second proposed                   
  bill.  First, he asked about the possibility that a judge                    
  would rule that seizure of a defendant's permanent fund                      
  dividend constituted undue hardship for certain indigent                     
  defendants.  Secondly, he asked if seizure of an indigent                    
  defendant's dividend were allowed, would the state end up                    
  supporting that person in some other form?                                   
  Number 340                                                                   
  MR. CHRISTENSEN noted that the Alaska Supreme Court had                      
  adopted the present court rule requiring repayment of                        
  defense costs the previous July by a 3-2 vote.  The rule                     
  might end up being addressed by the U. S. Supreme Court, he                  
  added.  At the time that a defendant received a public                       
  defender, Mr. Christensen said, he or she was notified that                  
  repayment for the legal services was required.  Defendants                   
  were ordered to sign over their permanent fund dividend                      
  checks.  If they chose not to sign, he noted, the clerk was                  
  authorized to sign the form for the defendant.  There was a                  
  question as to the constitutionality of that rule, he                        
  Number 380                                                                   
  REP. NORDLUND said that he had some questions regarding the                  
  three bills, but would hold them until the bills were                        
  officially before the committee.  He noted that the                          
  questions that had been asked were good ones and should be                   
  brought up again when the bills were referred to the                         
  Judiciary Committee.  He also expressed appreciation that                    
  Chairman Porter sought consensus on the introduction of                      
  committee bills, and noted that he had no objection to the                   
  introduction of any of the three bills now before the                        
  Number 395                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER commented that he had some serious questions                 
  about the third bill, but he would hold those questions                      
  until the bill was officially before the committee.  He                      
  asked for a motion to introduce the three bills as committee                 
  REP. PHILLIPS moved to introduce the three bills as                          
  committee bills.                                                             
  Seeing no objection, CHAIRMAN PORTER approved the motion.                    
  HB 73:  ANCSA STATE TAX EXEMPTIONS                                           
  CHAIRMAN PORTER announced that the next item of business was                 
  a hearing on HB 73, relating to ANCSA (Alaska Native Claims                  
  Settlement Act) state tax exemptions.  He noted that Rep.                    
  MacLean was not present, but her aide, Rena Bukovich, would                  
  address the committee on HB 73.                                              
  Number 414                                                                   
  PRIME SPONSOR OF HB 73, came forward to address the                          
  committee.  She noted that Rep. MacLean was chairing a House                 
  Finance Committee meeting and could not attend the Judiciary                 
  Committee meeting.  Ms. Bukovich said that HB 73 had been                    
  introduced primarily to bring state law into compliance with                 
  federal law regarding the exemption of ANCSA property from                   
  taxation.  She noted that in 1987, federal law was changed                   
  to continue the property tax exemption from federal, state,                  
  or local taxation on ANCSA land until development occurred.                  
  MS. BUKOVICH mentioned that HB 73 reflected those changes in                 
  state law in order to avoid confusion in the application of                  
  the state's tax laws.  In the drafting process, she added,                   
  the attorney noticed other sections of state law which                       
  needed to be updated and included those changes in HB 73.                    
  For the most part, she said, those changes were technical in                 
  nature.  The bill did not expand or reduce any laws already                  
  mandated by federal government, she added, it merely cleaned                 
  up state law and ensured that obsolete statutes did not lead                 
  to misinterpretation by state assessors and others who                       
  worked with Alaska's tax laws.  She noted that the bill had                  
  the support of the Alaska Federation of Natives.                             
  MS. BUKOVICH noted that HB 73 had a zero fiscal note.  The                   
  same bill passed the House last year, she said, but died in                  
  the Senate Rules Committee.  To her knowledge, there were no                 
  problems or concerns with the bill, as it was primarily a                    
  housekeeping measure.                                                        
  Number 440                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER thanked Ms. Bukovich for her testimony.                      
  Number 445                                                                   
  REP. GREEN asked if federal law would allow the state to                     
  help the Native community to improve its land, instead of                    
  giving tax breaks for unimproved land.                                       
  Number 459                                                                   
  MS. BUKOVICH said that she could not address federal law                     
  questions, but noted that a representative from the Alaska                   
  Federation of Natives could probably answer Rep. Green's                     
  Number 469                                                                   
  REP. NORDLUND asked Ms. Bukovich what the exact changes in                   
  federal law were that required the introduction of HB 73.                    
  Number 468                                                                   
  MS. BUKOVICH again noted that she could not address                          
  questions of federal law.                                                    
  Number 473                                                                   
  address the committee.                                                       
  MR. CHENOWETH told the committee that he had drafted both                    
  the bill now before the committee and its predecessor.                       
  Number 476                                                                   
  REP. NORDLUND asked Mr. Chenoweth what changes in federal                    
  law had prompted introduction of HB 73.                                      
  Number 480                                                                   
  MR. CHENOWETH noted that there were two principal changes,                   
  in the form of two federal laws passed since the Alaska                      
  Native Claims Settlement Act - the Alaska National Interest                  
  Lands Conservation Act and the 1987 ANCSA Amendments.  The                   
  principal change that pertained to HB 73 is that regarding                   
  the handling of the taxable, or improved, property.                          
  Number 500                                                                   
  MR. CHENOWETH added that congress had removed some language                  
  from one section of ANCSA and reworked it in another section                 
  of the law.  He stated that HB 73 reflected those changes in                 
  federal law.  Another part of ANCSA which was changed dealt                  
  with who could receive property in the event of the death of                 
  a Native, and whether or not the exemption enjoyed by the                    
  original property owner carried over to the new owner.  Most                 
  of the rest of HB 73, he noted, was an attempt to clean up                   
  cross references in the Alaska Statutes.                                     
  Number 522                                                                   
  MR. CHENOWETH stated that he had tried to clean up the                       
  statutes so that this exercise would not be necessary every                  
  time congress made changes to ANCSA, through the use of the                  
  phrase "as amended" in the bill.                                             
  Number 530                                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS mentioned that this bill had passed the House                  
  unanimously the year before.  She added that she was pleased                 
  to see the addition of the "as amended" phrases.                             
  Number 535                                                                   
  MR. CHENOWETH commented that HB 73 should ensure that the                    
  Alaska statutes automatically kept pace with changes in                      
  federal law.                                                                 
  Number 542                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER asked if the federal laws which pertained to                 
  HB 73 resulted in a change in the general notion that these                  
  lands were not taxable until they were developed.                            
  Number 552                                                                   
  MR. CHENOWETH responded that there had been no material                      
  changes.  He reiterated that in drafting the bill, he had                    
  simply updated the statutes to reflect changes in federal                    
  law.  He further indicated that some changes were made when                  
  language was deleted from one section of ANCSA and                           
  reinserted into another section, but they were not                           
  significant changes.                                                         
  Number 568                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER asked if federal law had altered the                         
  provision by which regional corporation shares were                          
  Number 573                                                                   
  MR. CHENOWETH noted that there had been changes in the                       
  handling of shares.  That change, he added, was reflected in                 
  HB 73 on page 3, lines 22-26.  The federal law was changed                   
  to clarify who was eligible to receive shares.                               
  Number 596                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER asked if a non-Native could inherit regional                 
  corporation shares.                                                          
  Number 602                                                                   
  MR. CHENOWETH replied that the holder of ANCSA corporation                   
  shares could make those shares available to an adopted or a                  
  natural non-Native child.  He said that the changes in                       
  federal law did not make it possible to sell corporation                     
  Number 611                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER asked if any changes made by HB 73 did not                   
  reflect changes that had been made in federal law.                           
  Number 615                                                                   
  MR. CHENOWETH indicated that there was nothing in HB 73                      
  which did not reflect changes in federal law.  He commented                  
  that he had worked closely with the Alaska Federation of                     
  Natives in drafting the bill.                                                
  Number 621                                                                   
  REP. GREEN said that at first glance, the bill appeared to                   
  be discriminatory in that Natives could have tax relief on                   
  unimproved property, whereas non-Natives holding the same                    
  property would have to pay taxes on it.  He asked Mr.                        
  Chenoweth how the federal government had addressed the                       
  discriminatory nature of the law.  He also asked about the                   
  state helping to develop this unimproved land, instead of                    
  granting tax relief to Native owners.                                        
  Number 641                                                                   
  MR. CHENOWETH responded that Rep. Green's point about                        
  discrimination was well taken.  However, he called Rep.                      
  Green's attention to the fact that congress held the                         
  exclusive right to handle relations with Indian tribes.                      
  Because of that exclusive relationship, he said, the state                   
  of Alaska had no choice but to follow suit.                                  
  MR. CHENOWETH stated that some efforts had been made in the                  
  past to try to identify existing state programs and how they                 
  could assist rural Alaskans develop lands.  He expressed an                  
  opinion that that was the state's principal means of                         
  encouraging development of Native lands.                                     
  Number 670                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER thanked Mr. Chenoweth for addressing                         
  committee members' questions.  He asked the committee how it                 
  wished to proceed.                                                           
  Number 674                                                                   
  REP. GREEN moved to pass HB 73 out of committee.                             
  Hearing no objections, CHAIRMAN PORTER approved the motion                   
  to pass HB 73 out of committee.                                              
  HJR 21:  IN MEMORIAM THURGOOD MARSHALL                                       
  CHAIRMAN PORTER proceeded to the next order of business, HJR
  21, honoring United States Supreme Court Justice Thurgood                    
  Marshall.  He asked Rep. John Davies to address the                          
  Number 685                                                                   
  REP. JOHN DAVIES, PRIME SPONSOR OF HJR 21, noted that                        
  approximately half of the members of the House had co-                       
  sponsored HJR 21.  He stated that he felt it was appropriate                 
  to note the death of someone as significant as Justice                       
  Marshall.  He expressed an opinion that Justice Marshall's                   
  life embodied democracy and liberty.  He noted Justice                       
  Marshall's concern for the rights of the poor and                            
  Number 709                                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS said that resolutions often included a                         
  statement of where they would be sent.  She asked if Rep.                    
  Davies would like to have the resolution sent to Justice                     
  Marshall's family or to the U. S. Supreme Court.                             
  Number 714                                                                   
  REP. DAVIES indicated that sending the resolution to Justice                 
  Marshall's family and to the Supreme Court might be                          
  Number 718                                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS called Rep. Davies' attention to page 2, line                  
  10, of the resolution where Justice Marshall is referred to                  
  as an "Associate Justice."  She asked Rep. Davies why that                   
  term had been used, in light of the term "Supreme Court                      
  Justice" ascribed to Sandra Day O'Connor.                                    
  Number 722                                                                   
  REP. DAVIES said that he did not know why that term had been                 
  Number 729                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that an associate justice was any                      
  supreme court justice except for the chief justice.  He                      
  added that both "Supreme Court Justice" and "Associate                       
  Justice" were correct terms, but one or the other ought to                   
  be used in the resolution.                                                   
  Number 738                                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS recommended that a committee substitute for                    
  HJR 21 be drafted, changing the term "Associate Justice" to                  
  "Supreme Court Justice" and directing the resolution to                      
  Justice Marshall's family and to the court.                                  
  Number 742                                                                   
  REP. KOTT asked why this was a joint resolution and not a                    
  concurrent resolution.                                                       
  Number 747                                                                   
  REP. NORDLUND said that any time a resolution was sent                       
  outside of the Alaska state government, a joint resolution                   
  was the appropriate vehicle to use.                                          
  REP. DAVIES noted that he had researched the question at the                 
  time he drafted the resolution, but could not remember at                    
  this time why he had used a joint resolution instead of a                    
  concurrent resolution.                                                       
  Number 759                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER said that the paperwork requirements for a                   
  joint resolution were still far less than those required for                 
  a bill.  He noted his belief that HJR 21 was a very                          
  appropriate resolution.  He cited Justice Marshall's role in                 
  the Brown vs. Board of Education case and expressed his                      
  opinion that there would never be another supreme court                      
  justice as dedicated to civil rights as Justice Marshall had                 
  Number 777                                                                   
  REP. KOTT moved to pass HJR 21, as amended, out of                           
  Number 784                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER, seeing no objections, approved the motion.                  
  CHAIRMAN PORTER outlined the schedule of Judiciary Committee                 
  meetings for the next week.  He mentioned that he had sent                   
  the names of Rep. Davidson, Rep. Kott, and Rep. James to the                 
  Senate Judiciary Committee as delegates to the joint                         
  subcommittee on Sentencing Commission recommendations.                       
  CHAIRMAN PORTER adjourned the meeting at 1:50 p.m.                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects