Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/04/1996 01:04 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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.