Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/26/1995 01:17 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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                
             HEARD AND HELD                                                    
 *HB 306:    "An Act relating to a lien for services provided by a             
             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                                                               
 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-                    
 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                                                               
 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                                                               
 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               
 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               
 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           
 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               
 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                   
 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             
 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           
 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                      
           Insert:  "municipal skateboarding facility"                         
      Page 3, lines 1 - 2:                                                     
           Delete:  "A municipality that operates a skateboarding              
           Insert:  "In a municipal skateboarding facility, a                  
      Page 4, lines 19 - 20:                                                   
           Delete:  "that operates a skateboarding facility shall,             
                    before the beginning of a skateboard                       
           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                 
 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             
 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              
 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               
 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.                              
 The House Judiciary Committee adjourned at 2:35 p.m.                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects