Legislature(2011 - 2012)CAPITOL 120

02/08/2012 01:00 PM JUDICIARY


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
*+ HB 253 CATHINONE BATH SALTS TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 253(JUD) Out of Committee
+ HB 255 READING OR TYPING MESSAGE WHILE DRIVING TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
*+ HB 299 CIVIL LEGAL SERVICES FUND TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Held Over to 2/10/12>
*+ HB 303 SUSPENDED IMPOSITION OF SENTENCE TELECONFERENCED
<Bill Held Over to 2/10/12>
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                        February 8, 2012                                                                                        
                           1:03 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Carl Gatto, Chair                                                                                                
Representative Steve Thompson, Vice Chair                                                                                       
Representative Wes Keller                                                                                                       
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
Representative Lance Pruitt                                                                                                     
Representative Max Gruenberg                                                                                                    
Representative Lindsey Holmes                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Mike Chenault (alternate)                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 253                                                                                                              
"An Act classifying certain substances as schedule IIA                                                                          
controlled substances; and providing for an effective date."                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 253(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 255                                                                                                              
"An Act  prohibiting the driver  of a motor vehicle  from reading                                                               
or  typing   a  text  message   or  other  nonvoice   message  or                                                               
communication  on a  cellular  telephone,  computer, or  personal                                                               
data assistant while driving a motor vehicle."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 299                                                                                                              
"An Act allowing appropriations to the civil legal services fund                                                                
from court filing fees."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     - BILL HELD OVER TO 2/10/12                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 303                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to suspended imposition of sentence for certain                                                                
criminal offences."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     - BILL HELD OVER TO 2/10/12                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 253                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CATHINONE BATH SALTS                                                                                               
SPONSOR(S):   REPRESENTATIVE(S)   STOLTZE,   THOMPSON,   MILLETT,                                                               
PRUITT, TUCK                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
01/17/12       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/6/12                                                                                
01/17/12       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/17/12       (H)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
02/08/12       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 255                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: READING OR TYPING MESSAGE WHILE DRIVING                                                                            
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) GARA, THOMAS, GATTO, P.WILSON,                                                                    
GRUENBERG, TUCK                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
01/17/12       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/6/12                                                                                
01/17/12       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/17/12       (H)       TRA, JUD, FIN                                                                                          
01/26/12       (H)       TRA AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
01/26/12       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
01/26/12       (H)       MINUTE(TRA)                                                                                            
01/27/12       (H)       TRA RPT 5DP                                                                                            
01/27/12       (H)       DP: FEIGE, PRUITT, PETERSEN, GRUENBERG,                                                                
                         P.WILSON                                                                                               
02/08/12       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BILL STOLTZE                                                                                                     
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided comments as one of HB 253's joint                                                               
prime sponsors.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTINE MARASIGAN, Staff                                                                                                      
Senator Kevin Meyer                                                                                                             
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Assisted with the presentation of HB 253 on                                                              
behalf of Senator Meyer, one of the joint prime sponsors of                                                                     
SB 140, the Senate companion bill.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
ANNE CARPENETI, Assistant Attorney General                                                                                      
Legal Services Section                                                                                                          
Criminal Division                                                                                                               
Department of Law (DOL)                                                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Responded to  questions during discussion of                                                             
HB 253.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ORIN DYM, Forensic Laboratory Supervisor                                                                                        
Scientific Crime Detection Laboratory ("Crime Lab")                                                                             
Office of the Commissioner                                                                                                      
Department of Public Safety (DPS)                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Responded to  questions during discussion of                                                             
HB 253.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
RODNEY DIAL, Lieutenant, Deputy Commander                                                                                       
A Detachment                                                                                                                    
Division of Alaska State Troopers                                                                                               
Department of Public Safety (DPS)                                                                                               
Ketchikan, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Responded to  questions during discussion of                                                             
HB  253;  during discussion  of  HB  255, testified  in  support,                                                               
provided comments, and responded to questions.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL COOPER, M.D., Deputy State Epidemiologist                                                                               
Section of Epidemiology                                                                                                         
Division of Public Health                                                                                                       
Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS)                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Provided comments  during  discussion  of                                                             
HB 253.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
QUINLAN STEINER, Director                                                                                                       
Central Office                                                                                                                  
Public Defender Agency (PDA)                                                                                                    
Department of Administration (DOA)                                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Provided comments  during  discussion  of                                                             
HB 253; responded to questions during discussion of HB 255.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
RICHARD ALLEN, Director                                                                                                         
Anchorage Office                                                                                                                
Office of Public Advocacy (OPA)                                                                                                 
Department of Administration (DOA)                                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Provided comments  during  discussion  of                                                             
HB 253; provided comments during discussion of HB 255.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LES GARA                                                                                                         
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Presented HB 255 as one of  its joint prime                                                             
sponsors.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MARK S. HALL, Chief                                                                                                             
Anchorage Fire Department                                                                                                       
Municipality of Anchorage (MOA)                                                                                                 
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 255.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
BOB GRIFFITHS, Chief                                                                                                            
Cordova Police Department                                                                                                       
City of Cordova;                                                                                                                
Executive Director                                                                                                              
Alaska Association of Chiefs of Police, Inc. (AACOP)                                                                            
Cordova, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 255.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
PATRICIA GRISWOLD                                                                                                               
Delta Junction, Alaska                                                                                                          
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Provided comments  during  discussion  of                                                             
HB 255.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BOB HERRON                                                                                                       
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Provided comments  during  discussion  of                                                             
HB 255.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ALBERT JUDSON                                                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in favor of HB 255.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:03:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CARL  GATTO called the  House Judiciary  Standing Committee                                                             
meeting to  order at  1:03 p.m.   Representatives  Gatto, Holmes,                                                               
Keller, Pruitt, and  Thompson were present at the  call to order.                                                               
Representatives Gruenberg and Lynn arrived  as the meeting was in                                                               
progress.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                 HB 253 - CATHINONE BATH SALTS                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
[Contains brief  mention of  SB 140,  the Senate  companion bill,                                                               
and testimony from staff of one of its joint prime sponsors.]                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:03:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO announced  that the first order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 253.  "An Act  classifying certain  substances as                                                               
schedule  IIA   controlled  substances;  and  providing   for  an                                                               
effective date."   [Included in  members' packets was  a proposed                                                               
committee  substitute  (CS)  for  HB  253,  Version  27-LS1131\M,                                                               
Luckhaupt, 2/3/12.]                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:03:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE BILL  STOLTZE, Alaska State  Legislature, speaking                                                               
as  one of  HB 253's  joint prime  sponsors, mentioned  that [the                                                               
synthetic  cathinones  which  HB  253  is  proposing  to  add  to                                                               
Alaska's  list   of  schedule  IIA  controlled   substances]  are                                                               
sometimes referred to as bath  salts, relayed that there are very                                                               
severe consequences  associated with  their use  as mind-altering                                                               
substances, and indicated that there is a Senate companion bill.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GATTO noted  that that  Senate companion  bill is  SB 140,                                                               
sponsored [jointly by Senators Meyer, Geisel, and Olson].                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:07:03 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  THOMPSON moved  to adopt  the proposed  committee                                                               
substitute  (CS)  for  HB 253,  Version  27-LS1131\M,  Luckhaupt,                                                               
2/3/12, as the working document.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:08:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHRISTINE  MARASIGAN, Staff,  Senator Kevin  Meyer, Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, on behalf  of Senator Meyer, one of  the joint prime                                                               
sponsors of  SB 140,  the Senate  companion bill,  explained that                                                               
the drafter  had noticed that one  of the compounds which  HB 253                                                               
is  proposing to  add  to  the list  of  schedule IIA  controlled                                                               
substances was already  included in Alaska's list  of schedule IA                                                               
controlled substances, and so Version  M makes conforming changes                                                               
- deleting that compound from  the list of schedule IA controlled                                                               
substances  via  Section 2,  and  providing  [a more  chemically-                                                               
descriptive] reference  to that compound in  Section 1's proposed                                                               
AS  11.71.150(e)(12).    The supervisor  of  Alaska's  Scientific                                                               
Crime Detection Laboratory, she  relayed, has confirmed that it's                                                               
the  same compound  [regardless  that the  various references  to                                                               
that compound are  worded differently].  Moving  that compound as                                                               
Version M is  proposing to do makes sense given  that the list of                                                               
schedule IA controlled substances  addresses opiates, whereas the                                                               
list of  schedule IIA controlled  substances would  [with passage                                                               
of the bill] address other cathinones.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  removed his objection to  the motion to                                                               
adopt Version M as the working document.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO relayed that Version M was before the committee.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:14:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANNE  CARPENETI,  Assistant   Attorney  General,  Legal  Services                                                               
Section, Criminal Division, Department  of Law (DOL), in response                                                               
to  questions,  concurred  that Version  M's  reference  to  that                                                               
compound  - sometimes  called methcathinone  - is  more complete,                                                               
and that  that compound is  being moved  to the list  of schedule                                                               
IIA controlled substances because  it's chemically similar to the                                                               
other cathinones being  added by the bill and  to [other schedule                                                               
IIA  controlled  substances  -   such  as]  methamphetamine;  and                                                               
explained that  in Alaska, controlled substances  are categorized                                                               
according to the  level of danger they pose or  might pose to the                                                               
public  as  determined  by  the  legislature,  with  schedule  IA                                                               
containing  what  the  legislature   considers  to  be  the  most                                                               
dangerous of  substances.  Moving the  aforementioned compound as                                                               
Version M is proposing to do  will have an impact for purposes of                                                               
sentencing,   she  surmised,   because  which   of  the   various                                                               
controlled-substance crimes  and their  penalties might  apply in                                                               
any  given case  is dependent  upon which  schedule a  particular                                                               
drug/compound   is  listed   under   [and  on   the  amount   and                                                               
behavior/activities involved].                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOLMES  surmised  that the  question  before  the                                                               
committee is  which schedule of controlled  substances should the                                                               
compounds referenced in the bill be added to.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:19:22 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ORIN  DYM,  Forensic   Laboratory  Supervisor,  Scientific  Crime                                                               
Detection Laboratory  ("Crime Lab"), Office of  the Commissioner,                                                               
Department  of Public  Safety (DPS),  in  response to  questions,                                                               
relayed that methcathinone was first  developed around 1957 as an                                                               
appetite-suppressant weight-loss  drug, but  was "pulled"  due to                                                               
its adverse  side effects; that  methcathinone can be  thought of                                                               
as   methamphetamine  because   chemically  they   are  extremely                                                               
closely-related materials that can  be easily manipulated to form                                                               
new compounds/drugs, and  they have similar effects  on a person;                                                               
and that  Version M provides  for a  very thorough list  of known                                                               
[cathinones].                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  asked whether the presence  of cathinones in                                                               
someone's system can be detected via chemical testing.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DYM  - mentioning  that  such  biological samples  are  sent                                                               
outside the  state for analysis  - said that currently  there are                                                               
protocols   for    detecting   methcathinone,    cathinone,   and                                                               
methylenedioxypyrovalerone, and  that technology,  though perhaps                                                               
a bit  behind, is advancing  in terms of  being able to  test for                                                               
the  other  compounds.    For   purposes  of  possession  crimes,                                                               
however,  the  Crime  Lab  is able  to  identify  the  substances                                                               
themselves in their bulk form.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:26:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RODNEY   DIAL,  Lieutenant,   Deputy  Commander,   A  Detachment,                                                               
Division of  Alaska State Troopers,  Department of  Public Safety                                                               
(DPS),  in  response  to  questions,   explained  that  when  law                                                               
enforcement  officers   suspect  that  a  person   is  under  the                                                               
influence of an intoxicating substance,  the standard protocol is                                                               
to conduct  a series of field  sobriety tests, and if  the person                                                               
fails those, and interviews with  the person indicate that he/she                                                               
is  under  the  influence  of  something,  then  law  enforcement                                                               
officers can  make an arrest  and obtain  a search warrant  for a                                                               
[biological] sample to  send off for testing.   Furthermore, some                                                               
law enforcement officers qualify as  being what he termed, "drug-                                                               
recognition  experts,"  who  could  be  brought  in,  in  certain                                                               
situations, and law enforcement officers in the Matanuska-                                                                      
Susitna  (Mat-Su)   valley,  for  example,  have   recently  been                                                               
experiencing  quite a  few incidents  involving cathinone  abuse,                                                               
and so now  have more experience in identifying  people under the                                                               
influence of  such compounds;  the effects on  a person  are like                                                               
those  of   methamphetamine  but  far  more   pronounced:    more                                                               
paranoia,  more   delusions,  more  hallucinations,   et  cetera.                                                               
However, because  it is often  the case that someone  stopped for                                                               
impaired  driving  will  be  under   the  influence  of  multiple                                                               
intoxicating  substances, law  enforcement  officers simply  look                                                               
for general signs of impairment,  rather than trying to determine                                                               
what  particular   substance  the  driver's  behavior   could  be                                                               
attributed   to.     In  conclusion,   he  predicted   that  with                                                               
cooperation  from the  Crime Lab,  law  enforcement officers  are                                                               
going  to be  able  to  address many  of  the  issues related  to                                                               
enforcement.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  STOLTZE  mentioned  that when  samples  are  sent                                                               
outside for analysis, it is simply  because doing so is much less                                                               
expensive than conducting such analyses in house.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO posited  that the specificity of Version  M's list of                                                               
cathinones will make  it difficult for people to  subvert the law                                                               
simply  by  changing the  chemical  composition  of a  particular                                                               
cathinone.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:31:37 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL  COOPER, M.D.,  Deputy State  Epidemiologist, Section  of                                                               
Epidemiology,  Division of  Public Health,  Department of  Health                                                               
and Social  Services (DHSS), explained that  synthetic cathinones                                                               
are the active compounds found  in pre-packaged powders - usually                                                               
made overseas, and found in local  stores and over the Internet -                                                               
that  are deceptively  labeled as  bath  salts or  plant food  or                                                               
pond-water cleaner,  and, in order  to avoid  regulation, usually                                                               
state  on  the  packaging  that  the product  is  not  for  human                                                               
consumption.  One  study, he relayed, found  that intravenous use                                                               
is  the  most  common  form   of  consumption,  though  snorting,                                                               
smoking,  and rectal  administration are  pretty common  as well.                                                               
Cathinone, derived  from an  East African  shrub called  Khat, is                                                               
included   in  the   federal  list   of  schedule   I  controlled                                                               
substances,   and  is   easily  altered   to  avoid   regulation.                                                               
Cathinones  are  essentially  like  methamphetamines,  increasing                                                               
certain  neurotransmitter  levels  in   the  brain,  creating  an                                                               
adrenaline rush and  a sense of euphoria,  and increasing arousal                                                               
and  alertness;  their  effects  are very  similar  to  those  of                                                               
amphetamines,  cocaine, and  ecstasy; and  they are  often called                                                               
fake  cocaine or  legal cocaine.    However, in  addition to  the                                                               
"desired" effects, he relayed, there  is a host of unpredictable,                                                               
dangerous,   and   undesirable  effects,   including   agitation,                                                               
aggression, hallucinations,  paranoia, and  seizures.   There are                                                               
also widespread  reports across  the country  attributing violent                                                               
crimes, suicides,  homicides, and  other bizarre behavior  to the                                                               
use of cathinones.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
DR.  COOPER said  that according  to his  limited research,  most                                                               
experts are classifying  the abuse of "bath salts"  as being more                                                               
dangerous than  the abuse of synthetic  cannabinoids, though both                                                               
are  dangerous.   The  typical  patient  under the  influence  of                                                               
cathinone  can  be   agitated,  aggressive,  require  substantial                                                               
restraints, hallucinate, exhibit  bizarre behavior, have elevated                                                               
heart rate,  blood pressure, and  temperature, and can be  a real                                                               
danger   to    himself/herself   and   everyone    else   around.                                                               
Furthermore,  a recent  article  in a  medical journal  indicates                                                               
that another side  effect of cathinone use  is a life-threatening                                                               
skin infection  - a necrotizing  fasciitis - at  injection sites;                                                               
in  one  case,  amputation  of  the arm  and  a  mastectomy  were                                                               
required to address just such an infection.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:35:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DR.  COOPER  - confirming  that  chemical  testing of  biological                                                               
samples for  the presence of  cathinones is currently done  at an                                                               
outside laboratory  - indicated that although  the science behind                                                               
such  testing is  rapidly  evolving,  there are  still  a lot  of                                                               
unknowns  about it,  and,  in each  individual  case, also  about                                                               
other things  such as  which particular  compound was  taken, how                                                               
much was  taken, and  how long after  dosing might  testing still                                                               
reveal a compound's  presence.  There is no  antidote or specific                                                               
treatment for someone suffering the  effects of cathinones.  Such                                                               
a person  can be  monitored, though,  and any  observed secondary                                                               
side effects  can be treated.   Usually the effects  of cathinone                                                               
use  are short-lived  - lasting  anywhere between  four to  eight                                                               
hours  - but  there  have  also been  reports  of very  long-term                                                               
psychiatric  side   effects  occurring.    After   their  initial                                                               
development,  cathinone compounds  fell out  of favor  because of                                                               
their high  abuse and addiction potentials,  but they've recently                                                               
become  popular as  mind-altering  substances.   For example,  in                                                               
2010,  poison  control  centers received  only  about  300  calls                                                               
related to  cathinone use,  whereas in  2011, they  received over                                                               
6,000 such calls.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
DR. COOPER  said that as  a result of cathinones'  widespread use                                                               
and  increasing popularity,  their  addictive  potential, and  an                                                               
increase in the number of  reports of crimes related to cathinone                                                               
use, "about  over" 30  states thus  far have  enacted legislation                                                               
banning the sale and possession  of certain synthetic cathinones,                                                               
with a  couple of those  states having specifically  addressed in                                                               
their  legislation  the  issue of  potential  future  variations.                                                               
Furthermore, the  federal Drug Enforcement Agency  (DEA) has used                                                               
its authority  to temporarily [ban] certain  synthetic cathinones                                                               
while  it formulates  a long-term  policy.   Synthetic cathinones                                                               
are being used  in Alaska, he assured the  committee, adding that                                                               
the Section of Epidemiology has  published a bulletin documenting                                                               
case reports of  patients under the influence  of cathinones, and                                                               
he's heard  from his colleagues  working in Alaska's  clinics and                                                               
emergency rooms that they've also  been encountering people under                                                               
the influence  of cathinones,  and thus  far this  year, Alaska's                                                               
poison control center has received  15 calls related to cathinone                                                               
use.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
DR.  COOPER, in  conclusion,  said that  the  Division of  Public                                                               
Health  considers  the abuse  of  synthetic  cathinones to  be  a                                                               
growing  problem [because]  such products  are poorly  regulated,                                                               
are widely  available, may  contain a  variety of  chemicals, are                                                               
hard  to detect,  are  psychoactive, and,  by  all accounts,  are                                                               
gaining in popularity.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
1:40:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
QUINLAN  STEINER,  Director,   Central  Office,  Public  Defender                                                               
Agency  (PDA),  Department   of  Administration  (DOA),  reminded                                                               
members that which schedule a  particular controlled substance is                                                               
placed under has a fairly  significant impact on the PDA [because                                                               
its  workload  is  dependent  upon   whether  a  particular  case                                                               
involves  a  felony crime  or  a  misdemeanor  crime].   If,  for                                                               
example,  a  particular   drug  is  listed  as   a  schedule  IIA                                                               
controlled  substance,  then  possessing   only  a  small  amount                                                               
[might] be a felony, whereas if  that same drug is instead listed                                                               
as a schedule  IIIA controlled substance, then  possessing only a                                                               
small  amount   [might  instead]   be  a  misdemeanor,   and  the                                                               
difference  between   a  felony  and  a   misdemeanor  is  fairly                                                               
significant in terms  of penalties for the  perpetrator and case-                                                               
processing costs.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CARPENETI -  providing  just a  few  examples of  particular                                                               
behavior  that could  constitute particular  controlled-substance                                                               
crimes, [and  thereby indicating that which  crime and subsequent                                                               
penalty might  be charged and  applied in any given  case depends                                                               
upon  the type  and  amount of  drug/compound  involved, and  the                                                               
behavior/activities involved]  - relayed that  for the  crimes of                                                               
misconduct  involving  a  controlled substance,  a  first  degree                                                               
crime  is an  unclassified felony  under AS  11.71.010; a  second                                                               
degree crime  is a  class A  felony under  AS 11.71.020;  a third                                                               
degree crime  is a class B  felony under AS 11.71.030;  [a fourth                                                               
degree crime  is a class  C felony  under AS 11.71.040;]  a fifth                                                               
degree crime is  a class A misdemeanor under AS  11.71.050; and a                                                               
sixth degree crime  is a class B misdemeanor  under AS 11.71.060.                                                               
In response  to a question,  she noted that  both methamphetamine                                                               
and  cocaine  [which  have  effects   similar  to  those  of  the                                                               
cathinones listed  in HB  253] are  currently listed  as schedule                                                               
IIA controlled substances.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:44:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RICHARD  ALLEN,  Director,  Anchorage Office,  Office  of  Public                                                               
Advocacy  (OPA),  Department  of Administration  (DOA),  said  he                                                               
would  echo   Mr.  Steiner's  comments,  indicating   that  those                                                               
comments were also pertinent with  regard to the OPA.  Regardless                                                               
that everyone might agree that  cathinones should be outlawed and                                                               
shouldn't  be  available  for  legal  sale  in  stores,  as  they                                                               
currently are, the  more often that drugs/compounds  get added to                                                               
the more  dangerous controlled-substances' schedules,  the longer                                                               
the sentences become  for possession of even  just small amounts,                                                               
which in turn increases incarceration  costs.  He opined, though,                                                               
that  importing or  distributing large  quantities of  cathinones                                                               
ought to be a high-level felony crime.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO, after ascertaining that  no one else wished testify,                                                               
closed public testimony on HB 253.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   HOLMES   characterized   the   bill's   proposed                                                               
placement  of the  enumerated cathinones  into  Alaska's list  of                                                               
schedule IIA  controlled substances  as appropriate  - cathinones                                                               
are dangerous drugs and should be treated that way.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG expressed appreciation for the bill.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE THOMPSON  surmised that  there would be  more such                                                               
legislation in  the future as  manufacturers continue  to develop                                                               
new compounds.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:51:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  THOMPSON  moved to  report  the  proposed CS  for                                                               
HB 253, Version 27-LS1131\M, Luckhaupt,  2/3/12, out of committee                                                               
with  individual  recommendations  and  the  accompanying  fiscal                                                               
notes.   There  being no  objection, CSHB  253(JUD) was  reported                                                               
from the House Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 1:52 p.m. to 1:57 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
        HB 255 - READING OR TYPING MESSAGE WHILE DRIVING                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:57:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO announced  that the final order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 255, "An  Act prohibiting  the driver of  a motor                                                               
vehicle from reading  or typing a text message  or other nonvoice                                                               
message or  communication on a  cellular telephone,  computer, or                                                               
personal  data   assistant  while   driving  a   motor  vehicle."                                                               
[Included   in  members'   packets  was   a  proposed   committee                                                               
substitute  (CS)  for  HB   255,  Version  27-LS1165\D,  Gardner,                                                               
2/2/12.]                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO  mentioned that members' packets  contain forthcoming                                                               
amendments.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:57:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  THOMPSON moved  to adopt  the proposed  committee                                                               
substitute  (CS)  for  HB   255,  Version  27-LS1165\D,  Gardner,                                                               
2/2/12,  as the  working  document.   There  being no  objection,                                                               
Version D was before the committee.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:58:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LES  GARA, Alaska  State Legislature,  speaking as                                                               
one of  the bill's  joint prime sponsors,  explained that  HB 255                                                               
was  engendered  by a  recent  court  decision that  the  state's                                                               
current  statute  prohibiting the  use  of  screen devices  while                                                               
driving does  not cover the  behavior of "texting"  while driving                                                               
regardless that many  members of the legislature  thought that it                                                               
did.  He  said he anticipates that this issue  will eventually be                                                               
addressed  by the  Alaska Supreme  Court, but  meanwhile, HB  255                                                               
would  clarify the  legislature's  intention  that texting  while                                                               
driving be  illegal.   Statistics indicate  that people  who text                                                               
while driving  are 20 times more  likely to get into  an accident                                                               
than those who don't text while  driving.  Also, if one "texts" a                                                               
"normal-sized"  text message  while  driving, one  can drive  the                                                               
length of  a football field before  being done - the  length of a                                                               
football field full  of potential victims.  Other states  - 35 of                                                               
them - have already banned texting while driving.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA indicated that  in Alaska, there have already                                                               
been severe and even fatal  accidents attributed to texting while                                                               
driving.   Texting  while driving  is  dangerous.   A person  who                                                               
texts while driving is not  paying attention to what he/she ought                                                               
to be  paying attention to  while driving a 2,000  pound vehicle,                                                               
and this  can result in somebody  being killed.  One  of the main                                                               
reasons for making  it illegal to text while driving  is to start                                                               
educating people with  regard to how fatal  texting while driving                                                               
can be, similar to what  occurred with regard to educating people                                                               
about the  dangers of  drunk driving.   Because  a lot  of people                                                               
view texting as  just a social phenomenon, it  must be reinforced                                                               
that  it can  be  a fatal  phenomenon -  a  person texting  while                                                               
driving can  kill someone.   A recently-conducted  poll indicates                                                               
that over a third of  people text while driving, illustrating the                                                               
need for  an outright ban  on texting while driving.   Attempting                                                               
to  prosecute  someone  for  this   behavior  under  the  state's                                                               
existing distracted-driving  or negligent-driving  laws, however,                                                               
simply won't  work, he  predicted, because  in such  cases, there                                                               
must be  a unanimous  jury verdict,  and it  is unlikely  at this                                                               
point in time that jurors  who themselves text while driving will                                                               
see anything wrong with such behavior.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA posited that HB  255 has been drafted broadly                                                               
enough  to  address  possible   future  forms  of  [text-capable]                                                               
technology.  Simply rewriting  Alaska's distracted-driving law to                                                               
address the  behavior of  texting while  driving would  result in                                                               
the  behavior being  a mere  violation rather  than a  crime, and                                                               
simply  adding  the  word,  "texting"  to  the  state's  existing                                                               
prohibition against using  a screen device while  driving, as the                                                               
court  has suggested  the legislature  do, won't  suffice because                                                               
the term,  "texting" doesn't  cover all  the forms  of technology                                                               
that [either  already, or might  in the future,] enable  a person                                                               
to  type and/or  read text.   It  is for  this latter  reason, he                                                               
relayed, that many legislators think  that the court was wrong in                                                               
its  aforementioned  decision.   Again,  HB  255 is  intended  to                                                               
clarify for  the court  that texting,  or using  other technology                                                               
for that purpose, is improper while driving a moving vehicle.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:04:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  explained  that [Version  D's  proposed  AS                                                               
28.35.161(a)(2) in part]  specifies that a crime  is committed if                                                               
a person, while  driving a moving vehicle, reads or  types a text                                                               
message or other "non-voice" message  or communication.  In other                                                               
words,   he  elaborated,   no  texting,   no  "facebooking,"   no                                                               
"tweeting," no  typing on  a "laptop" computer  - "we  don't want                                                               
you  typing while  you're driving,  we don't  want you  reading a                                                               
text message  while you're driving,  we don't want you  reading a                                                               
computer screen while  you're driving, we don't  want you reading                                                               
a facebook  message while  you're driving."   To  get into  a car                                                               
"knowing you're  going to  engage in  this dangerous  conduct" is                                                               
almost premeditated behavior, he opined.   Under the bill, if one                                                               
types on  or reads a screen  device while driving, it  would be a                                                               
[class A] misdemeanor;  however, if one engages  in that behavior                                                               
and  causes physical  injury to  another  person, causes  serious                                                               
physical  injury  to  another  person, or  causes  the  death  of                                                               
another person, it would be [a  class C felony, a class B felony,                                                               
or a class A felony, respectively].                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GARA  mentioned   that  existing   AS  28.35.161                                                               
provides  for the  aforementioned differing  penalties, and  that                                                               
HB 255  would not  change that.   The  behavior addressed  by the                                                               
bill is  dangerous -  a person shouldn't  be shocked  when he/she                                                               
runs into  someone while  texting.  This  means, he  relayed, any                                                               
sort of typing  or reading, whether on/from  a cellular telephone                                                               
("cell phone"), a  laptop, an "iPad", or  whatever new technology                                                               
that comes along which lets a  person view messages or type them.                                                               
He assured  the committee  that under both  existing law  and the                                                               
bill, the  vehicle must be  moving in order  for the crime  to be                                                               
committed; this  stipulation will ensure that  the behavior, when                                                               
conducted  in  a  stationary vehicle,  isn't  criminalized.    He                                                               
offered his belief that as currently  written, HB 255 is going to                                                               
address 90 percent of the perceived problem.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:07:17 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GARA  explained   that  [Version   D's  proposed                                                               
28.35.161(d)]  would  provide  an additional  exemption  for  the                                                               
viewing  of   authorized  screen   devices  by   law  enforcement                                                               
personnel  or  other  emergency   responders  when  such  persons                                                               
reasonably  believe  that  the information  on  such  devices  is                                                               
necessary  to respond  to health,  safety,  or criminal  matters;                                                               
existing  AS 28.35.161(d)  currently  provides  an exemption  for                                                               
devises/equipment  installed  in  emergency vehicles,  which  are                                                               
defined as police, fire, and  emergency medical service vehicles.                                                               
Subsection   (d)'s  proposed   language,  he   indicated,  covers                                                               
"wireless"  technology, and  has  met with  the  approval of  law                                                               
enforcement  personnel, emergency  responders, the  Department of                                                               
Law  (DOL), and  Legislative  Legal and  Research  Services.   In                                                               
conclusion,  he offered  his  belief that  HB  255 would  protect                                                               
people from  fatal accidents without compromising  the efforts of                                                               
the  state's law  enforcement and  emergency response  personnel,                                                               
and that  the aforementioned  forthcoming amendments  in members'                                                               
packets seem consistent with the bill.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA, in response  to questions and comments, said                                                               
he thinks that  existing law already makes  texting while driving                                                               
illegal;  assured  members  that  HB 255  does  not  address  the                                                               
behavior of talking  on a cell phone, which  includes "dialing" a                                                               
phone number, that existing law -  as a matter of public policy -                                                               
already provides exemptions for  [among other things] mapping and                                                               
global  positioning  system   (GPS)  equipment,  and  dispatching                                                               
equipment  [used  in certain  industries],  and  that HB  255  is                                                               
proposing to  broaden only the existing  exemption addressing law                                                               
enforcement and  emergency responders; and concurred  that HB 255                                                               
only pertains to motor vehicles.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG, in response  to questions and comments,                                                               
noted that  AS 28.90.990(a)(16) defines the  term "motor vehicle"                                                               
as a  vehicle which is  self-propelled except a vehicle  moved by                                                               
human or animal power.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:18:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA,  in response  to other  questions, explained                                                               
that  the bill  is  not specific  with regard  to  where a  motor                                                               
vehicle  is  being  driven when  the  proscribed  behavior  takes                                                               
place.    If  a  person  runs into  someone  while  texting,  for                                                               
example, it  should be  a crime regardless  of where  it happens,                                                               
whether  on  a public  roadway,  on  private  property, or  in  a                                                               
parking lot.  He acknowledged,  though, that one would first have                                                               
to be caught doing the  proscribed behavior, and thus enforcement                                                               
of HB 255's provisions could  be difficult.  Regardless, the bill                                                               
should be  passed because it's  going to  act as a  deterrent, he                                                               
predicted,  sending the  message  that texting  while driving  is                                                               
dangerous.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GARA,   in   response  to   further   questions,                                                               
reiterated  that  the  state's  existing  ban  on  texting  while                                                               
driving   isn't   always   being  enforced   because   of   court                                                               
interpretations, and  that until the  Alaska Supreme Court  has a                                                               
chance to rule  on the issue -  which could take some  time yet -                                                               
HB 255  would clarify  [for the  court and  the public]  that the                                                               
behavior of  texting while  driving is illegal.   To  merely wait                                                               
until the Alaska Supreme Court has  a chance to rule on the issue                                                               
could result in lives being lost during the intervening time.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GATTO   expressed  a  preference  for   having  the  issue                                                               
addressed sooner  via passage of HB  255, rather than later  as a                                                               
result of waiting  for a possible favorable ruling  by the Alaska                                                               
Supreme Court.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:25:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG made  a  motion to  adopt Amendment  1,                                                               
labeled 27-LS1165\D.1, Gardner, 2/7/12, which read:                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, lines 6 - 12:                                                                                                      
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
        "* Section 1. The uncodified law of the State of                                                                    
     Alaska is amended by adding a new section to read:                                                                         
          STATEMENT OF PURPOSE. The purpose of this Act is                                                                      
       to conform and clarify that the use of a cellular                                                                        
     telephone,  computer, personal  data assistant,  or any                                                                    
     other similar  means for texting or  communicating in a                                                                    
     manner  prohibited  by  AS 28.35.161 has  been  illegal                                                                    
     since   AS 28.35.161   was   enacted   and   that   the                                                                    
     December 1,  2011, magistrate's  decision  in State  v.                                                                    
     Adams, 3KN-11-719 CR, is legally incorrect."                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOLMES objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG  explained   that  the   existing  law                                                               
prohibiting the use of screen  devices while driving was intended                                                               
to  cover the  behavior of  texting while  driving, and  that its                                                               
language was intentionally  left broad on that point  in order to                                                               
address the fact that [texting  technology] is rapidly advancing;                                                               
and indicated  that Amendment 1's  proposed change to  the bill's                                                               
statement of  purpose - found in  Section 1 of Version  D - would                                                               
better  clarify   the  point  that  the   court  has  incorrectly                                                               
interpreted  existing  law  as  not  applying  to  texting.    It                                                               
wouldn't have made  any sense, he opined, to  have prohibited the                                                               
act  of  watching a  screen  device  while driving  without  also                                                               
prohibiting the act of typing on  a screen device while driving -                                                               
one can't do  either and still drive properly -  and to have done                                                               
so  would have  led to  an absurd  result, he  asserted, and  the                                                               
court,  in State  v.  Adams, neglected  to  recognize that  legal                                                             
point.   He also  offered his understanding  that when  the court                                                               
reviews this issue further, it  would be giving additional weight                                                               
to the fact  that the legislature had taken specific  steps - via                                                               
passage of HB 255 - to clarify existing law.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOLMES removed  her  objection to  the motion  to                                                               
adopt Amendment 1.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GATTO,  in response  to  a  question, explained  that  the                                                               
drafter has  recommended that  it would be  better to  include in                                                               
the proposed statement of purpose  both the specific case and the                                                               
assertion that an incorrect decision was made in that case.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG offered  his belief  that the  phrasing                                                               
used in Amendment  1 is proper - containing the  correct terms of                                                               
art  - and  would simply  clarify that  the legislature  believes                                                               
that a legal error was made in that court decision.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO announced that Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:34:40 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG made  a  motion to  adopt Amendment  2,                                                               
labeled 27-LS1165\D.4, Gardner, 2/8/12, which read:                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, line 11, following "driving":                                                                                  
          Insert "or takes an affirmative act to access                                                                     
     such data"                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOLMES objected.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  predicted that  Amendment 2  would make                                                               
it easier  to prosecute  someone for the  behavior of  reading or                                                               
typing a text message while driving.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA,  offering  his  belief  that  it's  already                                                               
implied under the  bill's existing language, said  "we don't want                                                               
you fiddling  around with your  cell phone, while  you're driving                                                               
and  moving, to  access your  text messages,"  and surmised  that                                                               
Amendment 2 would simply clarify that point further.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOLMES said that she  objects to Amendment 2, both                                                               
because  of its  proposed placement  and use  of the  word, "or",                                                           
seeming to  indicate that one  could either be driving  or taking                                                               
an  affirmative  action in  order  for  the  bill to  apply,  and                                                               
because  its  language  is  overbroad  and  ambiguous,  remaining                                                               
unclear  with  regard  to what  would  constitute  an  applicable                                                               
affirmative action under the bill.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG, acknowledging  those points,  withdrew                                                               
Amendment 2.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:44:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG made  a  motion to  adopt Amendment  3,                                                               
labeled 27-LS1165\D.5, Gardner, 2/8/12, which read:                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 1:                                                                                                            
          Delete "and"                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 4, following "vehicle":                                                                                     
         Insert "; and providing for an effective date"                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, following line 20:                                                                                                 
     Insert a new bill section to read:                                                                                         
       "* Sec. 6. This Act takes effect immediately under                                                                   
     AS 01.10.070(c)."                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG   explained  that  Amendment   3  would                                                               
provide for  an immediate effective date,  which he characterized                                                               
as an important thing to do.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PRUITT objected  for the  purpose of  discussion,                                                               
and then removed his objection.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GATTO,  after  ascertaining  that there  were  no  further                                                               
objections, announced that Amendment 3 was adopted.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:45:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA   explained  that   passage  of  HB   255  -                                                               
specifically  Version D  -  is  now also  necessary  in order  to                                                               
address the  use of  wireless technology  by law  enforcement and                                                               
emergency  response   personnel;  again,  Version   D's  proposed                                                               
28.35.161(d)  would  provide  an  additional  exemption  for  the                                                               
viewing  of  authorized screen  devices  by  law enforcement  and                                                               
other emergency  response personnel when such  persons reasonably                                                               
believe  that the  information on  such devices  is necessary  to                                                               
respond to health, safety, or criminal matters.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  relayed  that  to  address  a  concern                                                               
expressed  by  the  court  regarding  the  meaning  of  the  word                                                               
"verbal" [as  it's used in  the existing statutory  exemption for                                                               
certain  equipment],  the  bill  would  also,  via  its  proposed                                                               
AS 28.35.161(c), change  the term, "verbal communication"  to the                                                               
term, "voice communication".                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA,  in  conclusion, said,  "I'm  very  serious                                                               
about  this bill  - I  think texting  is dangerous  - I  think we                                                               
should pass the bill this year."                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:48:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RODNEY   DIAL,  Lieutenant,   Deputy  Commander,   A  Detachment,                                                               
Division of  Alaska State Troopers,  Department of  Public Safety                                                               
(DPS), said  that the DPS  supports HB  255, and has  no concerns                                                               
with the proposed exemption for  the authorized viewing of screen                                                               
devices for emergency vehicles.   Currently, he relayed, some DPS                                                               
vehicles  have "in-car  video camera  systems" and  monitors that                                                               
display some  text information, and  some DPS vehicles  are being                                                               
equipped with  computers, which will display  suspect and wanted-                                                               
vehicle information,  and occasionally  dispatch sends  photos of                                                               
suspects  or suspect  vehicles to  law  enforcement officers  via                                                               
their cell  phones.   In response  to questions,  he acknowledged                                                               
that   failures  of   [installed  equipment]   have  occasionally                                                               
resulted in  law enforcement  officers having  to use  their cell                                                               
phones or  other forms  of communication  to speak  with dispatch                                                               
and  other  officers;  and  that  it can  be  difficult  for  law                                                               
enforcement officers  to observe  the proscribed behavior  - it's                                                               
more  common to  discover during  the course  of investigating  a                                                               
traffic  accident  that  the proscribed  behavior  had  occurred.                                                               
Unless  there  is  probable  cause to  believe  that  someone  is                                                               
texting while  driving, law enforcement  officers won't  take any                                                               
enforcement action, and if there  is such probable cause, then it                                                               
would  be  up  to  the  individual  law  enforcement  officer  to                                                               
determine whether the person actually was texting.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:52:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
QUINLAN  STEINER,  Director,   Central  Office,  Public  Defender                                                               
Agency (PDA), Department of Administration  (DOA), in response to                                                               
questions  regarding the  PDA's fiscal  note, indicated  that its                                                               
analysis  includes information  he'd received  from the  DOL that                                                               
the state's existing crime of  texting while driving isn't always                                                               
being prosecuted  because of court interpretations,  and offered,                                                               
"my  expectation is  that with  the  explicit criminalization  of                                                               
texting and  driving, you will see  more enforcement, prosecution                                                               
- and, of  course, successful prosecution - which  will have some                                                               
fiscal impact  on our  agency, though it's  impossible for  me to                                                               
determine what that would be."                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:54:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARK S.  HALL, Chief, Anchorage Fire  Department, Municipality of                                                               
Anchorage (MOA),  said simply that the  Anchorage Fire Department                                                               
supports HB 255.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:55:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RICHARD  ALLEN,  Director,  Anchorage Office,  Office  of  Public                                                               
Advocacy (OPA), Department of  Administration (DOA), relayed that                                                               
the  OPA is  not anticipating  that there  will be  a significant                                                               
impact on its caseload as a result  of passage of HB 255, and has                                                               
therefore submitted a  zero fiscal note.  Speaking,  then, as the                                                               
parent of  two young  children who  have to  be driven  around on                                                               
Alaska's roads, he said he supports a ban on texting.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:56:16 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BOB  GRIFFITHS,   Chief,  Cordova  Police  Department,   City  of                                                               
Cordova;  Executive Director,  Alaska  Association  of Chiefs  of                                                               
Police, Inc. (AACOP), relayed that  he and the AACOP extend their                                                               
unqualified support for HB 255.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:56:50 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PATRICIA GRISWOLD,  [characterizing HB 255's proposed  changes as                                                               
a start,]  said she would  prefer to see  a complete ban  on cell                                                               
phone  use  while  driving,  considering  such  use  to  be  more                                                               
dangerous  than  driving  under  the  influence  because  of  the                                                               
prevalence of  cell phones,  and mentioned that  one of  her sons                                                               
was involved in  a motor vehicle accident after  which the driver                                                               
of the other vehicle was heard speaking on a cell phone.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:59:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  BOB  HERRON,  Alaska State  Legislature,  relayed                                                               
that he'd been involved in a hit  and run accident - while he was                                                               
stopped  at a  stop  sign,  his car  was  struck  from behind  by                                                               
another  vehicle -  and after  the accident  occurred he  saw the                                                               
driver of  the other  vehicle texting and  continuing to  text as                                                               
she  drove away.    In  conclusion, he  offered  his belief  that                                                               
texting while  driving is  an issue that  needs to  be addressed,                                                               
and his hope that such behavior could be modified.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:02:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ALBERT JUDSON said he would like to  speak in favor of HB 255 and                                                               
any bill  that would  ban the  use of cell  phones and  any other                                                               
devices while driving.  Mentioning that  he was run over in 2007,                                                               
and  recounting  some  the  details  of  that  accident  and  the                                                               
injuries he  suffered as a  result, he  raised the issue  of non-                                                               
reporting/under-reporting;  for example,  when he  was run  over,                                                               
there was  no mention of  it in the paper,  but the day  after he                                                               
was run  over, his dog  was run over, and  the paper ran  a story                                                               
about that.   Statewide,  he opined, there  is lack  of reporting                                                               
about people being  injured and/or killed, and  he suggested that                                                               
there should be an investigation  to determine why.  Other issues                                                               
that  need  to  be  addressed,   he  opined,  are  the  issue  of                                                               
accountability, particularly accountability [for causing] long-                                                                 
term injuries, and the issue  of possibly expanding the statutory                                                               
penalties for  causing injury  and/or death.   In  conclusion, he                                                               
thanked the  joint prime sponsors  for introducing  and promoting                                                               
HB 255,  characterizing it as  being long  overdue - a  matter of                                                               
life and  death -  and said  he would  like to  see HB  255 pass,                                                               
along with  other bills  addressing the issue  of cell  phone use                                                               
while driving,  adding that  he did not  know whether  the driver                                                               
who ran him over was texting at the time or merely talking on                                                                   
the cell phone.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
[HB 255, Version D as amended, was held over.]                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 3:10 p.m. to 3:12 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:12:10 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Judiciary Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 3:12 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 255 Sponsor Statement.pdf HJUD 2/8/2012 1:00:00 PM
HTRA 1/26/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 version I.pdf HJUD 2/8/2012 1:00:00 PM
HTRA 1/26/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 255
NCSL Texting Law by State.pdf HJUD 2/8/2012 1:00:00 PM
HTRA 1/26/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 255
HB255-ACS-TRC-01-20-12 (2).pdf HJUD 2/8/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 255
HB255-LAW-CRIM-01-22-12.pdf HJUD 2/8/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 255
HB255-DOA-OPA-1-20-12.pdf HJUD 2/8/2012 1:00:00 PM
HTRA 1/26/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 255
HB 253 Sponsor Statement.pdf HJUD 2/8/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 253
HB0253A.pdf HJUD 2/8/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 253
HB253-DPS-LAB-02-03-12.pdf HJUD 2/8/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 253
HB253-LAW-CRIM-02-03-12.pdf HJUD 2/8/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 253
HB0299A.pdf HJUD 2/8/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 299
HB299 Letter of Support.pdf HJUD 2/8/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 299
HB299 ALSC general handout(Jan2012) (2).pdf HJUD 2/8/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 299
HB299 SPONSORS STATEMENT.pdf HJUD 2/8/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 299
HB299-LAW-CIV-02-03-12.pdf HJUD 2/8/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 299
HB299-LAW-CIV-02-03-12.pdf HJUD 2/8/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 299
HB 303 Sponsor Statement.pdf HJUD 2/8/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 303
HB0303A.PDF HJUD 2/8/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 303
HJR 303 Hearing Request.pdf HJUD 2/8/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB303-LAW-CRIM-02-03-12.pdf HJUD 2/8/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 303
Legal Memo 02.01.12.pdf HJUD 2/8/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 255 CS D version 2 2 12.pdf HJUD 2/8/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 255