Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/26/1996 01:08 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                              
                       February 26, 1996                                       
                           1:08 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                                                            
 HOUSE BILL 433                                                                
 "An Act relating to an exemption to the unauthorized publication or           
 use of communications and the prohibition against eavesdropping for           
 certain law enforcement activities."                                          
      - HB 433 PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                         
 HOUSE BILL 391                                                                
 "An Act relating to succession to assets and liabilities of                   
 dissolved municipalities."                                                    
      - HEARD AND HELD                                                         
 HOUSE BILL 493                                                                
 "An Act relating to involuntary commitment for alcoholism or drug             
      - HEARD AND HELD                                                         
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
 ANNE CARPENETI, Assistant Attorney General                                    
 Department of Law                                                             
 P.O. Box 110300                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-0300                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3428                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information on HB 433                           
 TOM WRIGHT, Staff to Ivan Ivan                                                
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Room 503                                                                      
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-4942                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information on HB 391 and HB 493 as             
      sponsor's staff                                                          
 DAVE HUTCHENS                                                                 
 Alaska Rural Electric Co-Op Association                                       
 703 W. Tudor, #200                                                            
 Anchorage, Alaska  99503                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 463-3636                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 391                                      
 PAT POLAND, Director                                                          
 Municipal and Regional Assistance Division                                    
 Department of Community and Regional Affairs                                  
 333 W 4th Avenue, Suite 319                                                   
 Anchorage, Alaska  99501                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 269-4500                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 391                                      
 MARJORIE VANDOR, Assistant Attorney General                                   
 Department of Law                                                             
 P.O. Box 110300                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99811-0300                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3600                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information on HB 391                           
 ART SNOWDEN, II, Administrative Director                                      
 Alaska Court System                                                           
 303 K Street                                                                  
 Anchorage, Alaska  99501-2084                                                 
 Telephone:  (907) 264-0547                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 493                                      
 DON DAPCEVICH, Executive Director                                             
 Governor's Advisory Board on Alcoholism &                                     
   Drug Abuse                                                                  
 101 Court Plaza                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 465-4667                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 493                           
 STEVE HAMILTON, Research Analyst                                              
 Governor's Advisory Board on Alcoholism &                                     
   Drug Abuse                                                                  
 101 Court Plaza                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 465-4667                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 493                           
 LOREN JONES, Director                                                         
 Division of Alcoholism & Drug Abuse                                           
 Department of Health & Social Services                                        
 P.O. Box 110607                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99811-0607                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-2185                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified in support of HB 493                          
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
 BILL:  HB 433                                                               
 SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                  
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG             ACTION                                        
 01/19/96      2485    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/19/96      2485    (H)   STATE AFFAIRS, JUDICIARY, FINANCE                 
 01/19/96      2485    (H)   3 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (2-ADM, DCED)                 
 01/19/96      2485    (H)   3 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (CORR, LAW, DPS)              
 01/19/96      2485    (H)   GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER                     
 02/06/96              (H)   STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 02/06/96              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 02/08/96              (H)   STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 02/08/96              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 02/09/96      2682    (H)   STA RPT  2DP 2NR                                  
 02/09/96      2682    (H)   DP: JAMES, GREEN                                  
 02/09/96      2682    (H)   NR: WILLIS, OGAN                                  
 02/09/96      2682    (H)   ZERO FISCAL NOTE (CORR)                           
 02/09/96      2682    (H)   5 ZERO FNS(DPS, LAW, DCED,                        
 02/19/96              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 02/19/96              (H)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 02/26/96              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 BILL:  HB 391                                                               
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) IVAN                                            
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG             ACTION                                        
 01/05/96      2369    (H)   PREFILE RELEASED                                  
 01/08/96      2369    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/08/96      2369    (H)   CRA, JUDICIARY, FINANCE                           
 01/25/96              (H)   CRA AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                       
 01/25/96              (H)   MINUTE(CRA)                                       
 02/08/96              (H)   CRA AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                       
 02/08/96              (H)   MINUTE(CRA)                                       
 02/09/96      2681    (H)   CRA RPT  CS(CRA) NT 3DP 2NR                       
 02/09/96      2681    (H)   DP: KOTT, NICHOLIA, IVAN                          
 02/09/96      2681    (H)   NR: ELTON, AUSTERMAN                              
 02/09/96      2682    (H)   3 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (LAW, DNR, DCRA)              
 02/23/96              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 02/23/96              (H)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 02/26/96              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 BILL:  HB 493                                                               
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) IVAN                                            
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG             ACTION                                        
 02/09/96      2698    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/09/96      2698    (H)   JUDICIARY, FINANCE                                
 02/23/96              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 02/23/96              (H)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 02/26/96              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
 TAPE 96-24, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN BRIAN PORTER called the House Judiciary Committee meeting            
 to order at 1:08 p.m.  Members present at the call to order were              
 Representatives Bunde, Toohey and Davis.  Representatives Green and           
 Finkelstein arrived respectively at 1:15 p.m. and 1:12 p.m.                   
 Representative Vezey was absent.                                              
 HB 433 - POLICE CAN INTERCEPT SOME COMMUNICATIONS                           
 CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that the first bill for consideration was HB            
 433, which was held over from last week.  There were questions                
 about whether or not the language regarding this additional                   
 exception to already existing law was drawn too tightly.  Chairman            
 Porter stated that the Departments of Law and Public Safety                   
 intended this language on purpose because it deals with an area of            
 law which they wished to retain within the statute and to avoid it            
 being challenged constitutionally.  These departments did propose             
 an amendment to this legislation though.                                      
 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE made a motion to adopt this amendment for            
 discussion purposes.   This amendment number one regarding language           
 on page two, line 17, specifically deleted "refusing to exit or               
 surrender" and inserting in it's place, "not existing or                      
 Number 240                                                                    
 ANNE CARPENETI, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Law,                
 stated that after the previous hearing regarding this bill, Lt.               
 Cassanovas of the state troopers to clarified what his concerns               
 were.  This exception was crafted to address a situation where a              
 person is barricaded in a building, but is not communicating with             
 the police.  Rather than broaden this exception to extremes, they             
 crafted the proposed amendment as a compromise, one which the                 
 Department of Public Safety agreed upon, as well as, the Department           
 of Law.                                                                       
 Number 346                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY made a motion to move HB 433 as                 
 amended with attached individual recommendations and zero fiscal              
 notes from the House Judiciary Committee.  Hearing no objection, it           
 was so moved.                                                                 
 HB 391 - DISSOLVED MUNICIPALITIES/SUCCESSION                                
 Number 380                                                                    
 TOM WRIGHT, Staff to Ivan Ivan, presented information regarding HB            
 391 and read the sponsor statement into the record.                           
 "This bill was introduced by request of the Department of Community           
 and Regional Affairs and the Local Boundary Commission (LBC).                 
 Currently, the state automatically becomes the successor to a                 
 dissolved municipality unless another municipal government assumes            
 such responsibility.  In most cases, the state becomes the                    
 successor by default.  This means the state takes over the                    
 responsibility and liability of owning properties such as solid               
 waste facilities, bulk fuel storage facilities, power utilities,              
 sewer systems and other facilities previously owned by the                    
 "CS for House Bill 391 (CRA) allows the Local Boundary Commission             
 to designate an Indian Reorganization Act council, a council that             
 provides services under federal law, another municipality, non                
 profit corporation or the state to be a direct successor to a                 
 dissolved municipality.  The terms of the transfer of assets and              
 liabilities of the dissolved municipality must be approved by the             
 Department of Law.  The bill also specifies that any transfer of              
 assets or liabilities does not constitute recognition by the state            
 of that organization."                                                        
 Number 540                                                                    
 DAVE HUTCHENS, Alaska Rural Electric Co-Op Association (ARECA),               
 testified in regards to HB 391 and referred to a letter dated                 
 February 16, 1996 from the Co-Op's law firm, Kemppel, Huffman and             
 Ginder which outlined the changes they felt should be made to this            
 bill.  Mr. Huthchens stressed for the record that they have no                
 interest or concern regarding who the surviving entity is that                
 manages the local affairs of these communities.  Their concern is             
 simply that the transfer of authority and responsibilities be                 
 complete, that existing obligations not be left in limbo during the           
 transition.  He noted the language which provides that if no other            
 entity commits to manage the affairs of the community, the state              
 may assume the responsibility.  ARECA thinks the language should be           
 rather, "shall" assume responsibility if the municipality goes out            
 of existence.  He added that there are valid obligations which need           
 to be honored by someone.                                                     
 Number 705                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY asked for clarification about how often does            
 this happen, why, and who is responsible?  Suppose there is                   
 something which has gone wrong, for example, if the water becomes             
 contaminated with lead.  What steps are taken to assure that the              
 municipality is not transferring a whole bunch of headaches to the            
 state.  It was decided that this issue be addressed later on in               
 Number 790                                                                    
 PAT POLAND, Director of Municipal and Regional Assistance Division,           
 Department of Community and Regional Affairs testified in regards             
 to HB 391 and stated that the department submitted written                    
 testimony to the previous committee of referral.  He stated the               
 department's support for this legislation and made himself                    
 available for questions.                                                      
 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked if Mr. Poland had heard the previous                    
 testimony by Mr. Hutchins.  Mr. Poland stated that he had, but did            
 not have the benefit of seeing the letter as referenced.                      
 MR. POLAND responded to Mr. Hutchins concerns that the department's           
 intention was that the local boundary commission in accepting a               
 dissolution petition would condition acceptance upon transfer to a            
 succeeding entity.  By using the language "may," they wanted to               
 eliminate a situation where a community literally can compel the              
 state to receive assets which might have significant liability                
 attached to them.                                                             
 Number 909                                                                    
 MARJORIE VANDOR, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Law,               
 testified on HB 391 and stated that she had not seen the letter               
 from Rebecca Pauli of Kemppel, Huffman and Ginder either.  She                
 stated that section (b) might need to be more extensively worded              
 beyond adding the word "may."  Ms. Vandor stated that she would               
 want to make certain that new language offered would result in what           
 Mr. Poland had outlined that the state isn't left in a liable                 
 situation and the Local Boundary Commission is forced to transfer             
 this liability to the state.                                                  
 MS. VANDOR stated that she had been involved with six second class            
 city dissolutions in unorganized boroughs, five of which were                 
 successful.  Five of these entities simply stopped acting in their            
 municipal capacity.  Due to this, because there was no city council           
 and they weren't holding elections or conducting any municipal                
 work, the village entities were running the facilities themselves.            
 She noted that there was a process in law for the Local Boundary              
 Commission after hearings, reports and briefings of such situations           
 are considered, they can allow a municipality to dissolve                     
 contingent upon certain conditions.  The entity has to be free of             
 debt and the creditors of the former municipality have to be taken            
 care of.                                                                      
 MS. VANDOR continued to explain the situation surrounding these               
 five dissolutions.  The state dealt with the court in Bethel to               
 have a trust account set up for these second class cities they had            
 not applied for from the state for several years so the state could           
 assist them in paying their creditors, since they had no means to             
 tax to pay off creditors.  This was the only source of money the              
 state could use to pay off the creditors.  Studies were also                  
 conducted by the Department of Environmental Conservation and all             
 of the agencies which had touched there communities were very                 
 involved in the dissolution.  The only community which succeeded so           
 far is Atmautluak.  They have signed the agreement which the                  
 Department of Law prepared.  The remaining assets and liabilities             
 will be transferred and they've waived their sovereign immunity,              
 which are the types of things required.  The agreement will be                
 recorded.  The department is working with the other remaining four            
 cities in regards to their lands.                                             
 MS. VANDOR said this legislation will change this present procedure           
 to provide for a successor entity who would be available to run               
 these communities.  The way the law is currently established it               
 provides for the state to succeed to the assets and liabilities of            
 a community in order to transfer them.  There is a split second of            
 time when the transferring document is recorded by operation of law           
 where the state is in this transfer of title.  This shouldn't need            
 to be if there is an entity available to assume responsibilities              
 for these communities.  In all of the dissolution cases so far                
 there was an entity available to assume responsibility.                       
 Number 1172                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY noted that the general requirement at any               
 time a land transaction takes place is the title has to be clean.             
 How does the state know there aren't any environmental problems               
 with property being transferred with these dissolution situations.            
 Number 1217                                                                   
 MR. POLAND stated that the department does a basic investigation of           
 the community which is relatively superficial.  The department does           
 not have the resources to do any in-depth studies.  The example               
 which Representative Toohey outlined is precisely why the                     
 department is seeking this legislation, which is to keep the state            
 out of these types of transfers.  The department doesn't see the              
 need to include the state legally into this chain of title issue.             
 Basically, the legal responsibility should remain with the                    
 Number 1277                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN asked that in this by-passing concept                
 would the state be opening itself up to assume responsibly for what           
 went on in a municipality beforehand.  If they dissolve assets to             
 cover costs of environmental concerns before forfeiture there might           
 not be any more assets left to defray additional costs.                       
 MR. POLAND, as well as, Ms. Vandor stated that they were unable to            
 answer this question at the present moment.                                   
 Number 1335                                                                   
 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked in this general area, if it would be a fair             
 statement to make that the assets and the liabilities of these                
 municipalities would be transferred or just those assets and                  
 liabilities which have been left in limbo.                                    
 MS. VANDOR noted that it has to be all the assets and liabilities.            
 Each one of the creditors have to be taken care of before an entity           
 can be dissolved, much like a bankruptcy.                                     
 Number 1358                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked if he was correct in assuming that these           
 transfers take place in villages where the people who run things              
 are tired of the job and they want to turn their responsibilities             
 over to a traditional council.  He asked if this was a fair                   
 MS. VANDOR responded that these entities as she understood it,                
 didn't want another layer of government on top of the systems                 
 already in place.                                                             
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked if these problems with unorganized                 
 boroughs would not contribute to the additional unorganized areas             
 which become the sole responsibility of the state.                            
 MS. VANDOR stated that anything which ends up in the unorganized              
 borough comes under the jurisdiction of the legislature.  She said            
 this process would add to the existing load.  She noted that these            
 second class cities don't have their own school districts, but they           
 have planning powers and taxing powers.  Some of them might have a            
 sales tax, but planning and platting was something they had power             
 to do.  Also, education has always been through a Rural Education             
 Attendance Area (REAA).                                                       
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE used the example of taxation.  If an entity              
 got tired of taxing themselves and decided to dissolve, he noted              
 that there are people in Anchorage who would just as soon dissolve            
 than pay taxes.                                                               
 MS. VANDOR pointed out that this is why these issues go to the                
 Local Boundary Commission because this is where everything starts             
 and this is where the studies occur.  They look at these things               
 from a statewide perspective.                                                 
 Number 1483                                                                   
 CHAIRMAN PORTER mentioned a point in fact that there isn't any                
 individual responsibility which can be laid by the state if a                 
 second class city decides on it's own to dissolve with liabilities.           
 He asked if there was any possible recovery in these situations.              
 MS. VANDOR said they could declare them not dissolved and then sue            
 them in their own right, but she said she wasn't sure where this              
 would get anyone.  Until these entities dissolve under law, they              
 retain an incorporated status which can be sued.  The state could             
 certainly cut off all funding and such to them.                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said that they might not know until the check came            
 MS. VANDOR pointed out that it is a process allowed by law to allow           
 a city to dissolve and this new legislation just assists the LBC in           
 directing how to deal with the assets and liabilities if such a               
 dissolution is allowed by them and what they can condition this               
 dissolution on, as well.                                                      
 Number 1568                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE referred to recent discussions about tribes in           
 Alaska and indian country.  He asked if dissolving local                      
 governments and turning these functions over to a traditional                 
 council, whether or not this would have any impact on determining             
 what is indian country.                                                       
 MS. VANDOR stated that in the draft agreements as they are written            
 now these tribes would have to waive their sovereign immunity in              
 order to get the assets and liabilities, land included.  There is             
 an actual assertion in this agreement that they will not claim this           
 property to be indian country now or in the future.  A lot of this            
 land is municipal trust land, as well, and there are conditions on            
 it already in that if a municipality forms out there and this                 
 municipality wants this land, the entity that it was transferred to           
 must give it back after a certain amount of time.  This clause is             
 in the quit claim deed.  As the law stands now, a successor could             
 not quit claim deed a clear title if it's municipal trust land.               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked if this was for people who want to                 
 dissolve the entire entity.  He asked if it had any impact on those           
 who would like to remove themselves from an entity.                           
 MS. VANDOR said that a detachment proceeding is totally separate.             
 Number 1687                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN asked about a situation where this                   
 procedure were to take place on native corporation land where the             
 natives were able to retain subsurface rights and municipalities              
 would only have surface rights.  He asked if there was any                    
 possibility of clouding issues if the municipality disengages                 
 itself, or becomes unincorporated and it reverts back to the state,           
 what happens to the surface rights of the municipality.                       
 MS. VANDOR apologized that she was not a lands attorney and said              
 that she's not familiar with these very specific questions.  She              
 offered to propose this question to a colleague.                              
 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked that the departments work on Mr. Hutchins               
 concerns and get an answer regarding surface and subsurface rights            
 in preparation for the next scheduled meeting.                                
 Number 1830                                                                   
 TOM WRIGHT, staff to Ivan Ivan, read the sponsor statement                    
 regarding HB 493 into the record.                                             
 "Representative Ivan introduced HB 493 as one of the solutions to             
 assist with the public inebriate problem faced by many communities            
 throughout the state.                                                         
 "Under current statute, AS 47.37.190, provisions allow for the                
 involuntary commitment of alcoholics.  These provisions allow for             
 30 day commitments with recommitment for 90 days.  This current law           
 has been found to be unwieldy, expensive and treatment options are            
 not readily available.  According to a community survey report by             
 the City/Borough of Juneau, in March 1993, communities use the                
 commitment policy sparingly, if they use it at all.  This report              
 also stated that the current commitment process simply is not                 
 "Under HB 493, the involuntary commitment process is similar to               
 those found in the involuntary mental health commitments.                     
 "It is not Representative Ivan's intent to impose unlawful                    
 restrictions on an individual.  However, by using the involuntary             
 commitment process, he hopes that lives may be saved.  He also                
 hopes that the financial impacts on different agencies may be                 
 lessened if the revolving door process many inebriates find                   
 themselves when the protective custody statues are applied."                  
 MR. WRIGHT also added that work was done on this legislation with             
 the Department of Law and the Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse.             
 He noted the CS as well with explanations about the changes to it.            
 Number 1930                                                                   
 ART SNOWDEN, II, Administrative Director, Alaska Court System                 
 stated that they had a lot of small questions which they have no              
 answers to and some suggestions about this bill.  He did give these           
 questions and suggestions to the sponsor's aid.                               
 MR. SNOWDEN referred to page 1, line 7 - 15.  The courts want to              
 know if there is a reason why this new commitment standard and the            
 addition of drug abusers was included in the involuntary commitment           
 statute, section 190 and was not included in the emergency                    
 commitment statutes section 180.  If the current standard is                  
 inappropriate for regular commitments, why does it remain                     
 appropriate for emergency commitments.  These are the types of                
 issues they are most concerned with and felt confident that staff             
 could work these out.  He noted their next comment regarded page 1,           
 line 11, and noted that the following words appear to be missing,             
 between the words health and despite, which are "and who continue             
 to use alcohol or drugs."  He pointed out as a comparison on page             
 5, lines 23 and 24 where these words are spelled out.  There are              
 additional technical sections such as this which could be cleaned             
 up as necessary.                                                              
 MR. SNOWDEN stated that the fiscal note attached to this                      
 legislation is just under $80,000.  Their fiscal note could be cut            
 more than in half if some small changes were made.  On the original           
 bill and also in the present draft, on page 2, line 26, it is                 
 suggested that the court would appoint a guardian ad litem.  The              
 courts would have to do this privately and it has a cost.  If it              
 was stated rather that the court could appoint the Office of Public           
 Advocacy (OPA), who has guardian ad litem services, then it                   
 wouldn't have a cost for the court system.  OPA presently has some            
 of the best trained guardian ad litem representatives in the                  
 MR. SNOWDEN stated that if the court has to pay for appointed                 
 counsel, perhaps it should be in OPA, for example, now the public             
 defender does represent people who have been committed based on               
 mental illness.  The only significant comment Mr. Snowden wished to           
 make other than the technical, was that the courts think there is             
 an unworkable provision in the bill, which requires the                       
 respondent's next-of-kin be notified of the commitment petition and           
 be given notice of a hearing.  It is often the case that                      
 respondents in this type of hearing are very transient and                    
 uncooperative, or might have mental illness and don't know who                
 their next-of-kin is.  It is very hard to make these notifications,           
 if not impossible.  The courts believe that this legislation should           
 allow a provision for a waiver of this requirement.  If not a                 
 waiver, at least a notice in the newspaper.                                   
 Number 2182                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY asked in his long history of handling these             
 involuntary commitments, did Mr. Snowden feel that these ever                 
 MR. SNOWDEN pointed out that his job is to administer the court and           
 keep it efficient.  He felt as though judge's opinions on this                
 subject would vary.  A lot of people might say that it's good to              
 get these individuals off the street since they pose a danger to              
 themselves or others, but there are some people who say that this             
 commitment process would not make a difference one way or another.            
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY said she feared that this type of commitment            
 would be very expensive.  She also questioned this procedure being            
 applied in small villages which might not have incarceration                  
 facilities.  Would these individuals be shipped to Anchorage or               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked if there was a requirement for appointed                
 counsel under the current commitment procedure.                               
 MR. SNOWDEN responded that they have done this, but it's very rare.           
 However, the court felt that under the terms of this bill that the            
 appointment of an attorney for indigent people, which would cost              
 over $45,000 of this bill's fiscal note which would go to the                 
 private bar.  He thought a guardian ad litem provision would cut              
 the cost in half.                                                             
 Number 2300                                                                   
 DON DAPCEVICH, Executive Director, Governor's Advisory Board on               
 Alcoholism & Drug Abuse, testified in support of HB 493.  In                  
 preparation for this hearing his staff prepared a cost benefit                
 analysis related to commitments, based on commitments executed in             
 the community of Juneau.  Juneau is the only community which uses             
 the commitment law presently in place.  Mr. Dapcevich was the                 
 treatment director for this program in a previous life and he's had           
 the opportunity to bring 35 commitments, a first hand exposure to             
 the process.                                                                  
 MR. DAPCEVICH felt as though this commitment process was a humane             
 way to treat people who are not willing or unable to recognize                
 their needs for intervention.  The board recognizes that the                  
 treatment success rate is fairly low with this population, but the            
 successes which do take place are best measured in a legal sense              
 and a legislative sense, in terms of dollars and cents in relieving           
 human suffering.  In the cost analysis, people who undergo                    
 treatment under an involuntary commitment have less need for                  
 services, such as dependency treatment, medical care and the police           
 services after commitment, much less than before.  The cost                   
 analysis tracked those people six months prior to their commitment            
 and six months after their commitment to see if there was a                   
 difference in their use of a 12 hour hold in community corrections,           
 in emergency room use, transportation of community service patrol             
 and the police transportation associated with administering to                
 them.  Mr. Dapcevich noted his staff person, Steve Hamill, was                
 available to answer any questions about the cost benefit analysis.            
 Number 2414                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY asked if they had tracked individuals for               
 more than one year and were the summer months considered when                 
 natives go back to their villages.  Are these people employed.  She           
 felt as though one year for a program which costs over a half a               
 million dollars was not a fair way to spend this type of money.               
 Representative Toohey said she was opposed to this because if she             
 wanted to be a size 12, with a 24 inch waist, that's her problem,             
 not his.  Nobody is feeding her the food that she eats, nobody is             
 feeding her the alcohol that she drinks.  Until she is able to                
 recognize it is her problem then she is the only one who can do               
 anything about this.  She felt as though the state, municipalities,           
 and the cities have all tried to take care of this problem.  It               
 can't be taken care of by committing someone and forcing them to              
 rehabilitate.  It has to come from inside.                                    
 MR. DAPCEVICH agreed that she should have this choice as long as              
 she can make this rational decision.  This program does not deal              
 with people who can make wise choices.  They're dealing with people           
 who don't make these choices and if it's not made for them, they              
 create enormous costs to their fellow citizens.  He noted an                  
 example of one patient who ended up costing over $100,000, someone            
 who could not make a rational choice regarding treatment.  He also            
 mentioned the first person he ever committed six years ago who is             
 celebrating his 5th year of sobriety right now.  He is a productive           
 member of this community.  This program does work to produce                  
 permanent sobriety for a long period of time, if not a lifetime,              
 for a very few.  For nearly all, it produces some sobriety, some              
 lessening of the burden that their placing on their fellow                    
 taxpayers and that's what the board is really concerned about.                
 TAPE 96-24, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 033                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY felt as though they were missing the boat and           
 if he thought this is a mental illness problem, then maybe they               
 should be put into a different slot.  They should be put in Alaska            
 Psychiatric Institute (API) or somewhere where they are committed             
 mentally.  If this is a disease which can only be cured by someone            
 else, rather than the patient, then it might be a whole different             
 ball game.  She felt as though they were going about it the wrong             
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVID FINKELSTEIN stated that it seemed from the               
 presented analysis that these people are being treated regardless.            
 One way or another they are being treated and the recommendation              
 the committee is receiving is that it's more cost effective to                
 treat under a commitment program.  The decision to be made here is            
 what's the best program to run these individuals through, what's              
 best for society and this individual.                                         
 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked Mr. Dapcevich if it was their intent to track           
 these individuals further than six months after a commitment.                 
 MR. DAPCEVICH said absolutely and they wanted to be more                      
 comprehensive in the way they track these individuals.  They've               
 only been able to track the community of Juneau.  Also, they were             
 only able to, in the short time they had to prepare for this                  
 hearing, look at the costs in only a few other communities as a               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER noted an Alcoholic Task Force study and an                    
 Ombudsman inquiry regarding Alaska's alcohol problem sometime ago             
 which indicated that the programs tasked to mission to and address            
 these problems really didn't have an evaluation component which was           
 reliable.  These studies measured more the amount of people the               
 programs touched, rather than those people's behaviors the programs           
 were able to change.  He felt Mr. Dapcevich's analysis is on target           
 in terms of meaningfulness, rather than how many individuals cycle            
 through the system.  The longer this evaluation can be extended,              
 the more valuable this information will be.                                   
 Number 154                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked how this legislation would affect                  
 Anchorage's repealed law against public drunkenness.                          
 CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that the public drunkenness ordinances                 
 around the state were criminal statutes and that this was a civil             
 involuntary commitment procedure.  Within the structure that                  
 statutorily exists now, this civil procedure has been found not to            
 raise constitutional problems, which criminal statutes do.                    
 Generally, he noted a Supreme Court case which found that                     
 alcoholism, as opposed to a crime which encompasses intent, is a              
 condition which takes away the ability for a person to make cogent            
 decisions for themselves.  Consequently this nullifies the                    
 requisite intent requirement for criminal violations.                         
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN pointed out that Mr. Dapcevich had indicated             
 that before commitment there is a $9,000 cost as versus $6,800                
 after, which is a savings of better than 25 percent.  He asked if             
 this included all kinds of inebriants.  Does this comparison                  
 include some of those who are habitual, as opposed to some of those           
 picked up once or twice.  Representative Green also asked if the              
 response of the committed person wanes after a few days or weeks of           
 drying out.                                                                   
 MR. DAPCEVICH noted that these individuals are chronic, they don't            
 have the hills and valleys which would normally be seen in a                  
 problem drinker.  If these people don't have their drink, they go             
 into withdrawal.  The detox facilities are taxed around the state,            
 but their taxed by a very small number of people who go through               
 over and over again.  The wide majority go through detox once or              
 twice, enter complete treatment and lead productive lives for a               
 period of years, if not a lifetime afterwards.                                
 MR. DAPCEVICH pointed out that in regards to evaluation, the                  
 legislators should have received the new independent, standards               
 study done regarding the quality and outcomes in treatment                    
 throughout the state which was recently published.  The assessment            
 regarding these programs was extremely positive and very comparable           
 with the best treatment programs available in other states.  The              
 Advisory Board on Alcohol has recently taken the lead in                      
 quantifying and qualifying the treatment outcomes in the state.               
 People from their board, treatment providers and state government             
 people have come together to hammer out some standardized outcome             
 measures that will be used for all programs in the state.                     
 STEVE HAMILTON, Research Analyst, Advisory Board on Alcoholism and            
 Drug Abuse responded to Representative Green's question about the             
 numbers Representative Green previously cited about what group of             
 people are these, treatable or chronic, or a mix of both which the            
 cost analysis addresses.  The numbers for all the commitments were            
 a core of people that were the repeat offenders, people who                   
 accessed all of the services, both police, ambulance, hospital,               
 etc. repeatedly.  He cited numbers related to one year's worth of             
 consecutive admissions to detox recovery in Juneau.  Out of 897               
 admissions for that year there were 17 individuals who accounted              
 for 231 admissions.  This is 4 percent of the people accounted for,           
 25.4 percent of all of admissions.  When this core of 17                      
 individuals are identified, they become the committed population.             
 Other communities have these same core situations.                            
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if they measurably see as an improvement           
 in this hard core, habitual population.  If these people, for                 
 example, have been in the program for an extended period of time              
 and they go through a commitment program.  If it's decided that               
 they're not as bad as they were before, what relatively do they               
 look at to make this determination.                                           
 MR. HAMILTON stated that they look at the number of times these               
 individuals are subjected to either a Title 47 hold or a detox                
 admission as surrogate markers for impacting the system.  In                  
 Juneau, when these people start drinking again and it gets out of             
 control they invariably go into detox or a Title 47 hold with the             
 police department.  These are the surrogate markers which they use            
 to determine whether they are impacting the system again.  Rarely             
 do they show up at the jail or the hospital on their own.                     
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if these individuals do or don't come              
 back as often in the six month period.                                        
 MR. HAMILTON said they do not come back as often.                             
 MR. DAPCEVICH added that they did not look at admissions to detox,            
 but those individuals who went through a 30 or more day commitment            
 It was those people after the commitment who did not come back to             
 detox, did not use the ambulance, etc.                                        
 CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that detox is where individuals go after the           
 community service patrol finds that person incapacitated.                     
 MR. DAPCEVICH added that these individuals, as soon as they're                
 sobered up, they're back on the street.  Four or five years ago the           
 board tracked people with 100 detoxes, which were targeted for                
 commitment.  Now they target people with far fewer detoxes.  In               
 Fairbanks, Dillingham, and Bethel the 12 hour, Title 47 holds are             
 very high and would be impacted dramatically if these communities             
 intervened, even in very small numbers.  The board doesn't                    
 anticipate a large number of commitments to done once the statute             
 is changed.  Mr. Dapcevich said that they're not changing the basic           
 tenants of the statute, but making it more user friendly.  The                
 fiscal note for the first year would be zero.                                 
 Number 667                                                                    
 LOREN JONES, Director, Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse,                 
 Department of Health and Social Services, testified in support of             
 HB 493 and thought that the issues raised by Mr. Snowden could be             
 worked out.  He then outlined the history behind this legislation.            
 The original statute was written back in the 1970's and has not               
 been changed significantly since.  The commitment concept has been            
 used on an off-again and on-again basis, often times at the                   
 initiative of a particular person who's committed to making this              
 concept work in their community.  When this person moves on and               
 changes jobs, the program falls off.  The Attorney's Office in the            
 City and Borough of Juneau, supports this program to help alleviate           
 the hospital and police department costs, etc.   As noted by the              
 cost analysis, Mr. Jones said that this legislation has some good             
 financial benefits on other parts of the system and have provided             
 individuals with a needed break.                                              
 MR. JONES said the division would like to take this Juneau example            
 and over the next year work with their providers to identify those            
 high risk persons who are impacting the system in extreme fashions,           
 teach them how build the history required to go to court to                   
 undertake a commitment and he pointed out that this is not                    
 something they do lightly.  In essence, this procedure takes away             
 the individual's liberty and the court system wants to know if                
 other alternatives have been tried before taking these steps of               
 commitment.  He said they want to train these people to work with             
 the programs and get them ready.  In the second year he hopes there           
 are enough providers interested in trying this program, in order              
 that money gets put aside to off-set the legal costs.                         
 MR. JONES stressed that unlike the mental health commitment, the              
 alcohol and drug use commitment is a private one.  A spouse,                  
 guardian, private physician, and the program director of a private            
 or publicly funded treatment program can do these commitments.                
 In the circumstances of a private facility, they usually don't have           
 an attorney on staff who is familiar with commitments that include            
 clinical diagnosis, medical records, and dealing with the court.              
 There has to be some support for these programs to get the                    
 attorneys to represent them.                                                  
 MR. JONES noted that it's obvious from the statements made today              
 there still is an inebriate problem on the streets and because of             
 this most people might think that treatment must not work.  Unless            
 the division can reduce the numbers of these people, they will have           
 a hard time convincing people otherwise.  This commitment tool will           
 keep these inebriates in a program long enough that their treatment           
 be more effective.  He noted the severe cases of people who have              
 done neurological damage to themselves, so extensively that they              
 don't understand the concept of intensive treatments or are unable            
 to hold down a job.   They need a place for these individuals.                
 MR. JONES mentioned the issue of a jury trial in the first 30 days            
 if a person requests it.  At a recommitment a person can ask for a            
 jury trial and they kept this clause in the new legislation,                  
 although not in the first 30 days. This is an impediment, because             
 the time it takes to impanel a jury.  The CS goes a long way to fix           
 some of the problems that the Department of Law had with it.                  
 Number 1023                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BETTYE DAVIS agreed that this process would make it            
 easier for them to commit people, but she doesn't understand when             
 Mr. Jones says this would decrease costs.  She thought it would               
 increase because the money needs to loaded on the front end.  There           
 are not enough programs to solve this problem.  She asked who would           
 treat these people and where will the beds come from.                         
 Number 1070                                                                   
 MR. JONES noted that for them it's a matter of priorities.  They              
 realize that the division could put in a large fiscal note, since             
 they have hugh waiting lists, some 500 people.  The division has              
 considered putting certain priorities on certain populations for              
 treatment.  Pregnant women, for instance, get treatment right away            
 and they anticipate doing these same types of things with persons             
 who they were committed to serve.  They're not about to commit                
 someone they don't feel they can bring into treatment.  Some                  
 individuals may need to wait longer, but these people probably                
 won't have an impact on police, emergency rooms, etc.                         
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS made the argument that as they begin to put              
 these people at the top of the list, they leave the people on the             
 waiting list even longer.  These kinds of people might not be going           
 to hospitals or jails on a regular basis, etc., but their children            
 might be in custody or the children are at home in marginal                   
 situations.  There has to be some money put in this legislation or            
 the home system will be upset.                                                
 Number 1188                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN assumed that this involuntary commitment           
 is tried where there are beds available in a particular community,            
 at a particular time.  The issue of bed availability might affect             
 this legislation, but he noted this involuntary commitment does not           
 get used very much and if it does get used more it will be when               
 beds are available.                                                           
 MR. JONES said that the main reason this commitment process is not            
 used more is because programs feel as though it's a cumbersome                
 process.  Attorney's have to be hired.  Given even existing beds,             
 if this process was made easier, programs would use it more.                  
 Juneau serves a lot of southeast for outpatient and residential               
 treatment.  Juneau has been very successful finding places for                
 these people without significantly impacting others.                          
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY noted the breakdown of the survey group                 
 studied as indicated by race.  She pointed out that this is largely           
 a problem that deals with the native community.  It's a major                 
 problem and something Alaska has been dealing with for years.                 
 Number 1379                                                                   
 MR. JONES said that the numbers which Representative Toohey                   
 referenced came from the Department of Corrections and deals with             
 those individuals by race who have been put into jail on existing             
 12 hour protective custody (indisc.).  In a five year period, 85              
 percent of the admissions were individuals committed once, twice or           
 three times.  Over five years, this is not a large impact.  One               
 person in the study had 170 admissions to a jail in a five year               
 period.  This type of person they would like to get into an                   
 involuntary program.                                                          
 CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that two things were happening at the same              
 time.  He felt as though this legislation was a good idea.  A                 
 person can't be helped unless they can be held for a certain amount           
 of time based on individual need.  Also, the sobriety movement has            
 been embraced by the native population which exemplifies and gives            
 real validity to the movement.  It is the best hope this state has            
 ever had, but it has to have the support of this program to help              
 people who need to get to a level where they can recognize the                
 value of sobriety.   This legislation will target many of these               
 people, to get them into this position and then many of the                   
 communities which have these problems now, along with this sobriety           
 movement, can help these people.                                              
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY absolutely agreed with these statements and             
 agrees that the sobriety movement has impacts.  It's a shining                
 light, but committing over half a million dollars of state money              
 which will be used up anyway... what happens to Indian Health                 
 monies, where does their money come in with any kind of mental                
 health.  Is there any commitment by the INS to commit to mental               
 health.   She questioned what involuntary commitment would come               
 under, whether under mental health, as a physical illness, etc.               
 MR. JONES stated that Indian Health Service currently funds                   
 significant portions of the alcohol and drug abuse prevention and             
 treatment effort throughout Alaska.  Through their existing                   
 contract mechanisms many of the programs use the state's money,               
 Indian Health Service money and local money.  This doesn't change             
 under the commitment process.  The commitment process is unique by            
 statute to an approved alcohol and drug abuse treatment program.              
 The division approves programs, even those they don't fund.  Under            
 existing legislation, an individual can be committed to a private             
 treatment agency, one that receives absolutely no funds.                      
 Alcoholism is a complex, physical and psychological disease.  It              
 can be successfully treated very well.  Alcoholism is not just a              
 mental health problem, a physical problem, or an addiction problem,           
 they all work together.  The physical toxicity has to get out of              
 the system before the individual can address the rest of the                  
 problem.  The division, through the process of commitment is trying           
 to get the body less toxic enough for a person to handle their                
 remaining issues.                                                             
 Number 1697                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked if Mr. Jones could project three to five           
 years down the road how this legislation would impact the programs            
 and does he anticipate what kind of an increased need would exist.            
 MR. JONES noted that this was a long way down the road.  If the               
 division instigates a significant amount of commitments, the                  
 division may want to do some unique treatment for these individuals           
 in order to move them out of the existing treatment system.  This             
 is reflected in the fiscal note.  He felt as though the way in                
 which individuals in the substance abuse field are being treated is           
 under a lot of scrutiny and change.  Issues around managed care,              
 patient placement, matching a client to appropriate treatments are            
 really making changes in how the division delivers services.  He              
 noted a move from less residential into more intensive out patient            
 for those individuals who are able to move into less restrictive              
 kinds of care and treated more cost effectively.                              
 MR. JONES added that three years from now Alaska will be further              
 along in this process and new ways of treatment for people of                 
 different cultures, or from rural or urban settings across the                
 state will be taken into effect.  They will never have enough                 
 available to treat everybody on a treatment demand basis.  He noted           
 that the division has a strong prevention and education message.              
 Given the resources the division does have and the new state-of-              
 the-art treatment available, he felt as though they could keep                
 their heads above water.                                                      
 Number 1886                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked about these revolving clients helping to           
 pay for their own treatment through private contributions.                    
 MR. JONES noted that the department currently requires all of their           
 programs to charge on a sliding fee scale and to look at how a                
 client can contribute to a program.  He mentioned clients working             
 off some of their treatment through volunteer work.  They also look           
 at the permanent fund as a source of money too.  Some of the                  
 voluntary commitments may be able to tap veteran's benefits or                
 native corporation benefits, as well as social security monies.               
 The department looks at all of these sources.  It is in their                 
 statute, that the inability to pay, is not a determinate as to                
 whether or not they receive treatment or whether these individuals            
 stay in treatment.                                                            
 MR. JONES noted that in a lot of ways the permanent fund is                   
 untouchable, if a person is on social security and they're medicaid           
 eligible, they can tap these resources, but if they're in an                  
 ineligible service status, the programs aren't allowed to bill the            
 patient under federal law.  Some of their treatment is not covered            
 under medicaid because of federal rules.  In some cases the                   
 individual is billed, but they might refuse to pay.  There are some           
 limitations.  In regards to the permanent fund, a person may not              
 have applied for one, or it might already be seized because of                
 taxes, or child support enforcement, it might be taken by the                 
 Department of Corrections for the person's incarceration costs.  If           
 an individual has been convicted on felony charges and                        
 incarcerated, they are not eligible for the permanent fund.                   
 Number 2317                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE made a motion to adopt CS HB 493 (C/2/26/96)             
 for the committee's consideration.  Hearing no objection it was so            
 Number 2395                                                                   
 MR. JONES responded to a question by Representative Toohey                    
 regarding situations where an involuntary client might sue the                
 state and what the state is fiscally responsible for in such an               
 instance.  He outlined that under a commitment proceeding, the                
 state of Alaska is not involved in the commitment process at all on           
 the legal end.  They might be the funder of the treatment program             
 and they do the approval of commitment.  Under the commitment act,            
 as it currently stands, the persons who have standing to bring a              
 commitment proceeding are a legal guardian, spouse, etc.                      
 TAPE 96-25, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
 MR. JONES said of the person requests an attorney appointed by the            
 court, then the court would appoint that attorney.  Under current             
 law, the state would pay for this service if the person was unable            
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVIS requested that when the Department of Law and            
 the Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse work the language changes           
 to the legislation, as well as, the numbers regarding the fiscal              
 note, could they also talk to other agencies to see what their                
 impacts will be as they shift this procedure from the court to                
 these other agencies.  She would like to know what the costs will             
 Number 176                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN PORTER adjourned the House Judiciary Committee Meeting at            
 2:45 p.m.                                                                     

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