Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/04/1996 01:04 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                              
                         March 4, 1996                                         
                           1:04 p.m.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
                                                                               
 Representative Brian Porter, Chairman                                         
 Representative Con Bunde                                                      
 Representative Al Vezey                                                       
 Representative Cynthia Toohey                                                 
 Representative David Finkelstein                                              
                                                                               
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                
                                                                               
 Representative Green, Vice Chairman                                           
 Representative Davis                                                          
                                                                               
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
                                                                               
 HOUSE BILL 450                                                                
 "An Act relating to trademarks; amending Alaska Rule of Appellate             
 Procedure 609; and providing for an effective date."                          
                                                                               
      - CSHB 450(L&C) MOVED FROM COMMITTEE                                     
                                                                               
 HOUSE BILL 520                                                                
 "An Act relating to death investigations and inquests, coroners,              
 public administrators, and medical examiners, including the state             
 medical examiner; relating to the jurisdiction of district court              
 judges and magistrates in certain cases involving death."                     
                                                                               
      - MOVED FROM COMMITTEE                                                   
                                                                               
 HOUSE BILL 295                                                                
 "An Act relating to the custody and disposition of property in the            
 custody of municipal law enforcement agencies."                               
                                                                               
      - CSHB 295(2d JUD) MOVED FROM COMMITTEE                                  
                                                                               
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
                                                                               
 BILL:  HB 450                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: ALASKA TRADEMARK ACT                                             
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) THERRIAULT                                      
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG             ACTION                                        
 01/26/96      2541    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/26/96      2541    (H)   LABOR & COMMERCE, JUDICIARY                       
 02/19/96              (H)   L&C AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 17                        
 02/19/96              (H)   MINUTE(L&C)                                       
 02/19/96              (H)   MINUTE(L&C)                                       
 02/21/96      2829    (H)   L&C RPT  CS(L&C) NT 2DP 5NR                       
 02/21/96      2830    (H)   DP: KOTT, PORTER                                  
 02/21/96      2830    (H)   NR: ROKEBERG, ELTON, KUBINA, MASEK                
 02/21/96      2830    (H)   NR: SANDERS                                       
 02/21/96      2830    (H)   FISCAL NOTE (DCED)                                
 02/28/96              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 02/28/96              (H)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 03/04/96              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
                                                                               
 BILL:  HB 520                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: INQUESTS, CORONERS, POST MORTEMS, ETC.                           
 SPONSOR(S): FINANCE                                                           
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG             ACTION                                        
 02/16/96      2791    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/16/96      2791    (H)   JUDICIARY, FINANCE                                
 02/28/96              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 02/28/96              (H)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 03/04/96              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
                                                                               
 BILL:  HB 295                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: PROPERTY HELD BY LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES                        
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) PORTER,Toohey                                   
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG             ACTION                                        
 04/05/95      1027    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 04/05/95      1027    (H)   JUDICIARY, FINANCE                                
 04/19/95      1390    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): TOOHEY                              
 04/19/95              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 04/19/95              (H)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 04/21/95              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 04/21/95              (H)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 04/22/95      1446    (H)   JUD RPT  CS(JUD) 5 DP                             
 04/22/95      1447    (H)   DP: PORTER, FINKELSTEIN, GREEN, BUNDE             
 04/22/95      1447    (H)   DP: TOOHEY                                        
 04/22/95      1447    (H)   2 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (DPS)                         
 04/24/95      1485    (H)   JUD ADDITIONAL FN (LAW)                           
 02/01/96              (H)   FIN AT  1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                 
 02/01/96              (H)   MINUTE(FIN)                                       
 02/21/96      2844    (H)   RETURN TO JUD  COMMITTEE                          
 02/28/96              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 02/28/96              (H)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 03/04/96              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
                                                                               
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
                                                                               
 WILDA WHITAKER, Legislative Administrative Assistant                          
 Representative Gene Therriault                                                
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 421                                                       
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-4797                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information on HB 450 as sponsor                
                                                                               
 MIKE MONAGLE, Records & Licensing                                             
   Superintendent                                                              
 Division of Banking, Securities & Corporations                                
 Department of Commerce & Economic Development                                 
 P.O. Box 110808                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99811-0808                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-2530                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information on HB 450                           
                                                                               
 ART SNOWDEN, II                                                               
 Administrative Director                                                       
 Alaska Court System                                                           
 303 K Street                                                                  
 Anchorage, Alaska  99501-2084                                                 
 Telephone:  (907) 264-0547                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information on HB 520                           
                                                                               
 DR. MIKE PROPST, State Medical Examiner                                       
 5700 E Tudor                                                                  
 Anchorage, Alaska  99507                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 269-5090                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information on HB 520                           
                                                                               
 ELMER LINDSTROM, Special Assistant                                            
 Office of the Commissioner                                                    
 Department of Health & Social Services                                        
 P.O. Box 110601                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99811-0601                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3030                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 520                           
                                                                               
 PETER RAISKUMS, Internal Auditor                                              
 City of Anchorage                                                             
 City Hall                                                                     
 Anchorage, Alaska  99501                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 343-4438                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information on HB 295                           
                                                                               
 DUANE UDLAND, Deputy Chief of Police                                          
 Municipality of Anchorage                                                     
 P.O. Box 196650                                                               
 Anchorage, Alaska  99519-6650                                                 
 Telephone:  (907) 343-4431                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information on HB 295                           
                                                                               
 DEAN GUANELI, Chief Assistant Attorney General                                
 Criminal Division, Department of Law                                          
 P.O. Box 110300                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99811-0300                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3428                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information on HB 295                           
                                                                               
 DAN MORRIS, Chief of Police                                                   
 City of Kenai                                                                 
 Kenai, Alaska  99611                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 283-7879                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 295                           
                                                                               
 SCOTT CALDER                                                                  
 P.O. Box 75011                                                                
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99707                                                      
 Telephone:  Unavailable                                                       
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified against HB 295                                 
                                                                               
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
                                                                               
 TAPE 96-28, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN BRIAN PORTER called the House Judiciary committee meeting            
 to order at 1:04 p.m..  Members present at the call to order were             
 Representatives Bunde, Toohey and Vezey.  Representative                      
 Finkelstein arrived at 1:11 p.m.  Members absent were                         
 Representatives Green and Davis.                                              
                                                                               
 HB 450 - ALASKA TRADEMARK ACT                                               
                                                                               
 WILDA WHITAKER, Legislative Administrative Assistant to                       
 Representative Gene Therriault read the sponsor statement regarding           
 HB 450 into the record.                                                       
                                                                               
 "This legislation is intended to update the State Trademark Act.              
 Alaska's current law is modeled upon the 1964 Lanham Act.  The                
 proposed revision is to bring Alaska's trademark law current with             
 the changes to the Lanham Act over the past 30 years, and is                  
 modeled closely to the Model State Trademark Bill written by the              
 International Trademark Association.  This revision will allow the            
 registration of marks that currently cannot be registered under               
 state law, such as service marks, certification marks and                     
 collective marks.  The legislation was introduced at the request of           
 the Division of Banking, Securities and Corporations.  Passage of             
 the legislation is needed to strengthen the intellectual property             
 rights for Alaska's business community."                                      
                                                                               
 MS. WHITAKER expanded this explanation by stating that current                
 state law only allows the registration of a trademark which is a              
 mark that's placed on a product to identify who made it.  This                
 legislation would expand this to the registration of service marks            
 which identifies who provides a service versus a product.  The                
 certification mark identify approval or certification of a quality            
 such as, "Made in Alaska" or "Good Housekeeping."  She also stated            
 that collective marks identify who made a product, such as a union.           
                                                                               
 MS. WHITAKER noted a letter of support from Don and Rose Harris,              
 owners of the Red Dog Saloon, who said they've fought numerous                
 battles over the past several years when their trademark had been             
 infringed upon and diluted.  They said that working within the                
 existing system, they found protection as vague at best and almost            
 impossible to defend.  Ms. Whitaker also noted a letter from the              
 Department of Commerce and Economic Development.  This department             
 said the major improvements allowed by this legislation include               
 broadening of trademark protection to service providers adding                
 additional remedies to trademark owners for infringement and                  
 providing anti-delusion provisions for intellectual property owners           
 who's trade marks have become famous in this state.                           
                                                                               
 MS. WHITAKER said that a few technical amendments were made to this           
 legislation in the Labor and Commerce Committee, both of which are            
 relatively minor.  They are both on page 16, line 14 which changed            
 "section 5" to "section 6" because of a drafting error and line 21            
 which gives the department authorization to formulate their                   
 regulations so that they can begin implementing them once this bill           
 goes into effect.  Ms. Whitaker also pointed out the Mike Monagle             
 from the Department of Commerce and Economic Development was                  
 available to answer technical questions.                                      
                                                                               
 Number 308                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE voiced his concern that maybe this                   
 legislation was getting into federal jurisdiction of trademarks,              
 etc.                                                                          
                                                                               
 MS. WHITAKER believed that this legislation parallels the federal             
 law, but deferred to Mr. Monagle.  She stated that this legislation           
 takes into account revisions to the federal law as well.                      
                                                                               
 Number 354                                                                    
                                                                               
 MIKE MONAGLE, Records & Licensing Superintendent, Division of                 
 Banking, Securities & Corporations, Department of Commerce &                  
 Economic Development testified on HB 450.  He initially responded             
 to Representative Bunde's question about federal jurisdiction for             
 licensing and noted that the federal Landum Act solely applies to             
 marks and interstate commerce.  This Alaskan legislation would                
 apply soley to those marks used in this state.                                
                                                                               
 Number 527                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY asked about trademarks for the Red              
 Dog Saloon as an example and wondered if the protection would reach           
 as far as Chicago.                                                            
                                                                               
 MR. MONAGLE responded that this protection would only apply to                
 those businesses within the state.  What typically happens is that            
 attorneys will advise their clients to get both a federal                     
 registration as well as, a state registration, primarily because              
 state's will not check against the federal registers.  Someone                
 could be federally registered and find out that someone else has              
 registered in the state either prior to this federal registration             
 or after the federal registration.  Most states will not recognize            
 registration at the federal level, as a state registration                    
 supersedes the federal registration.  In cases where there is a               
 state registration that precedes a federal registration, they will            
 generally limit a market area to particular states for the various            
 parties.                                                                      
                                                                               
 MR. MONAGLE noted that there is a cost to this state registration             
 process, currently set at $10 a class code.  The current fee is               
 written into statute prior to the 1964 Model Act.  This legislation           
 would remove the registration process from statute and put it into            
 regulation.  The fee proposed is $50 and the fiscal note is based             
 on this amount.  Mr. Monagle referred to a survey which he would              
 make available to the committee if desired which the U.S. Trademark           
 Association conducted in 1990.  Some states charge $100 - $150.               
                                                                               
 Number 600                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE AL VEZEY asked if they took this fee out of statute            
 would it prevent the state from increasing this fee.                          
                                                                               
 MR. MONAGLE noted that in order to change a regulation it needs to            
 be published and allow for a time period to receive commentary from           
 people this legislation affects.  He stated that there was no plan            
 to raise this fee and if it's set in regulation, the department can           
 set a fee however they deem appropriate.  Mr. Monagle said that               
 they would be sensitive to any commentary they received from                  
 affected individuals and could be obligated to follow through with            
 actions reflecting this commentary.                                           
                                                                               
 Number 709                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked if the $50 fee built into this                     
 legislation covered the actual cost of processing the paperwork.              
                                                                               
 MR. MONAGLE responded that they have one full time person who works           
 approximately 15 to 20 percent of their time processing                       
 registration applications and probably their cost to the division             
 is between $12,000 to $15,000 per year.  The department bases the             
 fee on what is reasonable and customary for applications, as well             
 as, what other states are charging.  He noted that there is a                 
 contribution to the general fund from processing these                        
 applications, so they do make some profit.  Mr. Monagle stated that           
 this process of registering was not mandatory, but voluntary.  The            
 act also considers the validity of a common law usage and                     
 recognizes the rights of a person to use a mark.  Typically in                
 litigation the burden of proof is on the person who fails to                  
 register.  Although it is not mandatory, it is advisable that                 
 someone go through the registration process.                                  
                                                                               
 Number 830                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. WHITAKER stated that Representative Therriault had indicated              
 that he would consider amendments regarding the fee depending on              
 the sentiment of the committee.                                               
                                                                               
 MR. MONAGLE responded to a question posed by Chairman Porter                  
 regarding duplicate filings.  In the event that filings are brought           
 forward, the first filing that the department is made aware of                
 prevails and he noted that this language is incorporated in the               
 pending legislation.  The first applicant who comes through the               
 door prevails, but if there is a dispute to the rights or ownership           
 of the mark as part of the remedy procedure the statute defers to             
 the superior court ruling.  He said that if someone can show that             
 they have been using a mark for years superseding filing of the               
 same mark then they could probably prevail in court.                          
                                                                               
 Number 973                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE made a motion to move CSHB 450(L&C) from the             
 Judiciary Committee with individual recommendations and attached              
 fiscal note.  Representative Vezey objected, then he withdrew this            
 objection.  The objection was noted and hearing no additional                 
 objection it was so moved.                                                    
 HB 520 - INQUESTS, CORONERS, POST MORTEMS, ETC.                             
                                                                               
 Number 1033                                                                   
                                                                               
 ART SNOWDEN, Administrative Director, Alaska Court System testified           
 by teleconference from Anchorage about HB 520.  He provided                   
 background to this legislation and noted that for many years the              
 state of Alaska ran a coroner's system wherein magistrates, judges            
 and other employees of the judiciary basically took on the coroners           
 function of determining cause of death.  This system was frowned              
 upon by prosecution and police as very unscientific.  The district            
 attorney felt often that they were unable to make good cases                  
 because the way this system works.  Jointly, the executive and                
 judicial branches some years back requested a creation of the                 
 officer of medical examiners after the crime lab was built.  This             
 took some of the burden off of the judiciary.  A problem in the               
 judiciary is that in these coroner designations most of the                   
 magistrates don't have a clue about the medical cause of death.               
                                                                               
 MR. SNOWDEN further stated that these magistrates are required to             
 certify in medical terms the cause of death.  They often ask for              
 autopsies since they don't feel as though they have the ability to            
 determine causes of death.  Otherwise, someone who was more skilled           
 in this area may perceive that an autopsy wasn't necessary.  He               
 noted the example of policeman in rural Alaska removing bodies to             
 conduct autopsies and this being met with great resistance from               
 villages who did not want bodies removed.  He added that trooper              
 planes have been surrounded by villagers at airports, etc.                    
                                                                               
 MR. SNOWDEN offered a variety of names from different departments             
 which felt as though this legislation had met it's time and to give           
 the responsibility to determine death ultimately to the medical               
 examiner.  The court system has held numerous meetings with the               
 executive branch, especially the Department of Health and Social              
 Services on this proposed legislation.  They intend to take the               
 legislative appropriation which comes to the judiciary, namely                
 $320,000 and five auxiliary positions and transfer them to the                
 Department of Health and Social Services to facilitate this                   
 legislation.  The net fiscal impact on the state is zero.                     
                                                                               
 Number 1265                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked Mr. Snowden how this legislation would             
 prevent some of the unfortunate incidences he mentioned, such as              
 protests against having bodies removed from villages.                         
                                                                               
 MR. SNOWDEN said it was his understanding that instead of using               
 their magistrates and coroners with the money being transferred,              
 the medical examiner would contract with doctors in the state;                
 Therefore, a doctor would be dispatched to the scene to help the              
 medical examiner to determine the cause the death, rather than a              
 judicial officer.  He noted that there are regional hospitals                 
 throughout the state of Alaska and individual health nurses in                
 communities with no doctors to offset travel expenses of a                    
 contracting doctor.  They do not anticipate extensive travel, but             
 they would submit that if there is more travel, this would be off-            
 set by the lessening of costs in other areas which the court                  
 accrues.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 1370                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY asked about private autopsies and how they              
 would be handled.                                                             
                                                                               
 MR. SNOWDEN stated that they'd be handled the same way they are               
 now, except the request would come through the medical examiner's             
 office rather than the court.                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 1388                                                                   
                                                                               
 ELMER LINDSTROM, Special Assistant to the Commissioner, Department            
 of Health & Social Services testified on HB 520.  He noted that the           
 department has been working with the court system for the last four           
 or five months and they fully support this legislation.  He stated            
 that this was the first time in recorded history that this program            
 was not in a deficit situation for fiscal year 1996.  In years past           
 there was traditionally a supplemental request for the post-mortem            
 examinations.  This is what largely drove the decision to create              
 the state medical examiner position.  This medical examiner has               
 done an extraordinary job in getting costs under control.                     
                                                                               
 MR. LINDSTROM spoke to the transportation costs which have been a             
 burden to the program for years.  This cost does not relate to                
 transporting live persons to the rural areas for an investigation,            
 but rather the transportation of remains of persons to Anchorage              
 for autopsy.  With the state medical examiner program in place they           
 have done a very good job in reducing the number of autopsies,                
 particularly from rural areas because the state medical examiner              
 has been able to consult with people on scene and feel comfortable            
 with the cause of death.  The families have not been disrupted by             
 the additional anguish which comes with transporting remains.                 
                                                                               
 MR. LINDSTROM stated that they thought this was the logical next              
 step in developing the medical examiner system and it is truly                
 something to serve the criminal justice system as a whole.                    
                                                                               
 Number 1486                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY asked if they anticipate a drop in the                  
 financing for this legislation.                                               
                                                                               
 MR. LINDSTROM noted that the cost of the program has stayed level             
 for the past three years.   Unnecessary autopsies have been reduced           
 tremendously, but there is an increasing population in the state              
 and deaths associated with this increase.  There were a number of             
 air crashes last summer, for example, and the number of autopsies             
 needed to be performed is increasing.  By further limiting the                
 number of marginal or probably unnecessary autopsies, the                     
 department is able to hold their own.  With the additional                    
 resources being transferred to their department as outlined in this           
 legislation, they will be able to do more with training individuals           
 in rural communities which means cost containment.                            
                                                                               
 Number 1540                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY noted that there were a few things which he              
 did not understand about this legislation.  He understood that                
 Alaska law requires that all deceased persons be embalmed before              
 their remains are disposed of.                                                
                                                                               
 MR. LINDSTROM said he wasn't sure about this, but did know that               
 this is one of the costs they incur when remains are transported to           
 Anchorage.  The bodies are then taken to a funeral home in                    
 Anchorage and embalmed.                                                       
                                                                               
 MR. SNOWDEN responded that the only time that people have to be               
 embalmed is if they are transported by common carrier following 24            
 hours after they've died.  If they are unable to transport the body           
 before this 24 hour period, they are required to be shipped in body           
 bags.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 1669                                                                   
                                                                               
 DR. MIKE PROPST, State Medical Examiner said he was available to              
 answer any questions which anyone might have.  In regards to the              
 shipment of remains from a remote site, the remains are placed in             
 body bags and then in a metal shipping container un-embalmed.  The            
 only time a body needs to be embalmed is when it is transported by            
 common carrier.  If transport is not necessary for autopsy the body           
 can be interred without embalming.                                            
                                                                               
 Number 1714                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked if it was still procedure that any unattended           
 death required an autopsy.  He assumed that this had changed.                 
                                                                               
 DR. PROPST stated that this was one of the main things that the               
 establishment of the office of the State Examiner has done and now            
 they are trying to do only those autopsies which are necessary.               
                                                                               
 Number 1735                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked when a body is shipped to Anchorage for            
 autopsy and then embalmed, was this done so at state expense.                 
                                                                               
 DR. PROPST said that this was correct.                                        
                                                                               
 Number 1769                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY made a motion to move HB 520 from the                   
 Judiciary Committee with individual recommendations and fiscal                
 note.  Hearing no objection, it was so moved.                                 
 HB 295 - PROPERTY HELD BY LAW ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES                          
                                                                               
 Number 1830                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER introduced HB 295 as sponsor to this legislation.             
 He mentioned that the committee probably recollected this                     
 legislation since they'd heard it before.  This legislation dealt             
 with property residing in municipal law enforcement property rooms.           
 Within statute it says that this property should be turned over to            
 the state.  Since then there has been a request to consider one               
 other element of property as it affects municipalities to correct             
 a situation caused by a court case in Fairbanks, Johnson v.                  
 Johnson.  This new element would return the standard procedure               
 where monies and other properties seized as a result of criminal              
 cases are forfeited through the federal system and provided in a              
 distributive fashion to the state and local communities, based on             
 the state or municipality's participation in the case.  Because of            
 another state statute provision as interpreted by the court, this             
 practice was discontinued.                                                    
                                                                               
 PETER RAISKUMS, Internal Auditor, City of Anchorage testified by              
 teleconference from Anchorage on HB 295.  He stated that he had               
 conducted an audit on Anchorage's property room and is familiar               
 with the magnitude of property which is processed through the                 
 department.  Mr. Raiskums said he supports this bill and if the               
 state were to receive all the property which the statutes allow               
 for, it would be phenomenal.  The passage of this legislation would           
 eliminate any inconsistencies between the state statutes and                  
 current municipal ordinances.                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 1980                                                                   
                                                                               
 DUANE UDLAND, Deputy Chief of Police, Municipality of Anchorage               
 testified by telephone regarding HB 295.  He stated that there are            
 two aspects to this legislation which the department is most                  
 interested, one, given the fact that Anchorage has it own municipal           
 ordinance on found property, etc., these provisions are                       
 inconsistent with the requirements of state law.  He noted that               
 this was not just an Anchorage problem.  Secondly, regarding the              
 forfeiture aspect of the bill, the department thinks that it's only           
 appropriate that certain monies or properties come back to the law            
 enforcement entity.   Mr. Udland, in response to Representative               
 Toohey's question about these monies going into the municipality's            
 general fund instead, he thought that this was a possibility, but             
 the federal money up until this time has always come back to the              
 police department.                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 2140                                                                   
                                                                               
 DEAN GUANELI, Chief Assistant Attorney General provided information           
 regarding HB 295.  He began by saying that this legislation                   
 addressed a few issues which have been hanging around for a few               
 years with respect to forfeited property.  The first is the state's           
 ability to transfer property to the federal government and have it            
 go through their forfeiture procedure.  For a number of years this            
 is how this procedure has worked and it was very easy say, for                
 example, when money was found as a result of a large drug                     
 forfeiture to turn it over to the federal government.  The federal            
 government had a very easy administrative process to forfeit this             
 money, hence they could give it directly to the municipal police              
 agency involved with the case.  Every thing was fine until the                
 Alaska Supreme Court interpreted some provisions in Alaska statute            
 to hold that this wasn't allowed.  Once a state or municipal agent            
 under the authority of state law seizes property it becomes subject           
 to forfeiture under the state laws.  This property can't be given             
 to the federal government until after the forfeiture procedure is             
 done.  This often takes a long period of time.                                
                                                                               
 MR. GUANELI noted that there are some instances, however,                     
 particularly with smaller forfeitures which cannot go to the                  
 federal government.  The Justice Department won't process claims              
 under $5,000.  These have to go through state court.  When a                  
 forfeiture does go through state court the state statutes                     
 interpreted this to mean that this money goes in the state general            
 fund, rather than to the municipal police agency which made the               
 arrest.  This agency sometimes spends a fair amount of money to               
 cover operations.  The other main thing this bill does is to allow            
 money, once it has gone through a state forfeiture proceeding to be           
 given to the municipal police agency which seized the property.               
                                                                               
 MR. GUANELI pointed out that the legislative legal services                   
 division had issued a memorandum or at least expressed some concern           
 that allowing this forfeited money to the state and by operation of           
 the judicial process this money would then go to a municipal                  
 agency, rather than the state general fund, that this situation may           
 create some problems with avoiding the appropriations process.  He            
 stated that they don't have a resolution to this issue.  It's an              
 open question, but there are a number of people who believe that by           
 enacting this law and changing this statute in this way it notes              
 that the legislature has spoken that it is certainly permitting               
 these mostly small forfeitures to go directly to municipal police             
 agencies.  If the legislature wants to change this at some point in           
 the future they certainly can.  It's doubtful that a drug dealer              
 for example, would challenge the statute on this basis.  Whether              
 their property goes to a state police agency, they've lost it.                
 It's not clear who would raise this objection and as long as there            
 is a statute which allows this forfeiture to be done, then they're            
 covered.                                                                      
                                                                               
 MR. GUANELI proposed an amendment to this legislation, on page two,           
 line 22, regarding a municipal ordinance to dispose of property and           
 the wait of 15 days before they dispose of the property after                 
 disposition of a case.  The department felt that this 15 days might           
 be too short and suggested that it be expanded to 30 days.  He then           
 discussed the clause relating to forfeiture of weapons.                       
                                                                               
 Number 2461                                                                   
                                                                               
 DAN MORRIS, Kenai Chief of Police testified by teleconference from            
 Kenai in support of HB 295.  He felt as though it would take care             
 of a lot of small problems or issues which they've had in the past.           
 He did appreciate the option of the city to be able to pass an                
 ordinance to dispose of property.  Right now Kenai has a lack of              
 space and as is the current law, they're required to wait two years           
 before they're allowed to dispose of this property.  He noted that            
 some of this property can loose it's value over time.  He felt as             
 though this legislation would simplify the process of disposing of            
 property.                                                                     
 CHIEF MORRIS also spoke to Section 6 regarding the forfeiture of              
 drug assets.  He spoke to other chiefs on the peninsula this week             
 and they were in favor of the 75 to 25 split and suggested that               
 this not drop any lower.  He thought this split was fair and                  
 equitable.                                                                    
                                                                               
 TAPE 96-28, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 044                                                                    
                                                                               
 SCOTT CALDER testified by teleconference from Fairbanks against HB            
 295.  He shared a personal experience he had with property stolen             
 from his home.  Mr. Calder contacted the local police when this               
 happened and he was informed he could not pursue this matter                  
 because it involved a juvenile.  The department was not able to               
 search their inventory to see whether or not some of this stolen              
 property was housed there.  He felt that in this present                      
 legislation they should allow for a reasonable attempt to be made             
 for these police stations to search their inventories for people's            
 property.  Mr. Calder said it made him a little nervous when the              
 state and federal government discuss how they'll divide the "loot,"           
 regarding these forfeitures.                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 238                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked how this legislation would apply in                
 Fairbanks where he understood that Fairbanks doesn't charge under             
 any local statute, but under state statute.  He asked that under              
 this scenario, if the state assumes these costs would Fairbanks               
 then be in line for some of these monies.                                     
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER responded that the monies they've been discussing             
 are used by the law enforcement agencies and Fairbanks does do                
 their own investigations of felony crimes.  Costs such as informant           
 fees and "buy money" for drug investigations are incurred.  These             
 funds must come from city sources.  He made note that all drug                
 crimes would be considered felonious.                                         
                                                                               
 Number 290                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE made a motion to adopt CSHB 295(2d JUD)                  
 version G.  Hearing no objection it was so adopted.  Representative           
 Bunde proposed an amendment to this version regarding line 22 on              
 page 2, instead of property being held for "15 days" after a                  
 disposition of the case to read instead "30 days."  Hearing no                
 objection it was so moved.  Representative Bunde made a motion to             
 move CSHB 295(2d JUD) version G as amended from the Judiciary                 
 Committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note.           
 Hearing no objection it was so moved.                                         
 HB 523 - STATE'S POLICY ON SOBRIETY                                         
                                                                               
 Number 417                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER explained to the committee why they had requested             
 a waiver for HB 523.  The bill merely changes the opening statement           
 of the state code's policy for it's addressing the problems of                
 alcohol abuse.  It incorporates as an alternative to the                      
 traditional treatment a statement justifying the existence of the             
 goal of sobriety.  The sobriety movement of the native community in           
 the Alaska Federation of Natives (AFN) is probably the best program           
 the state has seen in a long time.  The existing state enabling               
 statute doesn't specifically recognize sobriety as a goal.  There             
 are no burning statutory or constitutional provisions in the bill,            
 consequently Chairman Porter didn't think the Judiciary needed to             
 consider it.                                                                  
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY was absent from previous discussions about              
 this bill and stated that she disagrees with the move that the                
 state needs to care and feed these people that continue to decide             
 to destroy themselves over and over again.  This is a very                    
 expensive program and it doesn't work as they know.  She noted                
 language in HB 523, "should be afforded a continuum of treatment."            
 Representative Toohey did not want to get into the slippery slope             
 of saying the state will treat every alcoholic at state expense.              
 She said she appreciates the sobriety movement.                               
                                                                               
 Number 534                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that the continuum of treatment language is             
 in existing statute.  He pointed out that the underlined portions             
 of the draft legislation is what they were adding.                            
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY commented that he liked the new proposed new             
 wording.  He doesn't either subscribe to the philosophy that the              
 state is to kinder and gentler to people who have substance abuse             
 problems.  Representative Vezey said he'd like to see some of the             
 existing language removed.                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER said that for what it's worth the wording in the              
 state statute was a result of a total revision required by a U.S.             
 Supreme Court decision.  It used to be a crime to be drunk in                 
 public and this was found to be unconstitutional, hence the shift             
 to a medical problem rather than a criminal problem.                          
                                                                               
 ADJOURNMENT                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN PORTER adjourned the House Judiciary Committee at 2:12               
 p.m.                                                                        
                                                                               

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