Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/22/1995 11:12 AM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                                                                               
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                              
                         April 22, 1995                                        
                           11:12 a.m.                                          
                                                                               
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
                                                                               
 Representative Brian Porter, Chairman                                         
 Representative Con Bunde                                                      
 Representative Al Vezey                                                       
 Representative Cynthia Toohey                                                 
 Representative David Finkelstein                                              
                                                                               
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                
                                                                               
 Representative Joe Green, Vice Chairman                                       
 Representative Bettye Davis                                                   
                                                                               
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
                                                                               
 HB 255:           "An Act creating the crime of negligent vehicular           
                   homicide."                                                  
                                                                               
                   PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                     
                                                                               
 SSSB 27:          "An Act relating to child visitation rights of              
                   grandparents and other persons who are not the              
                   parents of the child."                                      
                                                                               
                   PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                     
                                                                               
 CSSB 85(JUD) am:  "An Act making corrective amendments to the                 
                   Alaska Statutes as recommended by the revisor of            
                   statutes; and providing for an effective date."             
                                                                               
                   PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                     
                                                                               
 SB 7:             "An Act relating to bail after conviction for               
                   various felonies if the defendant has certain               
                   previous felony convictions."                               
                                                                               
                   PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                     
                                                                               
 HB 293:           "An Act relating to the use of force in defense             
                   of persons or property."                                    
                                                                               
                   HEARD AND HELD                                              
                                                                               
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN                                                     
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 409                                                       
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
 Telephone:  (907)  465-3878                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of HB 255                                        
                                                                               
 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 255 and SB 7                  
                                                                               
 JAMES ARMSTRONG, Senate Researcher                                            
   to Senator Dave Donley                                                      
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 11                                                        
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
 Telephone:  (907)  465-3892                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced SSSB 27                                       
                                                                               
 SHERRIE GOLL                                                                  
 P.O. Box 22156                                                                
 Juneau, AK 99801                                                              
 Telephone:  (907)  463-6744                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in favor of SSSB 27 on behalf of               
                      Lauree Hugonin, Executive Director, Alaska               
                      Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual                  
                      Assault                                                  
                                                                               
 MARLIS SCHMID, Grandparent                                                    
 2513 Glenwood                                                                 
 Anchorage, AK 99508                                                           
 Telephone:  (907)  276-3787                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in favor of SSSB 27                            
                                                                               
 PAMELA FINLEY, Assistant Revisor                                              
 Legal Services Division                                                       
 Legislative Affairs Agency                                                    
 130 Seward Street, Room 409                                                   
 Juneau, AK 99801                                                              
 Telephone:  (907)  465-2450                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information on CSSB 85                          
                                                                               
 BRUCE RICHARDS, Administrative Assistant                                      
   to Senator Judith E. Salo                                                   
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 504                                                       
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
 Telephone:  (907)  465-4940                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsored SB 7                                           
                                                                               
 JANE ANDREAN, Director                                                        
 Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault                               
 Department of Public Safety                                                   
 P.O. Box 111200                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-1200                                                         
 Telephone:  (907)  465-4356                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information on SB 7                             
                                                                               
 LAURIE OTTO, Assistant Attorney General                                       
 Criminal Division                                                             
 Department of Law                                                             
 P.O. Box 110300                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-0300                                                         
 Telephone:  (907)  465-3428                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Opposed HB 293                                           
                                                                               
 DEL SMITH, Deputy Commissioner                                                
 Department of Public Safety                                                   
 P.O. Box 111200                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-1200                                                         
 Telephone:  (907)  465-4322                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Opposed HB 293                                           
                                                                               
 SENATOR DAVE DONLEY                                                           
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 11                                                        
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
 Telephone:  (907)  465-3892                                                   
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of SSSB 27                                       
                                                                               
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
                                                                               
 BILL:  HB 255                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE BY AUTOMOBILE                                 
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) OGAN, Kohring, Bunde                            
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG                  ACTION                                   
 03/15/95       742    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 03/15/95       742    (H)   JUDICIARY, FINANCE                                
 04/05/95      1039    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): KOHRING, BUNDE                      
 04/12/95              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 04/12/95              (H)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 04/21/95              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 04/21/95              (H)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 04/22/95              (H)   JUD AT 11:00 AM CAPITOL 120                       
                                                                               
 BILL:  SB 27                                                                
 SHORT TITLE: MISC. GRANDPARENT VISITATION RIGHTS                              
 SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) DONLEY, Ellis, Lincoln, Pearce;                        
 REPRESENTATIVE(S) Willis Robinson, Toohey, Ogan, Rokeberg, James              
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG                  ACTION                                   
 01/13/95        21    (S)   PREFILE RELEASED - 1/13/95                        
 01/16/95        21    (S)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/16/95        21    (S)   HES, JUD                                          
 02/02/95       146    (S)   SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE INTRODUCED-REFERRALS           
 02/02/95       146    (S)   HES, JUD                                          
 03/01/95       436    (S)   HES RPT  3DP 2NR                                  
 03/01/95       436    (S)   ZERO FISCAL NOTE (COURT)                          
 03/01/95              (S)   HES AT 09:00 AM BUTROVICH ROOM 205                
 03/01/95              (S)   MINUTE(HES)                                       
 03/15/95              (S)   JUD AT 02:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211                    
 03/17/95              (S)   JUD AT 03:00 PM BELTZ ROOM 211                    
 03/17/95              (S)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 03/20/95       696    (S)   JUD RPT  4DP 1NR                                  
 03/20/95       696    (S)   PREVIOUS ZERO FN (COURT)                          
 03/22/95              (S)   RLS AT 12:30 PM FAHRENKAMP ROOM 203               
 03/22/95              (S)   MINUTE(RLS)                                       
 03/23/95       766    (S)   RULES TO CALENDAR  3/23/95                        
 03/23/95       768    (S)   READ THE SECOND TIME                              
 03/23/95       768    (S)   ADVANCED TO THIRD READING UNAN CONSENT            
 03/23/95       768    (S)   READ THE THIRD TIME  SSSB 27                      
 03/23/95       768    (S)   COSPONSOR: PEARCE                                 
 03/23/95       768    (S)   PASSED Y18 N- E2                                  
 03/23/95       772    (S)   TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                
 03/24/95       879    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 03/24/95       879    (H)   HES, JUDICIARY                                    
 03/24/95       920    (H)   CROSS SPONSOR(S): WILLIS, ROBINSON                
 04/04/95              (H)   HES AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 106                       
 04/04/95              (H)   MINUTE(HES)                                       
 04/05/95      1022    (H)   HES RPT  4DP                                      
 04/05/95      1022    (H)   DP: BUNDE, TOOHEY, VEZEY, BRICE                   
 04/05/95      1022    (H)   SENATE ZERO FN (COURT) 3/1/95                     
 04/10/95      1228    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): TOOHEY                              
 04/21/95              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 04/21/95              (H)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 04/22/95              (H)   JUD AT 11:00 AM CAPITOL 120                       
                                                                               
 BILL:  SB 85                                                                
 SHORT TITLE: 1995 REVISOR BILL                                                
 SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                           
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG                  ACTION                                   
 02/14/95       269    (S)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/14/95       269    (S)   STA, JUD                                          
 02/14/95       269    (S)   SECTIONAL ANALYSIS - (S) JOURNAL                  
                             SUPP #3                                           
 03/07/95              (S)   STA AT 03:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211                    
 03/07/95              (S)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 03/08/95       536    (S)   STA RPT  CS  3DP   SAME TITLE                     
 03/08/95       536    (S)   ZERO FISCAL NOTE (LAA/ALL DEPTS)                  
 03/17/95              (S)   JUD AT 03:00 PM BELTZ ROOM 211                    
 03/17/95              (S)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 03/22/95              (S)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 03/23/95       764    (S)   JUD RPT  CS  5DP    SAME TITLE                    
 03/23/95       765    (S)   PREVIOUS ZERO FN (LAA)                            
 03/27/95              (S)   RLS AT 11:35 AM FAHRENKAMP ROOM 203               
 03/27/95              (S)   MINUTE(RLS)                                       
 03/30/95       845    (S)   RULES TO CALENDAR  3/30/05                        
 03/30/95       847    (S)   READ THE SECOND TIME                              
 03/30/95       848    (S)   JUD  CS ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT                      
 03/30/95       848    (S)   AM NO  1     ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT                 
 03/30/95       848    (S)   THIRD READING 4/5  CALENDAR                       
 04/05/95       875    (S)   READ THE THIRD TIME CSSB 85(JUD) AM               
 04/05/95       875    (S)   PASSED Y17 N1 E2                                  
 04/05/95       875    (S)   EFFECTIVE DATE(S) SAME AS PASSAGE                 
 04/05/95       879    (S)   TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                
 04/06/95      1046    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 04/06/95      1046    (H)   JUDICIARY                                         
 04/21/95              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 04/22/95              (H)   JUD AT 11:00 AM CAPITOL 120                       
                                                                               
 BILL:  SB 7                                                                 
 SHORT TITLE: NO BAIL FOR FELONS W/PREVIOUS CONVICTIONS                        
 SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) SALO, Halford, Green, Taylor, Miller, Leman,           
 Kelly, Donley, R.Phillips, Pearce; REPRESENTATIVE(S) Navarre                  
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG                  ACTION                                   
 01/06/95        14    (S)   PREFILE RELEASED - 1/6/95                         
 01/16/95        14    (S)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/16/95        14    (S)   STA,JUD, FIN                                      
 01/23/95        73    (S)   STA REFERRAL WAIVED                               
 03/08/95              (S)   JUD AT 01:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211                    
 03/08/95              (S)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 03/09/95       553    (S)   JUD RPT  4DP 1NR                                  
 03/09/95       553    (S)   ZERO FISCAL NOTES (ADM, DPS-2,                    
 03/23/95              (S)   FIN AT 09:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 532                
 03/23/95              (S)   MINUTE(FIN)                                       
 03/24/95       553    (S)   LAW, CORR)                                        
 03/23/95       764    (S)   FIN RPT  5DP 2NR                                  
 03/23/95       764    (S)   PREVIOUS ZERO FNS (ADM, DPS-2,                    
 03/24/95       764    (S)   LAW, CORR)                                        
 03/27/95              (S)   RLS AT 11:35 AM FAHRENKAMP ROOM 203               
 03/27/95              (S)   MINUTE(RLS)                                       
 03/30/95       845    (S)   RULES TO CALENDAR  3/30/95                        
 03/30/95       847    (S)   READ THE SECOND TIME                              
 03/30/95       847    (S)   ADVANCED TO THIRD READING                         
                             UNAN CONSENT                                      
 03/30/95       847    (S)   COSPONSOR(S):  HALFORD, GREEN,                    
                             TAYLOR, MILLER, LEMAN, KELLY,                     
                             DONLEY, PHILLIPS, PEARCE                          
 03/30/95       847    (S)   READ THE THIRD TIME  SB 7                         
 03/30/95       847    (S)   PASSED Y20 N-                                     
 03/30/95       850    (S)   TRANSMITTED TO (H)                                
 04/05/95      1014    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 04/05/95      1015    (H)   JUDICIARY, FINANCE                                
 04/05/95      1040    (H)   CROSS SPONSOR(S): NAVARRE                         
 04/21/95              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 04/21/95              (H)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
                                                                               
 BILL:  HB 293                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: USE OF FORCE DEFENDING PERSON OR PROPERTY                        
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) VEZEY                                           
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG                  ACTION                                   
 04/05/95      1026    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 04/05/95      1026    (H)   JUDICIARY                                         
 04/21/95              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 04/21/95              (H)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
                                                                               
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
                                                                               
 TAPE 95-49, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
                                                                               
 The House Judiciary Standing Committee was called to order at 11:12           
 a.m. on Saturday, April 22, 1995.  A quorum was present.                      
 Representatives Green and Davis were absent.  All other members               
 were present.  CHAIRMAN BRIAN PORTER stated that the following                
 bills would be heard:  HB 255, SSSB 27, CSSB 85(JUD) am, SB 7, and            
 HB 293.                                                                       
 HB 255 - NEGLIGENT HOMICIDE BY AUTOMOBILE                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE SCOTT OGAN, bill sponsor, explained that he had                
 worked out a compromise with the Department of Law.  The title also           
 needs to be amended, for the record.  We are not creating the crime           
 of criminally negligent homicide, but Margot Knuth can adequately             
 address the change.  The writer of the committee substitute (CS)              
 missed that one.  The Department of Law took a look at the statutes           
 surrounding deaths involving automobiles and indicated they would             
 like criminally negligent homicide upgraded from a class C to a               
 class B felony.  To address our concerns about the possibility of             
 the act we were trying to create before being included in a lesser            
 included offense, we settled for adding negligent driving to a type           
 of conviction that would mean grounds for revocation of a driver's            
 license.  The charges brought against the driver who killed the               
 Campbell and Richardson boys was negligent driving.  The judge did            
 not have the latitude to revoke the license.  This would not                  
 compromise in any way, the criminally negligent homicide                      
 convictions and we feel this CS is an acceptable alternative.                 
 There is a zero fiscal note attached.                                         
                                                                               
 Number 080                                                                    
                                                                               
 MARGOT KNUTH, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division,                  
 Department of Law, explained that this bill now does two different            
 things.  The first is to raise criminally negligent homicide from             
 a class C to a class B felony, and the reason for that is that last           
 time we were discussing this bill we were talking about lesser                
 included offenses.  Criminally negligent homicide is a lesser                 
 included offense of manslaughter, which is a class A felony.  The             
 Department of Law has long felt that the gap between the A felony             
 of manslaughter and the C felony of criminally negligent homicide             
 is too great, and they ought to be right next to each other.  In              
 situations that were the motivation for this bill, if alcohol were            
 involved, or if the conduct was more culpable, it would constitute            
 this offense, and a class B felony is appropriate in that instance.           
                                                                               
 MS. KNUTH explained that the second thing this CS does is to amend            
 AS 21.15.181 so that driving privileges may be revoked in the                 
 discretion of the court for the offense violation of negligent                
 driving.  This is done by simply adding it to the list in AS                  
 28.15.181.  There is no mandatory minimum period of revocation.  It           
 would be within the judge's discretion.  In those instances where             
 it does not seem appropriate at all, it will not happen; but in               
 aggravated circumstances it will become an available option.  There           
 are two minor problems with the work draft.  One was eluded to                
 already, the title.  Instead of an act creating the crime of                  
 criminally negligent homicide, it probably should read, "An Act               
 raising the penalty for the crime of criminally negligent                     
 homicide."  The second matter is that there is a statute that says            
 you cannot revoke driving privileges for violations.  That is AS              
 28.40.050(D).  What is appropriate to do, is to add "except as                
 provided in AS 28.15.181."                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY asked if they could make that a                 
 friendly amendment which would do as Ms. Knuth described.                     
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said they could do so.                                        
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVID FINKELSTEIN referred to the second page where            
 it refers to negligent driving and asked what would be the affect             
 if you said, "negligent driving resulting in serious bodily                   
 injury?"  This would be trying to get back to what the original               
 intent of the bill was.                                                       
                                                                               
 MS. KNUTH had a concern about adding those words.  She said that              
 would be an additional burden of what needs to be established in              
 the case.  She did not feel the discretion was likely to be abused            
 in these cases.                                                               
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY also believed it would read more clearly if             
 we added, "resulted in physical injury."                                      
                                                                               
 MS. KNUTH said if we did that, it would put us back into a lesser             
 included offense situation which we would rather not do.                      
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE AL VEZEY wanted to know what the difference was                
 between reckless and negligent driving.                                       
 MS. KNUTH answered that the criminal code gives you definitions for           
 those.  The distinction has to do with the level of disregard.                
 Recklessness is usually a gross disregard, and negligence is a                
 simple disregard.  Reckless driving is a misdemeanor.  Negligent              
 driving is a violation.  In terms of seriousness, recklessness is             
 above negligence.                                                             
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE moved to adopt the CS for HB 255, version            
 C.  Hearing no objection, the CSHB 255(JUD) was adopted.  He then             
 made a motion to adopt Amendment Number 1, which would change the             
 title to, "An Act raising the penalties for the crime of negligent            
 vehicular homicide."  Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.                
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE moved Amendment Number 2 be adopted which                
 would create a Section 3 that would read, after "AS 28.40.050(d),"            
 "except as provided in AS 28.15.181(a).  Hearing no objection,                
 Amendment Number 2 was adopted.                                               
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE made a motion to move CSHB 255(JUD) out of               
 committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal                 
 notes.  Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.                              
 Number 400                                                                    
                                                                               
 SSSB 27 - MISC. GRANDPARENT VISITATION RIGHTS                               
                                                                               
 JAMES ARMSTRONG, Senate Researcher to Senator Dave Donley, bill               
 sponsor, gave the sponsor statement for SSSB 27.  SSSB 27 would               
 give grandparents the legal status to petition the court for                  
 visitation rights with their grandchildren.  Under existing law,              
 the court can grant an order that provides for visitation by                  
 grandparents in divorce and separation proceedings in cases where             
 one or both of the parents have died.  Grandparents themselves are            
 not allowed to initiate such an action.  SSSB 27 would give                   
 grandparents this standing to ask for those visitation rights if              
 they were not initially provided for by the court.  SSSB 27 does              
 not require that visitation rights be given.  It is completely up             
 to the discretion of the judge, with the best interests of the                
 child being the primary factor for granting such rights.                      
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY said she had been contacted by Lauree           
 Hugonin from Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual                   
 Assault, and her concern was that the judge is not going to be                
 filled in on all information pertaining to violence committed by              
 the parents.  The judge would possibly be granting these visitation           
 rights without having the knowledge.  That was a concern raised,              
 but Representative Toohey did not believe that to be true.  She               
 believed that in determining the best interests of the child, the             
 court should consider all relevant factors.  She felt the bill was            
 fine.                                                                         
                                                                               
 MR. ARMSTRONG said that the terms for the best interests of the               
 child is laid out in AS 25.24.150, Section (c)(9), which also lists           
 other factors that the court finds pertinent.  The judge does not             
 have to grant the privilege.                                                  
                                                                               
 SHERRIE GOLL, read the position paper written by Lauree Hugonin,              
 Executive Director of Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and                 
 Sexual Assault, into the record:                                              
                                                                               
 "The Network supports the ability of grandparents or other                    
 relatives to keep healthy, established, ongoing relationships with            
 children.  We support the goal of allowing grandparents and others            
 to petition for visitation.  We do have a concern for children's              
 safety when the perpetrator of domestic violence has access to the            
 child during grandparent visitation.  Often in domestic violence              
 situations, the parents of the perpetrator, the grandparents, and             
 other family members provide opportunities for him to see the                 
 children while the children are with them.  This happens in many              
 cases even when the judge has ruled that the perpetrator is not to            
 have custody of or visitation with the children.  Sometimes this              
 access allows the perpetrator to get the children, take them away             
 from their grandparents, and use them against the victim.                     
                                                                               
 "The grandparents can also be at risk if the perpetrator perceives            
 them as colluding with the victim or with the court system.  Many             
 people, judges included, perceive domestic violence as a private              
 matter between the perpetrator and the victim.  Domestic violence             
 impacts the children and the extended family members as well, and             
 can put them all in danger.                                                   
                                                                               
 "The Network's concern applies to the first section of the bill               
 where it says the court shall provide for visitation if it is in              
 the best interests of the child.  In determining the best interests           
 of the child for custody, the court uses a list of criteria found             
 in AS 25.24.150(c).  Item 7 states that in determining the best               
 interests of the child, the court shall consider any evidence of              
 domestic violence, child abuse, or child neglect in the proposed              
 custodial household, or history of violence between the parents.              
 "The Network believes in determining the best interests of the                
 child for visitation, the court should give heightened judicial               
 scrutiny to AS 25.24.150 (c)(7).  Heightened scrutiny of this                 
 particular item will add a layer of protection for children and               
 cause judges to carefully explore the potential for further danger            
 to the child."                                                                
                                                                               
 MS. GOLL explained that the Network is concerned that this bill is            
 saying that the court SHALL, unless they can find that to do so               
 would not be in the best interests of the child.  She is suggesting           
 that in cases where in the original custody decision, the court has           
 had to refer to AS 25.24.150(c)(7), because domestic violence or              
 child abuse was an issue in the original custody decision.  Then              
 when grandparents or other persons are petitioning for visitation,            
 the court needs to add heightened scrutiny to the case, based on              
 the actual problems that people have while other people have had              
 visitation with the children and allow the person who is not                  
 permitted to have visitation with the children to have access to              
 the children in that way.                                                     
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY asked if this had been discussed with Senator           
 Donley.                                                                       
                                                                               
 MS. GOLL answered that yes, as James inferred, Lauree did have an             
 opportunity to speak to James and to the senator, and the senator             
 did not agree with the logic of this, but she still wished the                
 committee to understand her concerns.                                         
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY Ms. Goll if she did not believe the words "in           
 the best interests of the child" would be sufficient.                         
                                                                               
 MS. GOLL answered that no, she did not.  When changes were made to            
 divorce and dissolution laws several years ago, one of the things             
 that was introduced into dissolutions was the concept of heightened           
 scrutiny.  Custody and divorce cases take up a lot of court time.             
 The court could place some parameters on the visitation rights in             
 order to protect the child better in situations where domestic                
 violence or child abuse has been an issue in the original custody             
 decision.                                                                     
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked Ms. Goll if what she was saying is that on              
 page 1, she would suggest that they add something to the effect,              
 "In determining the best interests of the child, the court shall              
 consider all relevant factors including those factors enumerated in           
 AS 25.24.150(c) with heightened scrutiny of (c)(7)."                          
                                                                               
 MS. GOLL answered that was the basic concept.  She would have it              
 say, "If in the custody decision, Item (c)(7) was an issue, then              
 the court would give heightened scrutiny to this determination                
 about the other person's visitation."                                         
                                                                               
 Number 550                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said they could consider that when looking at                 
 amendments.                                                                   
                                                                               
 MARLIS SCHMID, testified via teleconference.  She is the                      
 grandmother of two children, ages eight and ten.  The children want           
 to see her but are not allowed since the stepfather is in the life            
 of her daughter.  The stepfather adopted the children a year after            
 her daughter married him, and that she can prove was fraud.  The              
 children's father has always been in contact with the children on             
 her telephone.  She had raised these children and had them 70                 
 percent of the time, because her daughter was working.  The                   
 children's father called her number, since the telephone was hung             
 up on him if her daughter was home, by her (at that time)                     
 boyfriend.  Her daughter went to court, claiming that the father              
 had no contact with the children.  She asked her daughter at that             
 time, "Tanya, how can you say that?  You know this is not true."              
 She said she did not want to hear about it.  The father had always            
 been in contact with the children, but her daughter did not want to           
 hear about it.  That is how the stepfather was allowed to adopt the           
 children.  She could not locate the father at the time before the             
 adoption was final.  She is being punished now.  It has been two              
 years in June since she has been allowed to see her grandchildren.            
 The father always stayed in touch with his children.  He wanted to            
 see them.  She kept her mouth shut.  He came up from Oregon and she           
 took the children to Soldotna to spend a week with their father,              
 and she was there too.  When she brought the children home,                   
 (indisc.) her own daughter came to her house and beat the heck out            
 of her.  Ever since then, she is being punished not to see the                
 children.  She has had the children overnight once.  She is not               
 even allowed to have phone contact.  She feels that the children              
 are being verbally abused by their stepfather.  They hear her voice           
 on the record-a-phone, but are not allowed to pick up the phone and           
 talk to her.  He laughs at them instead, and says, "Ha Ha, what are           
 you going to do about it?"  This kind of abuse is constant.  She              
 told them to tell her mother, and they say they do, but she tells             
 them she does not want to hear about it.  Her court order has been            
 temporarily denied, and she cannot see her grandchildren.  Her                
 contact with them is limited to the telephone.  She does not know             
 what to do anymore, and hopes the Legislature can help her.  Her              
 grandchildren need to see her, she raised them and they know they             
 are her number one.                                                           
                                                                               
 Number 665                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER thought if this bill were passed into law, she                
 would have the opportunity, not a guarantee, to visit her                     
 grandchildren.  If they are now out of state, that would probably             
 further complicate it, but, this bill certainly would not hurt.               
 He then asked Mr. Armstrong about Section 1, which seems to set up            
 a standard of "in the best interests".  Section 2 adds that the               
 grandparent has established or attempted to established ongoing               
 personal contact, and "in the best interests."                                
                                                                               
 MR. ARMSTRONG stated that currently the judge has the authority to            
 put a qualifier on it, in Section 9, where it says, "This parent              
 has committed domestic violence or assault."  The judge can look at           
 other pertinent information, other factors.                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE assumed a judge would be wise enough to              
 look at the whole record before determining what is in the best               
 interests of the child.                                                       
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked about Section (b) on page 2, which adds to              
 the proceedings that a grandparent may petition to join the                   
 adoption.  Are you assuming the standards are going to be the same            
 for the judge's determination during that proceeding as they were             
 in the divorce proceedings?                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. ARMSTRONG answered that it sort of gives a general provision in           
 other states and judging by the way section (2) was explained to              
 him, Chairman Porter's assumption would be correct.  Section 3 adds           
 dissolutions.                                                                 
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said he would like to ask the Senator about the               
 adoption hearing, which is a new addition, but the Senator had to             
 step out.  He asked Mr. Armstrong if the established standards for            
 a judge's decision in grandparent rights for divorces and custody             
 hearings attach to adoption procedures?                                       
                                                                               
 MR. ARMSTRONG answered that it seems to read that way, but he could           
 not say for sure.                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 740                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said that Subsection (b) is the one that adds the             
 ability to intercede in an adoption procedure, and his concern is             
 that unless we specifically mention it, that the standards to be              
 used by the court to establish the best interests of the child, are           
 not necessarily there.                                                        
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN understood Subsection (b) as just a                
 limitation, not adding anything additional, but just to say that              
 you cannot go and petition if you have already tried to request the           
 court to do it previously, you cannot go and do it again, unless              
 there has been a change in circumstances.                                     
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER clarified that Section 1 deals only with custody              
 determinations.  Is an adoption a custody determination?                      
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE said indeed it talks about relating to               
 child custody and relating to adoption.  That lead him to believe             
 that they are two separate things.                                            
                                                                               
 MR. ARMSTRONG said that in AS 25.24.150, is your concern as to                
 whether there is a "best interests of the child" clause?                      
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER answered yes.                                                 
                                                                               
 MR. ARMSTRONG assured him that AS 24.25.150 contains the whole list           
 of what the judge should look at in determining the "best interests           
 of the child."                                                                
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER'S concern was that those were separated by an "or."           
 That is the problem.  He stated the committee would set this aside,           
 and ask the Senator about that, and then come back to SSSB 27                 
 before the meeting ends.                                                      
                                                                               
 MR. ARMSTRONG agreed to do that.                                              
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that the language in Section 1 allows a                 
 grandparent or other person to intercede.  He wondered what was               
 implied by the other person, but this "other person" language does            
 not follow into the other section.  Is that intentional?                      
                                                                               
 MR. ARMSTRONG asked if he was referring to Section 2.                         
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER answered yes.  Getting back to the concern about              
 domestic violence situations, he did not feel it would be offensive           
 to the bill to add that language.                                             
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY did not think so either.                        
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER suggested on line 9, after AS 25.24.150 (c) that an           
 amendment could be made to eliminate the period and add "with                 
 heightened scrutiny of (c)(7) if appropriate."                                
                                                                               
 MR. ARMSTRONG noted that he did have an amendment that addresses              
 those concerns.                                                               
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked Mr. Armstrong to first go get the answers to            
 those two questions, and then the committee could deal with the               
 amendment when Mr. Armstrong returned.                                        
 Number 800                                                                    
                                                                               
 SB 85 - 1995 REVISOR BILL                                                    
                                                                              
 PAMELA FINLEY, Assistant Revisor, Legal Services Division,                    
 Legislative Affairs Agency, explained that SB 85 is of very little            
 of importance to anybody, but it does clean up the statute to deal            
 with a few errors they have caught.  She did not want to go through           
 it section by section since it is so boring, but was happy to                 
 answer questions.                                                             
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY asked if there was a fiscal note.                       
                                                                               
 MS. FINLEY believed there was not, or it was zero.                            
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked if there would be anyone in the              
 House to answer questions when it comes up on the floor.  He would            
 like to bring something up there.                                             
                                                                               
 MS. FINLEY said she could certainly be there on the House floor, as           
 she was for the Senate.                                                       
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN made a motion to move the revisor bill,            
 CSSB 85(JUD) am, out of committee with individual recommendations             
 and the zero fiscal note.  Seeing no objection, it was so ordered.            
 Number 830                                                                    
 SB 7 - NO BAIL FOR FELONS W/ PREVIOUS CONVICTIONS                           
                                                                               
 BRUCE RICHARDS, Administrative Assistant to Senator Judith E. Salo,           
 bill sponsor, introduced SB 7.  This bill says that if you are                
 convicted of a class B or class C felony, and prior to this                   
 conviction you have been convicted of an unclassified or class A              
 felony, stalking in the first degree, sexual assault in the second            
 or third degree, or sexual abuse of a minor in the second and third           
 degree, you will not be eligible for bail.  Included in your                  
 packets is information about a man who was convicted in 1993 of a             
 felony drug charge.  He had a previous record, and a very long                
 sentence.  He had been convicted of three rapes, several grand                
 theft auto charges, concealed weapon assaults, and upon conviction            
 of this felony drug charge, was released on bail for $5,000.                  
                                                                               
 TAPE 95-49, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. RICHARDS continued.  He said Senator Salo felt that since this            
 man had already been convicted, he should have been held in jail.             
 Many times a judge will not let these types of people out of jail,            
 but she felt that once was one too many times.  That is why we have           
 this bill before you.                                                         
                                                                               
 JANE ANDREAN, Director, Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual               
 Assault, Department of Public Safety, supported the bill.  What               
 they really like to look back at is prior convictions for class B             
 and C in sexual assault, child sexual abuse, and stalking cases.              
 This bill will do two things.  It will protect future victims, as             
 well as send a very clear statement that these types of crimes are            
 not okay.                                                                     
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked Ms. Knuth if the Department of Law would           
 have concerns about unequal protection.                                       
                                                                               
 MS. KNUTH answered that no, not in that regard, considering that we           
 already deny bail upon conviction for class A and unclassified                
 felony offenses, this is simply extending it for a person who has             
 a prior class A or unclassified felony offense, even if they are              
 now before the court, being convicted of a class B or class C                 
 felony offense.                                                               
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY asked where the sexual predator law would fit           
 into this.                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. KNUTH answered that we do not have the sexual predator law yet.           
 We do have the stalking offense, but sexual predator has not                  
 passed.                                                                       
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY asked if it is floating around in our system            
 somewhere.                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. KNUTH answered that Representative Parnell has introduced it              
 and not moved on it this session.  She expected we would see it               
 next session.                                                                 
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE made a motion to move SB 7 out of committee              
 with individual recommendations and fiscal notes as attached.                 
 Hearing no objection, SB 7 moved.                                             
 Number 200                                                                    
                                                                               
 HB 293 - USE OF FORCE DEFENDING PERSON OR PROPERTY                          
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY, bill sponsor, introduced HB 293.  It is                 
 intended to change a tendency we are seeing in the direction the              
 law is going.  It has been a premise in this country for many                 
 years, that a person's home is their castle, and that a person has            
 the right to feel safe and secure in their home.  There have been             
 an increasing number of court decisions which have limited a home             
 owner, or a rightful occupant of a home the right to protect                  
 themselves in their home, to the point where in some court rulings,           
 you virtually have to avoid confrontation if it is at all possible,           
 which puts an extreme burden of proof on the rightful occupant of             
 a home, if they are facing an intruder.  It is the intent of this             
 bill to clarify that a person has a right to defend themselves,               
 their family and their home.  The burden of proof in this would               
 shift to the intruder having to prove that the use of force or                
 deadly force was just not justified.  We do not have a Supreme                
 Court decision in the State of Alaska that is contrary to this.  We           
 have had a lower court ruling that was contrary to that.  In many             
 states, we are seeing the law evolve more toward the rightful                 
 occupant having to avoid the use of force if it is at all possible.           
 This puts a tremendous burden of proof upon the rightful occupant             
 of a home.  He felt the burden of proof ought to be on the person             
 who is not rightfully there.  He felt the rightful occupant of a              
 home should have the right to exceed the right of the intruder who            
 is violating the law.                                                         
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN was not real familiar with the current             
 rules we operate under, and would like the Department to explain              
 those.  What is an example of a particular circumstance that is not           
 covered under existing law?                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY did not feel this legislation to be contrary             
 to any decisions that have come down from the Supreme Court.  It is           
 contrary to some appeals court decisions, which establishes that              
 force has to be avoided if at all possible.                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked for a hypothetical example where             
 someone would now be possibly subject to prosecution for shooting             
 an intruder, that this change would make it so that they would not            
 be subject to prosecution.                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said if you look at the sponsor statement,               
 there are a number of nationwide cases that are cited.  There was             
 a case a court of appeals decision in the State of Alaska called              
 Van Ha v. the State of Alaska, Alaska Court of Appeals, Op. No.             
 1400, March 31, 1995.  In that case, the opinion stated that a                
 defendant claiming self defense in justification for the use of               
 force, must prove that he/she acted to avoid use of force.  What              
 this bill would do is to say that a rightful owner of a home would            
 no longer have to prove anything.  It would be up to the intruder             
 to prove that the rightful occupant of the home was not justified             
 in their actions.                                                             
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN was trying to recall the case where a              
 Japanese student got shot because it was Halloween.                           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY believed that case occurred in the State of              
 Louisiana.                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER did not believe the victim was inside the home.               
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN remembered that they were on the                   
 doorstep, on the property, and they were shot because the person              
 believed they were a danger but did not have a weapon, and this               
 would take the burden and switch it from the home owner to the                
 student, in this case.                                                        
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said he could not give a hypothetical answer             
 in that case, because those decisions were made by a jury.  This              
 bill requires an unlawful entry, so he did not feel that fact                 
 situation would be covered by this bill.                                      
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said this bill requires unlawful entry, so he did             
 not think that fact situation would be covered by this bill.  We              
 have someone from the Department of Law and also Public Safety to             
 testify.                                                                      
                                                                               
 LAURIE OTTO, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division,                   
 Department of Law, spoke in opposition to the bill.  It would be              
 very difficult to overstate their opposition to this bill, and in             
 listening to the sponsor she felt that the bill goes far beyond               
 what she hears the sponsor describing as his intent.  The sponsor             
 talked about what sounded to her like civil actions against the               
 owner by a person who was shot by the owner or the family of the              
 person who was shot by the owner.  This bill applies in criminal              
 prosecutions as well.  The information the sponsor has been given,            
 both about the Van Ha case, and about the burden of proof, is               
 incorrect.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Ms. OTTO described what occurred in the Van Ha case.  It was a              
 Dillingham case involving two Vietnamese fishermen.  The guy who              
 ended up getting killed went over to the house of the person who              
 was eventually prosecuted.  They were drinking together and got               
 into a fight and the person who was killed beat up the person who             
 ended up being the defendant, and then left.  The defendant started           
 thinking about this and thinking it was not right, and thinking               
 that this guy should not have been able to beat him up, and                   
 thinking about threats that he had made to him.  So the next day,             
 the defendant got a shotgun and started stalking the person who had           
 beat him up, tracked him down, shot him nine times in the back.               
 This was many many hours after the altercation that started him               
 thinking about killing the person.  What the court said had nothing           
 to do with being in the house or killing somebody in the home, or             
 the burden of proof.  The ruling in that case, said you cannot                
 claim self defense when there is no eminent threat of harm.  That             
 is not something that would be changed in this bill, it is                    
 something that is inherent in the definition of force in our                  
 statutes, which requires that there be an eminent threat of harm.             
 That case does not have anything to do with somebody being able to            
 use self defense in their home.  She felt if somebody told                    
 Representative Vezey that, he was given misinformation.                       
                                                                               
 MS. OTTO said this does not just address when you can use deadly              
 force in the house.  It talks about all of the circumstances under            
 which you can use deadly force.  She gave an example to make her              
 point.  Her great great grandfather was a sheriff at the height of            
 the silver mining boom on the California Nevada border and ended up           
 dying in the line of duty, and so in her family, they have a lot of           
 stories about the code of the west, and how people were supposed to           
 behave.  She admitted her personal favorite author is Louis Lamour,           
 but one of the things that was true of the code of the West was               
 that if somebody threatens to hit you or punches you in the nose,             
 and they are not armed, you cannot kill them.  In the code of the             
 West you do not kill an unarmed man.  This bill, if you look at               
 lines 8 through 13, right now under current law, you can use deadly           
 force if you reasonably believe that the use of force is necessary            
 to prevent any one of a number of serious crimes.  What you see on            
 line 9 is that this expands it to say that you can use deadly force           
 against the threat of assault in any degree or any crime in AS                
 11.41.  Section 3 is the section of the current statute that spells           
 out when you have a duty to retreat.  Under current law, if you are           
 in your home, there is no duty to retreat, but under current law,             
 if you are in a public place, and you can retreat with complete               
 safety to yourself and to everybody else, you cannot use deadly               
 force.  Under this bill, as a result of these proposed changes, if            
 you were standing outside of a police station with the doors                  
 unlocked where you could go in at any time and somebody walked up             
 and said, "I am going to punch you in the nose," this would be                
 fourth degree assault which provides that by words or other                   
 conduct, one places somebody in fear of physical injury, you can              
 kill them.  If somebody commits the crime of custodial                        
 interference, which is a crime against a person under 11.41, in               
 other words, you have a divorced couple and the wife keeps the kids           
 two hours past when she is supposed to turn them over to her                  
 husband, under a joint custody agreement, and he goes over to her             
 house and says he wants the kids back and she says, "Let them                 
 finish watching Sesame Street," he can kill her.  If you have a               
 batterer situation, whoever is being battered can kill the other              
 person.  This is an invitation to legitimate, legal, justifiable              
 homicide, in a vast array of circumstances that she just does not             
 believe from reading the sponsor statement or from listening to the           
 sponsor is what he intended.                                                  
                                                                               
 MS. OTTO went through the sections of the bill that directly deal             
 with when you can use force in a dwelling.  She gave another                  
 example of a circumstance where it would be perfectly legitimate to           
 kill somebody under this bill.  If a husband and a wife were                  
 married for ten years and they own the house together, they lived             
 in it together and she got a domestic violence injunction against             
 him, and he decided he wanted to get back in and get his clothing             
 and waited until he saw her going to the store, and went in the               
 house, and she came back, she could kill him.  The reason she                 
 started by talking about Louis Lamour and the code of the West, and           
 all that, is because in our society, once we organized into cities,           
 and once we organized into states and into communities, what we did           
 is design a set of laws to resolve disputes, and hire police                  
 officers to intervene to help solve disputes, and hire district               
 attorneys so what we would not have is people just killing each               
 other all the time because one of the things they found in the old            
 west is that people got caught in the crossfire very frequently.              
 If you make it legal to use guns, under a wide array of                       
 circumstances, she guaranteed there would be innocent bystanders              
 being killed on a regular basis.                                              
                                                                               
 MS. OTTO closed by talking about the burden of proof which very               
 much concerned the sponsor.  In criminal cases, once somebody                 
 raises the defense of self defense by even the most minimal amount            
 of evidence, the state has the burden of proving beyond reasonable            
 doubt that it was not self defense.  In the sponsor statement the             
 Paul case was cited.  That was a case in which the court ruled that           
 even if the judge does not believe that there was self defense, if            
 the defendant raises it, he has to inspect the jury on self defense           
 and the prosecutor has to bear the burden of proving that it was              
 not self defense, and the prosecutor has to bear the burden of                
 proving beyond a reasonable doubt that it was not self defense.               
 She thought the burden of proof is in fact, not on the home owner             
 in criminal cases.  That is not the case in civil cases, and                  
 perhaps the sponsor's concern then is that the case related by                
 Representative Finkelstein and some of the other cases around the             
 country, from what she can see, are civil cases, where someone got            
 shot, or their families and there was a lawsuit.  Perhaps the way             
 to address the issues is to try to do something in the civil arena,           
 but in the criminal context, the Department is very, very opposed             
 to this bill.                                                                 
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE said he is very sympathetic to what                      
 Representative Vezey is trying to achieve.  He has to agree that              
 the Van Ha case, which he followed very closely because he knew             
 some people on the jury and we discussed it only after it was over,           
 he was not sure that was a good example, but on the other hand he             
 has been in situations where he has been told by law enforcement              
 officials, and he has been in situations where he has anticipated             
 having to defend the lives of family and property, mostly family,             
 and he said if you have to shoot someone, and they fall outside of            
 the house, run outside and pull them in, and you better make sure             
 that they are dead.  Now that puts the burden of proof on the                 
 aggrieved person.  Maybe it is the civil thing that needs to be               
 addressed, but how do we protect people who are protecting                    
 themselves?                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. OTTO thinks the law does protect people that are protecting               
 themselves.  Because there is such intense interest in homicide               
 cases on the part of both the community and family members, people            
 tend to run them by her before they decline prosecution, and we do            
 regularly decline prosecution on what would otherwise be homicide             
 cases, because somebody is claiming self defense.  As a result, it            
 is the state's burden of proving that something was not self                  
 defense.  Her feeling is that we do not have a problem in Alaska.             
 Nobody has ever identified a case to her in which we did have a               
 problem, or prosecuted somebody inappropriately.  Our criminal law            
 strikes a fair balance between the rights of the homeowner and the            
 rights of society.                                                            
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE said he did not think the law enforcement                
 officials  that he has talked to would agree with her.                        
                                                                               
 MS. OTTO said she has actually heard those comments.  The comments            
 she has heard are tied to people being afraid of being sued, and              
 not afraid of being prosecuted.                                               
                                                                               
 Number 600                                                                    
                                                                               
 DEL SMITH, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Public Safety, spoke            
 in opposition to HB 293.  It seems to go far beyond what he hears             
 the sponsor intending in a home to the extent that there are any              
 number of misdemeanors, including assault that Ms. Otto referred to           
 that would allow the use of deadly force, we are opposed to opening           
 that up.  A person claiming self defense and defending themselves             
 against an arrest that they perceived, does concern hi, because               
 there are circumstances where you could use non-deadly force to try           
 to prevent an arrest, but this might open Pandora's box and allow             
 deadly force.  He would be concerned about that, though he has not            
 done enough research to determine that exactly.  He is not as                 
 eloquent as Ms. Otto was in this, but does oppose the bill as                 
 written, for the reasons stated.                                              
                                                                               
 MR. SMITH added that he tried to arrange for the Anchorage Police             
 Department to testify but the witness slipped out of his grasp.  He           
 had also indicated that they were opposed to this bill as currently           
 written.  He agreed with the sponsor relative to the home, but he             
 feels that is adequately covered.  In response to the comment about           
 dragging the body inside, he really does believe that probably                
 refers to a civil case, and making sure someone is dead so that               
 they cannot sue.  He is not exactly sure that is absolute                     
 professional advice, it may be frustration sometimes on the part of           
 an officer who might state that, but he certainly understands it.             
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE clarified that was not given to him on the               
 record and as official advice.                                                
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER closed the public hearing on HB 293.                          
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY said this is the only committee hearing in the           
 House, and is of course, the most appropriate committee.  It is not           
 his intention to rush this through.  He did spend a respectable               
 amount of time researching it and it is not intended to be a shell            
 of a potential statute, but he does recognize there could be other            
 facts that could be entering into this, and he asked if there could           
 be a subcommittee assigned to the bill.                                       
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said he would not be opposed to that idea, and                
 asked Representative Bunde and Representative Finkelstein if they             
 would be willing to look at it, with the sponsor most likely being            
 the chairman of the subcommittee.  They agreed to do so.                      
 Number 650                                                                    
                                                                               
 SSSB 27 - MISC. GRANDPARENT VISITATION RIGHTS (CONTINUED)                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER held the bill for subcommittee referral.  He then             
 announced that they would continue the hearing on SSSB 27.                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR DAVE DONLEY, bill sponsor, came forward to address the                
 committee's concerns.  He understood there was a concern as to why            
 the bill mentions other persons in the text, but not in the                   
 following section.  The simple answer to that is because all                  
 through the statutes, other persons, as well as grandparents, can,            
 not petition, but at the court's alone choice be granted visitation           
 rights.  But this bill does not give other persons the right to               
 petition, it only gives grandparents the right to petition.  While            
 we only give grandparents the right to petition, every where we               
 talk about what the court decides to do, we have to include other             
 persons because the court already has the authority to give that to           
 other persons, as well as grandparents.                                       
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said the next question dealt with page 2, lines 6             
 and 7, where it seemed to be bringing in the ability to petition to           
 be included in the hearing of an adoption for the first time, on              
 page 2, line 7.  The standards in the previous section, "the                  
 grandparent has established or attempted to establish ongoing                 
 contact."  He asked Senator Donley if it was his interpretation               
 that these standards would apply to this adoption.                            
                                                                               
 SENATOR DONLEY answered that it would only be "in the best                    
 interests of the child."  That is the standard the judge should               
 always use in order to grant the petition.  We do not change that             
 standard anywhere, that is real consistent in existing law.  All              
 this bill does is allow the grandparents the standing to ask for              
 that for the first time.  This is the same thing we have in every             
 other state in the United States, it is just standing to ask.  This           
 bill does not affect the standard that the judge uses to determine            
 whether he is going to grant that request from them.                          
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said his only concern is that it does not                     
 specifically say that is the standard when it deals with the                  
 adoption as it is stated in (b).  'After decree or final order                
 relating to child custody is entered under those two statutes,"               
 then "OR relating to an adoption under AS 25.23, a grandparent may            
 petition, only if," and then these are two other considerations.              
 He understood that we want the ability to exclude that in an                  
 adoption if they have already petitioned and been denied at the               
 original custody hearing.                                                     
                                                                               
 SENATOR DONLEY stated his staff had pointed out that in the                   
 adoption statutes, AS 25.23.125, it has a description of the                  
 interests of the minor to be adopted, and subsection (c) says the             
 court may issue a protective order or other order that is in the              
 best interests of the minor who is to be adopted.  So clearly, the            
 court could, if it was in the best interests of the minor, decline            
 to allow visitation, or in fact issue an order to prevent                     
 visitation.  He said his staff had prepared an amendment in case              
 additional language was requested.  His personal opinion was that             
 it was just not needed.  It is really doing something that is not             
 addressed by this bill.  It is really adding something that is very           
 much a stand alone concern, because clearly, all that amendment               
 does is create a new heightened scrutiny for the issue of potential           
 dangers to the children from relatives, and that is clearly already           
 provided for in the things the judge is supposed to look at in                
 determining visitation, and would be or not be relevant with or               
 without this bill because there are a lot of other people other               
 than grandparents, and once again this does not change anything as            
 far as the judge giving these visitation rights, or the standard              
 the judge uses, it only says that grandparents may ask.  He did not           
 believe the amendment to be necessary, but if the committee feels             
 this is something they really want to do, we went ahead and had the           
 language prepared just to expedite the process.                               
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY stated it was very clear to her that it is              
 attributed to the grandparents' son or daughter, so you are                   
 flagging the possibility that the parents of a child who are                  
 accused of child abuse are going to come to the grandparents' house           
 and abuse the child.  It is not going to do anything except make it           
 one step closer to safety for the child, and she would hate to be             
 on the hot seat, saying that we did not do this, and this child was           
 abused.  She felt the amendment language would be the best way to             
 go.  She made a motion to adopt Amendment Number 1, which is as               
 follows:                                                                      
                                                                               
 Page 2, after line 13:                                                        
 Insert a new subsection to read:                                              
                                                                               
 "(c)  When determining whether to grant rights of visitation                  
 between a grandparent and grandchild under this section, AS                   
 25.20.060, or AS 25.24, and when determining the terms and                    
 conditions to be attached to a right of grandparent visitation, the           
 court shall consider whether there is a history of child abuse or             
 domestic violence attributable to the grandparent's son or daughter           
 who is a parent of the grandchild."                                           
                                                                               
 Hearing no objection, the amendment was adopted.                              
                                                                               
 Number 730                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY made a motion to move HCS SSSB 27(JUD) out of           
 committee with Amendment Number 1, individual recommendations and             
 zero fiscal notes as attached.  Hearing no objection, it was so               
 ordered.                                                                      
 ADJOURNMENT                                                                   
                                                                               
 The House Judiciary Committee Adjourned at 12:30 p.m.                         
                                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects