Legislature(1997 - 1998)

02/02/1998 01:10 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
         HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                    
                  February 2, 1998                                             
                     1:10 p.m.                                                 
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                
Representative Joe Green, Chairman                                             
Representative Brian Porter                                                    
Representative Norman Rokeberg                                                 
Representative Eric Croft                                                      
Representative Ethan Berkowitz                                                 
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                 
Representative Con Bunde, Vice Chairman                                        
Representative Jeannette James                                                 
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                             
HOUSE BILL NO. 231                                                             
"An Act relating to regulation of snowmobiles."                                
     - MOVED CSHB 231(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                    
* HOUSE BILL NO. 267                                                           
"An Act relating to domestic violence and sexual assault; and                  
providing for an effective date."                                              
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                          
* HOUSE BILL NO. 12                                                            
"An Act relating to civil liability for injuries or death resulting            
from equine activities."                                                       
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                          
(* First public hearing)                                                       
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                
BILL:  HB 231                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: REGULATION OF SNOWMOBILES                                         
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) MASEK                                           
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                          
04/04/97       990     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  
04/04/97       990     (H)  JUDICIARY                                          
04/30/97               (H)  JUD AT  1:30 PM CAPITOL 120                        
04/30/97               (H)  MINUTE(JUD)                                        
05/07/97               (H)  JUD AT  1:30 PM SENATE FINANCE 532                 
05/07/97               (H)  MINUTE(JUD)                                        
05/08/97               (H)  JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                        
05/08/97               (H)  MINUTE(JUD)                                        
02/02/98               (H)  JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                        
BILL:  HB 267                                                                  
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) KELLY, Dyson                                    
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                          
04/30/97      1409     (H)  READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                  
04/30/97      1409     (H)  JUDICIARY                                          
02/02/98               (H)  JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                        
BILL:  HB 12                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: IMMUNITY FOR EQUINE ACTIVITIES                                    
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVES(S) DAVIS                                           
Jrn-Date    Jrn-Page           Action                                          
01/13/97        30     (H)  PREFILE RELEASED 1/3/97                            


01/13/97 30 (H) JUDICIARY, FINANCE

01/30/98 (H) JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120

01/30/98 (H) MINUTE(JUD) 02/02/98 (H) JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120 WITNESS REGISTER REPRESENTATIVE BEVERLY MASEK Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 432 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-2679 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 231. EDDIE GRASSER, Legislative Assistant to Representative Beverly Masek Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 432 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-2679 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on HB 231. MAX LOWE Alaska Snowmobile Representatives Alliance 4800 Spenard Road Anchorage, Alaska 99517 Telephone: (907) 243-2300 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 231. JAMES DAY, Arctic Cat Representative Arctic Recreational Distributors 3074 Commercial Drive Anchorage, Alaska 99501 Telephone: (907) 272-5351 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 231. KEVIN HITE, President Anchorage Snowmobile Club 8050 Summerset Drive Anchorage, Alaska 99518 Telephone: (907) 522-6373 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 231. LEE JOHNSON, Member Fairbanks Snow Travelers Snowmobile Club 2650 Dale Road Fairbanks, Alaska 99709 Telephone: (907) 452-2897 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 231. SCOTT HEIDORN P.O. Box 84591 Fairbanks, Alaska 99708 Telephone: (907) 474-8711 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 231; suggested amendment. MICHAEL EASTHAM Snomads Snow Machine Club P.O. Box 475 Homer, Alaska 99603 Telephone: (907) 235-2603 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 231. TIM BORGSTROM, Special Projects Director Anchorage Economic Development Corporation 550 West 7th Avenue, Suite 1400 Anchorage, Alaska 99501 Telephone: (907) 258-3700 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 231. JIM STRATTON, Director Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation Department of Natural Resources 3601 C Street, Suite 1200 Anchorage, Alaska 99503-5921 Telephone: (907) 269-8700 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 231. JUANITA HENSLEY, Chief Driver Services Division of Motor Vehicles Department of Administration P.O. Box 20020 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0020 Telephone: (907) 465-4361 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions regarding HB 231. REPRESENTATIVE PETE KELLY Alaska State Legislature Capitol Building, Room 411 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 465-2327 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 267. CANDICE LIMMER, Victims' Advocate Valley Women's Resource Center 403 South Alaska Street Palmer, Alaska 99645 Telephone: (907) 746-4080 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to HB 267. BRENDA WIEFFERING, Executive Director Kenai-Soldotna Women's Resource and Crisis Center 325 South Spruce Street Kenai, Alaska 99611 Telephone: (907) 283-9479 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to HB 267. ROBIN F. LOWN, Vice President Alaska Peace Officers Association P.O. Box 33885 Juneau, Alaska 99803 Telephone: (907) 463-7188 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 267. LAUREE HUGONIN, Director Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault 130 Seward, Room 501 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Telephone: (907) 586-3650 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to HB 267. SANDRA M. STONE, Project Coordinator Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Department of Public Safety P.O. Box 111200 Juneau, Alaska 99811-1200 Telephone: (907) 465-4356 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to HB 267. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 98-7, SIDE A Number 0001 CHAIRMAN JOE GREEN called the House Judiciary Standing Committee meeting to order at 1:10 p.m., acknowledging there was not yet a quorum. Members present at the call to order were Representatives Green, Porter and Berkowitz. Representatives Rokeberg and Croft arrived at 1:14 p.m. and 1:15 p.m., respectively. Representatives Bunde and James were excused. HB 231 - REGULATION OF SNOWMOBILES Number 0068 CHAIRMAN GREEN announced the committee would first hear HB 231, "An Act relating to regulation of snowmobiles." The bill had been heard the previous year by the committee. REPRESENTATIVE BEVERLY MASEK, sponsor, advised members that more than 50 organizations have endorsed HB 231, including all the major snowmobile clubs, businesses in the tourism industry, snowmobile dealers and manufacturers, and support agencies such as the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation. REPRESENTATIVE MASEK pointed out that HB 231 does not impose a new fee for registering snowmobiles. The statute requiring snowmobile registration has been on the books since 1968. There are two changes proposed in HB 231: It will require snowmobiles to be registered at the time of purchase, and it will place the registration provisions in Title 28 [misstated as Title 8] under the Division of Motor Vehicles. Number 0190 REPRESENTATIVE MASEK said reasons for enacting point-of-sale registration include establishing a reliable count of machines, creating a better opportunity to successfully participate in current funding programs for trails, and creating a better opportunity for authorities to recover stolen machines. The established number of registered machines appears to be substantially lower than the actual number out there. Therefore, the snowmobile community and the state may be missing out on grant monies for trail acquisitions and maintenance that are based on the number of registered machines. REPRESENTATIVE MASEK noted the increase in snowmobile thefts over the past few years. Many machines are not registered, making it more difficult to identify and recover stolen machines; point-of-sale registrat and it may deter some theft. In addition, establishing and maintaining trails for snowmobile use may help to build winter tourism businesses. Representative Masek advised members that Eddie Grasser could answer technical questions. Number 0352 CHAIRMAN GREEN noted that there was a quorum, as Representatives Croft and Rokeberg had joined the meeting. He said he would entertain a motion to adopt the proposed committee substitute (0-LS0501\F, Ford Title 28. Number 0378 REPRESENTATIVE ERIC CROFT asked whether by adopting Version F they would be removing the regulation portion, leaving just the registration portion. CHAIRMAN GREEN said that is essentially it. REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked what the difficulty was with the regulation portion, and who had the difficulty. Number 0412 EDDIE GRASSER, Legislative Assistant to Representative Beverly Masek, Alaska State Legislature, explained that in discussing this issue with the snow machine community, the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation, and the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), they decided the regulatory authority for actual snow machine use on state lands or park lands would be better addressed in a separate piece of legislation. What they want to do here is establish the registration process. The next piece of the puzzle, a separate legislative package, would address the regulation of the use of snow machines on public lands, including park lands, and, hopefully, some kind of fee structure to help acquire and maintain trails for that. REPRESENTATIVE CROFT said he had understood it was a collaborative process, that the snow machine community was at the table and there wasn't significant opposition to the regulatory part. He asked, "So, it isn't that they've changed their mind, necessarily, it's just better tactics to move it into two separate bills?" MR. GRASSER said that is correct. Number 0509 REPRESENTATIVE ETHAN BERKOWITZ asked why, if they are switching from regulation to registration, there is no title change. MR. GRASSER said he had talked to Juanita Hensley from the DMV that day, and to Jim Stratton of the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation. Mr. Grasser said he believes that was a drafting oversight; it was supposed to be an Act relating to the registration of snowmobiles. Number 0556 REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN PORTER made a motion to adopt 0-LS0501\F, Ford, 5/5/97, as a work draft. He asked to incorporate in that motion an amendment, which he believed to be technical in nature, changing in the title the word "regulation" to "registration". Number 0593 REPRESENTATIVE NORMAN ROKEBERG objected for discussion purposes. He pointed out that AS 28.39.060 is "Regulations authorized." Therefore, regulatory authority goes with this legislation. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said that doesn't affect the title. CHAIRMAN GREEN agreed. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG withdrew his objection. Number 0681 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER asked whether this bill provides the ability to go as far as they want to, in terms of registering all the machines that must be registered. As he read the statutes, machines off the highway system, or not intended to do anything but drive across a highway going from private property to private property, are not required to be registered. He asked whether that is the sponsor's take. If so, what would stop people who buy snow machines from saying they don't intend to do anything but go from private property to private property across a highway, and therefore they don't have to register? Number 0760 MR. GRASSER replied that it is their presumption that the dealers would automatically register new snowmobiles, as is done when buying a new car now. However, the question was well-taken as far as existing snow machines out there that aren't registered. He suggested that in addressing that, they can look to improvements Commissioner Boyer made in the Department of Administration for the ability of people to access DMV registration through a 1-800 telephone number or the Internet, which should make it much easier to register these machines. MR. GRASSER said Commissioner Boyer had indicated the $5 fee would cover a mail-out to people to renew their registration. Mr. Grasser added, "Of course, he also pointed out that would also require the legislature to fund that with the proceeds from that $5 registration, which I guess he claims they haven't done; so, I haven't looked into that." Number 0830 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER noted that Section 1 says, "Registration under this section is not required for a snowmobile ... exempt from motor vehicle registration under AS 28.10.011." He paraphrased subsection (11) as "you don't have to register if you're ... rural and not connected to a highway," and he paraphrased another, unspecified, subsection as "if you're just going to private property to private property across a highway." He stated, "So, if that's the case, I don't think that you can say I have to buy one, unless you change that." Number 0889 MR. GRASSER responded that certain factions in the snowmobile community would rather not have that in there. He thought the discussion when they put that in was about the rural situation, especially villages where they aren't required to register their vehicles now; that was the intent of that exception. He suggested the sponsors were probably not hung up on that. "I think the snowmobile community wants these machines registered," he concluded. REPRESENTATIVE MASEK concurred. Number 0932 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER suggested if they intend to get all snow machines sold in the state registered, there is a technical hang-up, but if the registered than the law now requires, that is what they have. Number 0973 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ said if he understood Representative Porter's argument, there would be a discriminatory consequence to this, in that rural Alaskans would not have to pay the same registration fees that urban Alaskans would have to pay. He asked whether that is a fair assessment. REPRESENTATIVE MASEK noted that it says the dealer shall register the snowmobiles at the point of sale. She said they would be sold in rural areas as well as in urban areas. She then indicated she wouldn't have a problem if that were stricken from the bill. Number 1030 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT said AS 28.10.011 is written for cars and has a couple of different places where it may be too broad for snowmobiles. The applicable language is not all in subsection (11) of that statute. Subsection (1) says, "driven or moved on a highway only for the purpose of crossing the highway from one private property to another, including an implement of husbandry as defined by regulation". In addition, subsection (7) says, "driven or parked only on private property", which Representative Croft suggested is kind of repetitive. REPRESENTATIVE CROFT said subsection (11) may be repetitive of subsection (1) as well. Subsection (11) is the rural one, relating to being driven or moved on a highway where there is not a regular road system. He concluded, "So, there's private property, only crossing a highway, and then not connected to the highway system." He said each, it would seem, is inapplicable to this and more applicable to cars. CHAIRMAN GREEN responded that he thinks the language in question can be excluded, but he believes there is a conflict the way it is drafted. He referred to page 2, lines 4 and 5, which requires the seller of the new or used machine - the dealer - to take action. Referring to Representative Porter's comments, Chairman Green stated, "You're exempt on page 1, but on page 2, you're required. And so, one of the two. I don't know that he's particularly caring which way we go, but we ought to go consistently." Number 1110 MR. GRASSER reported that last year the Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT/PF) spent $800,000 in Northwest Alaska on trail improvements and so forth for snow machines. The intent of this legislation eventually is to get to the point that Representative Croft addressed, with this moving out of the regulatory arena into just registration, and the intent is eventually to have a fund for trail maintenance and acquisition. He said Representative Porter's point is well-taken, and that language should probably be stricken. Number 1172 CHAIRMAN GREEN made a motion to strike lines 10 and 11, page 1. REPRESENTATIVE CROFT suggested they would need to renumber accordingly. CHAIRMAN GREEN included that as a friendly amendment. REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ indicated it also required punctuation changes. CHAIRMAN GREEN asked whether there was any objection to the amendment. There being none, Amendment 1 was adopted. Number 1214 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked for confirmation that the registration is also for used vehicles, that re-registration would be required whenever there is a change of ownership. REPRESENTATIVE MASEK affirmed that. Number 1231 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked where the $5 fee is in the bill, and whether it is in reference to another statute. MR. GRASSER referred members to page 2, line 12, subsection (e), which says, "The original and each renewal registration fee for a snowmobile is as provided under AS 28.10.421." CHAIRMAN GREEN asked whether that is a $5 fee. REPRESENTATIVE MASEK said currently it is, yes. CHAIRMAN GREEN noted that it is subject to change by regulation. Number 1302 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT read from AS 28.10.421(d)(7), which discusses a $10 biennial fee for a snowmobile or off-highway vehicle. He then stated his understanding that the intent is both to collect federal funds that might exist and to create this pool of Alaska's own registration funds. He asked how much federal money might be obtained from this. MR. GRASSER said they are not sure of the exact share because they don't have an accurate count of snow machines. Under the Symms grant program and the trails program, there are nonmotorized trails, motorized trails and multiple-use trails; each segment gets a portion of that funding. The current state snowmobile registration shows approximately 11,000 machines; that segment of the trail-using community doesn't really get much of the grant money. But if they could show there are 40,000 machines, for example, they could increase the share significantly. Number 1384 CHAIRMAN GREEN asked what the costs of enforcement might be. MR. GRASSER said they don't know. He commented, "I assume that would be the same as in fish and game, where we have all these regulations and no enforcement out there right now also." Number 1428 MAX LOWE, Alaska Snowmobile Representatives Alliance (ASRA), testified via teleconference from Anchorage. The ASRA represents 160 dealers, 50 member businesses and a board of directors of 16 people based in Anchorage. Having just completed a trip to the International Association of Snowmobile Administrators conference in California, where 11 Western states including Alaska were represented, he said he has every reason to be in full support of HB 231, the point-of-sale registration. MR. LOWE stated the belief that this bill will deter theft and aid in recovery of stolen snowmobiles; provide a mechanism for funding to enhance winter trail development, grooming, provision of signs, safety and enforcement. This will increase snowmobiling enjoyment by residents and tourists, "by providing a higher quality of safer snowmobiling experience in Alaska." MR. LOWE advised members he had a copy of a proposed amendment by Jim Stratton, Director, Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation ("State Parks"), which contains intent language. He asked to hear the committee's feelings about that amendment. Number 1503 MR. LOWE stated, "I would also like to clarify that the intent of the discussion earlier on regarding the registration of snowmobiles was rural, not private-property-to-private-property on a railway or roadbelt, and that ... it's not connected to any concern other than that, that I think the rural communities may not be in favor where they're using snowmobiles on a day-to-day work-type basis, rather than a recreational basis. We certainly didn't want to slow down or stop the bill, because we feel that the lion's share of recreational users are not in the outlying communities but in Anchorage, Wasilla, Fairbanks and so forth." MR. LOWE said having just come from the conference, he could assure listeners that counterparts in the Lower 48 have much enforcement done by the club members themselves; he offered to elaborate. CHAIRMAN GREEN, noting that the sponsor had a copy of Mr. Stratton's proposed amendment, had copies made for members. Number 1575 JAMES DAY, Arctic Cat Representative, Arctic Recreational Distributors, testified via teleconference from Anchorage, saying he fully supports HB 231, which is needed to build their numbers and to support snow machining in Alaska. He said he thinks "the bottom line takes it to the economic base of what we need to happen throughout Alaska." Number 1605 KEVIN HITE, President, Anchorage Snowmobile Club, testified via teleconference from Prudhoe Bay, saying the club supports HB 231 in its entirety. He stated, "The volunteer efforts of most of the clubs in the state are getting stretched thinner and thinner. And as a result, some of the good grooming and some of the trail development programs are falling way behind. We see HB 231 as a good way to fund a mechanism that will help develop trails." Mr. Hite said they also support all of the rural exemptions that Representative Masek had in the beginning. Number 1655 LEE JOHNSON, Member, Fairbanks Snow Travelers Snowmobile Club, testified via teleconference from Fairbanks, saying he is also a representative on the Governor's citizen advisory board. He indicated he supports HB 231, registration of snowmobiles, largely as a means of generating funds for trail maintenance and development, public education programs and safety measures. He said throughout the United States, snowmobilers have directly paid their own way with registration fees and trail user fees. The fund developed from a portion of the federal gas tax is divided according to a count of the machines in each state, which is a source of funding that has been used for trails. MR. JOHNSON said the $10 biennial fee currently in statute isn't adequate to fund this kind of program. Other states have significantly higher registration fees. He suggested the many benefits of a higher fee may need to be addressed another time. CHAIRMAN GREEN agreed they would leave that for another day. Number 1770 SCOTT HEIDORN testified via teleconference from Fairbanks, saying he supports HB 231 and is glad to see the amendments made to lines 10 and 11 of page 1. He suggested there may be a bit of a conflict between page 1, line 9, and page 2, line 25. He recommended that all political subdivisions register their machines but not have to pay the fee. CHAIRMAN GREEN responded that they would take care of it. Number 1815 MICHAEL EASTHAM, Snomads Snow Machine Club, testified via teleconference from Homer, where he had lived approximately 25 years. He has been a snowmobiler in Alaska for approximately 29 years. A retired police officer, he had served 23 years and is familiar with what the lack of registration does to the law enforcement community with regards to recovery of snow machines and enforcement. He said he would address both. MR. EASTHAM advised members he is past-president of the Snomads and current chairman of the trails committee; registration of snow machines has been discussed in his club over the past several meetings. The club supports this bill. They encourage members to register their machines. However, some owners hesitate because of the way the registration fee money is spent. He stated the belief that HB 231 will increase state revenues, as thousands of dollars in state revenues are lost yearly from lack of snow machine registration. MR. EASTHAM advised members he had a letter from the Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation; according to their survey, approximately 6,000 new snow machines have been sold yearly in Alaska since 1993, which amounts to 30,000 snow machines in the last five years. Number 1893 MR. EASTHAM noted that money spent on registration doesn't come back to work for trails or snowmobilers; rather, it goes to the general fund. There is a lot of talk in the snowmobile community about wanting to see something done so that registration money goes directly to work for trails enhancement and development of lands for the public use; Mr. Eastham suggested that should be looked into. MR. EASTHAM said registering snow machines to obtain accurate numbers will directly correlate with federal matching funds; this "head count" is a starting point. From a law enforcement standpoint, when machines aren't registered it is almost impossible to track those recovered by law enforcement agencies; not only is there no license, but the owner often hasn't recorded a serial number. Mr. Eastham concluded by indicating a lot of state funds are spent on roadways and trails, from which rural users receive a benefit. Number 1983 TIM BORGSTROM, Special Projects Director, Anchorage Economic Development Corporation (AEDC), testified via teleconference from Anchorage. He said they obviously have more than one reason for being in support of the bill; number one is winter tourism. He stated, "We believe that if we can - to a certain extent - mirror some of our lower 48 states on how they developed winter tourism, certainly snowmobiling is a big component of that." MR. BORGSTROM advised members that the AEDC has done a lot of research and compiled a lot of data. There were 15,817 new snowmobiles sold in Alaska in the 1995-1996 and 1996-1997 winter seasons, with only 3,800 of those sold or registered in the Municipality of Anchorage. He stated, "Therefore, we know that with this point-of-sale registration, that what -- everybody-else's-data-we-con source and pretty much a self-supporting system ... of recreation for the state of Alaska, which then we can complement the Governor's initiative over the statewide trail system of offering a map of guide services, rental agencies and so forth to out-of-state tourists winter." MR. BORGSTROM said the mechanism used in all the other states is point-of-sale registration, along with user fees for the trail systems. Alaska is the last state "in the continental United States and all the provinces of Canada" to adopt a point-of-sale registration law; he suggested it is time to do that and to develop a new revenue stream for this particular industry, which he characterized as self-supporting. Mr. Borgstrom concluded, "The snowmobilers want it, the dealers certainly want it, our law enforcement here in town would really appreciate it because of the high rate of snowmobile thefts, and I think it would benefit not just ... the major metropolitan areas but the whole state of Alaska as well. It'd be nice if we could send out eventually a statewide snowmobile trail map, and this is a ... funding mechanism by which we could do that." REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked whether Mr. Borgstrom is a snowmobile dealer. MR. BORGSTROM said no. Number 2103 JIM STRATTON, Director, Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation ("State Parks"), Department of Natural Resources, testified via teleconference from Anchorage, advising members he had attended the same International Association of Snowmobile Administrators meetings that Max Lowe had. He said they had also spent some time with friends in Washington State and Montana, learning how they manage their snowmobile programs. MR. STRATTON stated, "And it's the intent of State Parks to begin establishing a process this spring by which this registration money could be used for trail work, in a method that the decisions will be made with the snowmobile community. So, our intent is to move forward in beginning to put together this structure, that we can get some money disseminated, and our hope is that through this bill, we'll begin to see some significant money come into winter trail work." Number 2137 CHAIRMAN GREEN noted that the committee now had copies of Mr. Stratton's proposed six-line amendment. Number 2154 MR. STRATTON explained that he had drafted it in response to snowmobilers' concerns that the bill doesn't emphasize enough that - in addition to law enforcement and theft benefits - the intent is to have the funds generated go into doing a trail system. Although there aren't dedicated funds, Mr. Stratton had drafted this to provide intent language, so that persons learning about the reasons behind point-of-sale registration and the bill would have some comfort that the legislature's intent is indeed to see that the money would go to trail work. CHAIRMAN GREEN responded that he doesn't like to clutter the statutes with a lot of intent language. He said he would prefer, with the concurrence of Mr. Stratton and the committee, to perhaps accompany the bill with a letter of intent that would incorporate this language but not actually make it part of the statute. MR. STRATTON replied, "That's great; that's wonderful." Number 2214 JUANITA HENSLEY, Chief, Driver Services, Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV), Department of Administration, came forward to answer questions. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG noted that the committee had adopted an amendment which deleted the references to AS 28.10.011; subsection (2) of that statute says, "driven or moved on a highway under a dealer's plate or temporary permit as provided for in AS 28.10.031 and 28.10.181(j)." He asked Ms. Hensley whether snowmobile dealers use temporary permits or dealer plates. Number 2251 MS. HENSLEY replied no, the DMV does not issue dealer plates to snowmobile dealers; that is only for automobile or motorcycle dealers. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked whether it is the DMV's intention to authorize dealers to issue plates at the time of sale. MS. HENSLEY responded that just as they do now with automobile dealers in the state, yes, it would be the DMV's wish to have the dealers issue the decals. This bill does not allow them to issue plates; they will issue a registration decal that will go on the cowling of the snowmobile. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked whether that is provided for in this. MS. HENSLEY replied yes, it will be similar to that. She indicated the DMV's wish to have dealers go ahead and register and put the decal straight on that snow machine at the time of sale, as happens with car dealers now. There is no plate, just a decal. Number 2310 CHAIRMAN GREEN asked whether Ms. Hensley sees any conflict with the exclusions on page 1, lines 8 and 9, and the reference to the exclusion on page 2, line 25, with the fact that the registration will be done at the time of sale by the dealer. MS. HENSLEY replied, "On line 8 on page 1, if you start paragraph (b) as saying, 'The registration fee under this section is not required for a snowmobile' and then put 'owned by an agency', that would take care of it. I don't see that there would be a problem." She said currently a city or municipality "is exempt from registering those cars; they do register them, but they're not (indisc.--simult. speech.)." CHAIRMAN GREEN asked whether as far as administration of this, Ms. Hensley sees any problem. MS. HENSLEY said no. Number 2374 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT said he had come around to thinking there is not a conflict. He explained, "This says everyone has to register, including municipalities; the only people that can't are the state and the United States. And then on (b), the department may issue a registration, without a payment of a fee, to a political subdivision. So, political subdivisions have to register, but ... we can waive the fee." MS. HENSLEY concurred. Number 2411 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER noted that they would have a legal problem taxing the United States. However, registration would be appropriate for state agencies, political subdivisions and other states, in order to know who they are. He commented, "And if they're the ones that violated a 'no trespassing' area, we want to be able to get them just as much as we want to get the private sector." Representative Porter said somehow he would like this to say that the registration fee is not required for the United States, but registration is required for anyone else, and fees may be waived for state agencies and other political subdivisions. CHAIRMAN GREEN stated, "Well, or as they had indicated, if they just said the registration fee under this section is not required for state agencies, the United States or another state, I think [it] would accomplish what you're saying." REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said he thought so. TAPE 98-7, SIDE B Number 0001 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ suggested that on page 2, line 26, the language, "owned by an agency of the state, or another state, or by a political subdivision of the state," would cover everyone's concerns and let the federal government off the hook. He said essentially everyone must register, but they are waiving the fee for political groups. CHAIRMAN GREEN said, "May waive it." REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ acknowledged that. CHAIRMAN GREEN suggested it is simpler to put, "The registration fee under this section is not required," on page 1. Number 0069 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER suggested a possible amendment, specifying he wasn't making a motion yet. He said, "If on page 1, line 8, we said, 'A registration fee under this section is not require for a snowmobile (1) owned by the United States,' comma, and eliminate everything else, then go to page 2, line 25, and say, 'The department shall' - not may - 'issue a registration without a payment of a fee if the snowmobile is owned by a state agency, comma, political subdivision of the state, comma, or another state, comma - or no comma.'" CHAIRMAN GREEN noted it requires the registration but not the fee. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER agreed. CHAIRMAN GREEN asked whether that is what everyone would like. Number 0130 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG indicated he was troubled by introduction of the word "fee" on page 1, line 8, which would seemingly put the obligation to register on the U.S. government but waive the fee. CHAIRMAN GREEN agreed, adding, "And if you don't like the word 'fee,' you can just leave it the way it is and just drop those other two and just leave it 'the United States' -- 'is not required by a snow machine owned by the United States'." REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG suggested they shouldn't require the registration, even if they can. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER restated that he would just as soon know if a federal agent violated a "no trespass" area. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said the point is finding a lost snow machine, more than anything. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER responded that he'd like to leave it the way it is. CHAIRMAN GREEN said, "Okay. Now, if you don't want to exclude them, then you'd delete lines 8 and 9 and put all three of those people under line 25?" Number 0153 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG replied no, he was talking about the word "fee" on page 1, line 8, of the "conceptual not-motioned amendment." Specifically, he was talking about not putting "fee" after "Registration". CHAIRMAN GREEN noted that now they are saying perhaps they want registration, even of federal machines. He suggested striking (b) entirely, page 1, lines 8 and 9, and putting all three of those over on page 2, line 25. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG agreed and said he had no problem with it. CHAIRMAN GREEN continued, "And then everybody that we are not going to charge a fee to - but still get a registration from - is covered." He asked Ms. Hensley whether she sees it that way. He specified, "We just take the federal government, state agency and another state, and we put those on line 25 and strike lines 8 and 9." Number 0190 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT commented that he doesn't know, as a point of law, whether the state can require the federal government to register, but they could try it. MS. HENSLEY stated, "Under the existing statutes relating to regular motor vehicles, it says ... vehicles are subject to registration except - and it just says owned by the United States. They are not subject to registration in this state." Saying, "They register them under their federal provisions," Ms. Hensley noted that it is strictly a federal program. Number 0219 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said he recognizes they cannot compel registration for a federally owned snow machine. He suggested personnel would take it, however, and put it on; it would be a viable alternative to nothing. He pointed out that there is no federal snow machine plate, whereas there is a federal license plate that identifies a federally owned car. Number 0246 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ suggested federal employees may exempt themselves, whether or not the state exempts them. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said he agrees with Representative Porter's "conceptual amendment not motioned," except for the word "fee." CHAIRMAN GREEN noted that it says a registration under this section is not required, if they leave that line in there. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said, "For the United States. We're deleting the other ..." CHAIRMAN GREEN said he understood that, but now the discussion is that perhaps they should register but not be charged. He stated, "So, if we put all of that on line 25, instead of leaving it as it is in lines 8 and 9, then we're doing that. We just don't have lines 8 and 9." REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG responded that Representative Porter had replaced the permissive "may" with "shall" on page 2, line 25. He commented, "So, we're mandating that they not pay a fee." Number 0303 MS. HENSLEY referred to page 1, line 8; she suggested the language, "A registration fee under this section is not required for an agency of the United States, period." She continued, "And then, as Representative Porter had made his conceptual amendment, is, 'The department shall issue a registration without payment of a fee to a state agency -- the snowmobile is owned by a state agency, political subdivision or another state.' That would actually clean it up." She said that way, they don't have to change all of the first paragraph, lines 5 through 7, because on line 5, it gives an exception. CHAIRMAN GREEN asked the desire of the committee, noting the existence of two concepts. He explained, "So, we either leave it in front and not even ask them to register, or put it in the second page and ask them to register, see what they'll do." Number 0366 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG stated that he would support Representative Porter's amendment now, so they could go on to other things. Number 0369 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER offered Amendment 2 as follows: On page 1, line 8, add two words, one on each side of the word "registration", to read, "A registration fee". On page 1, line 9, strike "an agency of the state" and also strike "or another state", which would leave only "owned by the United States." On page 2, line 25, strike the word "may" and replace it with "shall". And on page 2, line 26, between the words "a" and "political", insert "state agency,(comma)"; then after "political subdivision of the state", add ", (comma) or another state". (Thus, page 2, line 26, would read, "the snowmobile is owned by a state agency, political subdivision of the state, or another state.") Number 0425 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ said he had a small objection to the first portion of Amendment 2. He stated, "I think if we even talk about registering fees for the feds, we're proceeding under the tacit assumption that we can require them to register." CHAIRMAN GREEN asked whether he wanted to drop "fee" and just say "A registration under this". REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ replied that there is no fee if they are not required to register. Number 0445 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER explained that if they put in this second section - that the federal government must register but the fee will be waived - he doesn't know that the legislature has authority to do that. He stated, "If we leave it here, it at least leaves it open that the DMV can offer this to the feds and say that there's authorization to do this without the fee. They can take it or leave it; I think they'll take it, quite frankly. They're just as interested in getting their machines recovered as anybody else." REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ withdrew his objection. Number 0469 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG expressed curiosity about the term, "another state" and why that is in there. He noted that it applies to a machine owned by another state. He asked whether they should add "province" as well, in case Yukon Territory officials bring machines in. CHAIRMAN GREEN said that is a good point. He suggested perhaps dropping that. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked whether anyone else knew why that is there. Number 0523 MR. HEIDORN spoke again via teleconference, saying it seems the changes discussed that day would leave a lot of room for the Department of Administration to develop regulations for snowmobiles. He said he and Lee Johnson had also attended the conference that Jim Stratton and Max Lowe had attended last week, and they had talked to these other snowmobile program administrators, who'd outlined how these regulations are developed in other states. Oftentimes an advisory board is developed, primarily consisting of snowmobilers. MR. HEIDORN said, "And I'm wondering if this isn't a good time to put something in - at least a letter of intent that goes with this statute - outlining the makeup of a snowmobile advisory board. This would be a real benefit to the Department of Administration. My thoughts are something along the lines of a minimum of six, a maximum of ten members, all of them identified by the state snowmobile association and giving the director of, say, State Parks an opportunity to select from that list the members of the board. And then possibly the state trail program coordinator would be the ex officio member of the board." Number 0580 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER responded that there are two reasons why he doesn't think he'd support that. First, the discussion of whether to have fees or registration had related to publicly owned vehicles, not private vehicles; the need for an advisory committee of private owners is not consistent with that. Second, and perhaps most importantly, he said, that would basically entail the beginning of another program. Representative Porter stated, "And I can tell you another program is not gonna fly when this thing gets to Finance. Right now, it's revenue-neutral or perhaps even revenue-positive. You get ... a new program involved in it, that's going to affect the fiscal notes and cause it problems." Number 0618 MS. HENSLEY spoke to Amendment 2. She suggested using the phrase "another jurisdiction" instead of "another state." That way, the Yukon Territory is covered if they come over and do a search and rescue, for example. CHAIRMAN GREEN asked whether they even need that. MS. HENSLEY replied, "Well, then, you wouldn't even need 'another state.'" CHAIRMAN GREEN suggested they could drop that part. Number 0580 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER accepted, as a friendly amendment to Amendment 2, "dropping, on line 26, 'or another state, (comma)'." CHAIRMAN GREEN asked whether there was any objection to the friendly amendment; there was none. He then asked whether there was any objection to Amendment 2. There being no objection, Amendment 2 was adopted. Number 0666 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said the only other issue that he believes should be on the record - and he is in favor of it - is that they are absolutely requiring that machines be registered at the point of sale, whether they are in Anchorage, Fairbanks or Unalakleet. He explained that whether a snow machine is rural or urban, it still can get stolen, it still can have an accident, and, in fact, rural machines are more likely than urban machines to get lost and to require search and rescue. He concluded, "So, a $5 fee is most certainly not exorbitant. And for all of those reasons, I support the notion that all machines should be registered." Number 0699 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER made a motion to move the proposed committee substitute for HB 231, as amended, from committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note(s). CHAIRMAN GREEN asked whether there should be an amendment, to accompany this with intent language without that being part of the bill. Number 0719 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG referred to Jim Stratton's proposed amendment, provided earlier, which read: "It is the intent of the legislature that the state should actively engage in the development and maintenance of a state-wide snowmobile trail system to be supported, at least in part, by funds received through a snowmobile registration system and disbursed through a community grant program to be established and administered by the Commissioner of the Department of Natural Resources. This level of support should be at least equal to the net receipts of the snowmobile registration program." REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said he was a little troubled by the last sentence and a little uncomfortable not knowing more about what is intended here. CHAIRMAN GREEN asked whether Representative Rokeberg would feel more comfortable if they dropped that, since they are saying, "It is the intent of the legislature." He then commented that they may be speaking a little broadly there. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG said that was what he was wondering. CHAIRMAN GREEN asked whether there was any objection to deleting that last line. Number 0744 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked, "To deleting the last sentence? I thought we were talking about 'The intent of the legislature' as being too broad." CHAIRMAN GREEN indicated he was also concerned about that. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG commented that there had been some testimony, but indirectly. Number 0766 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER suggested they would only be empowered to say it is the intent of the committee, not the legislature. He suggested that within the motion to move, they adopt as a letter of intent the proposed language from Mr. Stratton, with the following amendments: On line 1 (the first sentence), strike "legislature" and add "Judiciary Committee"; and strike the last line (sentence) of the paragraph. Number 0799 MR. GRASSER indicated Representative Masek is not opposed to this but would prefer to address the fee structure, trail acquisition and maintenance in an additional bill, as he had mentioned earlier. He suggested it may be preferable to include this intent language with that future legislation, rather than with this "DMV legislation." He concluded, "However you feel about it, that's fine." REPRESENTATIVE PORTER withdrew the portion of his motion relating to inclusion of a letter of intent. Number 0843 CHAIRMAN GREEN asked whether there was any objection to moving the proposed committee substitute (0-LS0501\F, Ford, 5/5/97), as amended, from committee. There being no objection, CSHB 231(JUD) moved from the House Judiciary Standing Committee. CHAIRMAN GREEN called an at-ease at 2:20 p.m. He called the meeting back to order at 2:26 p.m. HB 267 - DOMESTIC VIOL. & SEXUAL ASSAULT DISCLOSURE Number 0876 CHAIRMAN GREEN announced the next item of business would be HB 267, "An Act relating to domestic violence and sexual assault; and providing for an effective date." Number 0876 REPRESENTATIVE PETE KELLY, sponsor of HB 267, told of incidents where the reluctance of workers at women's shelters to communicate with police departments has led to problems, including questions of whether the woman is missing or is in physical danger. He cited an example where a woman in a hospital for depression had apparently stopped taking her medication and wandered away from the hospital; police inquiring at the women's shelter received no information and did not know whether the woman was in serious physical danger. REPRESENTATIVE KELLY advised members that state statutes are somewhat vague on this topic and could easily be clarified without any compromise to the security and safety of the residents of women's shelters. He stated, "And I think, in fact, it may be to the benefit of people; when missing persons searches are instigated, there is a certain level of danger that accompanies those. I mean, anything that a police officer does or a search and rescue person does has some element of danger to it, and there's certainly a lot of cost established with that, as well." REPRESENTATIVE KELLY characterized the bill as fairly simple, saying it gives the council the ability to promulgate regulations to further cooperation between the counselors at a domestic violence shelter and the police department. It also stipulates that - in fact, in statute - it is an appropriate course of action for the shelters to communicate with those police officers. Number 0944 REPRESENTATIVE KELLY referred to a recent (unrelated) death of a police officer in Fairbanks and concluded, "If we can trust these guys and these women to take a bullet for us, certainly we can trust them with a little bit of information about the very people they're sworn to protect." Number 0970 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG commented on the recent death of a police officer in Anchorage, acknowledging that the fact pattern was different. He noted that the last two police officers killed in Alaska may have died under domestic violence situations, and he suggested this type of legislation may help. Number 0986 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER brought up two questions he had mentioned to the sponsor, which he also intended to ask folks from the domestic violence community: Does federal or Alaska law preclude this? And why would we want to limit the information flowing to law enforcement to just missing person cases? He asked whether that information shouldn't also be available in a criminal investigation, for example. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER proposed a scenario where the offending spouse dreamed up a story and "laid it on law enforcement that the other spouse was a material witness - or any other kind of contrived thing - and could really take law enforcement around by the nose and ... make them run around and inadvertently get information for the spouse, when, really, they could check that out real quickly with a shelter and say, 'What's going on?'" Noting that he'd been out of the business ten years, Representative Porter said, "But when I was there, most of the residents in these shelters were brought there by police. Why there would be a problem letting them know about any of them that are in there is beyond me. ... By saying they can only tell them of missing persons, I guess we're almost saying, 'And you can't if they make an inquiry for another reason.' And I don't know if that's appropriate or not." Number 1090 CHAIRMAN GREEN asked about the possibility of a police officer who is a sporting buddy with a domestic violence perpetrator informing his buddy that his buddy's wife is at a shelter, for example. He asked whether officers are sworn to secrecy. Number 1131 REPRESENTATIVE KELLY responded, "The only thing I could think of is that ... we ask of professionals throughout our whole nation to have certain levels of confidentiality. Attorneys can't violate that, whether they're sporting buddies or not. Doctors have a code of ethics that requires that as well. Ministers do. The list, I'm sure, is fairly long. Police officers are sworn to protect, ... and I think, though, that that is a very broad oath. I think we have to trust them, to a certain level. Anyone could divulge that information, including the person who runs the shelter." Number 1167 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ commented that confidence in that confidentiality is also crucial. He suggested the need for sensitivity to those whose confidences are in jeopardy. He had spoken with the sponsor, troopers in Fairbanks, and representatives from the domestic violence community. He stated his understanding that the instances where there is a real problem, where the troopers or law enforcement are going into a domestic violence shelter, asking for somebody, and being given the runaround, are extremely few and far between. REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ said he understands, probably as much as anyone, the need for officer safety and the need to make the best and highest use of law enforcement resources. But he is also very concerned about the confidentiality requirements. He said it seems that this problem is not well-suited to legislation, and it would be better-suited to some sort of reconciliation, on the ground, by the people who have to make these decisions. REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ said he would encourage the people in the shelters and law enforcement to make that kind of rapprochement, so the legislature doesn't have to intervene. He stated his belief that it isn't appropriate for the legislature to micromanage how either law enforcement officials or domestic violence shelters do their jobs. Number 1261 REPRESENTATIVE KELLY replied that he couldn't agree more. He stated, "The genesis of this bill came from the law enforcement community. And though the incidences are small, they may even be regionalized." He said it had been enough of a problem that they had come to him and asked him to do something about this legislatively. Representative Kelly said his first response was to ask whether they could work it out without the legislature, because it seems to him they are overreading the statute a little bit. He stated, "And that's appropriate for us to clarify a statute, if it's been overread. But we did have a meeting with the Department of Public Safety and the domestic violence shelter community, and I said, 'Please communicate; find a way to communicate on this.' And we waited over an interim and nothing happened. As a matter of fact, what we got back is that ... we were in exactly the same position; there had been no give or take on the side, particularly, of the domestic violence shelter people." REPRESENTATIVE KELLY said he believed there had been a second meeting involving the Department of Public Safety; they had come back to him, and he had written again requesting that it be worked out without getting into the statutes, if possible. Still nothing had happened. Representative Kelly had then written a letter to the council, petitioning them under AS 44.62.220 to adopt regulations and requesting a response within 30 days, as required under the statute. However, he never received a response, he said. REPRESENTATIVE KELLY stated, "So, I guess I find myself in the position whereas I agree very much with Representative Berkowitz, that it doesn't appear to be happening, and I think maybe we do need to clarify the statutes, unless we can see some real movement in that direction ...." He said there are incidents that one can never forget, such as a frozen woman under a rail car in Fairbanks in 50-below weather. While domestic violence is incredibly threatening to women, and he doesn't downplay that, he suggested that in places like Fairbanks and Fort Yukon, a 50-below winter is more threatening than anything they could face at home, if somebody isn't out looking for them, or doesn't have the drive to go look for them because they don't know whether the woman is missing or at the shelter or at a girlfriend's house or elsewhere. Number 1408 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said law enforcement officers have to be sworn to a code of ethics, which requires that they not divulge confidential information. He stated that he would have no qualms that, having made that affirmation, law enforcement officers would not divulge this information. CHAIRMAN GREEN acknowledged that confidentiality issues transcend other professions, saying there can be "rogues" who violate their oaths. He said his own question had been more of a general nature. "And I think you both have put that to rest," he added. Number 1494 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked Representative Kelly whether anything in law prohibits a divulgence when confidentiality has been waived; he then asked whether a divulgence could be made if a woman had waived confidentiality. REPRESENTATIVE KELLY said yes. REPRESENTATIVE CROFT suggested this really comes down to those rare instances when the woman insists for some reason, whether others believe it justified or not. Those reasons could include fear of a buddy relationship or fear that in a small community, saying that she isn't missing would be equivalent to saying she is at the shelter. Number 1538 REPRESENTATIVE KELLY said he thinks that is the case. He said he doesn't know the costs or dangers involved in a full-scale missing persons search; he mentioned possible factors such as weather in coastal communities or the need for a helicopter. He stated, "I don't think that when we have the protections of the oath of office that the policemen have taken, the protections that we've built into the laws themselves, that a woman simply making a choice that, 'I don't want to do that, and the other expenses and possible danger associated with that are not as important,' I think we have to make a policy call here that, in fact, ... we do have the right to require someone to lose that confidentiality, just not because they don't choose to." Number 1603 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ said it is a difficult policy call. They are balancing the need for law and order against a respect for personal freedom, autonomy and privacy. He said personally, he is hesitant to wade in to anyone's individual autonomy without some extremely good showing. He stated, "And with just a few instances, and with what I have recognized as the ability of people who are working in the field on the front lines to improvise, to be pragmatic, if there's a way short of providing legislation, I would encourage both the domestic violence community and the law enforcement community to figure it out before this bill becomes a steamroller." Number 1659 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said if he understood the problem that generated the bill, it was not necessarily a victim who didn't want it released but a shelter employee who felt the law wouldn't allow it. He suggested that is what this legislation is meant to straighten out. Number 1711 CANDICE LIMMER, Victims' Advocate, Valley Women's Resource Center (Palmer), testified via teleconference from the Mat-Su Legislative Information Office (LIO). She said she feels strongly that this legislation is totally unnecessary. This can be, and has been, worked out at a local level, and she believes it should continue to stay on a local level and be worked out between the shelters and law enforcement. MS. LIMMER said there have been hundreds of calls to the Alaska State Troopers regarding missing persons. At their shelter, however, they've had one call in five years regarding this kind of situation. She restated that this can be worked out by the shelters working with law enforcement, and they have worked it out in Palmer. More legislation is not necessary. She feels that it compromises the rights of the victims, and it puts the victims in danger. Ms. Limmer concluded, "And I would agree with Representative Berkowitz on his stand and some of the comments he's made." Number 1791 CHAIRMAN GREEN asked, "In your association, if an officer came saying that ... a certain lady was reported missing and they were mounting an all-out search party, would it be your practice to inform the officer or to ignore that?" MS. LIMMER answered, "If the officer asked if we knew if she was safe or if we had any information as to her safety, we could say either -- if we knew that she was safe, we wouldn't necessarily know where she was. That wouldn't mean that she was in the shelter; we might just know that she was safe somewhere else. Or we would say, 'We don't know if she is safe.' And that would mean either that we didn't know where she was, we didn't have contact with her, and so, we really have no knowledge. And that would satisfy it." REPRESENTATIVE PORTER confirmed that Ms. Limmer had a copy of the bill, then said basically all the bill requires is that they communicate whether the person is or is not missing. He suggested this would be consistent with the policy of Ms. Limmer's shelter. Number 1889 MS. LIMMER responded, "Well, missing to whom?" She restated that she doesn't believe they need any more laws regarding this. She indicated they have worked it out with the troopers and just acknowledge whether they know the woman is safe or not, which is all the information the troopers need to decide whether to launch a search party. Ms. Limmer said it could be the perpetrator who is reporting the woman missing, and he could use this to gain all sorts of information. "It puts the woman at risk, absolutely," Ms. Limmer concluded. Number 1999 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ asked Ms. Limmer whether she could think of any instances in which she might not want to inform law enforcement. MS. LIMMER replied yes, if a law enforcement officer's spouse was in the shelter, they wouldn't want to share that with the officer. She added that it would not be an unusual situation. CHAIRMAN GREEN asked whether that has happened. MS. LIMMER responded, "Oh, yes." Number 2054 BRENDA WIEFFERING, Executive Director, Kenai-Soldotna Women's Resource and Crisis Center, testified via teleconference from Kenai, noting that she had faxed two letters, dated January 30, 1998, and January 31, 1998, which she would like to have stand as her formal testimony. However, she would also comment on what she had heard in the past few minutes. MS. WIEFFERING stated, "I have concerns that when Representative Kelly states that law enforcement officers have a duty to protect, that that's being interpreted as abiding by a confidentiality statute, because I would not interpret that that they are the same. I also wonder if, by changing Alaska's statute on confidentiality, that it may be in violation of the federal statute, and then agencies such as the Women's Resource and Crisis Center in Kenai, which I represent, may not be eligible for federal funding for providing services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault." Number 2177 MS. WIEFFERING continued, "I'm concerned with what's driving the proposed change to the law is based on one instance and isn't a universal problem. The danger to women is real, as my letters state. Very infrequently are we contacted regarding missing persons reports: three times in the last two years locally. We have satisfied three law enforcement agencies we deal with in our response to that. We do encourage women who come to us to find a way to let law enforcement know that they're safe, if a missing persons report is filed. The only reason that that would not happen would be, again, if the woman insisted it were not safe for her to do so, and I could think of different circumstances under which that would apply. First would be if the perpetrator were a law enforcement officer. And I could think off the top of my head of at least four local officers in three departments [whom] I've had reports on in the three-plus years that I've been in this community, that are perpetrating domestic violence. Those reports may come from victims. They may ... come from friends and family members who are observing it and reporting to us." MS. WIEFFERING advised members that perpetrators often use law enforcement for tracking victims. She recalled, clearly, she said, one case where a local law enforcement agency had called, saying there was a missing persons report and asking whether that woman was safe or was at their shelter. Ms. Wieffering explained, "She indeed was at the shelter and instructed me to let law enforcement know that she was there, she was safe, and do not tell her family or anyone else that she was there. Within minutes of communicating this to law enforcement, we had a call from that woman's family, saying that law enforcement told them she was there. Now, these people were calling from out of state; it's not like they picked up the local phone book and said, 'Oh, let's try this local service agency.' The coincidence was just too astounding." Number 2379 MS. WIEFFERING said they had a highly publicized case of alleged sexual assault by a local police officer last year. She stated, "So, under any of these circumstances, you can understand why a woman would not want for us to communicate with law enforcement where she was, whether that is in our shelter or at another place. We do absolutely understand the seriousness and the high cost of implementing an official search for a missing person. We work very, very hard to maintain an excellent working relationship with our local law enforcement agencies. We believe ... we're pretty well-covered in that area here and think that this is dangerous legislation." MS. WIEFFERING referred to the end of her letter of January 30, 1998; she asked members to consider a situation where the perpetrator is a police officer or someone close to that officer, and the victim is the member's daughter. TAPE 98-8, SIDE A Number 0006 MS. WIEFFERING informed members that as soon as they are contacted that there is a missing persons report, if they know the person and know how to communicate with her, they will let her know that the report has been made and talk to her about the importance of communicating that to law enforcement because of the costs involved, if it is safe to do so. Ms. Wieffering added, "It's her decision, and she is the best judge of her own safety." Number 0063 CHAIRMAN GREEN referred to an earlier question asked of Ms. Limmer about a hypothetical situation. He asked, "In your jurisdiction now, if a person comes and asks you the whereabouts of someone that you have in there - who has asked you not to divulge that information - do you feel that you have the authority to withhold that?" MS. WIEFFERING replied, "Yes, I do, and that's dictated by the confidentiality statute of the state of Alaska." Number 0113 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ asked, "Would you be comforted if there were some accompanying legislation requiring confidentiality on the part of law enforcement officers?" MS. WIEFFERING replied, "I would feel better about that. I don't think that's the answer. I just think that ... this legislation isn't necessary. But I would feel better if, indeed, you felt that it must happen, that people within the system besides us were mandated by law to maintain confidentiality, and that would include all employees of law enforcement departments, not just the officers but the dispatchers and other administrative staff as well." Number 0178 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ said, "You don't have to answer this next question if you don't want; I'm just curious. If this law were to pass, do you feel strongly enough as a victim advocate that you'd be willing to commit an act of civil disobedience and withhold information from law enforcement if you felt it would jeopardize your client?" MS. WIEFFERING replied, "Our agency policy is that we do not violate the law. But I would feel compelled to make it very public knowledge, to anyone who would seek services in a domestic violence shelter, the danger and risk of doing so based on that legislation. I don't think women would come to us if this passed." Number 0284 ROBIN F. LOWN, Vice President, Alaska Peace Officers Association, came forward to testify, advising members he is a retired Alaska State Trooper who retired as commander of Southeast Alaska "A" Detachment after 23-1/2 years of service. He discussed circumstances of a case about which he had some personal knowledge. It involved nondisclosure by a women's shelter and a woman reported as missing. A search was launched; considerable time and money - approximately $14,000 - were spent looking for the individual. Mr. Lown stated, "Because of the circumstances, we had reason to believe that she may have gone to the shelter. We asked the shelter. The shelter's response was, 'We won't tell you yea or nay, either/or,' which caused us to look further and continue our search. Eventually, we did determine that she had been at the shelter. At that point, we did call off the search. That search involved helicopters, lots of people out in the bushes looking around, it endangered people's lives. And it was just a matter of the local shelter telling us that they knew where she was and that she was safe. And they would not do that." Number 0425 MR. LOWN stated, "So, law enforcement supports this bill. It asks a pretty simple question: Do you know where this person is, and is this person safe?" He said the only answer has to be, "We know the person is not missing." The shelter doesn't have to say where the person is or anything else, which in the case Mr. Lown had described would have stopped that big search. MR. LOWN said he had heard from several people in law enforcement, around the state, that communication doesn't always exist, for one reason or another, between shelters and law enforcement people. For example, personnel at a shelter and in law enforcement may not see eye-to-eye and communicate well, and they may not communicate when it would be appropriate to do so. Mr. Lown concluded by restating the belief that all this bill requires is a simple question from law enforcement and a simple answer from the shelter. Number 0520 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ said, "And I appreciate what law enforcement does, and don't get me wrong with where I'm going on this. But you mentioned one instance. Were there other instances where the shelters were cooperative and were able to communicate to you that the missing person was safe or otherwise accounted for?" MR. LOWN replied, "That is the only missing person case where it involved a search and rescue, that I know of. There's all kinds of other things that aren't addressed in this particular bill, as far as trying to find victims in domestic violence shelters for other legitimate law enforcement reasons, and shelters often will not communicate." Number 0585 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ asked, "Some of the previous witnesses have mentioned instances where law enforcement officers have perpetrated domestic violence; how would you respond to their concerns?" MR. LOWN replied that a law enforcement officer would have to have a legitimate reason to ask these questions. He said, "As was stated, sworn officers have to abide by a code of ethics. They would be responsible for their actions. If I, as a commander or as a chief of police, found out that one of my officers was misusing this, there would be an investigation; and if it was substantiated, action would be taken - disciplinary action - and, depending on the circumstances, could result in the termination of that person." Number 0661 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ noted that the bill addresses some very rare instances. He asked, "In those instances where law enforcement is the perpetrator, there would be nothing to prevent the perpetrator from going to a domestic violence (DV) shelter and inquiring about the whereabouts of the victim, is there?" MR. LOWN said there would be nothing to prevent that. However, the question under this statute would be, "Do you know where this person is? We have a missing persons report." And the shelter would only state knowledge - or lack of knowledge - of that person's safety. Number 0736 REPRESENTATIVE KELLY pointed out that on page 3, line 27, it says "may." He said this gives permission to the shelters for those shelters that thought they could not do this. It would leave some discretion to a counselor in a case like that presented. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG asked Representative Kelly whether that was intentional, for that reason. Number 0790 REPRESENTATIVE KELLY replied, "Yes, there's some thoughts about going to a 'shall' on that, and that is not before us at this point. But the more I look at this, the more it probably is appropriate to have a 'may' in there, because, to answer the counselor from Palmer, ... [Ms. Limmer], what she is doing is exactly what we would hope all the shelters would do. This bill simply gives the council the ability to promulgate regulations so that they're all playing from the same sheet of music." REPRESENTATIVE KELLY said this "may" gives the shelter the discretion to address a concern, for example, about a personal relationship involving the officer who is there. All it does is allow everybody to do what the counselors are doing who are doing it right. But the council has not promulgated regulations in such a manner that everyone knows what the rules are, he concluded. Number 0861 LAUREE HUGONIN, Director, Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, came forward to testify. She read the following into the record: "Long before states enacted confidentiality statutes, and before the federal government required confidentiality of its grantees, women providing safety for other women knew of the importance of confidentiality. Providing safehouses - sanctuary - for battered women is at the heart of the shelter movement, and a fundamental element of providing that sanctuary is practicing confidentiality. "Often just to stay alive, a woman must give up her home, her possessions, her job, her friends, even her identity, and go into hiding. All ties to her past life have to be severed or she risks being found by the person who is battering her and threatening to kill her. Safehouses for battered women are analogous to the Underground Railroad used to assist slaves in gaining their freedom. "The period of time immediately following escape is the most dangerous. According to recent FBI [Federal Bureau of Investigation] statistics, three-fourths of domestic violence homicides occur during this time. Batterers use any and all means at their disposal to track down their victims. They search relatives' homes; they call friends; they stalk co-workers; they call hospitals; they call transportation centers such as airports, buses, taxes; they call the shelters. They have their female friends call these places. And, yes, they also contact law enforcement and file missing persons reports. "Fortunately, this last tactic doesn't seem yet to be a tactic of choice in Alaska. Of all the missing persons reports filed during the last year, only twelve involved contact from law enforcement to advocacy programs. Of those twelve, ten were handled to the satisfaction of both of the local agencies. Unfortunately, we're here today because of the two that were problematic to law enforcement, and an incident that Mr. Lown spoke about briefly that happened in Juneau some 11 years ago, in 1986. These three incidents should not dictate a change in public policy that will, we believe, have as its effect an increase in missing persons reports filed by batterers as they learn of this new tool at their disposal." Number 1001 MS. HUGONIN continued: "Approximately ten states have an absolute privilege [that] victims of domestic violence or sexual assault can assert. In 1992, when Alaska enacted confidentiality provisions, the legislature at that time decided against an absolute privilege. The discussion focused on the balance necessary between protecting a victim's confidentiality and the state's interest in responding to criminal acts of child abuse, criminal acts committed by victims, and a program's ability to defend itself from a civil suit brought by a victim. After much thoughtful debate and compromise, eight exceptions were added to the statute to cover these situations. We don't believe it's in the best interest of victims to add further exceptions to the statute. "As Alaskans, shelter workers understand the serious nature of searching for overdue or missing persons. Some of us have engaged in searches ourselves. It is not the intent of anyone to cause a needless search, and steps are taken to try and prevent such a situation. Victims are informed of the possibility of having a missing persons report filed by their perpetrators and are given information about ways to address the report if the shelter were to be contacted by law enforcement. In the few instances when shelters have been contacted about a missing persons report, either the victim has called law enforcement herself or she has signed a waiver giving permission to the shelter to inform law enforcement that she's not missing. ... In circumstances where confirmation is not forthcoming, it's because victims believe their lives would be forfeit if anyone knew they were not missing. "Most areas of the state have been able to deal with these infrequent situations locally, as they arise. We believe local control of interactions between law enforcement and victim service programs should be encouraged and maintained. It's the first responders and direct service providers that must find ways to work together with each other, so that victims can get the protection that they need. "Victims of domestic violence seem to be a minority of those people who are reported missing in Alaska. They are the best judges of the danger to which they would expose themselves if they were found 'not missing,' and that judgment should be respected. In the few instances where a missing persons report is filed concerning a victim of domestic violence, most local law enforcement and victim service programs have been able to successfully resolve the situation. "We believe that more will be lost than gained by adding a further exemption to the victim-victim counselor privilege, and would ask that House Bill 267 not be advanced from the committee." Number 1148 MS. HUGONIN referred to an earlier question from Representative Porter about applicable federal laws; she said there are two that go through regulation. The Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) provides funding directly to services that provide shelter to crime victims; in the state of Alaska, currently a little over $700,000 goes to programs to provide those services, and they have requirements that require programs to keep confidential information about people that they would serve. There is also the federal Family Violence Prevention and Service Act, which has the same sort of confidentiality requirements. Ms. Hugonin offered to forward a copy of the statutes to the committee. Number 1208 MS. HUGONIN next addressed an earlier question from Chairman Green about officer confidentiality. Asking to be corrected if she was wrong, she stated her understanding that during an active investigation, there is no confidentiality provision in place; if there is an active missing persons investigation ongoing, and if there is information received that this person is not missing, it wouldn't fall under a particular confidentiality of law enforcement. Number 1236 MS. HUGONIN then addressed an earlier question from Representative Berkowitz involving cases where domestic violence workers would not want information divulged. Noting that several examples had been brought forward, she said another example is that sometimes a woman says she is going to a shelter and in fact goes elsewhere, to a family member's house or friend's house or out of state, knowing that will buy some time to get to this place of safety. As long as the perpetrator believes the person is in shelter, she has the freedom to make those other arrangement. Ms. Hugonin suggested that if a shelter cannot confirm that a woman isn't missing, a perpetrator may be able to guess where else the woman has gone. Number 1292 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER responded that as he reads it, the bill doesn't ask that information be given about whether the victim is or isn't in the shelter, or about her whereabouts. The only thing being asked for is whether that person is missing or not. He suggested if the desire of the victim is to pretend to be in the shelter, that ruse would not be violated by this if the shelter only confirmed that the person isn't missing. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER commented that he knows what he would do with an officer who violated his oath of office and divulged information that he gained through his employment. He then stated the belief that it wouldn't be inappropriate to put in here that when they receive this information, law enforcement is prohibited from releasing that outside of the agency, period. MS. HUGONIN said that would add a degree of comfort. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER asked whether Ms. Hugonin was saying that federal law would now disallow this bill from becoming state law. Number 1387 MS. HUGONIN replied, "I don't think I can answer that. But what I was saying is that there are federal regulations placed on programs who receive federal funding, both through VOCA and through the Family Violence Prevention and Service Act." REPRESENTATIVE PORTER asked whether it is Ms. Hugonin's interpretation of all of those that this would be disallowed by federal law. MS. HUGONIN replied, "I think that if people were to follow that, they wouldn't be able to get the federal funding. Is that what you mean by disallow?" REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said yes. Number 1413 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT asked for confirmation that it isn't a "federal blanket requirement superseding our statutes"; rather, it is, "If you want our money, you have to agree to keep it confidential." MS. HUGONIN said that is her understanding, yes. Number 1425 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ expressed appreciation for Representative Porter's comments about extending the zone of confidentiality to law enforcement. He said that was one of the things he himself was concerned about. He asked Ms. Hugonin, "Would your complaints about the bill be alleviated somewhat if there was no requirement of communications if there was some suspicion that law enforcement was somehow perpetrating the domestic violence?" MS. HUGONIN replied, "Probably yes, although our concerns are not limited to law enforcement officers being perpetrators." REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ explained he was trying to narrow the zone of concern. He then said as he recalls it, there are four areas of confidentiality under the law: doctor-patient, spousal, attorney-client, and p that is correct; Representative Croft nodded his assent. Representative Berkowitz then posed a scenario where a victim of domestic violence had gone to her priest and asked for sanctuary in the church. MS. HUGONIN responded, "They would not be required to report to law enforcement whether or not someone was missing." REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ suggested that law enforcement would still have to go through a search. MS. HUGONIN responded, "Exactly. The same with lawyers, same with physicians, same with psychotherapists, who are the other category that have a privilege, who probably get more individuals coming to them, not just victims of domestic violence but anyone who would then go missing. So, they probably have more access to that information." Number 1520 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ asked, "And in those instances of confidentiality, it can involve more than missing, it can involve actual crime?" MS. HUGONIN said yes. REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ asked, "Which is posing an ongoing danger?" MS. HUGONIN replied, "Yes. The victim-victim counselor privilege is less restrictive or stringent than the privileges you just mentioned. They have far fewer exceptions than this one does." Number 1536 REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG stated his belief that Ms. Hugonin's testimony conflicted regarding whether this bill would put in jeopardy the federal funds. As he first heard her testimony, if there was an ongoing investigation, their cooperation with the police would not jeopardize those funds. Then, when Representative Porter had asked about the potential of the funds being jeopardized, there was a different response. Representative Rokeberg requested clarification. Number 1570 MS. HUGONIN explained, "If I did not separate it out into two concepts, I apologize; the funding matter was a separate matter from the officer confidentiality. The funding matter has to do with two federal sources of funding: VOCA and the Family Violence Prevention and Service Act. And it's my understanding that you cannot receive funds from those two sources if you are going to release confidential information. They have requirements that you keep confidential information about victims." MS. HUGONIN continued, "What I was trying to say about the confidentiality with respect to an ongoing investigation had to do with police officers and whether or not they were bound to keep confidential information that they had received from other sources during an active investigation. And it's my understanding that during active investigations, they are not." Number 1633 REPRESENTATIVE KELLY said if this will cause the federal funds to be in jeopardy, then they are already in jeopardy now from the other domestic violence shelters that they'd heard from, because the bill only asks them to do what they are already doing. REPRESENTATIVE KELLY advised members that he had provided the federal law in the memorandum dated January 30, 1998, included in bill packets. REPRESENTATIVE ROKEBERG excused himself to chair another meeting. REPRESENTATIVE KELLY said he thinks the law refers to making these public, and he doesn't think telling a police officer is making something public. He stated, "And later on, it talks about release of statistical information, and I don't think this is necessarily in the same boat." Number 1699 REPRESENTATIVE CROFT suggested there may be a distinction if federal law requires confidentiality and what the shelters are doing now is asking the owner of the privilege whether she wants them to reveal information. He explained, "You're not violating a federal requirement of confidentiality if you get the permission of the person. It's still confidential. They still have those confidential rights. If they decide to waive them, that's up to them. This would, I think, put a new twist on it by saying, 'Even if you don't have the permission of the person, you can go ahead and do it.' So, I guess I'm trying to get to that aspect of the federal law." He said "made public" may have a different meaning than divulging to police officers, but "we could very well be under ... the [confidentiality] practice under federal law and not under this statute." Number 1753 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said he thinks under state law, that is absolutely correct, "that that 'without appropriate consent' is in the state law, as is listed here on this memorandum." He said his understanding of the federal law, though, varies. He said he knows that there are at least some confidentiality requirements in federal law that are absolute, regardless of consent; without a lot of research, he wouldn't know whether this is one of those or not. However, he would be very surprised if the federal law is inconsistent with this proposed statute; it is not asking for information such as a name, date of birth, where the person is, when she checked in, or any of those other kinds of things that could put that person in jeopardy. He stated, "It's just saying, 'Do we need to cause potential harm to other people - and a lot of resources that could well be spent protecting other folks - or not?' And that's the only thing it's asking for." Number 1813 MS. HUGONIN responded, "And we appreciate Representative Kelly's efforts and attempts to try to resolve it without legislation. And I guess what the network is interested in is seeing that happen, is that there be more work, so that people are comfortable that local law enforcement and local victims programs have worked out protocols to be able to handle these rare situations when they come forward, without legislation." MS. HUGONIN said that certainly before there were statutes in Alaska and other states, shelter workers unfortunately did have occasion to be civilly disobedient because there was no protection of confidentiality. Ms. Hugonin stated, "And although Ms. Wieffering indicated that she would not, I don't know that that would be a constant across the state. I think we would be asking people, then, to make a determination about exactly that, which was the more critical factor. And so, that would be a problem that we would hope to avoid, and that I think in good faith we do try to avoid." Number 1873 REPRESENTATIVE KELLY said back to the original point, there are some shelters that will not establish protocols. This bill encourages the council to promulgate regulations so that all the shelters will establish protocols. He commented, "And if you are against this bill, then you'd better shut down Palmer and Anchorage and a few other places that are doing exactly what this bill is asking them all to do." Number 1892 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ disagreed, saying it seems that what Anchorage and Palmer do, they do voluntarily. "And what we've trusted them to do so far is to act with discretion," he stated, suggesting that in a way, this bill is a question about how much discretion they will endow front-line players to have. He said it is a question of providing institutional parameters through legislation, as opposed to endowing people who, he believes, are genuinely of good faith to use their discretion. Representative Berkowitz said he tends to come down on the side of letting those who have good faith exercise their discretion. REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ emphasized that no one is saying here that the troopers, law enforcement, or domestic violence workers are somehow acting in bad faith. He said, "What we have here is a collision of interests, in very few instances. And I think what we ought to do here is let those people who have to do the job figure out the best way of handling it, rather than institutionalizing a response to it." Number 1960 CHAIRMAN GREEN recalled during the Nineteenth Legislature there were similar problems with the Division of Family and Youth Services (DFYS) and other agencies disclosing information about minors. While it appeared they we were up against an insurmountable problem for a while, it then seemed to be reconciled. He said he was wondering whether that couldn't also be accomplished here; everybody, it seems, is looking toward the same ultimate objective, to try to protect everyone as inexpensively as possible, not to frivolously use resources when a simple statement could be made that the victim is safe. He asked whether Ms. Hugonin's understanding is similar, that maybe if they can work through the dilemma, the objectives are the same. MS. HUGONIN replied, "Yes. And I think that in most of the parts of the state, it has been worked through successfully. And if we need to provide more focused attention in one area of the state, then ... we are certainly willing to sit down and to do that. I think with training and protocols, it can be worked out." Number 2022 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER suggested that before the next hearing, the committee should determine whether there are federal requirements that would invalidate this bill, causing the state to lose funding if this bill became law. Number 2051 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER concluded by making the following statement to everyone who had testified that day, asking that the message be carried to anyone who was not still listening: "If there is any shelter in any part of this state that has ever had a problem that they were not immediately able to work out regarding the accusation of domestic violence involving a police officer or a policy employee, please let me know. It will be worked out." Number 2080 SANDRA M. STONE, Project Coordinator, Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Department of Public Safety, came forward to testify, noting that many of her comments had already been stated. She specified that she was there to express the council's opposition to HB 267. They do not believe it is necessary to add this exception for missing persons. MS. STONE explained, "As other people have stated, it feels like this bill was introduced in response to an incident in one area of the state, in a couple different instances that had happened there. In the past ten years, this is the only area where we've found that it's been an issue, other than the one incident here in Juneau back in '86. We also believe that there has been some work done ... between that shelter program and law enforcement, and the council continues to check in, back with them, to try to see if there is any suggestions how we can help with that, with that issue, with them. It just feels like the legislation to address one problem in one area doesn't seem to be necessary or effective." Number 2141 MS. STONE said it also brings up serious concerns about victim safety, as well as perhaps the victim's perceived sense of safety. She told the following story: "I was the shelter director in Valdez for five years, and there is an example that comes to mind very strongly as we've talked about this issue. There was a woman in our community who married a retired law enforcement officer. Within less than a month after their wedding, he seriously beat her up in front of a local restaurant. When she came into the shelter, one of her first comments was she would not be there if someone else had not called 911. The officer who came ... on the scene had been at their wedding; so was every officer in the police department when she went in ... to make her statement." MS. STONE continued her story: "The officers there, I believed, were all good officers, but in her mind, her batterer had already convinced her that they were all his best buddies, never in the world, even if there were witnesses from people in the restaurant watching him beat her up -- that his word would hold true over hers, and that he would not be held accountable. And, in fact, the case was thrown out of court, unfortunately." MS. STONE concluded, "It just feels like, again, it would be another tool that batterers could use to manipulate their victims, either by filing false missing persons reports or even using that a threat with their victims, 'You leave and I'll file a missing persons report, and then the police will be after you.'" Ms. Stone emphasized that the issue of perceived problems, with victims who believe the police are being used against them, had not been mentioned that day but needs to be considered. Number 2258 MS. WIEFFERING spoke again via teleconference. She thanked Representative Porter for his concern about taking care of police officers who are perpetrators; she said these are often the most dangerous perpetrators and have the most to lose. She explained, "They've already violated the law, and for that information to be divulged to the police in any way, or to reveal the victim's whereabouts, I mean sometimes that woman simply has to disappear to save her life." Ms. Wieffering said this greatly concerns her in terms of being able to provide a safe place for such a woman, and it may be the only place that woman can go where the man can't find her. MS. WIEFFERING concluded by saying she'd had the privilege of participating in the recent Governor's domestic violence summit. She said much good work came out of that. One of the criteria used to make recommendations for action in improving our state response to domestic violence is the question: Does this action place victims at further risk? "I believe that HB 267 does place victims at further risk and should therefore not be passed," Ms. Wieffering concluded. CHAIRMAN GREEN thanked Ms. Wieffering and announced that HB 267 would be held over and heard again. HB 12 - IMMUNITY FOR EQUINE ACTIVITIES Number 2306 CHAIRMAN GREEN briefly brought before the committee HB 12, "An Act relating to civil liability for injuries or death resulting from equine activities." However, the committee was out of time. Chairman Green indicated HB 12 would be held over and heard again soon. ADJOURNMENT Number 2326 CHAIRMAN GREEN adjourned the House Judiciary Standing Committee meeting at 3:30 p.m.

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