Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/26/1995 01:17 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE April 26, 1995 1:17 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Brian Porter, Chairman Representative Joe Green, Vice Chairman Representative Con Bunde Representative Bettye Davis Representative Cynthia Toohey Representative David Finkelstein MEMBERS ABSENT Representative Al Vezey COMMITTEE CALENDAR HB 307: "An Act prohibiting the sale of pull-tabs; and providing for an effective date." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE *SSHB 285: "An Act relating to the amount of the homestead exemption and to the method of changing amounts of exemptions." HEARD AND HELD *HB 306: "An Act relating to a lien for services provided by a physician." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE *HB 291: "An Act relating to civil liability for skateboarding; and providing for an effective date." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE HB 292: "An Act relating to searches by peace officers who enforce fish and game laws and to false statements and omissions in regard to application for fish and game licenses, tags, and permits." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE HB 242: "An Act relating to the establishment, modification, and enforcement of support orders and the determination of parentage in situations involving more than one state; amending Alaska Rule of Administration 9; amending Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure 79 and 82; and providing for an effective date." SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD (* First public hearing) WITNESS REGISTER STEPHEN EARLY Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB), Camp 2 6590 Glacier Highway, Number 94 Juneau, AK 99801 Telephone: (907) 780-4449 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided information on CSHB 307(JUD) WARREN COLVER, Representative American Legion; Disabled American Veterans; and Veterans of Foreign Wars 9519 West Eighth Avenue Anchorage, AK 99504 Telephone: (907) 276-8211 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of CSHB 307(JUD) EARL MICKELSON P.O. Box 687 Kodiak, AK 99615 Telephone: (907) 486-3258 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of CSHB 307(JUD) WILLIAM HELMS American Legion, Post 57 101 - Seventh, Number 1 Fairbanks, AK 99701 Telephone: (907) 452-3761 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of CSHB 307(JUD) PAT VINCENT, Executive Officer Kenai Peninsula Builders Association P.O. Box 1753 Kenai, AK 99611 Telephone: (907) 283-8071 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of CSHB 307(JUD) JEANIE BERGER American Legion Auxiliary P.O. Box 977 Kenai, AK 99611 Telephone: (907) 283-3222 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of CSHB 307(JUD) JESSE EUBANKS American Legion P.O. Box 200144 Anchorage, AK 99520 Telephone: (907) 277-3788 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of CSHB 307(JUD) CHARLES MCKEE P.O. Box 143452 Anchorage, AK 99514 Telephone: Unavailable POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on CSHB 307(JUD) ANNE CARPENETI, Committee Aide House Judiciary Committee Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 120 Juneau, AK 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-4990 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided information on CSHB 307(JUD) and HB 292 JEFF PRATHER, Revenue Audit Supervisor Division of Charitable Gaming Department of Revenue P.O. Box 110400 Juneau, AK 99811-0400 Telephone: (907) 465-2229 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided information on CSHB 307(JUD) MARVINE COGGINS, Legislative Assistant to Representative Cynthia Toohey Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 104 Juneau, AK 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-4919 POSITION STATEMENT: Provided information on CSHB 307(JUD) and CSHB 306(JUD) ROSETTA DEMOSKI, Legislative Secretary to Representative Carl E. Moses Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 204 Juneau, AK 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-4451 POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced HB 285 SHARON KELLY, President Alaska Credit Union League Alaska State Employees Federal Credit Union P.O. Box 21449 Juneau, AK 99802 Telephone: (907) 586-4329 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 285 JERRY WEAVER, Senior Vice President Commercial Bank Loans National Bank of Alaska P.O. Box 100600 Anchorage, AK 99510 Telephone: (907) 265-2920 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 285 MARILYN MAY, Assistant Attorney General Collections and Support Civil Division Department of Law 1031 West Fourth Avenue, Number 200 Anchorage, AK 99501 Telephone: (907) 269-6600 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified against HB 285 PETER ASCHENBRENNER, Attorney 615 East 82nd Avenue Anchorage, AK 99518 Telephone: (907) 344-1500 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of CSHB 306(JUD) SANDRA SINGER State Recorders Office 3601 `L' Street, Number 110 Anchorage, AK 99503 Telephone: (907) 762-2428 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of CSHB 306(JUD) DOCTOR ROBERT BANKS Chiropractic Society Address unavailable POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of CSHB 306(JUD) DENNY DEWITT, Legislative Assistant to Representative Eldon Mulder Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 411 Juneau, AK 99801-1182 Telephone: (907) 465-2647 POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced HB 291 LT. TED BACHMAN Alaska State Troopers Department of Public Safety 5700 East Tudor Road Anchorage, AK 99507-1225 Telephone: (907) 269-5412 POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced HB 292 PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 307 SHORT TITLE: PULL-TABS PROHIBITED SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) TOOHEY, Phillips, James, Martin JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 04/12/95 1284 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 04/12/95 1284 (H) JUDICIARY, FINANCE 04/19/95 1391 (H) COSPONSOR(S): MARTIN 04/24/95 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 04/24/95 (H) MINUTE(JUD) 04/26/95 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 BILL: HB 285 SHORT TITLE: AMOUNT OF HOMESTEAD AND OTHER EXEMPTIONS SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MOSES JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/27/95 933 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 03/27/95 933 (H) JUDICIARY 04/05/95 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 04/12/95 1284 (H) SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE INTRODUCED- REFERRALS 04/12/95 1284 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 04/12/95 1284 (H) JUDICIARY 04/26/95 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 BILL: HB 306 SHORT TITLE: PHYSICIAN'S LIENS SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) TOOHEY, B.Davis JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 04/11/95 1237 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 04/11/95 1237 (H) JUDICIARY 04/26/95 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 04/26/95 1559 (H) COSPONSOR(S): B.DAVIS BILL: HB 291 SHORT TITLE: CIVIL LIABILITY FOR SKATEBOARDING SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MULDER JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 04/05/95 1026 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 04/05/95 1026 (H) JUDICIARY, FINANCE 04/26/95 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 BILL: HB 292 SHORT TITLE: FISH & GAME ENFORCEMENT SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) OGAN JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 04/05/95 1026 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 04/05/95 1026 (H) FSH, JUDICIARY 04/11/95 (S) JUD AT 04:00 PM BELTZ ROOM 211 04/12/95 (H) FSH AT 05:00 PM CAPITOL 124 04/12/95 (H) MINUTE(FSH) 04/13/95 1316 (H) FSH RPT 1DP 3NR 04/13/95 1317 (H) DP: OGAN 04/13/95 1317 (H) NR: G.DAVIS, AUSTERMAN, ELTON 04/13/95 1317 (H) ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DPS) 04/26/95 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 BILL: HB 242 SHORT TITLE: UNIFORM INTERSTATE FAMILY SUPPORT ACT SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/08/95 642 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S) 03/08/95 642 (H) HES, JUDICIARY, FINANCE 03/08/95 642 (H) 2 FISCAL NOTES (DHSS, REV) 03/08/95 642 (H) 2 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (LAW, DCRA) 03/08/95 643 (H) GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER 04/26/95 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 95-53, SIDE A Number 000 The House Judiciary Standing Committee was called to order at 1:17 p.m. on Wednesday, April 26, 1995. A quorum was present. Representative Vezey was absent. The hearing was teleconferenced to Anchorage, Fairbanks, Kenai, and Kodiak. CHAIRMAN BRIAN PORTER stated that the following bills would be heard: CSHB 307, HB 285, HB 306, HB 291, and HB 292. HB 242 was scheduled but would not be heard since it had not been referred to the Judiciary Committee yet. HB 307 - PULL-TABS PROHIBITED CHAIRMAN BRIAN PORTER described the Judiciary Committee substitute (CS) for HB 307. There was a large number of people wishing to testify, and he suspected that they were interested in testifying on the original bill. The prohibition of pull-tabs, which was the main provision in the original bill, is now not a part of the CS and will not be considered by this committee. The CS, which has been faxed to all of the teleconference sites, goes back to the concept of trying to take the proceeds of gaming out of politics. It precludes people who have received proceeds in gaming, that have permits, to contribute any portion of those proceeds to political candidates or political parties or groups. He said those who were in attendance to testify about the fact that they would lose the ability to fund their charity function from pull-tabs, the heat is off. He then entertained a motion to adopt the CS. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN made a motion to adopt the CS for HB 307, Version F, dated 4/24/95, as the committee's working document. Hearing no objection, Version F of the CS for HB 307 was adopted as the work draft. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked the sponsor to read the new title. REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY read the new title for the CS: "An Act providing that a political use is not an authorized use of charitable gaming proceeds; prohibiting the contribution of charitable gaming proceeds, other than proceeds from raffles to candidates for certain public offices, their campaign organizations, or to political groups; providing that a political group is not a qualified organization for purposes of charitable gaming; other than raffles; relating to raffles; and providing for an effective date." REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY explained that this bill would directly prohibit the misdirection of gambling proceeds from being funnelled to political use. She does not believe that anyone can legitimately consider politicians or their attempt to influence the electoral process a legitimate use of charity money. Raffles are exempt from this prohibition. When raffle tickets are sold, the purchaser has full knowledge of the cause that the raffle represents. There is a zero fiscal note from the Department of Revenue. She urged support for the bill. CHAIRMAN PORTER mentioned that if someone was intending to testify on the previous version of the bill, and their testimony no longer applies, they should let him know. STEPHEN EARLY, Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB), Camp 2, said that on the original bill you were keeping track of funds, watching where the net proceeds went and how much it cost to rent such and such. He asked if that was still included in the CS. CHAIRMAN PORTER believed that was current law. MR. EARLY answered that he was sure it was. He wondered if the Governor has a task force on gaming. He suggested if there was a task force the committee might review some of the testimony that has been given on gaming. REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY asked how that would relate. The bill only says there will be no political contributions. MR. EARLY asked if that is all this bill does. REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY answered that yes, that is all this bill does. It mentions nothing else. WARREN COLVER, Representative, American Legion, Disabled American Veterans, and Veterans of Foreign Wars, testified via teleconference from Anchorage. He opposed the first version, but supported the CS. He continued to discuss the amounts of money used for community projects. EARL MICKELSON testified via teleconference from Kodiak in support of the CS. He read from page 3 of the bill, "including a group that seeks to influence the opinions of voters." He asked if there was any relation of a candidate for public office. He stated that the American Legion has no problem with the CS. CHAIRMAN PORTER said the CS doesn't preclude any organization from being involved in politics. It only says that you should not use those proceeds for that purpose. The proceeds from gaming have to be accounted for individually so that it is easy to track what organizations do with those proceeds. The bill says you should use those proceeds for the stated purpose by statute. If you have other reasons to contact legislators, you certainly may. If you have other funds in which to support political candidates or activities, you certainly may. Number 300 WILLIAM HELMS, American Legion, Post 57, testified via teleconference, in support of the CS. REPRESENTATIVE DAVID FINKELSTEIN indicated confusion between the original version of the bill and the CS. REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY said the bill prohibits any political entity from receiving money from pull-tabs. She indicated it does not affect raffles. PAT VINCENT, Executive Officer, Kenai Peninsula Builders Association, testified via teleconference in support of the CS. She appreciated the changes in the CS, as the original version had caused quite a stir. She felt that the only way you can keep politics and gaming separate, is to do it. Do not allow anyone to profit from nonprofit gaming, including operators and lobbyists. She asked the committee to please take time to listen to those who are involved on a daily basis with nonprofit gaming. Number 450 JEANIE BERGER, American Legion Auxiliary, testified via teleconference. She thanked the representatives who were presenting this bill for negotiating and being aware of the necessity for the true nonprofits who operate and give back to the communities. These programs are so needed, and without this, the concerns of the expanded welfare program would be astronomical. Gaming is so important to the nonprofit groups. JESSE EUBANKS, American Legion, testified via teleconference in support of CSHB 307(JUD). He had called and found out how much the five different posts gave to charity this year, and was told that it amounted to $175,000. He wanted to make sure the committee knew how much charity money was generated from gaming. CHARLES MCKEE testified via teleconference. He did not see much difference between this bill and what they are doing in New York which is holding people hostage through contract negotiations. As you all should know, the Security Exchange Commission considers each American citizen as a master in this country. He is a member of the biggest organization in this whole entire country. CHAIRMAN PORTER concluded the public testimony on CSHB 307(JUD). He announced that Anne Carpeneti would go through the sectional analysis. ANNE CARPENETI, Committee Aide, House Judiciary Aide, explained that the work draft prohibits charitable gaming as a method of raising funds for political purposes, except that the proceeds from raffles may be used for political purposes. Section 1 provides that the department may issue permits to political organizations to conduct raffles only, and it provides that a political organization may not participate in a multi-beneficiary permit. Section 2 prohibits a political organization from contracting with an operator to conduct raffles. Section 3 revises AS 05.15.105 to clarify that political organizations may not receive proceeds from any type of gaming activities except raffles. It prohibits any part of the proceeds from other gaming activities to be given to a candidate for public office, state, or subdivision of the state, or a candidate's campaign organization, a political party, a group organized under, or affiliated with a political party or a political group or a group as defined in AS 15.30.130, paragraph 4, which is the elections title. Proceeds from all raffles for political purposes must be used within one year of their collection, with an exception provision that is addressed in another section of the bill. MS. CARPENETI described Section 4, which amends AS 05.15.150 to state that net proceeds from raffles may be dedicated to political purposes. It defines political uses as those aiding candidates for public office or groups that support candidates. Section 5 adds a new section that states that political organizations may hold raffles for political purposes, or for other purposes allowed in this statutory scheme for charitable gaming. That is a political group can hold a raffle and give the money to another charitable organization if it wants to. It again states the proceeds must be used within a year, unless the organization gets special permission from the department after a showing of good cause. Section 6 modifies the definition of political organization for charitable gaming, to require that the organization must have been in existence for three years before it may apply for a license. Section 7 is a conforming amendment, and Section 8 is the effective date clause, which is January 1, 1996. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked Mr. Prather if Section 6 was referring to regulations that are already in place. No one gets a gaming permit unless they have been in existence for three years. Number 650 JEFF PRATHER, Revenue Audit Supervisor, Division of Charitable Gaming, Department of Revenue, answered yes, it is already in statute that you have to be in existence for three years. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked if there was any reason we would be putting it in statute again since it already is. MR. PRATHER did not know. MARVINE COGGINS, Legislative Assistant to Representative Toohey, clarified the question. She explained that since there is a new section, Section 5, addressing political organization raffles, we include that just to address that new section, and it will keep this new section on raffles consistent with existing law. In response to the question regarding the need for the language in Section 6, the bill drafter has explained that if you look in Section 8, we are taking "political" out of "qualified organization," and therefore, the drafter put that back in up in Section 6. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN offered a conceptual amendment that would allow political parties to hold gaming licenses for all uses other than direct or indirect contributions to candidates. REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY objected. TAPE 95-53, SIDE B Number 000 A roll call vote was taken. Representatives Finkelstein and Davis voted yes. Representative Toohey, Bunde, Green and Porter voted no. Representative Vezey had stepped out. Amendment Number 1 failed, four to two. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN offered a second amendment which would include additional reporting requirements that can be found in HB 44(FIN) am. This mandates that these permittees provide access by the department to those accounts to insure the proceeds are not diverted or transferred to any purpose other than permitted by this chapter. MR. PRATHER mentioned that the Division of Charitable Gaming is very concerned about these types of requirements because they place an impossible paperwork burden on them. These are not the reporting requirement he referred to earlier. CHAIRMAN PORTER said they would hold the bill for a few moments, as Representative Finkelstein went to look for a previous version of the bill that had language in it that he remembered Mr. Prather agreeing to. HB 285 - AMOUNT OF HOMESTEAD AND OTHER EXEMPTIONS ROSETTA DEMOSKI, Legislative Secretary to Representative Carl E. Moses, introduced HB 285. HB 285 seeks to increase the current homestead exemption amount from $52,100 to $150,000, and it also clarifies the adjustment calculations addressed in AS 09.38.115. These are technical corrections necessary for the Department of Labor. HB 285 would allow homeowners under bankruptcy proceedings to maintain the equity of their homes by increasing homestead exemption. Increasing the exemption to $150,000 protects the homeowners equity from creditors upon liquidation of their assets. HB 285 also clarifies the method of processing the bankruptcy exemption amount, and requires the Department of Labor to adopt a regulation announcing the changes in the dollar amounts. This bill amends AS 09.38.115 of the Exemptions Act to reference the annual average consumer price index. It changes the amount used in the calculation to the most recent year the amount of the exemption is established or amended by legislation. Currently, the adjustments made are referencing January of 1982, as a reference base. She said Arbe Williams, Director, Division of Administrative Services, Department of Labor, and Chris Miller were in attendance to answer questions on any of the technical changes or corrections to the section. MS. DEMOSKI explained that the reason for the homestead laws is for preservation of the family farm, home, or other assets in the face of severe economic conditions. In each case, the property that may be homesteaded is designed to perpetuate the family's estate, and to improve its chances for survival in hard times. The homestead provides a back-up form of insurance against an unexpected catastrophe. Many will argue that homestead law is our way of sheltering assets. That is not what has motivated this legislation. There are people who outright own their homes. HB 285 only adds additional security. In cases of bankruptcy, this will simply protect someone from losing their primary residence. On behalf of Representative Moses, she requested support in passing this legislation. SHARON KELLY, President, Alaska Credit Union League, Alaska State Employees Federal Credit Union, testified against HB 285. In previous legislation, they supported efforts to actually reduce the homestead exemption. A lower exemption amount creates a better balance between the right of debtors and creditors. Public policy that limits and discourages bankruptcy is important to assure consumer credit is available to those at a reasonable price. This bill reverses the efforts of the Eighteenth Legislature to lower the exemptions, but on a national level, there was abuse in the bankruptcy system. Just last year, Congress approved bankruptcy reform. The current federal exemption was just increased to $15,000. She did not understand the logic behind increasing this to ten times what the federal exemption is. A person that declares bankruptcy can make a choice between the federal or the state exemption amount. MS. KELLY stated that the homestead exemption relates to the amount of home equity a borrower can protect under bankruptcy. If a debtor is headed toward bankruptcy and has a large amount of equity in his home, he can protect his credit by taking out a second deed of trust and paying off those creditors. We do not understand the logic of allowing a person who is going bankrupt to keep this $150,000. We do believe creditors should be entitled to take the home away from a debtor. Credit unions are member owned financial cooperatives. If loan losses are increased, which this piece of legislation could possibly do, it is going to cost all of our members more money. It is going to increase interest rates and lower their dividends. Credit unions in Alaska have a long history of working with our members who are experiencing temporary financial hardship. At the same time, it is important that the legal system provide effective avenues for recourse to collect from those who have the capacity to repay. By increasing the exemption amount, this proposal is inviting abuse and over time will raise the cost of credit to all the borrowers. The Alaska Credit Union League is our trade association for Alaska's 17 credit unions. We represent 300,000 people in the state of Alaska and we are a primary source of consumer loans. Number 370 JERRY WEAVER, Senior Vice President, Commercial Bank Loans, National Bank of Alaska, spoke in opposition to HB 285. He was speaking for the Alaska Bankers Association as well. This legislation does nothing but send the wrong message to debtors that Alaska is one of the few states that offers an incentive for a debtor to convert his/her nonexempt assets to cash, but what we are talking about is if a debtor does have cash in a large house, would be (indisc.) creditors. There was a "60 Minutes" coverage where a multi-million dollar estate was purchased in Florida with the exclusive design of denying creditors any chance to recover their money. Alaska does not want to be in that league. Alaska's present homestead exemption of $62,500 is already among the more liberal of all the states. This is basically a rich man's bill. Number 450 MARILYN MAY, Assistant Attorney General, Collections and Support, Civil Division, Department of Law, testified against HB 285. She is the supervisor of collections and support section, which, among other things, collects unsecured debts owed to the state. She had spoken with other attorney generals who do collection work for the state and there is unanimous opposition to this bill. Anything that goes beyond protecting a debtor from destitution is really taking money out of the creditor's pocket. Any benefit you give to the debtor serves as a direct penalty to the creditor who, in some cases, may be in worse financial condition than the debtor. There may be situations where a creditor may wind up losing his house because the debtor had their assets tied up in a house that the creditor cannot get to. This bill invites abuse. There was a discussion on whether or not the debtor should or even could qualify for a home equity loan to pay off their debts, rather than declaring bankruptcy and sheltering their assets. MS. KELLY stated that they probably would loan money to people to pay their debts since it would be a secured loan, and that would provide them with collateral. MS. MAY commented that the reality is that in many or most cases, if she is trying to collect a $50,000 fine, she would probably not look beyond the value of the home. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN had no idea this homestead exemption existed. He said this is an amazing protection. REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY said in the olden days, we used to pay off the house so that you could never lose it. This is a generation gap issue. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS pointed out that if there are people who have their homes paid off, they would be worth more than $62,000. She understood that your home should be protected beyond bankruptcy. She thought your home could not be taken from you, but it says here that it can. CHAIRMAN PORTER said we have kind of mixed apples and oranges in this discussion. This would allow the attachment of a house and the lien on the house, but it presumes the person is not in bankruptcy. For example, if he fell behind in his house payments and they threatened to take away his house, and he filed bankruptcy the next day; whether or not the exclusion for his house within the bankruptcy law applies or not, he just would not know. MS. DEMOSKI understood that if you were to declare bankruptcy, they could not touch your home if it was worth $150,000. They would either give you a check for $150,000 so you can buy another home. The whole point is to protect your home, if someone actually does own their home, like people in retirement on a fixed income. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS felt that there were too many questions that needed to be answered on this bill, or some other work done to it. She felt it may be better not to move HB 285 at this time. CHAIRMAN PORTER said that without being sure of the bankruptcy requirements, and the two attorney generals who testified are not quite sure either, if other committee members feel it appropriate, he would like to get answers to the bankruptcy issue. REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY agreed. CHAIRMAN PORTER announced that the bill would be held over. He then left the House Judiciary Committee meeting to go to the House Finance Committee hearing. Representative Joe Green took over the meeting as Vice Chairman. TAPE 95-54, SIDE A Number 000 HB 306 - PHYSICIAN'S LIENS MARVINE COGGINS, Legislative Assistant to Representative Toohey, bill sponsor, introduced HB 306. This is an act related to liens for services provided by a physician. She noted there is a proposed CS. It is work draft G. Current Alaska statute allows a hospital or a nurse who gives medical care to a patient for a traumatic injury to place a lien on any sum awarded to the injured person to the extent of the amount due the hospital or nurse. However, physicians in Alaska do not have the same statutory right. HB 306 would amend existing statute to include physicians. MS. COGGINS stated the proposed CS makes changes to update the lien law, which has not been changed since 1959. There are three proposed changes. Peter Aschenbrenner, a lien attorney, is on line in Anchorage. She said he can speak to these changes. Sandra Singer, Public Recorders Office is also on line, because this is where liens are recorded. Number 100 PETER ASCHENBRENNER, Attorney, testified via teleconference in support of the proposed CS for HB 306. He represents recovery management. A few of his clients are Petersburg Medical Center, Seward General Hospital and Cordova Community Hospital. He felt that one additional matter that should be reviewed by the committee is that the hospital nurses (indisc.) an important tool for reducing uninsured losses and keep down rising health care costs in Alaska. (indisc.) should do this by requiring insurance companies to contact hospitals and nurses before settling cases that involve catastrophic injuries which are not work related. Current law has never been revised and has several flaws. The first flaw will be changed by CSHB 306(JUD) which will provide coverage for other providers such as chiropractors. MR. ASCHENBRENNER added that there are three other corrections that will be made by the CS. First, it will extend the time for filing liens to 90 days. This is the same amount of time construction contractors have for lien filing, instead of the current unrealistic 15 days. The CS will repeal the requirement for service of a certified copy of the lien to the Recorder's Office. It also allows the service provider to put in a general description of services rendered at any recorders office. The current language states that the lien has to be filed in the same recording district in which the injury occurred, which is even more of a dilemma if the district in which the injury occurred cannot be determined. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS moved to adopt the CS, Version G, as the committee's working draft. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY wanted to clarify that what Mr. Aschenbrenner was referring to was on page 2, line 17, the words "of the recording district or borough in which the injury occurred," be deleted; and also to delete the entire Section 5, which refers to AS 34.35.470. MR. ASCHENBRENNER answered yes, those were his recommendations. In deleting Section 5, you would actually be repealing "470." There is no (indisc.) outside the recording acts for the recording (indisc.) told how to handle these liens. They already know how to handle them. REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY offered the amendment to repeal AS 34.35.470. Hearing no objection, the described amendment was adopted. Number 250 SANDRA SINGER, State Recorders Office, testified via teleconference. She said their priority is that they be removed from the position of working directly with on (indisc.) documents, and be allowed to (indisc.) authority which gives us internal authority to decide how the system should be created and maintained. This change would be doing the Recorder's Office a favor by taking out this terminology. They will be able to operate more efficiently. DOCTOR ROBERT BANKS, Chiropractic Society, testified via teleconference. (indisc.) of Alaska's physicians are not recognized by Alaska's statutes. Often times insurance companies and attorneys can legally choose to ignore third party claims, sometimes leaving thousands of dollars in physician's fees unpaid. There is, in existence, a document to support this activity. He was referring to the Alaska Bar Association ethics opinion number 92-3. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked if this was just bringing into compliance a common practice. MS. COGGINS answered that we are basically bringing statue up to what has been current practice. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked if the bill was asking that medical liens be recorded by the Recorder's Office in the same fashion that others are being recorded. MS. COGGINS answered yes. REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS moved to pass CSHB 306(JUD) out of committee, as amended, with the zero fiscal note. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. Number 350 HB 291 - CIVIL LIABILITY FOR SKATEBOARDING DENNY DEWITT, Legislative Assistant to Representative Eldon Mulder, introduced HB 291. He said this bill was introduced by the request of the Municipality of Anchorage, and is supported by the Fairbanks/North Star Borough. Municipalities would like to create skateboard parks so skateboarders would have a place to ride a little more safely than in downtown malls and sidewalks. They would like immunity from liability which this bill would give them. They would be required to post signs. He said he would like to propose an amendment which would simply change the word "operate" to use another term so that there is no misunderstanding that there needs to be someone on site all the time at the skateboard parks. Both the Anchorage and Fairbanks municipalities would like to establish skateboard parks. They have been requested to but have been reluctant to move forward without this minor correction to the statute. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE said he appreciates what the municipalities are trying to do, but would like to know for sure that we can grant immunity from being sued. CHAIRMAN PORTER said the philosophy and balance this bill presents is very similar to the ski liability bill we had last year that basically says that there is an inherent risk to this activity. If we provide it to you, you are going to have to accept some of those risks. We are putting obligations on you to be properly capable of performing this activity, wearing the right equipment, and generally act responsibly. The municipalities would be responsible for posting the fact that they will not be held liable for these inherent risks. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if this would require somebody to periodically check the parks to remove any obstructions that may lead to a gross negligence suit. MR. DEWITT understood there to be an obligation on the municipality to make sure there are proper signs, and that it is in proper operation, as they would have to with any other public facility. REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY felt this was a wonderful idea for those of us who dodge the skateboarders. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE mentioned that there is no way to indemnify the cities totally, as much as we might want to. CHAIRMAN PORTER offered Amendment 1, which provides that it is the facility that we are trying to exempt, and not require that an operator from the city to be present. Amendment 1 follows: Page 1, lines 8 - 9: Delete: "skateboarding facility operated by a municipality" Insert: "municipal skateboarding facility" Page 3, lines 1 - 2: Delete: "A municipality that operates a skateboarding facility" Insert: "In a municipal skateboarding facility, a municipality" Page 4, lines 19 - 20: Delete: "that operates a skateboarding facility shall, before the beginning of a skateboard competition" Insert: "shall, before beginning skateboard competition at a municipal skateboard facility" Page 5, line 4: Delete: "the operation of a" Insert: "a municipal" REPRESENTATIVE GREEN felt that was a good idea, and made a motion to move the amendment. Hearing no objection, Amendment 1 was adopted. REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY made a motion to move CSHB 291(JUD) out of the House Judiciary Committee with individual recommendation and zero fiscal notes. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. HB 307 - PULL-TABS PROHIBITED CONTINUED MR. PRATHER said he had previously testified in regard to HB 44 that we needed a report that would identify all of the accounts that gaming proceeds went into. We need a statute which clearly allows us access to those accounts. That is a type of report we were interested in seeing in regard to political contributions. CHAIRMAN PORTER asked if he believed this amendment would provide that. MR. PRATHER answered that yes, the amendment was certainly what we were looking for. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE moved Amendment 2. CHAIRMAN PORTER described the amendment to change page 4, line 1: Insert a new subsection to read: The department shall adopt regulations to identify all accounts that charitable gaming proceeds are transferred into by permittees and providing for access by the department to those accounts to ensure that proceeds are not diverted or transferred to any purpose or use not permitted by this chapter. Hearing no objection Amendment 2 was adopted. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE made a motion to move CSHB 307(JUD) out of the House Judiciary Committee, as amended, with zero fiscal notes as attached. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN objected. He did not believe that we were treating all of these things equally and he had attempted to address these things in his amendment. We should not take parties, which are civic nonprofit organizations and not allow them the same kind of activities we are allowing other groups, such as free association. His second objection is that he did not believe the bill was properly, procedurally, before the committee, and that it will not be allowed on the House floor. CHAIRMAN PORTER requested a roll call vote. Representative Finkelstein voted no. Representatives Toohey, Bunde, Davis, Green and Porter voted yes. CSHB 307(JUD) passed out of committee. HB 292 - FISH & GAME ENFORCEMENT LT. TED BACHMAN, Alaska State Troopers, Department of Public Safety, introduced CSHB 292(JUD). He said the department recommends the CS, after reviewing the bill and discussing it with the Department of Law. CHAIRMAN PORTER entertained a motion to adopt the work draft, Version G, as the committee's working draft. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN made a motion to adopt the CSHB 292(JUD). Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. LT. BACHMAN described the CS. The first section remains the same as it was previously. It removes the unusual requirement for Fish and Wildlife Protection to serve an additional piece of paper when they are doing a consent search. Sections 2 and 3 of the bill create a strict liability violation for making false statements in applications for licenses, tabs, and permits. This previously was a misdemeanor, and created some problems in practice that the district Attorneys were somewhat reluctant to give resources to attempt to prove in court that the `knowingly' requirement that was previously attached to this section. This removes that `knowingly' requirement, making it a strict liability violation, and raises the possible maximum fine from $500 to $1,000. The present bail amount for this is $200, he believed, but thought they were going to attempt to raise it slightly. LT. BACHMAN stated that Section 3 in the CS has a small problem. On line 13, the present statute contains the citation AS 16.05.420(b), and the previous version of the bill removed that as an exception, however, that was in error, and we want to keep that as an exception. He did not know whether there was a reason for it or if the drafter removed it by retaining brackets around that section, and then added it back in again by underlining it previously, so essentially it is a wash. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN mentioned that is just because it does not need to have AS in front of it again. A couple of people agreed that was correct. LT. BACHMAN said that is perfectly acceptable. The other thing he wanted to say is that the Department of Fish and Game has reviewed this and agrees with it. The Fish and Wildlife Protection Division also agrees with it. This is what they wanted and asked for, and it accomplishes what they recommended to begin with. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN did not understand the difference between the old and the new categories for these falsifications. He asked if there currently is one standard, and if so, what is it? LT. BACHMAN answered that the standard now requires a culpable mental state of `knowingly' in order to be charged under this section. The problem is a resource problem. Number 700 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked what the penalty for a violation is under current law. LT. BACHMAN believed it is a maximum of six months imprisonment, and a maximum of $500 fine. CHAIRMAN PORTER clarified that is as a misdemeanor crime, not a violation. LT. BACHMAN corrected himself saying it may be a $1000 fine. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked if there would be two categories if this bill were to take effect. LT. BACHMAN said what we have now is one strict liability violation for making a false statement that does not require a culpable mental state. What the last sentence of Section 2 allows for is that if there is a situation in which there is some sort of gross act, it could bump up to an actual criminal violation under unsworn falsification. For just making a false statement or omission of a material fact, without any requirement for any culpable mental state, it would be just a violation. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN said the category he is thinking of includes people who try to say they are residents and are really not. He asked if it is the department's conclusion that they are going to get a lot more people with this standard, even though the fine is smaller? LT. BACHMAN said yes, it is the thought that we are going to get more convictions. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked if the conclusion is that it is the higher number of convictions that will deter people, rather than the law. CHAIRMAN PORTER explained that the situation described is a culpable state and would fall under the misdemeanor category, so we are not lessening the penalty for a person who is an "out-of- stater" who knows he lives out of state when he comes up here to sign up for a resident license. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN did not doubt this to be true, but in order to achieve our goals, we are going to be out enforcing this fine section because that seems to be the way to achieve the goal, even though the other one is on the books. We are not really going to be doing anything about it. We will go after this one. LT. BACHMAN said the hardest thing for a district attorney to prove in the past, was that the violation was committed `knowingly.' Under this bill, they would not have to do that, so it will result in more convictions, and therefore, be a greater deterrent. People will know the responsibility is upon them to make sure that what they put on that application is true. REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN pointed out that on page 2, line 12, there are two more exceptions other than the one they just talked about for the current standard. He is trying to figure out what those two are: AS 16.05.47(b) and (d), and AS 16.05.48(b). LT. BACHMAN believed those to be essentially housekeeping. Those two particular statutes are guiding statutes which directly refer to the criminal provisions in the statutes, so rather than bringing them into the realm of this restrictive misdemeanor, it allows them to refer directly to the misdemeanors in the criminal statutes that are referred to within those statutes. Number 800 MS. CARPENETI stated that those sections have their own criminal penalties which are higher. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE made a motion to move CSHB 292(JUD) out of committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. ADJOURNMENT The House Judiciary Committee adjourned at 2:35 p.m.