Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/12/1993 01:00 PM House JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                              
                         March 12, 1993                                        
                            1:00 p.m.                                          
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
  Rep. Brian Porter, Chairman                                                  
  Rep. Jeannette James, Vice-Chair                                             
  Rep. Pete Kott                                                               
  Rep. Gail Phillips                                                           
  Rep. Joe Green                                                               
  Rep. Cliff Davidson                                                          
  Rep. Jim Nordlund                                                            
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
  HB 58:    "An Act relating to the budget reserve fund                        
            established under art. IX, sec. 17, Constitution                   
            of the State of Alaska."                                           
            CS PASSED OUT WITH A DO PASS RECOMMENDATION                        
  HB 152:   "An Act relating to magistrate jurisdiction."                      
            CS PASSED OUT WITH A DO PASS RECOMMENDATION                        
  HB 79:    "An Act relating to recovery from a parent or                      
            legal guardian of wilful or malicious destruction                  
            of property by a minor."                                           
            PASSED OUT WITH NO RECOMMENDATION                                  
  *HB 86:   "An Act relating to sanctions for property-related                 
            offenses, to remedies for property-related                         
            offenses committed by juveniles, and to certain                    
            records of those offenses."                                        
            NOT HEARD                                                          
  (* First public hearing.)                                                    
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
  REP. KAY BROWN                                                               
  Alaska State Legislature                                                     
  Capitol Building, Room 517                                                   
  Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                    
  Phone:  465-4998                                                             
  Position Statement:  Discussed HB 58                                         
  GAYLE HORETSKI                                                               
  Committee Counsel                                                            
  House Judiciary Committee                                                    
  Capitol Building, Room 120                                                   
  Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                    
  Phone:  465-6841                                                             
  Position Statement:  Discussed HB 58                                         
  JIM BALDWIN                                                                  
  Assistant Attorney General                                                   
  Department of Law                                                            
  P.O. Box 110300                                                              
  Juneau, Alaska 99811-0300                                                    
  Phone:  465-3600                                                             
  Position Statement:  Discussed HB 58                                         
  CHRIS CHRISTENSEN                                                            
  Staff Counsel                                                                
  Alaska Court System                                                          
  303 K Street                                                                 
  Anchorage, Alaska 99501                                                      
  Phone:  264-8228                                                             
  Position Statement:  Supported HB 152                                        
  JAY FRANK                                                                    
  State Farm/Allstate                                                          
  431 North Franklin Street                                                    
  Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                         
  Phone:  586-5777                                                             
  Position Statement:  Opposed HB 79                                           
  REP. CON BUNDE                                                               
  Alaska State Legislature                                                     
  Capitol Building, Room 112                                                   
  Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                    
  Phone:  465-4843                                                             
  Position Statement:  Supported HB 79                                         
  RANDALL HINES                                                                
  Youth Corrections Specialist                                                 
  Division of Family and Youth Services                                        
  Department of Health and Social Services                                     
  P.O. Box 110630                                                              
  Juneau, Alaska 99811-0630                                                    
  Phone:  465-3187                                                             
  Position Statement:  Discussed HB 79                                         
  PREVIOUS ACTION                                                              
  BILL:  HB  58                                                                
  BILL VERSION:                                                                
  SPONSOR(S): FINANCE                                                          
  TITLE: "An Act relating to the budget reserve fund                           
  established under art. IX, sec. 17, Constitution of the                      
  State of Alaska."                                                            
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  01/15/93        71    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/15/93        71    (H)   JUDICIARY, FINANCE                               
  02/01/93              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                      
  02/01/93              (H)   MINUTE(JUD)                                      
  03/12/93              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                      
  BILL:  HB 152                                                                
  SHORT TITLE: JURISDICTION OF MAGISTRATES                                     
  BILL VERSION:                                                                
  SPONSOR(S): JUDICIARY                                                        
  TITLE: "An Act relating to magistrate jurisdiction."                         
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  02/15/93       345    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  02/15/93       345    (H)   STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY                         
  02/25/93              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                      
  02/25/93              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                      
  03/01/93       481    (H)   STA RPT  CS(STA) 7DP                             
  03/01/93       481    (H)   DP: VEZEY,ULMER,B.DAVIS,OLBERG,                  
  03/01/93       481    (H)   DP: G.DAVIS, SANDERS, KOTT                       
  03/01/93       481    (H)   -ZERO FISCAL NOTE  (COURT)                       
  03/10/93              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                      
  03/10/93              (H)   MINUTE(HES)                                      
  03/12/93              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                      
  BILL:  HB  79                                                                
  SHORT TITLE: DAMAGE TO PROPERTY BY MINORS                                    
  BILL VERSION:                                                                
  SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) BUNDE,Toohey,Porter,Olberg,                    
  TITLE: "An Act relating to recovery from a parent or legal                   
  guardian of wilful or malicious destruction of property by a                 
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  01/22/93       130    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/22/93       130    (H)   HES, JUDICIARY, FINANCE                          
  01/29/93       184    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): PORTER                             
  02/03/93              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                      
  02/03/93              (H)   MINUTE(HES)                                      
  02/05/93       240    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): OLBERG, GREEN                      
  02/08/93              (H)   MINUTE(HES)                                      
  02/10/93       288    (H)   HES RPT  3DP  2DNP  4NR                          
  02/10/93       288    (H)   DP: BUNDE, TOOHEY, OLBERG                        
  02/10/93       288    (H)   DNP:  NICHOLIA, B.DAVIS                          
  02/10/93       288    (H)   NR: KOTT,VEZEY,G.DAVIS,BRICE                     
  02/10/93       288    (H)   -3 ZERO FNS (LAW,ADM,DHSS)                       
  03/12/93              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                      
  BILL:  HB  86                                                                
  BILL VERSION: 2D SSHB 86                                                     
  SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) BUNDE,Green                                    
  TITLE: "An Act relating to sanctions for property-related                    
  offenses, to remedies for property-related offenses                          
  committed by juveniles, and to certain records of those                      
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  01/22/93       141    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/22/93       141    (H)   JUDICIARY, FINANCE                               
  01/29/93       177    (H)   SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE INTRODUCED-                   
                              NEW TITLE                                        
  01/29/93       177    (H)   REFERRED TO JUDICIARY, FINANCE                   
  02/03/93       223    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): GREEN                              
  02/25/93       455    (H)   2D SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE INTRODUCED                 
  02/25/93       455    (H)   JUDICIARY, FINANCE                               
  03/12/93              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                      
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
  TAPE 93-32, SIDE A                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
  The House Judiciary Standing Committee meeting was called to                 
  order at 1:33 p.m. on March 12, 1993.  A quorum was present.                 
  Chairman Porter announced that the committee would address                   
  HB 58 first.                                                                 
  HB 58 ADMINISTRATION OF BUDGET RESERVE FUND                                  
  Number 043                                                                   
  REP. KAY BROWN commented that she had been working with Rep.                 
  James and members of the Senate in crafting the draft                        
  committee substitute for HB 58, dated March 10, 1993.                        
  Number 050                                                                   
  COMMITTEE, noted that the committee substitute now in front                  
  of the committee members was identical to the Senate version                 
  of the bill.                                                                 
  Number 096                                                                   
  REP. BROWN stated that in the past, prospective application                  
  of HB 58 had been addressed; however, she the large amounts                  
  of money that had recently come in to the state government                   
  had prompted interest in making HB 58 retroactive.                           
  REP. BROWN noted that some of the issues that had been                       
  discussed during the Judiciary Committee's last hearing on                   
  HB 58 had also been dealt with in the Senate State Affairs                   
  Committee.  She said the Senate State Affairs committee                      
  substitute was identical to the House Judiciary Committee's                  
  substitute.  She said that she had tried to clarify                          
  provisions in subsection (a) by specifically delineating                     
  which monies were not to be considered for the purposes of                   
  determining what was "available."                                            
  REP. BROWN mentioned that some of the changes incorporated                   
  in the committee substitute were made in response to                         
  specific issues which committee members had raised, such as                  
  including penalties and interest, or at the request of the                   
  Number 147                                                                   
  noted that the constitutional amendment took effect on July                  
  2, 1991, but it applied to all monies received after July 1,                 
  Number 161                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER asked Mr. Baldwin, if the committee wanted                   
  to make the bill retroactive to the point of applicability                   
  of the constitutional amendment, should July 1, 1990, be the                 
  date used in the bill?                                                       
  MR. BALDWIN indicated that the Chairman was correct.                         
  Number 166                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER commented that the committee members had                     
  before them CSHB 58(JUD), which was identical to the current                 
  Senate version of the bill.  He asked Mr. Baldwin if he                      
  wished to comment on the committee substitute.                               
  Number 173                                                                   
  MR. BALDWIN said the Department of Law had some reservations                 
  about the language on page 2, lines 7 through 18.  He said                   
  his department was currently working on an amendment which                   
  would address their concerns.  He stated that the amendment                  
  was not yet ready, but he hoped to have it ready in time for                 
  the House Finance Committee to consider it.  He added that                   
  the current language was workable, but he was concerned that                 
  it might be over-inclusive and not meet the intent of the                    
  framers of the constitutional amendment.  In particular, he                  
  said that he was concerned about the bill's effect on Mental                 
  Health Trust money.                                                          
  Number 241                                                                   
  REP. JAMES asked if the committee could incorporate language                 
  specifically stating that Mental Health Trust monies were                    
  not included.                                                                
  Number 249                                                                   
  MR. BALDWIN stated that the problem lay in deciding the                      
  philosophy that the legislature wanted to reflect in the                     
  bill's language.  He said the philosophy he wanted to                        
  project was that only amounts fully within the discretion of                 
  the legislature should be counted for the purposes of                        
  availability to the budget reserve fund.  He said if the                     
  legislature added in amounts over which it did not have                      
  complete discretion, the constitutional amendment would                      
  probably not function as the legislature intended.                           
  MR. BALDWIN commented that it was unclear whether or not the                 
  legislature had complete discretion over the Mental Health                   
  Trust monies.  He added that a judgment call had to be made                  
  by one committee or the other as to whether or not the                       
  Mental Health Trust monies would be counted.                                 
  Number 288                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER said that rather than attempt to settle the                  
  Mental Health Trust issue at the table, the committee should                 
  proceed with the language currently in the draft committee                   
  MR. BALDWIN indicated that he was comfortable with the                       
  committee moving the bill on to the House Finance Committee                  
  with the language as currently drafted.                                      
  CHAIRMAN PORTER commented that the current committee                         
  substitute tightened up the definition of "informal                          
  Number 304                                                                   
  REP. JAMES made a motion to adopt the Judiciary committee                    
  substitute for HB 58, dated March 10, 1993 (/E version).                     
  There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                 
  Number 319                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that the intent of HB 58 was to send a                 
  message regarding the intent of the legislature when it                      
  adopted the language that later became the constitutional                    
  amendment creating the budget reserve account.  He said                      
  that, in his interpretation, the intent of the amendment was                 
  to include any settlement monies, whether the result of a                    
  formal process, an informal process, or a court proceeding.                  
  He noted that if the committee did not make HB 58                            
  retroactive to the effective date of the constitutional                      
  amendment, the legislature would lose credibility in trying                  
  to establish its intent.                                                     
  Number 330                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER recommended that the committee adopt an                      
  amendment to the committee substitute making the effective                   
  date of HB 58 July 1, 1990, instead of 1993.                                 
  Number 352                                                                   
  REP. JAMES moved to amend the committee substitute by                        
  deleting the dates on lines 26 and 27 and inserting the word                 
  Number 366                                                                   
  REP. GREEN asked if the proposed retroactivity changes would                 
  result in any legal problems.                                                
  Number 370                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER replied that there was a possibility of                      
  legal problems no matter what actions the committee took.                    
  However, he said it was his hope that what the committee was                 
  doing would minimize the likelihood of legal difficulties.                   
  Number 376                                                                   
  REP. JAMES commented that if there was opposition to making                  
  HB 58 retroactive, it would be because there were funds                      
  currently held in the settlement account which were                          
  presumably available for expenditure.  She said there was                    
  concern that if all of those monies in the settlement                        
  account were placed in the budget reserve fund, capital and                  
  operating budgets might suffer.                                              
  REP. JAMES stated that her response to that concern was that                 
  the legislature had no other choice.  She noted that if the                  
  legislature were going to delineate the intent behind                        
  establishment of the budget reserve fund they could not pick                 
  and choose.  She said that as far as she was concerned, no                   
  budget problem would result from the adoption of HB 58                       
  because there was a procedure via which money could be taken                 
  from the budget reserve account to cover revenue shortfalls.                 
  REP. JAMES commented that for expenditures other than budget                 
  shortfalls, 3/4 of the legislature could vote to take funds                  
  from the budget reserve account.  She cited the possibility                  
  of a class-action lawsuit by members of the public, claiming                 
  that the legislature was not spending the money the way that                 
  the voters had intended when voting to approve the                           
  constitutional budget reserve fund.  She said that in her                    
  opinion, putting money into the budget reserve account and                   
  then appropriating it back out if needed, was the                            
  legislature's best defense against a lawsuit on this matter.                 
  Number 435                                                                   
  REP. GREEN expressed his concern over what had occurred                      
  between July 1, 1990, and the present day in terms of what                   
  money went where.                                                            
  Number 442                                                                   
  REP. JAMES called Rep. Green's attention to a memorandum                     
  from the Department of Revenue outlining what money had gone                 
  where since July 1, 1990.                                                    
  Number 458                                                                   
  REP. GREEN said that his interpretation of Rep. James'                       
  comments was that any funds which the state had received                     
  since July 1, 1990, except for 6 percent to the Mental                       
  Health Trust, had been allocated to some account other than                  
  the budget reserve fund.                                                     
  Number 463                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that HB 58 would require that the                      
  administration debit the Mental Health Trust account for the                 
  6 percent amount of remaining funds that came in.                            
  Number 473                                                                   
  REP. GREEN asked if, other than to the Mental Health Trust                   
  account, there had been any allocations of funds.                            
  Number 475                                                                   
  REP. JAMES replied that there had not.  She said that all of                 
  the funds were in an administrative settlement account,                      
  pending resolution of the matter.                                            
  Number 480                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER commented that none of the money had been                    
  Number 481                                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS asked if interest were included in the                         
  committee substitute for HB 58.                                              
  Number 485                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER commented that interest was included, but                    
  had been moved to a different location in the bill.                          
  Number 491                                                                   
  REP. GREEN made a motion to pass CSHB 58(JUD) out of                         
  committee with individual recommendations.  However, the                     
  committee members determined that they had yet to vote on                    
  proposed amendments to the bill.  Rep. James had moved two                   
  amendments earlier.  One would delete "June 30, 1993" on                     
  page 2, line 26, and replace it with "July 1, 1990."  The                    
  other amendment would delete "July 1, 1993" on page 2, line                  
  27, and replace it with "immediately."  There being no                       
  objection to the adoption of the amendments, they were                       
  Number 510                                                                   
  REP. GREEN made a motion to pass CSHB 58(JUD) out of                         
  committee with individual recommendations.  There being no                   
  objection, it was so ordered.                                                
  CHAIRMAN PORTER announced that the next item of business                     
  before the committee was HB 152.                                             
  HB 152 JURISDICTION OF MAGISTRATES                                           
  Number 518                                                                   
  noted that the House Judiciary Committee had introduced                      
  HB 152 at the request of the supreme court.  He said the                     
  bill made some technical changes to the laws regarding                       
  magistrate jurisdiction.  He explained that magistrates                      
  presided over certain district court matters in areas of the                 
  state where the services of a full-time district court judge                 
  were not required.  He stated that magistrates were the                      
  highest-ranking judicial officials in approximately 40                       
  different district court locations in Alaska.                                
  MR. CHRISTENSEN said that in major metropolitan areas,                       
  magistrates handled routine matters to ease the workload of                  
  the district court judges.  He said that unlike other                        
  judicial officers, magistrates were not appointed by the                     
  governor; rather, they served at the pleasure of the                         
  presiding judge.                                                             
  MR. CHRISTENSEN mentioned that district court was the lowest                 
  level of court and employed two types of judges:                             
  magistrates and district court judges.  He said that the                     
  district court judges had jurisdiction over civil matters of                 
  up to $50,000 and over all misdemeanors.  Magistrates, he                    
  said, had civil jurisdiction for matters of up to $5,000 and                 
  had jurisdiction over certain types of criminal offenses.                    
  Number 550                                                                   
  MR. CHRISTENSEN said that HB 152 proposed to modify                          
  magistrate jurisdiction with respect to minor offenses.  He                  
  said that a minor offense was one which could not be                         
  punished by jail time, an excessive fine, or loss of a                       
  valuable license.  He noted that, currently, magistrates                     
  were authorized to hear certain minor offense cases, but not                 
  others.  He stated HB 152 would expand a magistrate's                        
  jurisdiction to include all minor offenses, regardless of                    
  where they were located in the statutes.  He commented that                  
  the change would result in some operating efficiency for the                 
  district court.                                                              
  MR. CHRISTENSEN stated that a second change proposed by                      
  HB 152 would modify magistrate jurisdiction regarding post-                  
  conviction relief.  He said this change would correct an                     
  oversight contained in a 1990 law.  There was a common-law                   
  right for an offender to petition the convicting court to                    
  reconsider the case, he said.  He noted that post-conviction                 
  relief was different from the right to an appeal.  He said                   
  that sometimes new facts came to light months after a case                   
  had been decided, past the date by which an appeal had to be                 
  MR. CHRISTENSEN said that until 1990, jurisdiction to hear                   
  post-conviction relief petitions had always rested with the                  
  superior court.  A change in the law made in 1990, however,                  
  provided that post-conviction relief petitions would be                      
  handled by the court that originally imposed the sentence.                   
  Through an oversight, he said, the 1990 law only applied to                  
  judges within the district court and not to magistrates as                   
  well.  He stated HB 152 provided that a magistrate could                     
  grant post-conviction relief in a case in which the                          
  magistrate had the original jurisdiction.                                    
  MR. CHRISTENSEN noted that the committee substitute for                      
  HB 152 contained two changes from the original bill.  On                     
  page 2, line 2, "or no contest" was added to clarify that a                  
  magistrate had the authority to impose a sentence, whether a                 
  defendant pleaded "guilty" or "no contest."                                  
  MR. CHRISTENSEN commented that the second change found in                    
  the committee substitute undid a change made by the House                    
  State Affairs Committee.  The change was located on page 2,                  
  line 5, and was technical in nature.  He said the change                     
  would cover some old statutes which held that certain                        
  misdemeanors were also "minor offenses."                                     
  Number 669                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON asked Mr. Christensen to clarify the second                    
  change in the committee substitute.                                          
  Number 671                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER explained the change on page 2, line 5, to                   
  Rep. Davidson.                                                               
  Number 676                                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS asked Mr. Christensen if there had been any                    
  recent changes to state or federal law regarding situations                  
  in which a person was found innocent, but information                        
  revealing that person's guilt later came to light.                           
  Number 683                                                                   
  MR. CHRISTENSEN replied that both the U.S. Constitution and                  
  the Alaska Constitution had "double jeopardy" provisions,                    
  providing that once a person was acquitted after trial on a                  
  criminal offense, he or she could not be charged again for                   
  the same offense.                                                            
  Number 692                                                                   
  REP. JAMES made a motion to adopt the committee substitute.                  
  There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                 
  Number 702                                                                   
  REP. NORDLUND made a motion to move CSHB 152(JUD) out of                     
  committee with individual recommendations and a zero fiscal                  
  note.  There being no objection, it was so ordered.                          
  CHAIRMAN PORTER announced that the committee would take up                   
  HB 79 next.                                                                  
  HB 79 DAMAGE TO PROPERTY BY MINORS                                           
  Number 713                                                                   
  JAY FRANK, representing STATE FARM AND ALLSTATE INSURANCE                    
  COMPANIES, said that HB 79 made a major change in parental                   
  "strict liability" for malicious acts committed by minors.                   
  He said that the law currently allowed a person to recover                   
  up to $2,000 from parents for any type of vandalism                          
  committed by their children.  He noted that HB 79 would                      
  raise that dollar amount to $50,000.                                         
  MR. FRANK said that the insurance industry's concern about                   
  HB 79 was two-fold.  He stated that parents were already                     
  held strictly liable, meaning that although parents might                    
  not cause the damage, they were liable for the acts of their                 
  children.  He called the current law a rather drastic form                   
  of remedy, and said HB 79 would make that remedy                             
  exponentially more drastic.                                                  
  MR. FRANK stated that he felt that the intent behind HB 79                   
  was to penalize parents so that they would exercise some                     
  supervision over their children.  He said that the insurance                 
  industry was concerned that the provisions of HB 79 would                    
  become an item covered by a homeowner's insurance policy,                    
  increasing the cost to the policy-holders.                                   
  MR. FRANK commented that he would like to see the bill                       
  amended so as to exempt the types of damages addressed by                    
  HB 79 from being covered under liability insurance policies.                 
  Then, he said, the effect of HB 79 would be to penalize                      
  parents and not penalize all insurance policy-holders                        
  through premium cost increases.                                              
  Number 752                                                                   
  REP. JAMES asked Mr. Frank, If people could not get                          
  insurance to cover damages done by their children, what                      
  guarantee did victims have of compensation?                                  
  Number 761                                                                   
  MR. FRANK said that Rep. James had asked a good question.                    
  He noted that it was difficult for a person to buy liability                 
  insurance that would cover intentional acts.  He commented                   
  that the irony in HB 79 was that an intentional act                          
  committed by a child was not covered because of its                          
  intentionality.  However, he said, because parents were                      
  being held strictly liable, damages from the minor's                         
  intentional act became insurable.                                            
  MR. FRANK said that there were many things that people did                   
  that caused other parties to suffer losses, which one could                  
  not buy insurance to cover.  Whether or not a person had the                 
  financial resources to compensate a victim for damages did                   
  not concern insurance companies, he said.                                    
  Number 775                                                                   
  REP. JAMES asked how the situation addressed in HB 79 was                    
  different from someone tripping on her sidewalk and breaking                 
  his or her leg.                                                              
  Number 781                                                                   
  MR. FRANK responded that the difference lay in that Rep.                     
  James, in her example, had not done anything intentional to                  
  cause the act.                                                               
  REP. JAMES asked Mr. Frank if he were insinuating that the                   
  parents were intentionally allowing their children to commit                 
  MR. FRANK replied that the act committed by the child was an                 
  intentional act of vandalism, not covered under any                          
  insurance policy.  But, he said, the liability was being                     
  strictly imposed upon the parents.                                           
  Number 788                                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS asked Mr. Frank if he were saying that no                      
  insurance company would write a policy to cover a child who                  
  engaged in mischievous behavior.                                             
  Number 792                                                                   
  MR. FRANK responded that he was not suggesting that.  He                     
  noted that it was questionable whether an Allstate policy                    
  would cover children's acts of vandalism.  State Farm, he                    
  added, had always had a policy of covering those types of                    
  Number 798                                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS asked Mr. Frank how the provisions of HB 79                    
  would be technically incorporated into a policy.                             
  Number 799                                                                   
  MR. FRANK said that if children's acts of vandalism were to                  
  be excluded from coverage, a policy could specifically                       
  contain an exclusion which said that the policy would not                    
  cover liability imposed on parents for intentional acts                      
  committed by their children.                                                 
  Number 802                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER commented that parents' strict liability for                 
  intentional acts committed by their children was already in                  
  place, and HB 79 was merely increasing the dollar amount of                  
  Number 809                                                                   
  MR. FRANK noted that at the current $2,000 level, State Farm                 
  did not have a problem paying for those losses.  However, he                 
  said that when the amount increased to $50,000, State Farm's                 
  view would probably be drastically different.                                
  Number 810                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER said that Mr. Frank's statement about the                    
  intent of HB 79 might not have been entirely inclusive.  He                  
  commented that from his perspective, the intent of the bill                  
  was to more adequately provide coverage for victims.                         
  Number 813                                                                   
  REP. GREEN echoed the Chairman's concern.  He asked Mr.                      
  Frank if it was his belief that if a child could cause                       
  $50,000 worth of damage, the victim should bear the loss for                 
  $48,000 in damages.                                                          
  Number 820                                                                   
  MR. FRANK commented that the insurance industry could not be                 
  all things to all people.  He added that if a person were                    
  caused harm by a judgment-proof individual, the person would                 
  simply have to bear the cost of the damage.  He said that                    
  the irony with HB 79 was that insurance companies could turn                 
  around and exclude intentional acts committed by children                    
  from coverage.  He said that he did not want to see people                   
  not "made whole."  However, he noted the social cost                         
  resulting from HB 79's losses being borne by insurers.  He                   
  said that the bill could eventually drive up premium rates.                  
  TAPE 93-32, SIDE B                                                           
  Number 005                                                                   
  REP. GREEN asked Mr. Frank if insurance rates would go up                    
  across the board or just for parents of minors.                              
  Number 008                                                                   
  MR. FRANK replied that insurance premiums were calculated                    
  based on an insurance company's losses, and that HB 79 would                 
  therefore result in increased insurance rates for everyone.                  
  He noted that a person could obtain first-party property                     
  insurance coverage to cover acts of vandalism to one's own                   
  Number 033                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON asked Mr. Frank what happened now in the event                 
  that a child committed $15,000 worth of damage to a                          
  neighbor's property.                                                         
  Number 049                                                                   
  MR. FRANK said that under current law, if the damaged person                 
  wanted to recover costs from the parents of the child who                    
  committed the act of vandalism, that person could file a                     
  civil suit.  Under current law, he added, a person could                     
  recover up to $2,000 from the parents.                                       
  Number 059                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON asked Mr. Frank if a damaged person could also                 
  turn to her or his own insurance company for repayment of                    
  the cost of the damage.                                                      
  Number 062                                                                   
  MR. FRANK noted that a damaged person could always turn to                   
  her or his own insurance company if the person had a "first-                 
  party policy."  He said if a person submitted a claim to her                 
  or his own insurance company, the company would turn around                  
  and sue the parents of the child who committed the act of                    
  Number 074                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON commented that some parents were at their                      
  wit's end in trying to deal with uncontrollable children.                    
  He said that it was not just the parents' fault that                         
  children were becoming more wayward.                                         
  Number 100                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that HB 79 might assist the insurance                  
  companies, in that when they sued parents to recover                         
  damages, HB 79 would allow them to recover up to $50,000                     
  instead of the current limit of $2,000.                                      
  Number 114                                                                   
  MR. FRANK responded that the Chairman was correct in that                    
  HB 79 would allow insurance companies to recover more money.                 
  However, he noted that HB 79 would still increase the amount                 
  of money that the parents' insurance company paid out,                       
  therefore increasing losses and premiums.                                    
  Number 122                                                                   
  REP. CON BUNDE, PRIME SPONSOR of HB 79, called his bill                      
  "victims' rights legislation."  He commented that going to                   
  court to recover $2,000 would result in a moral victory, but                 
  certainly not a financial one, due to resultant legal costs.                 
  He said HB 79 contained three steps:  (1) proving that an                    
  individual committed a crime; (2) proving that the child was                 
  a dependent of the parent; and (3) proving actual damages.                   
  REP. BUNDE noted that HB 79 provided that a person could                     
  only seek recovery of actual damages caused, with an upper                   
  limit of $50,000.  He said that knowing that they could be                   
  liable for $50,000 if their children committed crimes,                       
  parents would be more likely to make sure that they knew                     
  where their children were and what they were doing.                          
  REP. BUNDE stated that in the case of good parents whose                     
  children were simply uncontrollable, there was a process by                  
  which the children could be adjudicated as "delinquent."  In                 
  that case, he added, the parents would not be financially                    
  responsible for damages caused by the child.                                 
  REP. BUNDE addressed Mr. Frank's suggested amendment to HB
  79.  The amendment would put into statute a provision that                   
  no insurance company could write a policy in Alaska covering                 
  the type of liability addressed in HB 79.  He said that he                   
  opposed the proposed amendment.                                              
  REP. BUNDE said that increased liability would lead to                       
  increased awareness among parents as to their                                
  responsibilities toward their children.  He noted that his                   
  bill would also allow victims of vandalism a greater                         
  opportunity to recover damages.                                              
  Number 212                                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS commented that had HB 79 been in place the                     
  year before, it might have saved the life of a Dimond High                   
  School student shot while stealing a furniture store sign in                 
  Number 220                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE noted that most children were not so evil that                    
  they would do something that would cause their parents to                    
  lose huge sums of money.  He said that his bill would cause                  
  children to consider the consequences of their actions.                      
  Number 237                                                                   
  REP. GREEN asked about a situation in which a child caused                   
  damage and the child's parents were financially capable of                   
  covering the cost of the damage but moved out of state.                      
  REP. BUNDE replied that under current law, a person who                      
  moved out of state was still responsible for her or his                      
  debts.  He noted that HB 79 would not change that.                           
  REP. GREEN asked Rep. Bunde if he had considered penalizing                  
  children directly for their acts of vandalism.  He mentioned                 
  revoking their driver's licenses or seizing their permanent                  
  fund dividend checks.                                                        
  Number 255                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE said that what Rep. Green had suggested was one                   
  of the original thrusts of HB 79.  However, he said that                     
  because minors could not enter into contracts, the state                     
  could not personally address those things for which a minor                  
  had to sign.  He said that HB 86, which he had also                          
  sponsored, provided for the seizure of a minor's vehicle if                  
  it was used in the commission of a crime.                                    
  Number 278                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON said that it seemed to him that HB 79 would                    
  create another type of victim -- the parents.  He expressed                  
  concern over the manner in which the problem of wayward                      
  youth was being attacked.  He suggested increasing the                       
  amount of liability from the current $2,000, but making it                   
  lower than the $50,000 proposed in HB 79.                                    
  Number 307                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE said that it was not his intention to set a new                   
  limit.  He noted that he just set out the jurisdictional                     
  amount currently allowed in the district court.  He                          
  commented that he shared Rep. Davidson's concerns about                      
  wayward children.  However, he stated that parents needed to                 
  do all they could to be responsible for their children.                      
  Number 323                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON asked about society's obligation toward                        
  wayward youth.                                                               
  Number 327                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE indicated that if a parent knew of her or his                     
  substantial financial obligation, he or she would either                     
  rein in the children as best they could or have them                         
  adjudicated as delinquent.                                                   
  Number 334                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON asked what tools parents could use to rein in                  
  their children.                                                              
  REP. BUNDE replied that parents could decide what tools to                   
  use.  He commented that the only legal protection parents                    
  had against out-of-control children was to have them                         
  adjudicated as delinquent.                                                   
  Number 342                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON noted that the state could do better than to                   
  pass legislation dumping the load back on the parents.  He                   
  reiterated his belief that parents were not the only ones at                 
  fault when it came to wayward children.                                      
  Number 356                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER commented that he agreed with Rep.                           
  Davidson's point that the state needed to strike a balance                   
  between accountability and authority capability.  He said he                 
  was looking at ways to allow parents to have the authority                   
  that they needed to maintain discipline and control over                     
  their children.  He stated that in recent years, laws                        
  protecting children from abuse and sexual assault might have                 
  gone overboard to the point that parental authority had been                 
  Number 386                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER spoke about a case he had once handled in                    
  which a 15-year-old girl had run away from home because her                  
  parents would not allow her to smoke.  Under current law, he                 
  said, the police could not take her home if she did not want                 
  to go.                                                                       
  Number 409                                                                   
  REP. NORDLUND mentioned Rep. Bunde's HB 100, Prosecution of                  
  Juvenile Felons, and the sponsor's comment that children                     
  under the age of 18, in some cases, ought to be tried as                     
  adults.  Yet in HB 79, he said, the sponsor provided that                    
  parents should be responsible for the actions of children                    
  under the age of 18.  He asked Rep. Bunde to explain this                    
  apparent incongruity.                                                        
  Number 425                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE said that Rep. Nordlund's point was well taken.                   
  He said HB 79 relied somewhat on existing law in that it was                 
  difficult to recover damages from a person under the age of                  
  Number 442                                                                   
  REP. NORDLUND commented that the approaches of HB 100 and                    
  HB 79 seemed to be at cross-purposes.                                        
  Number 446                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE stated that he understood Rep. Nordlund's point,                  
  but he did not entirely concur.  He said he did not see his                  
  ideas as mutually contradictory.                                             
  REP. NORDLUND clarified his point by saying that if a child                  
  was able to make adult decisions, then the parents should be                 
  released from responsibility for the child's actions.                        
  Number 459                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE said that parents could be released from                          
  responsibility through legal action.                                         
  Number 464                                                                   
  REP. JAMES stated that she viewed HB 79 and HB 100 as                        
  addressing two entirely different issues.  She said that the                 
  issue of parental responsibility did not necessarily enter                   
  into HB 100.                                                                 
  Number 479                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE expressed his opinion that the two bills                          
  addressed two different issues.                                              
  REP. KOTT asked if HB 79 would result in the state being                     
  obligated to cover damages committed by a minor.  He                         
  mentioned a case on the Kenai Peninsula in which a child in                  
  the custody of the state and living in a foster home had                     
  committed arson.                                                             
  REP. BUNDE said that under current law, a state agency or                    
  its agents would not be liable for the acts of a minor in                    
  their custody.  He said his bill would not change that or                    
  increase the state's liability.                                              
  Number 514                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON asked Rep. Bunde if he had children, and if                    
  so, what tools he employed to control the behavior of his                    
  Number 515                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE said that he did have children and used remedies                  
  ranging from a strong voice and spankings to "time out" and                  
  threats of kicking the children out of the house if they did                 
  not behave.  He noted that if he had been responsible for                    
  $50,000 in damages committed by his children, he would have                  
  adjudicated them as delinquent as soon as he felt they might                 
  commit damage in retaliation for being kicked out of the                     
  house.  He said that he subscribed to the theory of "Tough                   
  Love," whereby a child was told that if he or she lived with                 
  parents, he or she would have to abide by rules set by the                   
  Number 531                                                                   
  REP. KOTT asked what happened once a child was adjudicated                   
  as delinquent.                                                               
  Number 535                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE replied that he believed that such children                       
  became wards of the court.                                                   
  Number 543                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON commented that a parent could not have a child                 
  adjudicated as delinquent unless the child had committed a                   
  crime, in his understanding.                                                 
  Number 547                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE said that his research indicated that if a child                  
  were out of control, a parent could have him or her                          
  adjudicated as delinquent.  He noted that the process was                    
  not a simple one.                                                            
  Number 554                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that it was his understanding that a                   
  court had to judge whether or not a child was delinquent.                    
  Number 560                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON said that a parent could not necessarily have                  
  an unruly child adjudicated as delinquent.                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER replied that Rep. Davidson was correct.                      
  REP. NORDLUND asked about a child who committed an act of                    
  vandalism, was caught, and was charged with a crime by the                   
  police.  At that point, he asked, would the child be                         
  adjudicated as delinquent, and therefore not covered under                   
  the provisions of HB 79?                                                     
  Number 574                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE said that the child would not be considered                       
  delinquent at the point at which the crime was committed.                    
  He or she would be adjudicated as such after the crime was                   
  Number 579                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER commented that one malicious act would not                   
  guarantee that a child would be branded "delinquent."                        
  Number 586                                                                   
  REP. KOTT asked if a parent could petition the court to                      
  adjudicate a child as delinquent if that child ran away from                 
  Number 596                                                                   
  RANDALL HINES, YOUTH CORRECTIONS SPECIALIST with the                         
  DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES, commented that                     
  children entered the juvenile justice system through a                       
  number of means:  petitions filed by law enforcement                         
  agencies, school district referrals, and parental referrals.                 
  However, he said if a child did not break the law, no                        
  delinquent offense had occurred.  He stated that a child                     
  could not be adjudicated as delinquent just because he or                    
  she had run away from home and was incorrigible.                             
  Number 613                                                                   
  REP. KOTT asked if, under HB 79's provisions, a parent could                 
  be liable for $50,000 worth of damage caused by a teenage                    
  Number 620                                                                   
  MR. HINES noted that parents could not "adjudicate" their                    
  children as delinquent; only the court could do that.                        
  Number 626                                                                   
  REP. KOTT commented that the committee should get a legal                    
  opinion as to whether adjudication was the only mechanism                    
  for alleviating parental responsibility for damage caused by                 
  their children.  He asked Mr. Hines to discuss the                           
  emancipation process.                                                        
  Number 631                                                                   
  MR. HINES said that in order for a child to be legally                       
  emancipated, it had to be demonstrated to the court that the                 
  child was recognized as an adult.                                            
  CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that for a child to be emancipated,                    
  the child often had to demonstrate talents, not liabilities.                 
  Number 639                                                                   
  REP. JAMES expressed her belief that if a parent could not                   
  control a child, he or she could have the child placed in                    
  foster care.                                                                 
  Number 646                                                                   
  MR. HINES replied that emergency foster care could be                        
  provided for such children in some cases.                                    
  Number 654                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON asked Mr. Hines if he felt that changing laws                  
  so as to give parents reasons to relinquish control of their                 
  children to the state was a good idea.                                       
  Number 663                                                                   
  MR. HINES said that each family was "a fingerprint," and the                 
  issues surrounding a family's ability to care for a child                    
  were very complex.  He said that strengthening the runaway                   
  law might be a step in the right direction.  He added that                   
  providing additional foster care might also be part of the                   
  solution.  He said that there was not one simple answer to                   
  this complex problem.                                                        
  Number 689                                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS made a motion to move HB 79 out of committee                   
  with individual recommendations.                                             
  Number 692                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON objected.  He asked that the committee hear                    
  testimony from the court system on the issue.                                
  Number 697                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER commented that the committee had addressed                   
  many important issues.  He said that in his understanding                    
  HB 79 was not intended to solve the whole problem of                         
  delinquent juveniles.  He said that the bill had a                           
  relatively narrow focus in deterring some juveniles from                     
  committing acts of vandalism.                                                
  Number 715                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON maintained his objection, as he was not                        
  convinced that HB 79 was a good bill.  He noted that bills                   
  that the committee passed out might well become state law.                   
  He said that the legislature needed to address all the                       
  aspects of the problem of delinquent juveniles.  He said he                  
  appreciated the sponsor's effort, but felt that HB 79 would                  
  result in more pressure on the family unit.  He said that he                 
  would like to hear from more agencies, more parents, and                     
  perhaps some children.                                                       
  CHAIRMAN PORTER called for a roll call vote on the motion to                 
  move the bill from committee.  Reps. Green, Kott, James and                  
  Porter voted "yea."  Reps. Davidson and Nordlund voted                       
  "nay."  And so, HB 79 was moved out of committee with                        
  individual recommendations and a zero fiscal note.                           
  CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that, because the committee would be                   
  meeting jointly with the Senate Judiciary Committee at 3:30                  
  p.m., perhaps it would be best to not hear HB 86 until                       
  another time.                                                                
  CHAIRMAN PORTER adjourned the meeting at 3:05 p.m.                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects