Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/05/1996 01:03 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                              
                        February 5, 1996                                       
                           1:03 P.M.                                           
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
 Representative Brian Porter, Chairman                                         
 Representative Joe Green, Vice Chairman                                       
 Representative Con Bunde                                                      
 Representative Bettye Davis                                                   
 Representative Al Vezey                                                       
 Representative Cynthia Toohey                                                 
 Representative David Finkelstein                                              
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
 HOUSE BILL NO. 419                                                          
 "An Act relating to the disposal of property, including firearms              
 and ammunition."                                                              
      - CSHB 419(STATE AFFAIRS) PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                        
 HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 52                                                 
 "Relating to the creation of a new United States Court of Appeals             
 for the Twelfth Circuit."                                                     
      - HJR 52 PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                         
 HOUSE BILL 75                                                                 
 "An Act relating to vehicle theft and the consequences of vehicle             
 theft including revocation of a driver's license, privilege to                
 drive, or privilege to obtain a license; amending Rule 32.1, Alaska           
 Rules of Criminal Procedure; and providing for an effective date."            
      - CSHB 75(STATE AFFAIRS) PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                         
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
 BILL:  HB 419                                                               
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S)                                                 
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG             ACTION                                        
 01/12/96      2438    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/12/96      2438    (H)   STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY                          
 01/16/96      2457    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): OGAN                                
 01/19/96      2495    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): FOSTER, BARNES                      
 01/22/96      2512    (H)   COSPONSOR(S):  SANDERS, WILLIS, TOOHEY            
 01/24/96      2529    (H)   COSPONSOR(S):  VEZEY, KELLY                       
 01/26/96      2548    (H)   COSPONSOR(S):  PHILLIPS, JAMES                    
 01/30/96      2567    (H)   STA RPT  CS(STA) NT 3DP 1DNP 3NR                  
 01/30/96      2567    (H)   DP: JAMES, WILLIS, OGAN                           
 01/30/96      2567    (H)   DNP: ROBINSON                                     
 01/30/96      2568    (H)   NR: PORTER, GREEN, IVAN                           
 01/30/96      2568    (H)   FISCAL NOTE (ADM)                                 
 01/30/96      2568    (H)   ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DPS)                            
 02/07/96      2646    (H)   JUD RPT  CS(STA) NT 4DP 1DNP 2AM                  
 02/07/96      2647    (H)   DP: PORTER, VEZEY, GREEN, TOOHEY                  
 02/07/96      2647    (H)   DNP: FINKELSTEIN                                  
 02/07/96      2647    (H)   AM: BUNDE, B.DAVIS                                
 02/07/96      2647    (H)   FISCAL NOTE (ADM) 1/30/96                         
 02/07/96      2647    (H)   ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DPS) 1/30/96                    
 02/07/96      2647    (H)   REFERRED TO RLS                                   
 02/09/96      2701    (H)   RULES TO CALENDAR  2/9/96                         
 02/09/96      2701    (H)   READ THE SECOND TIME                              
 02/09/96      2701    (H)   STA  CS ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT                      
 02/09/96      2702    (H)   ADVANCED TO THIRD READING 2/12 CALENDAR           
 02/09/96      2708    (H)   COSPONSOR(S) BUNDE, WILLIAMS                      
 02/12/96      2734    (H)   READ THE THIRD TIME  CSHB 419(STA)                
 02/12/96      2735    (H)   PASSED Y28 N6 E6                                  
 02/12/96      2735    (H)   NAVARRE  NOTICE OF RECONSIDERATION                
 BILL:  HJR 52                                                               
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) PORTER,Rokeberg,Green                           
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG             ACTION                                        
 01/09/96      2392    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/09/96      2392    (H)   STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY                          
 01/10/96      2404    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): ROKEBERG                            
 01/30/96      2563    (H)   STA RPT  6DP 1NR                                  
 01/30/96      2563    (H)   DP: JAMES, PORTER, GREEN, ROBINSON                
 01/30/96      2563    (H)   DP: WILLIS, OGAN                                  
 01/30/96      2564    (H)   NR: IVAN                                          
 01/30/96      2564    (H)   ZERO FISCAL NOTE (LAW)                            
 01/30/96              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 01/30/96              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 02/05/96              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 02/07/96      2641    (H)   JUD RPT  CS(JUD) 6DP 1NR                          
 02/07/96      2641    (H)   DP: VEZEY, B.DAVIS, PORTER, GREEN,                
 02/07/96      2641    (H)   DP: TOOHEY                                        
 02/07/96      2641    (H)   NR: FINKELSTEIN                                   
 02/07/96      2641    (H)   ZERO FISCAL NOTE (LAW) 1/30/96                    
 02/07/96      2641    (H)   REFERRED TO RULES                                 
 02/09/96      2707    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): GREEN                               
 BILL:  HB  75                                                               
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) SANDERS,Finkelstein,Kott                        
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG             ACTION                                        
 01/06/95        40    (H)   PREFILE RELEASED                                  
 01/16/95        40    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/16/95        40    (H)   STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY, FINANCE                 
 01/25/95       136    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): FINKELSTEIN                         
 01/19/96      2494    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): KOTT                                
 01/25/96              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 01/25/96              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 01/26/96      2540    (H)   SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE INTRODUCED-REFERRALS           
 01/26/96      2540    (H)   STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY, FINANCE                 
 01/30/96      2564    (H)   STA RPT  5DP 2NR                                  
 01/30/96      2565    (H)   DP: JAMES, PORTER, GREEN, WILLIS, OGAN            
 01/30/96      2565    (H)   NR: IVAN, ROBINSON                                
 01/30/96      2565    (H)   9 FNS (ADM, 2-CORR, 3-DHSS, LAW, 2-DPS)           
 01/30/96      2565    (H)   2 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (LAW, DPS)                    
 01/30/96              (H)   STA AT 08:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 01/30/96              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 02/05/96              (H)   JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 02/07/96      2642    (H)   JUD RPT  7DP                                      
 02/07/96      2642    (H)   DP: VEZEY, FINKELSTEIN, B.DAVIS, GREEN            
 02/07/96      2642    (H)   DP: BUNDE, TOOHEY, PORTER                         
 02/07/96      2642    (H)   FISCAL NOTE (COURT)                               
 02/07/96      2642    (H)   8 FNS (2-DPS, ADM, 2-DOC, 3-HES)                  
 02/07/96      2642    (H)   FISCAL NOTE (LAW) 1/30/96                         
 02/07/96      2643    (H)   2 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (LAW, DPS) 1/30/96            
 02/07/96      2643    (H)   REFERRED TO FIN                                   
 02/13/96              (H)   FIN AT 10:00 AM HOUSE FINANCE 519                 
 02/15/96              (H)   FIN AT 01:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                 
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
 REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT                                                      
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 432                                                       
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3777                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Prime Sponsor of HB 419                                  
 BRUCE BOTELHO, Attorney General                                               
 Department of Law                                                             
 P.O. Box 110300                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99811-0300                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-2075                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HJR 52                           
 REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS                                                        
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 414                                                       
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-4945                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified as sponsor of HB 75                            
 MICHAEL KORKEL, President                                                     
 Alaska Peace Officers Association                                             
 1979 Peger Road                                                               
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99709                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 451-5316                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 75                            
 DEL SMITH, Deputy Commissioner                                                
 Department of Public Safety                                                   
 P.O. Box 111200                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99811-1200                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-4322                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 75                            
 JOHN NEWELL, Police Chief                                                     
 City and Borough of Sitka                                                     
 100 Lincoln Street                                                            
 Sitka, Alaska  99835                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 747-3294                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 75                            
 L. DIANE WORLEY, Director                                                     
 Division of Family & Youth Services                                           
 P.O. Box 110630                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99811-0630                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3191                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 75                            
 ANNE D. CARPENETI, Assistant Attorney General                                 
 Department of Law                                                             
 P.O. Box 110300                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99811-0300                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3428                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 75                            
 JERRY SHRINER, Special Assistant                                              
 Department of Corrections                                                     
 240 Main Street, Suite 700                                                    
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907)465-4640                                                     
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information on HB 75                            
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
 TAPE 96-14, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN BRIAN PORTER called the House Judiciary committee meeting            
 to order at 1:03 p.m.  Members present at the call to order were              
 Representatives Bunde, Toohey, and Vezey.  Representatives Green,             
 Davis and Finkelstein attended the meeting at a later time                    
 respectively, 1:09 p.m., 1:15 p.m. and 1:15 p.m.                              
 CHAIRMEN PORTER stated that there were three bills for                        
 consideration before the Judiciary committee, HB 419, HJR 52, and             
 HB 75.  He announced that HB 154 had been returned to the sponsor             
 so that he could respond specifically to the concerns of the state            
 as presented in the last meeting.  A committee substitute will be             
 drafted to address these concerns.  Chairman Porter noted that                
 there would be additional testimony once this has been                        
 HB 419 - AGENCY DISPOSAL OF PROP., INCL. FIREARMS                           
 Number 190                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT came forward to present HB 419.  He stated           
 that it was a simple bill to understand.  The purpose of the bill             
 was to establish in statute, a clear policy regarding the                     
 disposition of hand guns by the state.  The definition of hand guns           
 under this legislation would mean ones declared in excess,                    
 confiscated, found or in some instances, forfeited.                           
 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT declared this legislation was needed because              
 within the past six months the administration has oscillated about            
 what to do with these types of handguns.  A current provision                 
 allows for "long irons" or shot guns to be sold.  Basically, this             
 bill deals strictly with hand guns and outlines for the                       
 administration disposition procedures.  Representative Kott                   
 referred to section 4 under "disposal," where it outlines that the            
 state can either sell or trade these safe firearms, which are                 
 useable and have some financial value, to a federally licensed                
 firearms dealer.  This dealer can then resell these guns to anyone            
 who meets the parameters under the Brady bill and other state and             
 federal regulations.                                                          
 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT pointed out that a CS of HB 419 was adopted in            
 State Affairs.  This CS returned to the status quo what                       
 municipalities are allowed to do.  It gives them the option of                
 selling guns to the public.  The intent of the bill was not to                
 infringe on what's been done at the municipal level.                          
 Number 356                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY asked if the municipalities had the             
 right not to do it.                                                           
 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT responded that this was correct.                          
 Number 378                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE referred to some suggested amendments and            
 concerns of the Outdoor Council, one was to allow the transfer of             
 these firearms to a hunter education program and the other was for            
 those individuals who pay their fine, they be allowed to have their           
 firearm returned to them.  The council also asked that the amount             
 of the fine go to the Wildlife Safeguard Program.                             
 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT stated that he had not seen these suggestions             
 yet.  On the proposed fines issue, he pointed out that this may be            
 tough to implement, especially the concept segregate and disburse             
 money to a particular agency.  While it may seem like a good                  
 feature to return firearms back to their owners and a very easy               
 sounding prospect, he was not familiar with the procedure.                    
 Number 516                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE pointed out that it wasn't fair to require               
 Representative Kott to respond to issues he had yet to review.  He            
 stated he would pass these suggestions on to Representative Kott              
 and if beneficial amendments arise out of these efforts they can be           
 dealt with at a later time during the legislative process.                    
 Number 670                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE moved to pass CS HB 419 (State Affairs) from             
 the Judiciary Committee with individual recommendations and its'              
 attached fiscal note.  Representative Vezey objected for the                  
 purposes of asking for the division of the house.  A roll call vote           
 was requested.  Representatives Green, Bunde, Toohey, Vezey and               
 Porter voted in favor of the motion.  CS HB 419 (State Affairs) was           
 so moved.                                                                     
 HJR 52 - CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS FOR 12TH CIRCUIT                           
 Number 768                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN PORTER introduced HJR 52 as sponsor.  This resolution                
 would be sent to the U.S. Congress in support of legislation there            
 which seeks to divide the current 9th Court of Appeals into two               
 courts.  The federal level 9th Court of Appeals has jurisdiction              
 over Alaska.  Chairman Porter added that the 9th circuit is one of            
 11 circuits and it was established in 1911.  It is comprised of               
 virtually the entire western part of the United States and it has             
 become unwieldy in size.  The ability to run a consistent decision            
 making body of a court of appeals has become compromised.                     
 CHAIRMAN PORTER continued to say that there have been concerns                
 about the 9th Circuit's size and considerations for dividing it               
 into two have been around for a while.  In 1970 there was a federal           
 study done on the 9th and 5th circuit.  The 5th circuit, as a                 
 result of this study, was divided and the 11th Circuit Court of               
 Appeals was established.  The 9th circuit was kept intact, but                
 instead of all of the judges hearing the respective cases, groups             
 of judges within the 9th circuit hear them instead, which results             
 in inconsistent decisions being handed down.  This makes it                   
 difficult and expensive for those states which it serves to do                
 business, let alone to interpret what the law really says.                    
 CHAIRMAN PORTER added that the seat of the 9th Circuit Court is in            
 California.  The administrator lives in San Francisco, most of the            
 judges in Los Angeles.  Since these judgeships are lifetime                   
 appointments, they spend a lot of time in these areas.  He offered            
 an anecdote as an illustration about this alienation from Alaska.             
 In recent discussions in the 9th Circuit regarding many Alaska                
 cases now before the court, in trying to define rural as applied to           
 Alaska, they sought help to define it by referring to the Milepost            
 Magazine.  They proclaimed that everyone knows that a rural                   
 district is one where there is not a lot of population and it's got           
 a lot of agriculture and ranches.  This is the extent to which how            
 out of touch the 9th Circuit is with the state of Alaska.                     
 CHAIRMAN PORTER summed up by saying that Alaska, Washington,                  
 Oregon, Idaho and Montana would become the 12th Circuit Court of              
 Number 1045                                                                   
 BRUCE BOTELHO, Attorney General, Department of Law, stated that the           
 administration fully supports HJR 52.  He said that there were two            
 problems with the existing 9th Circuit Court from their                       
 perspective.  First, the 9th circuit is the largest in the country            
 and secondly, it is the most back logged circuit in the country,              
 since it is dominated by California.  There are currently 28 judges           
 on the court, 19 of them are California based judges.  This is                
 pertinent, not necessarily because Alaska has anything directly               
 against California, but it is a recognition that it should be a               
 reasonable expectation that judges should share common experiences            
 with the people over whom they are passing judgment.  Mr. Botelho             
 cited the case used by Chairman Porter concerning the definition of           
 rural in the Kenaitze case.                                                   
 MR. BOTELHO went into greater detail regarding this case.  He                 
 referenced part of the language to help illustrate this problem.              
 The state of Alaska in adopting regulations on the concept of rural           
 in the context of ANILCA, everyone understood rural to mean bush              
 Alaska.  In implementing this interpretation the Alaska Board of              
 Fish and Game interpreted rural to exclude areas where the                    
 predominate economic characteristic was a non-cash economy.  The              
 consequence of this was that the Kenai peninsula was ruled not to             
 be a rural area.  This matter was then taken to court.  U.S.                  
 District Court being very familiar with Alaska and also familiar              
 with the history of ANILCA ruled in the state's favor.  They felt             
 this was a reasonable interpretation, hence an appeal was                     
 undertaken to the 9th Circuit Court.                                          
 MR. BOTELHO quoted the actual language from part of the 9th Circuit           
 Court's opinion in the context of Alaska being unusual if not,                
 exotic.  "The state's definition would exclude practically all                
 areas of the United States that we think of as rural, including               
 virtually the entirety of such farming and ranching states as Iowa            
 and Wyoming.  The term rural is not difficult to understand.  It is           
 not a term of art.  It is a standard word in the English language             
 commonly understood to refer to areas of the country that are                 
 sparsely populated, where the economy centers on agriculture or               
 MR. BOTELHO stated again that the panel was constituted primarily             
 of California judges, was a three member panel, which rendered this           
 opinion.  In fact most of the panels are constituted of judges from           
 California and who are removed from the rural experience, certainly           
 the Alaskan and Northwestern experience.   This is one problem.               
 The second problem is simply the delay.  He noted that one tends to           
 focus and put priority on those issues they are most familiar with            
 and those closest to home.  Those Alaskan cases which are of utter            
 importance don't appear to have the same type of priority as those            
 arising out of the chief contributor to the court's docket,                   
 MR. BOTELHO thought the best case in point was the Katie John case.           
 All of us have an interest in having a case decided quickly, no               
 matter what side someone is on.  Even after expedited consideration           
 was granted in this case, it took 13 months after everything the              
 lawyers could have done, had been done and this information had               
 been submitted for a decision resolution.  It took another nine               
 months for the panel to make a clarification on reconsideration.              
 The 9th Circuit has been notoriously the circuit with the most                
 delay.  The focus of the federal court has been to figure out                 
 innovative ways to expedite consideration in the 9th circuit.  They           
 have made some improvements so that the average case supposedly               
 takes 15 months after it's been submitted.  It is still woefully              
 slower than the other circuits.  As a sovereign state Alaska has              
 the right to have it's issues decided much more expeditiously than            
 the current makeup which of the 9th circuit would permit.                     
 MR. BOTELHO stated that there had been some developments which                
 suggests modifications to the resolution.  When the bill reached              
 the Judiciary Committee in the U.S. Senate there were other states            
 who were enthused about getting out of the 9th circuit.  On                   
 December 7, 1995 on the floor, both Arizona and Nevada requested to           
 abandon the 9th circuit as well.  As part of the price to get this            
 bill out of committee, Phoenix had been identified as the new                 
 center for this new 12th circuit.  He suggested that the resolution           
 before the Alaska Judiciary be modified to express Alaska's desire            
 that the headquarters be located in the Northwest as was originally           
 MR. BOTELHO continued that on Thursday of this last week, HR 2935             
 was introduced by Congressman Don Young as a companion bill                   
 promoting the 12th circuit and it's in the original form.  This               
 would constitute the five northwestern states which were originally           
 intended to be part of the Senate 956 and would allow that the 9th            
 Circuit Court be headquartered in Portland.  He stated, "thus again           
 events have overtaken the resolution not in concept, but in terms             
 of very specific events which should be tailored to modifying HJR             
 MR. BOTELHO stated that he had made contact with his colleges in              
 the other northwestern states and while half of them are Republican           
 and the other Democrat, they unanimously supported the division of            
 the circuit.  This is not a partisan issue.                                   
 Number 1493                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE asked what steps these states have taken             
 to pursue the establishment of this 12th Circuit Court.                       
 MR. BOTELHO answered that virtually every state has signed on to              
 the senate bill, but in terms of the house bill he hadn't yet                 
 reviewed it to see who else has signed on.  Senator Gordon of                 
 Washington state is the primary sponsor of S956 and both of                   
 Alaska's senator have signed on, as have at least one senator of              
 the other states involved.                                                    
 Number 1532                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY asked if the bill language for HJR 52           
 would be rewritten to just include northwestern states.                       
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said that he would ask the committee to                       
 conceptually change this bill now and have the bill drafter put in            
 this conceptual amendment before it is moved out of committee.                
 Number 1570                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BETTYE DAVIS made a motion to conceptually change              
 HJR 52 as outlined, which would allow that the headquarters of 12th           
 circuit be in the Pacific Northwest and it would state that the               
 Judiciary Committee supports the federal companion bill HR 2935 as            
 proposed.  Hearing no objection HJR 52 was so amended.                        
 Number 1697                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE AL VEZEY made a motion to move HJR 52 from the                 
 Judiciary Committee with individual recommendations as amended.               
 Hearing no objection it was so moved.                                         
 HB  75 - INCREASED PENALTIES FOR JOYRIDING                                   
 Number 1748                                                                   
 CHAIRMAN PORTER presented HB 75 regarding car theft and he noted              
 the sponsor, Representative Sanders.                                          
 REPRESENTATIVE JERRY SANDERS stated that HB 75 is not about                   
 joyriding or mischief, but about vehicle and auto theft.  In 1995             
 there were over 3,000 vehicle thefts statewide in Alaska.  He noted           
 that there was a vehicle theft bill last year.  It went to the                
 governor's desk and was vetoed.  If this had past last July, he               
 wondered how many of the roughly 1500 vehicle thefts could have               
 been avoided or how much restitution would have been paid.                    
 REPRESENTATIVE SANDER said he was attempting to craft a middle                
 ground bill which the governor will approve and one which will pass           
 through the legislature in order to serve the public.  The public             
 needs control over these auto thefts, especially with the juvenile            
 incidences of this crime, there is no control, and in relation to             
 adults, it's weak.                                                            
 CHAIRMAN PORTER pointed out that a CS was before the committee                
 which incorporates the work which was done on the bill from last              
 year.  The original parts of bill from last year in the CS were               
 those sections which would make first offense car theft a felony,             
 the provisions which were in the governor's bill and the provision            
 that juveniles who commit the offense of car theft would be sent              
 directly to district court to face an A misdemeanor offense.                  
 Number 1910                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE moved to adopt the CS for HB 75(JUD).                    
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked again about the differences                  
 between the CS and the bill.                                                  
 CHAIRMAN PORTER explained that the CS basically was the moving up             
 of joy riding in general terms for adults from a misdemeanor to a             
 felony.  The bill which came from State Affairs was this bill.  The           
 Judiciary CS with it's pending motion, incorporates into this, the            
 bill from last year with sections affecting juveniles as outlined.            
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN requested that maybe someone from the              
 Attorney General's office address this issue, since this newest               
 format seems to be somewhat controversial.  He noted that the                 
 Judiciary Committee worked extensively on this issue last year and            
 it ended up in a confused situation because of the mixed messages             
 expounded in the testimony.                                                   
 Number 2015                                                                   
 CHAIRMAN PORTER hearing no objection moved the CS for HB 75(JUD)              
 version (G) in front of the committee as a working document.                  
 Number 2040                                                                   
 MICHAEL KORKEL testified by speaker phone from Fairbanks in support           
 of HB 75.  He stressed that people make two major investments in              
 their life, one being their house, the other their vehicle.  His              
 organization applauded the steeper penalty from a misdemeanor to a            
 felony.  He noted that SB 220 and HB 75 do not seem to be very                
 different from one another.  He did outline one concern they had              
 regarding the language about the offense in the second degree under           
 the circumstances of theft other than a motor vehicle, which he               
 assumed this could mean a snow machine or a three wheeler.  He felt           
 as though these vehicles did not constitute the same penalties.               
 Number 2192                                                                   
 DEL SMITH, Deputy Commissioner, Public Safety testified in support            
 of creating a felony offense for stealing an automobile as outlined           
 in HB 75.  The area in which they differ with the legislation is              
 that this felony offense when applied to a juvenile, should stay in           
 the juvenile court.  He believed that auto theft should be punished           
 strongly and he believed there was a chance that if these cases               
 were brought to District Court there might be an opportunity for              
 these juveniles to not be prosecuted because the court  might not             
 have the resources to do so and secondly, the adult system right              
 now is not running very efficiently as it is.                                 
 Number 2363                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked Mr. Smith to comment on the                  
 changes in the new CS before the committee, more specifically about           
 the elimination of the automatic waiver, the treatment of off-road            
 vehicles and section 9, which Representative Finkelstein had not              
 had a chance to fully understand at the moment.                               
 Number 2390                                                                   
 MR. SMITH responded that as to the automatic waiver, the Department           
 of Public Safety and law enforcement in general, did not support              
 this automatic waiver to District Court of youthful offenders who             
 steal cars.  As to the off-road vehicles to be excluded, the                  
 department agrees that this should not be a felony.                           
 CHAIRMAN PORTER responded to Representative Finkelstein's concerns            
 about section 9, which is existing law.  This law provides for                
 traffic offenses of juveniles be presented to District Court and              
 misdemeanor car theft would be added to this provision.                       
 TAPE 96-14, SIDE B                                                            
 CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that under this bill there is the                      
 availability for increased sentencing after second and subsequent             
 offenses, but this would remain a misdemeanor.  It would remain in            
 the adult court system, as opposed to returning it to the juvenile            
 court system.                                                                 
 Number 028                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked Mr. Smith for a percentage of car theft            
 incidences which involve juveniles rather than adults.                        
 MR. SMITH stated that in 1995 there were 604 people were arrested             
 for joyriding.  Of these, approximately 400 of them were adults,              
 hence about one-third of these numbers were juveniles.  He pointed            
 out that this was true for those which were caught.  In Anchorage             
 of the same year, there were approximately 2100 vehicles stolen,              
 and out of this number the criminals were not apprehended.  It                
 would be impossible to determine the juvenile numbers for these               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked of the 2100 vehicles, how many were                
 MR. SMITH said about 90 to 95 percent of the cars were recovered.             
 Number 250                                                                    
 JOHN NEWELL, Chief of Police, City and Borough of Sitka, testified            
 by speaker phone in favor of HB 75.   He stated that he's the                 
 President of the Alaska Association of the Chiefs of Police as                
 well.  He felt as though Alaska was been long overdue in making               
 auto theft a felony.  Alaska needs stiffer penalties to help act as           
 a deterrent to those who would take the property of another person.           
 MR. NEWELL recommended that the automatic waiver for juveniles not            
 be included in this legislation.  He pointed out that there was a             
 definite problem in the system where they want to treat juvenile's            
 on the arrest and trial side as juveniles, but when they get them             
 incarcerated the system requires that they be treated as juveniles.           
 He pointed out that the system already allows for in specific                 
 situations, that a defendant be considered an adult rather than a             
 Number 377                                                                    
 DIANE WORLEY, Director, Division of Family and Youth Services                 
 (DFYS) testified in support of HB 75 in making vehicle theft a                
 felony.   She referred to research which had been conducted and               
 printed on hand-outs for the committee, regarding how the                     
 department currently address felonies in the present juvenile                 
 probation system.                                                             
 MS. WORLEY felt as though misinformation existed in relation to               
 what the department does with juveniles.  The first page of this              
 hand-out gave a breakdown of different violations or referrals                
 which the department receives, showing that 23.3 percent of                   
 juveniles have committed felonies.  By adding car theft as a felony           
 offense, this would increase the felony charges by 10 percent, ie.            
 adding 200 felonies into the system.                                          
 MS. WORLEY referred to the second page of this handout.  The                  
 category as labeled N/A related to those juveniles who are referred           
 to the department through written report.  The department does not            
 see the child directly through this means.  The categories listed             
 below this first heading were those children who DFYS retains                 
 custody of after an incident.  Seventy-eight percent of all                   
 juveniles are referred to the department by written report.  Of               
 this number 18.5 percent are detained at the time of the incident.            
 MS. WORLEY moved onto the next chart.  She noted, of the intakes              
 received, 40 percent were petitioned to court for all cases.  55.2            
 percent were petitioned to court for those with a prior referral to           
 the department.  The remainder included a variety of situations,              
 for instance, the category labeled "adjusted with referral" could             
 mean that this individual might go to youth court, mediation,                 
 restitution, etc.  "Adjusted with conference" would mean that                 
 parents were involved and they were taking action to participate to           
 make sure there was some type of follow through with restitution,             
 community work service, etc.  She outlined some additional                    
 categories for the pleasure of the committee.                                 
 MS. WORLEY referred to the next page.  This information dealt with            
 those instances once the juvenile goes to court.  These would                 
 include all the petitioned cases.  She gave the breakdown as                  
 follows:  1.4 percent of all cases were waived to adult court, a              
 minuscule part are withdrawn, 62.2 percent were adjudicated, 9.2              
 percent were held in abeyance or suspended, 2.7 were diverted, 11.3           
 percent were dismissed and 12.6 percent were in process.                      
 MS. WORLEY went on to add with the current felonies in the                    
 department, a large percent of them do go to court and are                    
 adjudicated with resulting accountability of their actions.  In               
 discussing these in the context of the automatic waiver of district           
 court, one of the advantages in the juvenile system is that the               
 department monitors these kids, with longer terms of probation.  By           
 keeping them in the juvenile system they are monitored more closely           
 and the parents become more involved and the department tries to              
 get as much restitution as possible, etc.                                     
 Number 702                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN asked about the recidivism rate of these             
 MS. WORLEY stated that she didn't have this specific number, but              
 did refer him to the felony numbers.  She cited that 51 percent of            
 the felonies referred to the department last year were individuals            
 who already had a prior offense,  but not necessarily felony in               
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN noted the horrendous fiscal note attached to             
 this bill and asked Ms. Worley what the department's restitution              
 record was like.                                                              
 MS. WORLEY felt as though the department does a good job in this              
 area.  The department really pushes for restitution in any crime,             
 in either the form of money or under a work pay-back situation.               
 Number 796                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that if the committee passed just the                  
 original State Affairs bill, they would be making first offense car           
 theft for anyone a felony.  If a juvenile violated this statute               
 they would technically be charged under a petition for delinquency.           
 This would be a regular juvenile handling of an offense like this.            
 But, the seriousness of the offense that this petition alleges                
 would rise to the felony level as opposed to the present                      
 misdemeanor level.  Technically, they're not charged with a                   
 misdemeanor or a felony, they're charged as a juvenile who is                 
 treated as a potential delinquent, as opposed to having committed             
 a specific offense that amounts to a crime.                                   
 Number 876                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked about the 51 percent of juveniles who              
 had prior referrals, and wondered how many of these had been                  
 charged with joy-riding.                                                      
 Number 900                                                                    
 MS. WORLEY stressed that this would overburden their computer                 
 ability, because car theft is now a misdemeanor, which is lumped in           
 the criminal mischief category.  She stated that during fiscal year           
 1994, 205 auto thefts were committed by juveniles.                            
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN was a bit confused about the disposition           
 of these cases.  If a juvenile was referred to the department and             
 convicted as a minor under a misdemeanor offense, if they were an             
 adult, this would be considered a felony.  How would the department           
 categorize these youths under a felony offense under this new                 
 CHAIRMAN PORTER pointed out that if these juveniles committed a               
 felony they would not go through the Department of Family and Youth           
 Services.  Presently, if a sixteen year old has too much to drink             
 and steals a car, he'd be charged with driving while intoxicated              
 (DWI) and car theft.  He would go to adult court for the DWI and              
 juvenile court for the car theft.                                             
 Number 1008                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked Ms. Worley if she thought these              
 juveniles, regardless of age were best served in all cases to be              
 referred to the adult system or should some of them stay in the               
 juvenile system.                                                              
 MS. WORLEY responded that she does not support an automatic waiver            
 to adult court.  She believed that some of the juveniles in the               
 system are still kids.  On a developmental level, their emotional             
 level, intellectual level, etc., they are still kids.  They need to           
 be treated as kids, but there are some juveniles who should be                
 waived.  The department has this option.  The majority of these               
 juveniles would be better served by staying in the juvenile system            
 for all the reasons she stated earlier.                                       
 Number 111                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN PORTER referred to the historical perspective of this                
 automatic referral concept.  The concern was perceptually or not,             
 that misdemeanor juvenile offenders were not getting serious                  
 sanctions as quickly as they should have and this waiver was a way            
 to do this.  He understood the department treated felony crimes for           
 juveniles more severely than misdemeanors, but in reading the                 
 attached fiscal note, if this is to take place the department would           
 need more resources.  He questioned whether or not the department             
 could do this with limited funds.                                             
 MS. WORLEY stated that the Chairman was correct.  Without resources           
 the ability to follow through in a quick and decisive manner would            
 be compromised.  The department has already extended it's staff as            
 thinly as possible, particularly in juvenile proceedings.  First,             
 a lot will depend on the child being charged whether or not they              
 understand the gravity of being waived directly to adult court,               
 this being part of the intent of the pending legislation.                     
 Juveniles are not as frightened of the system as were those in the            
 past.  There is also not a lot of parental involvement in these               
 kid's lives.                                                                  
 MS. WORLEY added that without additional resources, the department            
 will certainly not be able to act on these cases as quickly as they           
 would like.  They would prioritize these felonies along with the              
 other cases as they currently do.  The more serious offenses would            
 be dealt with first.                                                          
 Number 1425                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if this type of follow through would be            
 applied to those juvenile's with the high rate of recidivism.                 
 MS. WORLEY said this would depend upon what their previous                    
 involvement with the system had been.                                         
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if this population had already gone                
 through the types of monitoring which Ms. Worley outlined, such as            
 parent involvement, etc.  Would these types of crimes have this               
 same benefit.                                                                 
 MS. WORLEY said again this would depend upon the crime of their               
 prior referral.  It depends on the level of their offense.                    
 Number 1573                                                                   
 ANN CARPENETI, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Law,                 
 testified in support of HB 75.  The department supports the CS of             
 HB 75, more specifically increasing the offense of car theft from             
 a misdemeanor to a felony, as well as, increasing the fine and jail           
 time.  The changes in the vehicle theft in the first and second               
 degree have been improved.  The department does not agree with the            
 automatic waiver of children to adult court as misdemeanors.  Ms.             
 Carpeneti cited that there is no probation supervision for                    
 misdemeanants in the state of Alaska.  Children would go to court             
 once, be sentenced and that would be it.                                      
 MS. CARPENETI continued by stating that automatically waiving                 
 vehicle theft to district court was an anomaly in the treatment of            
 juveniles who steal things.  Juveniles who steal cars would be                
 treated differently than juveniles who steal other property.  The             
 problem with the waiver is that it waives children of all ages.  If           
 a juvenile was sent to district court automatically he or she would           
 have the right to a jury trial.  Jury trials are composed of adults           
 and Ms. Carpeneti added it would be interesting to see a young                
 child tried by a panel of adults.  She closed by stating that                 
 there's a question of resources as well.                                      
 Number 1748                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked what dollar amounts apply at the                   
 different levels of theft for an adult.                                       
 MS. CARPENETI responded that $500 was the difference between a                
 felony and a misdemeanor.                                                     
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked if the department had a problem              
 with the differentiation between the vehicle types cited in the               
 MS. CARPENETI said that no they didn't and in fact the governor's             
 bill for vehicle theft provided that first offense of an all                  
 terrain vehicle or a snow machine, which resulted in damage to the            
 vehicle of $500 or more, would be a felony.  This CS makes offenses           
 that would be felonies instead, misdemeanors, by waiving                      
 automatically juveniles to district court.  Actually, first offense           
 automobile theft and causing damage of $500 or more is a felony now           
 and would be dealt in district court as a misdemeanor for a                   
 Number 1895                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN noted that this is all very confusing.             
 He added that this testimony was helpful since it's hard to realize           
 the different categories of offenses in existing law.                         
 Number 1940                                                                   
 CHAIRMAN PORTER closed the public hearing.  Chairman Porter said he           
 had spoken to the sponsor and he, nor Chairman Portman were married           
 to the CS which was just adopted.  He said he was persuaded to a              
 degree that DFYS will treat those juveniles, charged as juveniles,            
 with the elements of a felony to a greater degree than in the past.           
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE encouraged Chairman Porter to find this CS               
 more attractive.  In response to the argument that district court             
 was overloaded, he note how the juvenile system is incredibly                 
 overloaded too.  He added that these young people think juvenile              
 court is a joke.  To use the old vernacular, "they want to make               
 their bones, they want to hit the big time soon, let's not slow               
 them down."   He ended by stating that kids live up to the                    
 expectations we place on them.                                                
 Number 2198                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS hoped that the committee would consider not              
 supporting this bill in it's entirety.  She was concerned about how           
 young some of these juveniles are.  She also raised the question of           
 where these juveniles would be housed.  Once they go through the              
 court system, she noted that they'd be obligated to put these                 
 juveniles in adult jails.  By putting juveniles in adult jails,               
 they're exposed to an adult population which would initiate them              
 into a more serious crime world.                                              
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said that those juveniles who are waived into adult           
 court do serve time in adult facilities, but those who for example            
 accrue a second DWI, they would serve their time in MacLaughlin.              
 Number 2415                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE pointed out that MacLaughlin presently is                
 overcrowded as well.                                                          
 TAPE 96-15, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN voiced his concerns about the large fiscal               
 note attached to this CS. He asked why this couldn't be toughened             
 up to require more restitution provisions to help offset the cost             
 to the department.                                                            
 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked if this fiscal note was attached to the State           
 Affairs CS version or the present Judiciary CS version.                       
 JERRY SHRINER, Special Assistant, Department of Corrections noted             
 that this CS was attached to the State Affairs version.  The major            
 portion of the money in this fiscal note was related to the second            
 time felony theft, which makes this a mandatory two year sentence.            
 Number 211                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN PORTER pointed out that the State Affairs CS changed this.           
 The fiscal note may need to be updated.  The State Affairs CS left            
 both first and second offense felonies at the (C) level.                      
 MR. SHRINER said it was his understanding that a second conviction            
 as a (C) felony is a two year mandatory sentence.  Chairman Porter            
 then agreed that this was the case.                                           
 Number 250                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if these juvenile's permanent funds                
 could be attached indefinitely, if they were unable to pay                    
 MR. SHRINER said that for the year which this person served their             
 time, the department would recoup their respective permanent fund.            
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN noted that there was a definite disparity                
 between the crime and how much a person is required to pay in                 
 CHAIRMAN PORTER pointed out that there's nothing to preclude a                
 civil judgment in these types of case, but the defendant may not              
 have the means to pay the amount of damages incurred.                         
 Number 400                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN moved that the Judiciary CS be                     
 rescinded.  He then brought up the issue of prosecutorial                     
 discretion and that the system has the right to let someone go                
 completely, but they don't have the discretion to put the young               
 offender in the more appropriate juvenile system with an automatic            
 juvenile waiver.  He thought that this prosecutorial discretion was           
 CHAIRMAN PORTER understood that if the adult prosecutor decided not           
 to charge, for example, the six year old from stealing a car, it              
 seemed to him that DFYS could deal with the case if it were                   
 referred to them from the standpoint of delinquency, as opposed to            
 the crime of misdemeanor car theft.                                           
 MS. WORLEY made a clarification about payment.  Through DFYS they             
 can order payment for housing of juveniles in their system.                   
 Number 535                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked if there was any other area of law           
 which provides for an automatic juvenile waivers for theft.                   
 Chairman Porter answered no.  Representative Finkelstein said that            
 his points were two in defense of his motion to rescind.  One, the            
 premeditated crime of stealing televisions doesn't allow for an               
 automatic waiver.  The second argument, is that after listening to            
 testimony, there isn't anything inherently that says that the adult           
 system serves better their purposes.                                          
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said this issue was a close call for him, but he              
 decided to support the motion to rescind the Judiciary CS.  His               
 personal experience with these issues is dated, he was impressed              
 that law enforcement felt that juveniles shouldn't be automatically           
 waived.  Also, last year when they were discussing these issues,              
 they didn't have this option that DFYS would monitor these                    
 felonious juveniles more closely.                                             
 Number 877                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY suggested that they maintain the automatic               
 waiver, but leave an option in for the juvenile to prove that their           
 worthy of rehabilitation.                                                     
 CHAIRMAN PORTER pointed out that this is the current state of the             
 law in a waiver already.  When the prosecution wants to ask for a             
 waiver to adult court, it's not an automatic waiver.  The burden of           
 proof of worthiness is on the juvenile, but violent crimes are                
 automatically waived.                                                         
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE withdrew his objection to waive the Judiciary            
 CS version of HB 75.                                                          
 Number 1082                                                                   
 CHAIRMAN PORTER recognized the motion to rescind adopting the                 
 Judiciary CS.  Hearing no objection it was so moved.  The State               
 Affairs CS was then before the committee.                                     
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIES made the motion to move the State Affairs CS            
 for HB 75 from the Judiciary Committee.  Hearing no objection it              
 was so moved.                                                                 
 CHAIRMAN PORTER adjourned the House Judiciary meeting at 3:00 p.m.            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects