Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/29/1995 01:09 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                              
                         March 29, 1995                                        
                           1:09 p.m.                                           
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
 Representative Brian Porter, Chairman                                         
 Representative Joe Green, Vice Chairman                                       
 Representative Con Bunde                                                      
 Representative Bettye Davis                                                   
 Representative Al Vezey                                                       
 Representative Cynthia Toohey                                                 
 Representative David Finkelstein                                              
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                
 All members present                                                           
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
 HB 125:  "An Act relating to disclosures to school officials of               
          information about certain minors."                                   
          HEARD AND HELD                                                       
 HB 201:  "An Act relating to prisoner litigation, post-conviction             
          relief, sentence appeals, amending Alaska Administrative             
          Rule 10, Alaska Rules of Appellate Procedure 204, 208,               
          209, 215, 521, 603, and 604, and Alaska Rules of Criminal            
          Procedure 11, 33, 35, and 35.1; and providing for an                 
          effective date."                                                     
          SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                              
 HB 199:  "An Act creating the crime of criminal transmission of               
          SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                              
 HB 237:  "An Act relating to workers' compensation insurance rate             
          filings; to second independent medical evaluations for               
          workers' compensation claims; to immunity for third-party            
          design professionals from civil actions by recipients of             
          workers' compensation benefits; to workers' compensation             
          death benefits; to computation of workers' compensation              
          benefits; to penalties for fraudulent acts related to                
          workers' compensation; to immunity for employer workplace            
          safety inspections related to workers' compensation                  
          insurance; and providing for an effective date."                     
          SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                              
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
 CHUCK COONS, School Principal                                                 
 Undisclosed Alaskan Village                                                   
 Address not available                                                         
 Telephone:  Not available                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in favor of HB 125                             
 DOROTHY OETTER, Assistant Principal                                           
 Service High School                                                           
 5577 Abbott Road                                                              
 Anchorage, AK 99507                                                           
 Telephone:  (907)  346-2111                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in favor of HB 125                             
 RICHARD HEABHARD, Principal                                                   
 Haines High School                                                            
 P.O. Box 1289                                                                 
 Haines, AK 99827                                                              
 Telephone:  (907)  766-2411                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in favor of HB 125                             
 LOU MATHESON, Principal                                                       
 Southwest Region Schools                                                      
 P.O. Box 90                                                                   
 Dillingham, AK 99576                                                          
 Telephone:  (907)  842-5287                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in favor of HB 125                             
 LARRY LEDOUX, Principal                                                       
 Kodiak High School                                                            
 President, Alaska Association of                                              
   Secondary School Principals                                                 
 722 Mill Bay Road                                                             
 Kodiak, AK 99615                                                              
 Telephone:  (907)  486-9212                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in favor of HB 125                             
 BRAD SNODGRASS, Principal                                                     
 King Career Center                                                            
 2650 East Northern Lights Boulevard                                           
 Anchorage, AK 999508                                                          
 Telephone:  (907)  278-9631                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in favor of HB 125                             
 RANDY ROSENKRANTZ, Police Officer                                             
 Homer Police Department                                                       
 4060 Heath Street                                                             
 Homer, AK 99603                                                               
 Telephone:  (907)  235-3150                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in favor of HB 125                             
 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 HB 125                           
 JOHN CYR, School Teacher                                                      
 Wasilla High School                                                           
 290 East Herning Avenue                                                       
 Wasilla, AK 99687                                                             
 Telephone:  (907)  745-2015                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in favor of HB 125                             
 MARGARET BERCK, Attorney                                                      
 Alaska Civil Liberties Union                                                  
 227 - 7th Street                                                              
 Juneau, AK 99801                                                              
 Telephone:  (907)  586-3309                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in favor of HB 125                             
 ELMER LINDSTROM, Special Assistant                                            
 Office of the Commissioner                                                    
 Department of Health and Social Services                                      
 P.O. Box 110601                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-0601                                                         
 Telephone:  (907)  465-3030                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in favor of HB 125                             
 STEVE MCPHETRES                                                               
 Alaska Council of School Administrators                                       
 326 4th Street, No. 404                                                       
 Juneau, AK 99801                                                              
 Telephone:  465-9702                                                          
 POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in favor of HB 125                            
 LEE ANN LUCAS, Special Assistant                                              
 Office of the Commissioner                                                    
 Department of Public Safety                                                   
 P.O. Box 111200                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-1200                                                         
 Telephone:  (907)  465-4322                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in favor of HB 125                             
 CLAUDIA DOUGLAS, President                                                    
 National Education Association of Alaska                                      
 114 Second Street                                                             
 Juneau, AK 99801                                                              
 Telephone:  (907)  586-3090                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in favor of HB 125                             
 HELEN MURKINS                                                                 
 801 West 10th Street                                                          
 Juneau, AK 99801                                                              
 Telephone:  (907)  465-8730                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in favor of HB 125                             
 MELINDA GRUENING, Administrative Assistant                                    
 Representative Joe Green                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 24                                                        
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
 Telephone:  (907)  465-4931                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in favor of HB 125                             
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
 BILL:  HB 125                                                               
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) GREEN, Toohey, Bunde, Phillips, Ogan            
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG                  ACTION                                   
 01/26/95       143    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/26/95       143    (H)   HES, JUD                                          
 02/23/95              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 02/23/95              (H)   MINUTE(HES)                                       
 02/23/95              (H)   MINUTE(HES)                                       
 02/23/95              (H)   MINUTE(HES)                                       
 03/16/95              (H)   HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 03/16/95              (H)   MINUTE(HES)                                       
 03/17/95       769    (H)   HES RPT  CS(HES)  2DP 1NR 2AM                     
 03/17/95       770    (H)   DP: BUNDE, TOOHEY                                 
 03/17/95       770    (H)   NR: G.DAVIS                                       
 03/17/95       770    (H)   AM: ROKEBERG, ROBINSON                            
 03/17/95       770    (H)   FISCAL NOTE (COURT)                               
 03/17/95       770    (H)   2 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (DOE, DHSS)                   
 03/17/95       792    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): PHILLIPS                            
 03/29/95              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 BILL:  HB 201                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: PRISONER LITIGATION AND APPEALS                                  
 SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                  
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG                  ACTION                                   
 02/27/95       488    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/27/95       488    (H)   STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY, FINANCE                 
 02/27/95       488    (H)   3 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (LAW, CORR, DPS)              
 02/27/95       488    (H)   2 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (ADM)                         
 02/27/95       488    (H)   GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                     
 03/07/95              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 03/07/95              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 03/14/95              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 03/14/95              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 03/16/95              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 03/16/95              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 03/18/95              (H)   STA AT 10:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 03/18/95              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 03/20/95       807    (H)   STA RPT  3DP 1NR                                  
 03/20/95       807    (H)   DP: JAMES, GREEN, ROBINSON                        
 03/20/95       807    (H)   NR: IVAN                                          
 03/20/95       808    (H)   3 ZERO FNS (LAW, CORR, DPS) 2/27/95               
 03/20/95       808    (H)   2 ZERO FNS (ADM) 2/27/95                          
 03/27/95              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 03/27/95              (H)   MINUTES(JUD)                                      
 03/29/95              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 BILL:  HB 199                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: CRIMINAL TRANSMISSION OF HIV                                     
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) OGAN                                            
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG                  ACTION                                   
 02/27/95       487    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/27/95       487    (H)   STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY, FINANCE                 
 03/07/95              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 03/07/95              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 03/14/95              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 03/14/95              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 03/15/95       737    (H)   STA RPT  CS(STA) 2DP 1DNP 3NR                     
 03/15/95       737    (H)   DP: GREEN, OGAN                                   
 03/15/95       737    (H)   DNP: ROBINSON                                     
 03/15/95       737    (H)   NR: JAMES, PORTER, WILLIS                         
 03/15/95       737    (H)   INDETERMINATE FISCAL NOTE (LAW)                   
 03/15/95              (H)   2 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (ADM, CORR)                   
 03/29/95              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 BILL:  HB 237                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: WORKERS' COMPENSATION AMENDMENTS                                 
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG                  ACTION                                   
 03/06/95       597    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 03/06/95       598    (H)   LABOR & COMMERCE, JUDICIARY                       
 03/08/95       630    (H)   JOURNAL CORRECTION                                
 03/15/95              (H)   L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17                        
 03/15/95              (H)   MINUTE(L&C)                                       
 03/17/95       775    (H)   L&C RPT 3DP 3NR                                   
 03/17/95       776    (H)   DP: ROKEBERG, KOTT, PORTER                        
 03/17/95       776    (H)   NR: MASEK, KUBINA, ELTON                          
 03/17/95       776    (H)   3 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (DCED, LABOR, ADM)            
 03/29/95              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
 TAPE 95-37, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
 The House Judiciary Standing Committee was called to order at 1:09            
 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29, 1995.  A quorum was present.  The                
 meeting was teleconferenced to Haines, Dillingham, Seattle, Kenai,            
 Kodiak, Anchorage, and Homer.  CHAIRMAN BRIAN PORTER stated that              
 the following bills would be heard:  HB 125, HB 199, and HB 237.              
 He began the meeting with testimony on HB 125.                                
 HB 125 - JUVENILE CRIMINAL RECORDS TO SCHOOLS                               
 CHUCK COONS, School Principal from an undisclosed Alaskan village,            
 testified via teleconference from his hospital bed in Seattle.  He            
 described a situation in which he had been assaulted on the school            
 grounds.  He noted that he has been a school principal for 12                 
 years.  Over the years, he said they have not been allowed to work            
 closely with Public Safety Officers and with the Division of Family           
 and Youth Services (DFYS) in obtaining information on potentially             
 dangerous students.  As a school employee, he is concerned that               
 there are children coming into the building who are putting others            
 at risk.  From a village point of view, rural educators are the               
 greatest advocates for children, and we need to protect other                 
 children as well as ourselves.                                                
 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE asked Mr. Coons if he supported HB 125.              
 MR. COONS answered that yes he does.  He added that teachers in the           
 village many times become the counselors, the nurses, the big                 
 brothers, fathers, you name it.  There are a lot of problems these            
 children have that we are totally unaware of.  For the kids                   
 involved, it is important for the schools to know about problems              
 these children have.                                                          
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked him if he felt having this legislation             
 in effect would have been an asset to him.  He also asked Mr. Coons           
 if he had seen the committee substitute changes.                              
 MR. COONS answered that he had not seen the bill nor the changes.             
 His total knowledge of the bill is that it would mandate disclosure           
 of juveniles who had previous problems with whatever agency.                  
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE said one change would remove the mandatory               
 MR. COONS did not feel that disclosure of records was necessary               
 every time a youngster commits a crime, but he was concerned about            
 the ones who are repeat offenders.  These are the type of children            
 they should have access to information about, kids who have                   
 repeatedly committed violent acts.                                            
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked Mr. Coons how it would have helped him             
 in his particular assault situation, to have known about the                  
 criminal record of the student.                                               
 MR. COONS said if he had known that this particular youngster was             
 prone to use his fists, he might have taken a greater physical                
 distance from him.  He would not have been caught so unaware and              
 REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN asked MR. COONS if he dared speculate what           
 would have happened if this had involved a woman teacher.                     
 MR. COONS answered that he is not a small man, but he would imagine           
 that if this type of confrontation had happened to a female                   
 teacher, the student could have killed her.                                   
 DOROTHY OETTER, Assistant Principal, Service High School, testified           
 via teleconference.  She said that they run into this problem of              
 nondisclosure of information, which results in the unfortunate                
 situation where they do not have all of the agencies working                  
 together for the benefit of the child.  Each agency has a little              
 piece of the puzzle, and none of them have a full picture of what             
 is happening with the child.  After committing a crime, children              
 are being dropped back into situations in school that were not                
 positive for them to begin with, and no one even knows it is                  
 happening.  We are speaking in support of the students.  We need to           
 set up a situation where we are made aware, and can then set up               
 some kind of program to help them through at each level, to succeed           
 in school.  She feels strongly about sharing the information                  
 amongst agencies.                                                             
 Number 300                                                                    
 RICHARD HEABHARD, Principal, Haines High School, Testified via                
 teleconference.  He felt this legislation was a matter of urgent              
 importance.  Because of the growing violence all across this                  
 nation, including communities such as Haines, he is wholeheartedly            
 urging the Legislature to make it a requirement for law enforcement           
 agencies, as well as DFYS, to disclose to school officials                    
 information concerning elementary or secondary school age juveniles           
 who have committed acts of violence or serious offenses.  In doing            
 so, schools would be able to provide an environment more protective           
 of students and staff.  He worked in a school in California for               
 eight years prior to taking his current position in Haines.  The              
 on-campus violence was reduced drastically when legislation and a             
 local ordinance were passed, requiring full and complete disclosure           
 of this essential information.  Because teachers were alerted to be           
 watchful of these students, they were able to place potentially               
 dangerous students into special programs that would help them.                
 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked Mr. Heabhard if he was aware that the                   
 prohibition of disclosing this information had been lifted last               
 year, and became effective four months ago.                                   
 MR. HEABHARD felt giving out the information should be mandated,              
 and not left up to the discretion of local law enforcement agencies           
 or to the Division of Family and Youth Services.                              
 REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY asked Chairman Porter if this                   
 gentleman could be refused that information.                                  
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said that in developing this legislation, there has           
 been at least one instance where the police department has                    
 indicated the desire not to release this information.                         
 Number 400                                                                    
 LOU MATHESON, Principal, Dillingham School, testified via                     
 teleconference.  He agreed that they need the information in order            
 to support the students, and to place them in an environment that             
 does not enhance their bad behavior.  If we do not know about the             
 problem, there is no way we can do that.  We are allowed to have              
 this information now, but in order to have it, we must request it,            
 and many times we do not know to request it.  If disclosure of this           
 information is required, information on a student will come to them           
 that they would not have known to request.                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY suggested sending a request for information             
 on all students.  There must be some type of blanket form that you            
 can use to request information on all children who seem to be                 
 LARRY LEDOUX, President of the Alaska Association of Secondary                
 School Principals, also the School Principal in Kodiak, Alaska,               
 testified via teleconference.  In doing this for ten years, he has            
 seen a tremendous increase in violence in schools.  This year                 
 alone, they have expelled seven students for violence, including              
 knife assaults, brass knuckles, and firearms.  Four years ago, he             
 did not even know the expulsion procedure.  Now it seems to be the            
 norm.  Teachers have been threatened with weapons.  Some of these             
 students have a criminal history and some of them do not.  His                
 business is kids, and for him to be successful, he has to know what           
 is happening in their lives.  The greatest chance for success for             
 children who get into trouble with the law, is the schools, and we            
 have to know what is going on with them.  For example, a gang of              
 kids assaulted a fisherman, and put him in the hospital with stab             
 wounds.  The school was not contacted as to what happened, although           
 the police had interviewed the kids.  Those kids were in his school           
 the next day, walking around.  In the newspaper one night, he read            
 that a child had tried to shoot a parent with a shotgun.  The                 
 teachers and kids all knew it had happened, but nobody knew who it            
 was, because the information on a juvenile could not be released.             
 Kodiak, like many other communities, has experienced a tremendous             
 increase in gang activities; something Alaska has never faced                 
 before.  What he has seen is that this information MAY be released.         
 There is a big difference between MAY and SHALL.  If you are a            
 police officer or if you are working for DFYS, you are not going to           
 risk your job by sharing too much.  If there is doubt, you would              
 not share the information.  Like many principals across the state,            
 Mr. LeDoux believes we must have mandatory communication.  We will            
 not be able to handle the new violence in Alaska unless we work as            
 a team.  If we do not start mandating that and enforcing it, it is            
 going to be business as usual.                                                
 BRAD SNODGRASS, Principal, King Career Center, who testified via              
 teleconference, has been a long time educator in the state of                 
 Alaska, and began his career in Juneau in 1969.  He has been a                
 school administrator for 17 or 18 years.  He gave examples of                 
 students he has had to deal with just this year, to give the                  
 committee an idea of the changes in their student body.  In the               
 course of this year, they have had one student murdered, they had             
 four students go to jail for that murder, and two students in jail            
 for attempted murder.  One student was arrested in his office one             
 day for attempted murder, and was returned to school the next day             
 without notification by a police officer, which is not unusual.  He           
 finds out about these things through the grapevine.  The law                  
 enforcement agencies do not tell the school about these potentially           
 dangerous students.  We had two students in the same class, of                
 which one of them had shot at the other over the weekend.  A victim           
 and her assaulter had been placed in the same class, due to the               
 fact that the school had not known about the incident.  We have               
 also had students come to school the next day after a gun point               
 robbery.  A positive example is that we had prior notice of a sex             
 offender, and because of that knowledge, they were able to alert              
 the teachers to appropriate placement and appropriate surveillance            
 as well.  We need to provide a safe environment for our kids,                 
 taking into account that our doors are open to virtually every type           
 of offender.  He mentioned that AS 14.30.040 states that a student            
 can be denied admission for cause, one cause being conviction of a            
 felony, in which the governing body of the district determines that           
 admitting the child into school would be inimicable to the welfare            
 and education of other people.  That has never been able to be                
 enforced, because of the fact that they do not have this necessary            
 Number 600                                                                    
 RANDY ROSENKRANTZ, Police Officer, City of Homer, testified via               
 teleconference.  He told the story of three Homer boys, ages 11, 12           
 and 13, who were charged in Juvenile Court in 1993, for sexually              
 assaulting a five year old girl.  The case came to light when the             
 girl began having nightmares, and suddenly feared being left alone            
 in public.  The girl's mother brought her into counseling, and this           
 brought about a disclosure that was reported to the police.  After            
 the boys were charged in juvenile court, they were released to the            
 custody of their parents or guardians with certain conditions of              
 release, and were placed back into public school.  School officials           
 and parents were quickly made aware of the circumstances through              
 reports and rumor, and understandably became upset that these                 
 juveniles would be attending school with their own children.                  
 School officials had no way to even make an attempt to diffuse the            
 situation, because when they called the police department or DFYS,            
 they could not even be told the identity of the juveniles due to              
 confidentiality requirements.  Similar problems arose in 1994 when            
 certain juveniles who attended high school were charged in a                  
 burglary where several handguns were stolen and not yet recovered.            
 The suspects, quite possibly in possession of handguns, were                  
 attending school with no information provided to school officials.            
 HB 125 would alleviate this problem by making it possible for law             
 enforcement agencies to notify school principals when students are            
 charged with felony crimes.  Not only would this increase the                 
 safety of school students and staff, but it would also enable                 
 school counselors to identify and assist students who have been               
 charged with crimes.                                                          
 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked Mr. Snodgrass if he was aware that current              
 law provides for that to happen.                                              
 MR. SNODGRASS answered that as he understands it, current                     
 confidentiality requirements do not allow the police departments to           
 provide that information to our school officials.                             
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said we definitely are not getting the word out,              
 because that it is not the case.  The law passed last session and             
 became effective four months ago, allowing agencies to share this             
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY asked if there is some way they can alert the           
 Department of Education that this information is out there, and               
 that the department should become responsible for getting the word            
 out.  Otherwise Representative Toohey will go to the telephone and            
 call all school districts.                                                    
 CHAIRMAN PORTER thought there was a mechanism in place that will              
 start that information sharing process.                                       
 Number 700                                                                    
 MARGOT KNUTH, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division,                  
 Department of Law, said there are two issues before the                       
 legislature.  The first one is getting notice to school officials             
 about dangerous students, and the second is whether to pass a law             
 making this disclosure mandatory.  Last year, SB 54 passed through            
 the legislature, and for the first time, law enforcement officials            
 and state agencies were authorized to make disclosures to schools             
 about students for the safety of students and staff.  The problem             
 is that after the law passed, nothing was done right away in                  
 response to the change.  The Department of Health and Social                  
 Services first began by working on a regulations project, which is            
 now almost complete.  However, in the interim, steps are finally              
 being taken, and very rapidly at this point, to address this                  
 problem.  DFYS has developed a form that goes to the principal of             
 the school and it will identify the probation officer and provide             
 the probation officer's telephone number.  It also identifies the             
 youth, by name, date of birth, and what offense the youth has been            
 charged with.  It indicates whether the victim is a student or                
 staff member, and tells the school where the child is placed.                 
 There is a notice on it that the information is confidential, and             
 can only be placed in the student's record, and disclosed to school           
 officials as necessary to protect the safety of school students and           
 staff.  Other dissemination is not permitted.  This form has been             
 printed in the past week and is going out within the next seven               
 days.  It will be used statewide, and will get to schools within              
 ten days of an incident, in virtually every incident you can think            
 MS. KNUTH pointed out that there is a gap.  There is a problem                
 where a particularly dangerous incident occurs, and you need to               
 know immediately.  Law enforcement has taken it upon themselves to            
 create a form, a confidential alert to possible safety issues for             
 students or staff at your school.  This is a form that the Troopers           
 have prepared which will be made available to all law enforcement             
 agencies in the state to use for themselves.  There are over 50               
 different law enforcement agencies in the state.  The form provides           
 the agency, its case number, who the officer is, and a telephone              
 number the school can call for more information.  It gives the                
 principal's name, the school telephone number, and fax number where           
 the information is going to.  It will identify the individual and             
 indicate what the alleged offense is, whether the victim is a                 
 student or staff member, and whether the offense involved use of a            
 deadly weapon.  This has been done because the state does care                
 about the safety of students and staff, and as we have heard, this            
 violence in schools, though fairly recent, is escalating at a                 
 frightening level.  Unfortunately, incidents occur where there is             
 not enough information in the past that would allow you to foresee            
 this particular incident.                                                     
 MS. KNUTH recommended against making this a mandatory duty                    
 provision, from a liability point of view.  We are now in a                   
 situation that, just as we have escalating violence that we have              
 never had before, we also have escalating tort liability that we              
 have never had before, and it is out of control at this point.  If            
 we pass a mandatory statute that says there shall be mandatory                
 disclosure, somebody is going to be injured, and a suit is going to           
 filed, and the question of whether there was a breach of the duty,            
 under the statute, is going to be duked out after that, and we will           
 have to go through litigation to find out that, in fact, the former           
 offenses were all misdemeanors, and that it was not a situation in            
 which notice was required under the law.                                      
 TAPE NO. 95-37, SIDE B                                                        
 Number 000                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked what assurance there is that this will             
 continue once it is established.  The law passed last June, and for           
 the next six months nothing happened, and then it became effective            
 toward the end of the year, four months ago, and still nothing                
 happened; and now that the introduction of HB 125 is gaining                  
 momentum in the past week or two, we are really catching fire.  His           
 concern was that when the brushfire is over, so will those things             
 be over.  He asked Ms. Knuth about the potential litigation that              
 could occur because of a provision.  What about the other side of             
 that coin?  What about the fact that a man who weighed over 200               
 pounds was beaten up so severely he had to go to a hospital, and              
 that a little girl was raped?  What about the duty there to notify            
 a school system which children are required to attend, and they can           
 become victims because of lack of information supplied to that                
 school?  That is an atrocity, and very litigable.                             
 MS. KNUTH agreed.  She said they were all familiar that bureaucracy           
 is unwieldy, and it takes a while to get things set up, but once              
 you do come up with a procedure, the new forms will be distributed            
 and become a part of the new bureaucracy, and the inertia says that           
 once you start something, it is going to go forward and continue.             
 Number 200                                                                    
 JOHN CYR, School Teacher, Wasilla High School, testified via                  
 teleconference.  He started teaching in 1971.  The young people he            
 works with today are more violent and callused than anything he               
 could have imagined in his earlier days of teaching.  This year, he           
 started with more than 160 students on the class role.  More than             
 50 percent of them come from non-traditional homes.  Nearly 15                
 percent of them are on their own.  They share apartments with                 
 friends, or move from house to house as the occasion and the                  
 opportunity arises.  Some of his students have probation officers,            
 and more than a few of them have been through the juvenile court              
 system.  He has had more than one student this year who has had to            
 wear a court ordered bracelet that allows the court to monitor                
 their activities at all times.  The days of Ozzy and Harriet, if              
 they ever existed, are long over.  How do I know about probation              
 officers and ankle bracelets?  Kids tell me, and they brag to each            
 other.  But what about the violent students who do not brag to                
 their friends?  Which ones are they?  How many handguns are taken             
 from students in Anchorage who later end up in my history classes?            
 MR. CYR said that to some degree, his concern is for these young              
 offenders, but his primary concern is for the education and safety            
 of all of the students he sees every day.  Schools must be a                  
 sanctuary.  Young people must be safe in the school environment.              
 The only way for our young people to be safe is for those of us who           
 are in the trenches, teachers and classroom aides, to know who we             
 are dealing with.  If a student has a history of violent behavior,            
 we have to be made aware of the situation.  We must be given the              
 opportunity to educate and protect everyone in our classes.  We all           
 want our students and employees to be safe, and if we do not look             
 at who we are dealing with, we cannot do our job.                             
 Number 275                                                                    
 MARGARET BERCK, Attorney, spoke on behalf of the American Civil               
 Liberties Union (ACLU).  She believed the ACLU would be in support            
 of the position taken by the Department of Law.  It seems that                
 there is existing law that requires this kind of information to be            
 automatically distributed onto the forms that Ms. Knuth described             
 moments ago.  She also thought a space should be included that                
 would tell the school officials whether or not, as a condition of             
 release on probation, the student is required to attend school, so            
 that if the child is not attending school, the school officials can           
 alert the probation officer of this probation release violation.              
 As it stands now, it is up to the probation officers to contact               
 schools periodically to see if the people under their charge who              
 are required to attend school, are in fact, attending.  But it                
 would be very beneficial for the schools to immediately notify the            
 probation officer when that student does not attend in the morning.           
 Getting that information to a probation officer would essentially             
 get the case back in court, and would question the continued                  
 release of the child for having violated conditions of release,               
 which is, in fact, a separate crime.  She supported the position on           
 this legislation taken by the Department of Law.                              
 ELMER LINDSTROM, Special Assistant, Office of the Commissioner,               
 Department of Health and Social Services, explained that there is             
 a new process for implementing the new policy that the Department             
 of Law previously spoke to.  He read the first paragraph of a                 
 handout he provided to the committee:                                         
 "To:All Regional Administrators in DFYS                                      
 "From: Acting Director of DFYS                                                
 "Subject:  Policy, Disclosure of records to School Districts                  
 "This memo is a policy change regarding disclosure of information             
 to school districts, regarding youth who are alleged to have                  
 committed violent offenses and who may pose a danger to students or           
 staff.  Policy:  Effective immediately, probation officers are to             
 notify school administrative staff if there is probable cause to              
 believe that a youth has committed one of the following offenses,             
 and may pose a danger to staff:  murder, assault, sexual assault,             
 sexual abuse of a minor, robbery, theft, burglary, arson, criminal            
 mischief, misconduct with a weapon, felony drug violation, and                
 disorderly conduct."                                                          
 MR. LINDSTROM said the memo further explains how this will be                 
 implemented.  The point is that we are going to make every effort             
 to implement the disclosure provisions contained in SB 54 from last           
 year.  We appreciate the effort this committee put into that bill,            
 as well as staff from the Department of Law, school administrators            
 and staff, and we believe we can go forward with this policy, and             
 make the progress that everybody recognizes needs to be made.                 
 Number 540                                                                    
 STEVE MCPHETRES, Alaska Council of School Administrators (ACSA),              
 spoke in support of having mandatory language in HB 125 so they can           
 have some assurance.  He said this legislation just tips the edge             
 of the iceberg.  We are talking about a juvenile system that needs            
 to be looked at through and through.  Young people now are more               
 involved with situations that are more complex and have to be dealt           
 with in some other structure than what we currently have.  It is              
 time to drop the walls on these boxes that each agency has built              
 around itself, and consider the fact that in the center, is that              
 child.  We have to start setting up a structure in which we can               
 work with that child in an open, responsible fashion.  He hoped               
 this legislation would only be a catalyst to more legislation                 
 coming down the line that will help school officials do their jobs.           
 Number 600                                                                    
 LEE ANN LUCAS, Special Assistant, Office of the Commissioner,                 
 Department of Public Safety, followed up on some comments made                
 earlier.  The Department does support disclosure of information by            
 law enforcement, on juvenile cases, as is necessary to protect the            
 safety of students and teachers.  The form, developed as a result             
 of concerns, has been sent out to the field for detachment                    
 commanders to do a final review on it.  It is the Commissioner's              
 intent that this procedure be implemented immediately.  They will             
 also be providing information packets to local law enforcement                
 agencies for them to start a policy development and to get                    
 procedures in place.  The Department has developed a model set of             
 procedures that any local law enforcement agency should be able to            
 adopt.  Their goal is to make it as easy as possible for everyone             
 to get on line with this as soon as possible.  There are a couple             
 of opportunities coming up in the next couple of weeks to share               
 this information with law enforcement officers.  One is the Alaska            
 Peace Officers Association in Anchorage, in May.  We have requested           
 time be set aside to provide a training and briefing period for law           
 enforcement officers in this area.  Since the information has not             
 been put out there, law enforcement officers are not aware of what            
 they can do.  SB 54 is a departure of what law enforcement                    
 practices have been for years, and with some education, policies              
 and procedures, we can make this happen.  She thanked                         
 Representative Green for bringing this to the forefront and getting           
 this dialogue process started.                                                
 Number 620                                                                    
 CLAUDIA DOUGLAS, President, National Education Association of                 
 Alaska (NEA-Alaska), testified representing school employees in the           
 state.  She said all of them are shocked, alarmed and dismayed at             
 the acts of violence, not only toward children, but by children in            
 the schools.  As a school counselor, it is hurtful to know about              
 the things that happen in our schools.  Children and school                   
 employees are afraid.  She felt reporting to be mandatory within              
 the schools.  She said they do not want to just throw students out            
 of school, they want to work with the families and come up with               
 Number 680                                                                    
 HELEN MURKINS, Program Manager, Safe and Drug-Free Schools,                   
 Department of Education, has been increasingly aware of issues                
 related to student safety in the last couple of years.  It has been           
 escalating.  She is also responsible, at the state level, for                 
 implementing the federal law in regard to the Gun-Free Schools Act.           
 The Department of Education is in support of this legislation.  She           
 said that by the time a student has gone through all the elaborate            
 processes of investigations and hearings prior to being expelled              
 from a school district, the attempts to help that child are at the            
 point where they are a broad, inter-agency responsibility.  The               
 schools have exhausted their resources at that point, and are truly           
 desperate and concerned for the safety of the general student                 
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN explained that the committee substitute does             
 what the Department of Law indicated, that the avenues for                    
 communication established, will still operate on a voluntary basis,           
 because of the recent effective date of the Senate bill.  The                 
 committee substitute goes further in the direction of a compromise,           
 in that it gives a deadline for establishing that protocol.                   
 Number 750                                                                    
 MELINDA GRUENING, Administrative Assistant to Representative Green,           
 explained CSHB 125, Version U.  She wanted to correct some                    
 testimony heard in the meeting.  The original HB 125 mandated                 
 felony crime disclosure, but certainly did not limit disclosure of            
 misdemeanor crimes.  They would also be allowed to be disclosed,              
 but would not be disclosed mandatorily.  She stated the language              
 would require that a mutually agreeable protocol be set up between            
 DFYS, local law enforcement agencies, and the local school                    
 districts that they would disclose to.  That would provide each               
 area to have a means of disclosure that would work for them.  As it           
 has been previously stated, what would work for the Anchorage                 
 school district, and the Anchorage law enforcement, would be very             
 different than what would work for Juneau or for a village.  The              
 committee substitute does have a 90-day deadline running from the             
 date of the bill's effective date, for establishing the protocol,             
 due to the urgency of this need.                                              
 Number 840                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVID FINKELSTEIN asked Ms. Knuth if there was any             
 deterring language in this bill that would derail the current                 
 process going on, administratively, to get this system in place.              
 MS. KNUTH believed so.  It is the use of the `protocol' language.             
 `Protocol' does not have a legal meaning.  It is not one of the               
 devices that is currently in use.  What the state does is adopt               
 `regulations', so to the extent that this requires the Department             
 to enter into a protocol, she interprets that to be something                 
 different than what we are doing at this point.  She would have to            
 decide what a protocol is.  It sounds like an agreement with some             
 form or formality with school districts, that would take some time            
 to develop.                                                                   
 TAPE 95-38, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE felt they should choose another word to                  
 replace the word `protocol'.  What would be a more usual term, that           
 the Department of Law would see fit?                                          
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said that in the meetings they had about this            
 language, which Chairman Porter and the Representative from the               
 Department of Law were at, the word protocol was used.  If the word           
 is not appropriate, it seems that would have been the time for the            
 Department of Law to have mentioned that a different word was                 
 needed.  The intent was expressed over and over and over again at             
 these last two meetings, so he did not feel that was the issue.               
 And if the word 'shall' on lines 4 and 5 of Page 2 need to be                 
 changed to 'may' so that what we are trying to do with this                   
 amendment is to take a giant step backwards from what the school              
 systems have repeatedly told you they need, to make sure that, for            
 the lack of a better word at this time, a 'protocol' is                       
 established, that these agencies may notify the schools.  If it is            
 that important, if there is still this concern over legality, he              
 would certainly entertain a friendly amendment to this proposal,              
 because what he is beginning to see unravel again, is the intent by           
 which everyone seemed to agree to at one time.  And now, just a               
 week later, it is starting to unravel, and a month from now it will           
 unravel even more.  That is why he is pushing so hard to establish            
 this as law, to be sure that we get accomplished this avenue.  The            
 intent is that we mandate that there will be an avenue of                     
 communication established to break the walls of these boxes down.             
 The committee took a brief at ease.                                           
 CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that, with permission of the sponsor, he               
 would like to hold this over, and come up with another committee              
 substitute on Friday.                                                         
 The House Judiciary Committee adjourned at 3:10 p.m.                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects