Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/10/1995 01:06 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE March 10, 1995 1:06 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Brian Porter, Chairman Representative Joe Green, Vice Chairman Representative Con Bunde Representative Al Vezey Representative Cynthia Toohey Representative David Finkelstein MEMBERS ABSENT Representative Bettye Davis COMMITTEE CALENDAR HJR 1: "Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Alaska relating to repeal of regulations by the legislature." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE HB 188: "An Act creating the crime of indecent viewing and photography." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE HB 32: "An Act relating to administrative proceedings involving a determination of eligibility for a permanent fund dividend or authority to claim a dividend on behalf of another." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE HB 90: "An Act changing the date that the legislature convenes in the years following a gubernatorial election." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE HB 28: "An Act relating to the possession of weapons within the grounds of or on the parking lot of preschools, elementary, junior high, and secondary schools or while participating in a school-sponsored event; requiring the expulsion or suspension of students possessing deadly weapons on school grounds; and relating to school lockers and other containers provided in a public or private school by the school or the school district." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE HB 200: "An Act reassigning responsibility for the custody of persons pending their arraignments, commitment to the custody of the commissioner of corrections, or admission to a state correctional facility, and authorizing the commissioner of corrections to employ guards for emergencies on the same basis as the commissioner of public safety, as partially exempt service employees; and providing for an effective date." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE HJUD - 03/10/95 HB 25: "An Act revising Rule 16, Alaska Rules of Criminal Procedure, relating to discovery and inspection in criminal proceedings, to adopt the comparable federal rule." SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD WITNESS REGISTER REPRESENTATIVE GAIL PHILLIPS Speaker of the House Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 208 Juneau, AK 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-2689 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HJR 1 CHUCK ACHBERGER, Executive Director Juneau Chamber of Commerce 124 West 5th Street Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 586-6420 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HJR 1 REPRESENTATIVE JERRY MACKIE House of Representatives Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 404 Juneau, AK 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-4925 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of CSHB 188 MELINDA GRUENING, Aide Representative Green Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 24 Juneau, AK 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-4931 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of CSHB 32 DEBORAH VOGT, Deputy Commissioner Department of Revenue P.O. Box 110400 Juneau, AK 99811-0400 Telephone: (907) 465-2300 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of CSHB 32 WENDY HUGHES, Permanent Fund Dividend Specialist Permanent Fund Dividend Division Department of Revenue P.O. Box 110400 Juneau, AK 99811-0400 Telephone: (907) 465-2323 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of CSHB 32 DOROTHY GARRETT, Aide Representative Bettye Davis Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 430 Juneau, AK 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-3875 POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced HB 90 SHEILA PETERSON, Special Assistant Commissioner's Office Department of Education 801 West 10th Street, Suite 200 Juneau, AK 99801-1894 Telephone: (907) 465-2803 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of CSHB 28 VERNON MARSHALL, Executive Director National Education Association 114 2nd Street Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 586-3090 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of CSHB 28 MARGOT KNUTH, Assistant Attorney General Criminal Division Department of Law P.O. Box 110300 Juneau, AK 99811-0300 Telephone: (907) 465-3428 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided information on CSHB 28 JERRY SHRINER, Special Assistant Commissioner's Office Department of Corrections 240 Main Street, Suite 700 Telephone: (07) 465-4640 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in favor of HB 200 LEUITENANT TED BACHMAN, Manager Community Jails, Department of Public Safety 117 West 4th Avenue Anchorage, AK 99502 Telephone: (907) 258-8892 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided information on HB 200 DENNY DEWITT, Aide Representative Eldon Mulder Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 411 Juneau, AK 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-2647 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided information on HB 200 REPRESENTATIVE ELDON MULDER State Capitol, Room 411 Alaska State Legislature Juneau, AK 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-2647 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 200 PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HJR 1 SHORT TITLE: REPEAL OF REGULATIONS BY LEGISLATURE SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) PHILLIPS, Rokeberg, Brice, Green, Williams, Therriault, G.Davis, Ogan JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/06/95 16 (H) PREFILE RELEASED 01/16/95 16 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/16/95 16 (H) STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY 01/18/95 73 (H) COSPONSOR(S): GREEN 02/07/95 (H) MINUTE(ARR) 02/14/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 519 02/14/95 (H) MINUTE(STA) 02/23/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 02/23/95 (H) MINUTE(STA) 02/28/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 02/28/95 (H) MINUTE(STA) 03/01/95 519 (H) STA RPT 3DP 2NR 03/01/95 519 (H) DP: JAMES, PORTER, GREEN 03/01/95 519 (H) NR: ROBINSON, WILLIS 03/01/95 520 (H) FISCAL NOTE (GOV) 03/01/95 520 (H) ZERO FISCAL NOTE (LAW) 03/01/95 546 (H) FINANCE REFERRAL ADDED 03/08/95 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 03/08/95 (H) MINUTE(JUD) 03/10/95 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 BILL: HB 188 SHORT TITLE: INDECENT PHOTOGRAPHY SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MACKIE, Porter, Phillips, Robinson, Navarre, Green, James, Kubina, Elton JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/20/95 419 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/20/95 419 (H) JUDICIARY, FINANCE 02/22/95 456 (H) COSPONSOR(S): KUBINA 02/23/95 469 (H) COSPONSOR(S): ELTON 02/27/95 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 02/27/95 (H) MINUTE(JUD) 03/06/95 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 03/06/95 (H) MINUTE(JUD) 03/10/95 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 BILL: HB 32 SHORT TITLE: PFD ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) GREEN JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/06/95 29 (H) PREFILE RELEASED 01/16/95 29 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/16/95 29 (H) STA, JUD, FIN 02/07/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 02/07/95 (H) MINUTE(STA) 02/09/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 02/09/95 (H) MINUTE(STA) 02/13/95 333 (H) STA RPT CS(STA) 5DP 2NR 02/13/95 333 (H) DP: JAMES, PORTER, GREEN, ROBINSON, OGAN 02/13/95 333 (H) DP: IVAN, WILLIS 02/13/95 333 (H) FISCAL NOTE (REV) 03/10/95 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 BILL: HB 90 SHORT TITLE: CONVENING LEGISLATURE AFTER GOV ELECTION SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) B.DAVIS, Foster, MacLean, Mackie, Nicholia, Elton, Finkelstein, Robinson, Davies, Kubina, James, Toohey JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/17/95 51 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/17/95 52 (H) STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY 01/27/95 163 (H) COSPONSOR(S): FOSTER, MACLEAN 01/30/95 180 (H) COSPONSOR(S): MACKIE, NICHOLIA 01/30/95 180 (H) COSPONSOR(S): ELTON, FINKELSTEIN 02/01/95 210 (H) COSPONSOR(S): ROBINSON, DAVIES 02/01/95 210 (H) COSPONSOR(S): KUBINA, JAMES 02/03/95 242 (H) COSPONSOR(S): TOOHEY 02/09/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 02/09/95 (H) MINUTE(STA) 02/14/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 519 02/14/95 (H) MINUTE(STA) 02/21/95 (H) STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102 02/21/95 (H) MINUTE(STA) 02/22/95 443 (H) STA RPT 7DP 02/22/95 444 (H) DP: PORTER, GREEN, IVAN, ROBINSON 02/22/95 444 (H) DP: WILLIS, OGAN, JAMES 02/22/95 444 (H) ZERO FISCAL NOTE (LAA) 03/10/95 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 BILL: HB 28 SHORT TITLE: POSSESSION OF GUNS ON SCHOOL PROPERTY SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) BUNDE, Rokeberg, Green, Toohey, Kott, Elton JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/06/95 28 (H) PREFILE RELEASED 01/16/95 28 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/16/95 28 (H) HES, JUD, FIN 01/18/95 75 (H) COSPONSOR(S): GREEN 01/20/95 104 (H) COSPONSOR(S): TOOHEY 01/27/95 161 (H) COSPONSOR(S): KOTT, ELTON 02/14/95 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 02/14/95 (H) MINUTE(HES) 02/21/95 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 02/21/95 (H) MINUTE(HES) 02/22/95 440 (H) HES RPT CS(HES) NEW TITLE 4DP 2NR 02/22/95 440 (H) DP: ROKEBERG, G.DAVIS, BUNDE, TOOHEY 02/22/95 440 (H) NR: ROBINSON, BRICE 02/22/95 440 (H) 2 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (DPS, DOE) 03/10/95 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 BILL: HB 200 SHORT TITLE: CUSTODY OF PRISONERS SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MULDER BY REQUEST, Foster, Kott JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/27/95 488 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 02/27/95 488 (H) JUDICIARY, FINANCE 03/10/95 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 BILL: HB 25 SHORT TITLE: CRIMINAL DISCOVERY RULES SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) PARNELL, Porter, Green, Bunde, Toohey JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/06/95 27 (H) PREFILE RELEASED 01/16/95 27 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 01/16/95 27 (H) JUDICIARY, FINANCE 01/18/95 75 (H) COSPONSOR(S): GREEN 01/19/95 89 (H) COSPONSOR(S): BUNDE 01/27/95 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 01/27/95 (H) MINUTE(JUD) 01/30/95 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 01/30/95 (H) MINUTE(JUD) 02/01/95 (H) FIN AT 01:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519 02/06/95 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 02/06/95 (H) MINUTE(JUD) 02/08/95 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 02/08/95 (H) MINUTE(JUD) 02/13/95 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 02/13/95 (H) MINUTE(JUD) 02/15/95 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 02/17/95 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 02/22/95 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 02/22/95 (H) MINUTE(JUD) 02/27/95 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 03/10/95 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 95-28, SIDE A Number 000 The House Judiciary Standing Committee was called to order at 1:06 p.m. on Friday, March 10, 1995. A quorum was present. CHAIRMAN BRIAN PORTER stated that the following bills would be heard: HJR 1, CSHB 188, CSHB 32, HB 90, CSHB 28, and HB 200. HJUD - 03/10/95 HJR 1 - REPEAL OF REGULATIONS BY LEGISLATURE REPRESENTATIVE GAIL PHILLIPS, bill sponsor, introduced HJR 1. She explained that this joint resolution is a proposal to place a constitutional amendment before the voters of the State of Alaska on the 1996 general election ballot. The amendment would permit the legislature to repeal regulations promulgated by state agencies that do not properly implement state statutes. Although many resolutions do conform to, and accurately implement the laws passed by the legislature, there are an increasing number of situations where regulations imposed on the citizens of this state do not. In many cases, legislative directives are ignored, or regulations are promulgated that go far beyond the scope of what the legislature intended. As you know, once regulations go into effect, they have all the full force and effect of law. This is the case, even though regulations are promulgated by agency bureaucrats who do not have to answer to the voters. The Alaska Constitution provides a system of checks and balances among the three branches of government. The people of Alaska have their own check on government through the voting booth, the initiative process, and final authority over amendments to the constitution. However, one area that is beyond access to the people's voice, is the tremendous volume of administrative regulations which are developed by the state agencies. These regulations affect every aspect of our people's lives, yet the people are virtually powerless to change them. This constitutional amendment proposed in HJR 1 will provide people a reasonable avenue to seek the repeal of improper regulations. This issue has been before the voters three different times, and prior efforts to persuade the voters to support similar amendments have failed. Nevertheless, a better campaign presentation, clear ballot language, and the current popular support for regulatory reform will allow us to bring this constitutional amendment, and make it a reality. Now, more than ever, Alaskans understand how regulations affect their daily lives, and the support of this ballot proposition brings state regulations closer to the people. REPRESENTATIVE DAVID FINKELSTEIN asked what has happened since 1986. He remembered this being on the ballot since 1986. REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS said it has not been on the ballot since 1986. It has been on the ballot three times, 1986 being the last time. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked what happened to this in the last legislature. REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS answered that it went all the way through and died on the Senate floor on the last day of session. It received a vote of 14 to five, but needed 15 votes, because it is a constitutional amendment. Number 100 CHUCK ACHBERGER, Executive Director, Juneau Chamber of Commerce, was also representing the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce. He said they support HJR 1. The cost of regulations in Alaska is becoming one of the biggest costs of doing business. While regulations are necessary, some make no sense; or worse yet, are being used by regulatory agencies as blunt instruments against business. The act of writing regulations is often without public input, with an eye to making life easier for the regulator than for the citizen. This is just human nature. What is truly disturbing is that when regulatory agencies set out to protect you, me and the environment, an individual's bias often takes the regulation away from the intent of the law that was passed. In doing so, they become the lawmakers. HJR 1 would provide some recourse for both you, the lawmakers, and myself, as well as to the business community, to correct some of these digressions; and in doing so, return the making of the laws to those who are elected. CHAIRMAN PORTER read a resolution from the State Chamber of Commerce into the record: "Whereas Alaska is competing in a global economy in increasingly competitive areas working to attract industry and business worldwide, and whereas the perception of Alaska as a favorable place to do business is vital to its success in this competitive arena, and whereas excessive and burdensome regulation constrains and discourages business; therefore be it resolved that the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce asks the Administration and the State Legislature to focus its efforts toward creating a regulatory, economic environment, supportive of business development which encourages business to locate and grow in Alaska. "And be it further resolved that the Alaska State Chamber also asks the Legislature and the Administration to provide for oversight to assure that regulations are producing effective results which follow legislative intent." CHAIRMAN PORTER asked if there was anyone else who wished to provide testimony. Hearing none, he closed the public hearing on HJR 1. REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY made a motion to pass the resolution out of committee with individual recommendations. Seeing no objection, HJR 1 was moved. HJUD - 03/10/95 HB 188 - INDECENT PHOTOGRAPHY Number 180 CHAIRMAN PORTER explained that HB 188 had been previously heard by the Judiciary Committee on Monday, March 6. They had discussed rules for security surveillance systems. He felt the committee substitute would address everyone's concerns. REPRESENTATIVE JERRY MACKIE, bill sponsor, described the changes made in the committee substitute. The first change is on page 1, line 5. The word "and" was changed to "or", making it read, "...the viewing or photography..." The second change was on lines 7 and 8, adding the words, "...notice of the viewing or photography was posted." That met Representative Mackie's concern about the dressing room situation, because if Nordstrom posted a sign warning that customers were being viewed in the dressing rooms, public outcry would probably get rid of the viewing altogether. At least there is opportunity for somebody to be aware in those situations. It is good compromise language. CHAIRMAN PORTER added that the "and" being changed to "or" addressed a concern voiced by Randall Burns of the Alaska Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). Mr. Burns felt this would make it clear we were not intending to prohibit someone's viewing of a picture for crime prevention purposes. REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY made a motion to adopt the committee substitute, Version 20-G, dated 3/8/95. Seeing no objection the committee substitute was adopted. Number 225 REPRESENTATIVE AL VEZEY asked if this wording would force a bank or liquor store to post notice of a surveillance system in the lobby. REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE said no, because the only thing this bill addresses are instances where a person has the expectation of privacy. Number 270 REPRESENTATIVE DAVID FINKELSTEIN'S only problem with this bill was in making a portion of the violation a felony. He did not object, though, understanding there are a lot of different views on punishments. REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY made a motion to move the bill with individual recommendations and zero fiscal notes. Seeing no objection, it was so ordered. HJUD - 03/10/95 CSHB 32 - PFD ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS Number 340 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN, bill sponsor, introduced CSHB 32. Sponsor statement: "HB 32 addresses a serious problem with the number of appeals filed after an applicant is denied a Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD), and the length of time that it takes to process those appeals. As of January 1, 1995 there were approximately 9,740 appeals pending, the highest number since the PFD program's inception. One district 10 resident is still waiting to be heard almost 2 years after filing, and there are people who have waited even longer for their appeals to be processed and resolved. Processing such a large number of appeals is costly as well as being unfair to those who have a legitimate claim. Currently there are 10 permanent full time employees in the PFD Division and one appeals officer in the commissioner's office working on processing the appeals, yet there are still almost 10,000 appeals pending, with no end in sight. Part of the problem is that it only costs a 32 cent stamp to file an appeal. Many people who clearly do not meet the qualifications for receiving a dividend protest their denial simply because they have the opportunity to do so at no risk to themselves. The 1994 denial rate was 64%. In years prior to 1994 the percentage rate of denials has been significantly higher. "HB 32 would implement a $25 filing fee for individuals protesting the denial of their PFD application (the department will adopt a regulation to allow indigent individuals to be exempt from the fee). The filing fee would be refundable if their appeal is successful, and non-refundable if the denial is upheld. It is anticipated that the implementation of a filing fee would discourage clearly unqualified individuals from appealing, thereby reducing costs which are deducted from the amount of the dividend, and making the appeals process significantly shorter for legitimate claims." MELINDA GRUENING, Aide to Representative Green was called forward to answer questions on CSHB 32. Number 415 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked for clarification on the definition of indigent. He himself did not know it until he was actually well along in his career, but he had fallen below the poverty line for a large portion of his life, and nobody had told him. For that reason, he questioned whether or not the indigent clause would be a reasonable guideline. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN stated they wanted to get away from an arbitrary application of the cost. Having an established definition would suffice. It certainly eliminates any question about whether or not you are indigent or not. CHAIRMAN PORTER felt that including the indigent qualification was probably a requirement. MS. GRUENING answered that was correct. The Supreme Court has ruled that any fee the state has, has to include an indigent clause. Initially, in the bill, we left it up to the department to define indigent. In the last committee of referral, which was State Affairs, they felt very strongly that we should establish what the criteria would be, and not leave it up to the department. Working with the department, they said they needed something that was very nonsubjective, and easy to verify. These federal guidelines are put out by the Department of Health and Human Services once a year and are published in the Federal Register in April. They have a special adjustment for Alaska, taking our higher cost of living into account. This standard is also used in determining eligibility for Public Defenders, Fish and Game reduction of fees, and for Public Assistance benefits. REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE asked if the $25 fee came close to the cost of processing, or if the cost was more of an attempt to discourage people from appealing. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN replied they felt the amount was high enough to act as a discouragement for frivolous appeals, but not so high as to eliminate people who were thinking they had a borderline legitimate appeal. Number 500 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN thought it would be helpful to know the amount of money spent on appeals by the department. DEBORAH VOGT, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Revenue, did not have the figures, but could say that the department has employed at least one hearing officer full time to handle PFD appeals. They have employed a number of hearing officers, all of whom had spent a portion of their time on PFD appeals. Those people have been at a range 25 in the past. We are in the process of restructuring the section so that they will now be range 22's. She stated that $25 would be minimal in comparison to the actual cost of handling an appeal through review and informal hearings. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN was concerned about the cost being that low. Number 550 WENDY HUGHES, Permanent Fund Dividend Specialist III, Department of Revenue, explained that she is a range 18 who overlooks all of the cases. There are two PFD Specialist II's, at range 16, who present appeals in formal hearings in front of the hearing officer for the division, and they also carry an informal case load. There are six PFD Specialist I's, at range 13, who hold informal conferences. REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY asked if it would be harmful to raise the cost to $50. Number 570 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN answered that when they had a higher fee in the bill, they experienced negative feedback from people, saying the amount was too high to pay. The idea was to exclude people who might be in that small percentage who had been denied a PFD in error. That is why we lowered the fee to $25. That amount was basically given to us by the department itself. There was a short discussion on whether or not people would be inclined to try and declare themselves as indigent, if the cost of appeal was any higher than $25. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN felt that raising the cost would be helpful to weed out people who were not actually Alaska residents. He offered an amendment changing the amount from $25 to $50. There was an objection and a roll call vote was taken. Representatives Finkelstein and Vezey voted yes. Representatives Bunde, Toohey, Green and Porter voted no. Amendment Number 1 failed, four to two. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN then offered Amendment Number 2, which would not limit the appeal cost, but would leave the amount of the cost up to the discretion of the department. There was an objection, and a roll call vote was taken. Representatives Finkelstein and Bunde voted yes. Representatives Toohey, Vezey, Green and Porter voted no. Amendment Number 2 failed, four to two. Number 800 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY made a motion to move CSHB 32 out of committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes. Seeing no objection, it was so ordered. TAPE 95-28, SIDE B HJUD - 03/10/95 HB 90 - CONVENING LEGISLATURE AFTER GOV. ELECTION Number 000 DOROTHY GARRETT, Aide to Representative Davis, introduced the bill. Sponsor Statement: "It is now nine years since the President and Congress of the United States declared Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Birthday a National Holiday. "Ironically, in Alaska, this holiday falls on the opening day of the Session in the year following a gubernatorial election. This not only means that the Alaskan Legislators are not able to pay proper homage to this great leader, but the hundreds of state workers who act as back-up staff are impacted as well. "I propose that this particular Session day be changed to the following Tuesday. This would bring Alaska into line with the other 48 states that observe this Holiday. "I would like to quote the Executive Proclamation issued by Governor Walter J. Hickel,: "Dr. King is remembered for his tireless dedication to achieving, through peaceful means, freedom and equal rights for all people, and for making the promise of democracy truly an inalienable right for all members of society." "Surely as elected legislators it is our responsibility to set an example to the millions of people who have benefited from the dreams and promises of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr." MS. GARRETT noted that this bill would actually save the state money. There was a discussion on whether or not Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday was a paid holiday, or one of those holidays that employees receive flex time for. MS. GARRETT clarified that it is a state holiday. CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that the problem is, this holiday is not recognized by the legislature. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY offered Amendment Number 1, which would have the legislature start meeting on the second Monday of January, every year. There was an objection, and a roll call vote was taken. Representative Vezey voted yes. Representatives Finkelstein, Bunde, Toohey, Green and Porter voted no. Amendment Number 1 failed, five to one. Number 240 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY made a motion to move HB 90 out of committee. Seeing no objection, it was so ordered. HJUD - 03/10/95 HB 28 - POSSESSION OF GUNS ON SCHOOL PROPERTY Number 250 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE, sponsor of HB 28, introduced the bill. Sponsor statement: "The increasing trend towards violence and guns in schools across the nation is the reason the Federal Gun Free Schools Act was passed by Congress. This act requires a school system, as a condition of receiving federal education funds, to implement a program for the control of guns and weapons in schools. HB 28 will put Alaska into compliance with the mandates of the Federal Gun Free Schools Act. "The possession of deadly weapons and defensive weapons on school grounds, in parking lots adjacent to public or private schools, and while participating in school events is prohibited by HB 28. However, a person can obtain permission from the chief administrative officer of a school to carry a prohibited weapon into a school. This provision will allow a school to use an existing gun range or continue functions within a school that require the legal use of a deadly or defensive weapon. "HB 28 provides for a one year expulsion or suspension of a student that possesses a weapon on school grounds. However, in instances of disabled or special education students the school administrator is granted the ability to modify the mandatory expulsion or suspension. Additionally, this legislation requires an annual statistical report to the Department of Education regarding the number of students expelled and the types of weapons involved. This provision will improve the way many school districts keep weapons reports. Both of these provisions are for compliance with the Gun Free Schools Act. "This legislation allows school locker searches in order to determine compliance with school regulations and state laws. The policy of locker searches must be posted in prominent locations throughout the school. "Alaska must comply with the Federal Gun Free Schools Act by passing this legislation, or our schools will lose needed federal dollars. However, the most important reason for passing this legislation is, schools cannot work well when students and teachers are concerned about their safety. The educational process stops when people are afraid. Although a wide range of underlying social ills contribute to violent incidents, children with guns and weapons in our schools is a strong catalyst for governmental action. I urge your favorable consideration of HB 28." Number 300 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked how this differs from existing statute, and also wondered what was wrong with existing statute. CHAIRMAN PORTER answered there was someone from the Department of Law who could answer that shortly, but he called the witnesses in the order they had signed in. Number 325 SHEILA PETERSON, Special Assistant, Commissioner's Office, Department of Education, endorsed what Representative Bunde indicated is the Gun Free School Act that was passed in federal law. It does require each state to have a statute by October 20, which would expel a student if it is determined the student has brought a gun to school. If we do not have a state law in place at that time, 99 million dollars of federal funds will be in jeopardy. Section 6 of HB 28 does address this and she urged the passage of this bill. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if she would like to attempt to answer his question. MS. PETERSON stated that as far as the expulsion of students goes, currently, school boards can adopt a policy, and several school boards have done so, to expel a student for up to a year for bringing a gun to school. This bill puts it into state law that schools must have this policy. CHAIRMAN PORTER added, "As is the federal mandate." MS. PETERSON said that was correct. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE stated that school policies vary throughout the state, and this would make the policy consistent statewide. Number 375 VERNON MARSHALL, Executive Director, National Education Association, made a short statement in support of the bill. They believe it is important for Alaska to make a statement that we expect our schools to be safe, gun-free zones, and that children need not be fearful of what may take place in a hall or classroom, as far as weapons are concerned, during the course of the day. He also believed those who originated the bill had exhibited foresight in the area of locker searches. If this becomes law, the school would have the opportunity to look into those lockers and see what is in them. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE stated the locker search provision would beat the constitutional challenge, as signs would be posted, and searched would be conducted randomly. These searches could not be misinterpreted as being arbitrary and capricious. Number 455 MARGOT KNUTH, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Law, Criminal Division, answered various questions. Right now, possessing weapons on school grounds is a class B misdemeanor. What this bill does is elevate that act to a class A misdemeanor. On page 2 of the bill, subsection (7)(c), allows a person 21 years of age or older to possess an unloaded firearm if the person is traversing school premises in a rural area for the purpose of entering public or private land that is open to hunting. She believed this was the result of an amendment request in an earlier committee. She added that while officials have the right to search lockers, they do not have the right to search day packs, without just cause. REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY asked if schools would be allowed to use metal detectors. MS. KNUTH answered that yes, they would. Metal detectors have been held to be a reasonable search, because they do not identify what is in the pack, only that there is metal, which is the weapon that you are looking for. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked what hearing and appeal process would be required prior to expulsion. MS. KNUTH answered that due process does apply. Requirements include that there be notice, and an opportunity to be heard. She was not sure what standard of evidence is used in the hearing. Number 560 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked if you could suspend them in the mean time. MS. KNUTH was not familiar with that area. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked Ms. Peterson if leaving the section in that allows for a person 21 years of age or older to cross the school grounds, in order to get to a hunting ground, as would be the case in some rural areas; would still keep the state in compliance with federal law. MS. PETERSON said the federal law requires the states to have a law on the books that will expel a student for up to one year, if that student brought a gun to school. MS. PETERSON added that the federal definition of a weapon does exclude a rifle that is used for recreational or cultural purposes. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked again, for the record, if would be in compliance with the federal law if we kept this section in. MS. PETERSON confirmed that we would be in compliance with federal law as long as we kept Section 6 in, which provides for expulsion. CHAIRMAN PORTER offered an amendment. On page 2, line 15, after, "within the" add "building". After the second "of", add a comma. Add the same conforming amendment on Page 3, line 2. Seeing no objection, the amendment was adopted. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY offered Amendment Number 2. This would delete Section 3. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE objected. REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said the effect would be to leave existing statute in place, which would make the possession of a weapon on school grounds, to be a misconduct involving weapons in the fifth degree, as opposed to being classified as misconduct in the fourth degree. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE observed that under current law, it is a greater offense to take a pair of brass knuckles into a bar, than it is to take a gun onto school grounds. Somehow, he felt that was backwards of what it should be. He argued against the amendment. He would rather see it raised to a higher level of concern. CHAIRMAN PORTER requested a roll call vote. Representative Vezey voted yes. Representatives Bunde and Toohey voted no. Representative Finkelstein passed. Representatives Green and Porter voted no. Representative Finkelstein voted no. Amendment Number 2 failed, five to one. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE made the motion to move CSHB 28 (JUD), as amended, from committee, with individual recommendations. Seeing no objection, the bill passed. HJUD - 03/10/95 HB 200 - CUSTODY OF PRISONERS Number 700 CHAIRMAN PORTER read the title of the bill and announced that since the bill sponsor had stepped out of the meeting, they would start taking testimony. JERRY SHRINER, Special Assistant, Commissioner's Office, Department of Corrections, explained that the effect of this bill would be to transfer the operation of community jails, of which there are 15 across the state, to the Department of Corrections for their operation management under contract with the municipalities that had these jails. There are no fiscal notes attached to this bill. The department would speak on behalf of it. They feel that the Department of Corrections is an appropriate place for the operation of these facilities. He was not yet familiar with the details. Although there is no fiscal note showing operating funds for these contract jails in the FY 96 budget, that amount would be the same whether they were operated by the Department of Corrections, or by the Department of Public Safety. The only extra costs would be 39.3 thousand dollars for start up costs to assist in negotiating the contracts which would take effect July 1. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if this would impact the problem the Department of Corrections has with jail space. MR. SHRINER said it would not affect the amount of space. The people who are in these facilities are in there for relatively short periods of time, generally pending transfer, either to a larger holding facility, or to serve a short sentence for a DWI, or something like that. Number 825 LEUITENANT TED BACHMAN, Alaska State Troopers, Department of Public Safety, manages the community jails. He gave an overview of the functions of the operation. There are currently 15 facilities throughout the state which are all owned and operated individually by local communities. They are contracted by the state to provide jail services, not only for the communities for which they are in, but for the surrounding communities as well. They are utilized by local police departments, the State Troopers, and everyone who has a need to care for prisoners. The current program is being operated at fiscal year 93 levels. About two years ago, there was a task force formed by the Governor which was made up of all groups of people who deal with the programs; from the legislature, to the contractors, to members of all the departments affected by this program. This task force took a comprehensive look at the entire program and made recommendations as to how it should be operated. The program has been in existence for over 20 years. It originated in the, then, Division of Corrections, within the Department of Health and Social Services, and was originally designed to provide pre-arraignment or first-24-hour holding facilities for rural areas. Once persons were arraigned, they could be transferred into the major areas into a state owned institution. As the years went by, the courts and every other part of the criminal justice system moved out into those rural areas, and those facilities then became pretrial, post-trial, and sometimes even facilities that held sentenced people. They have evolved much further than just pre- arraignment facilities. During the late 70's the Department of Law reviewed the program, and made the recommendation that facilities that were used for pre-arraignment only, should be transferred to DPS. And those facilities used beyond the pre-arraignment situations should be maintained by the Division of Corrections, which is now the Department of Corrections. At that time we inherited all of the facilities that existed, but they have changed dramatically since then. Number 850 DENNY DEWITT, Aide to Representative Eldon Mulder, said, as it has been explained, the purpose of HB 200 is to implement the recommendations of the Governor's Task Force on Community Jails. What is happening, is that the administrative structure of who operates community jails is being moved from DPS to Corrections. This bill simply enables that. REPRESENTATIVE ELDON MULDER arrived and also provided information on his bill. TAPE 95-29, SIDE A Number 000 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked if this might be a window of opportunity to initiate a privatization of a portion of our corrections industry. REPRESENTATIVE MULDER said that was a good question which they had been discussing in their subcommittee, and planned to continue spending a lot more time on. Privatization has proven to be a possibility, and a cost saving measure throughout the country. Our contract in Arizona is for $59 a day, per person. That includes making a profit and amortization of their debt. When you compare apples to apples in Alaska, we are well over $150. Privatization outside works, but you have to have some factors built in there. One factor is scale. The institution down there is a 500 bed facility. In Alaska, he believed we only have one facility nearing that magnitude, so the scale does not fit. The second thing that plays into it is the health care costs. The individuals sent to Arizona were picked partially for the fact that they did not pose any outstanding major medical problems. We are keeping most of the high maintenance prisoners. REPRESENTATIVE MULDER continued, stating that in the interest of where we go from where we are at; he had a go ahead from the Commissioner and the Governor to continue looking at privatization of certain facilities within the state. As you know, institutions are bulging at the seams, so we are going to look at the possibility of private facilities. He felt communities should be willing and able to pick up some of the cost for incarceration in their villages. This is something they plan to pursue through AML and through their committee. A good number of people like the idea of "three strikes, you're out" and bringing adolescents up into adult court for heinous crimes. They like getting tough with crime. But getting tough with crime has a cost. Right now, some of us are paying for that cost, and others are not. It is worthy of discussion. CHAIRMAN PORTER mentioned that these facilities were built with state funds and given to the municipalities. The people staffing these facilities are municipal employees who often have other municipal duties, besides the guard or matron duties at the jail. So the state is subsidizing that a little bit. They do not adopt their own municipal crime codes, so all prisoners are charged under state code, which makes them the state's responsibility, rather than the communities' responsibility. The communities are not contributing a dime. This has to stop. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE made a motion to move HB 200 out of committee with individual recommendations and fiscal notes. Seeing no objection, the bill moved. ADJOURNMENT The House Judiciary Committee adjourned at 2:30 p.m.