Legislature(2011 - 2012)CAPITOL 120

02/10/2012 01:00 PM JUDICIARY


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 216 REGULATIONS: INFORMATIVE SUMMARY/BILLS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 255 READING OR TYPING MESSAGE WHILE DRIVING TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 255(JUD) Out of Committee
+= HB 296 CRIME OF ESCAPE/DEF. OF CORRECT. FACILITY TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+= HB 299 CIVIL LEGAL SERVICES FUND TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSHB 299(JUD) Out of Committee
+= HB 303 SUSPENDED IMPOSITION OF SENTENCE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                       February 10, 2012                                                                                        
                           1:05 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Representative Carl Gatto, Chair                                                                                                
Representative Wes Keller                                                                                                       
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
Representative Lance Pruitt                                                                                                     
Representative Max Gruenberg                                                                                                    
Representative Lindsey Holmes                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Steve Thompson, Vice Chair                                                                                       
Representative Mike Chenault (alternate)                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
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."                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 255(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 299                                                                                                              
"An Act allowing appropriations to  the civil legal services fund                                                               
from court filing fees."                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSHB 299(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 303                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to suspended  imposition of sentence for certain                                                               
criminal offences."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 216                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to deadlines  in bills directing the adoption of                                                               
regulations  and  to the  informative  summary  required for  the                                                               
proposed adoption, amendment, or repeal of a regulation."                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 296                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to service  of process on prisoners; relating to                                                               
the crime of escape; relating  to the definition of 'correctional                                                               
facility'; amending Rule 4, Alaska  Rules of Civil Procedure; and                                                               
providing for an effective date."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
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                                                                             
02/08/12       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/08/12       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/10/12       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 299                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CIVIL LEGAL SERVICES FUND                                                                                          
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) THOMPSON                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
01/27/12       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/27/12       (H)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
02/08/12       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
02/08/12       (H)       <Bill Held Over to 2/10/12>                                                                            
02/10/12       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 303                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: SUSPENDED IMPOSITION OF SENTENCE                                                                                   
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) GARA                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
01/27/12       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/27/12       (H)       JUD                                                                                                    
02/08/12       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
02/08/12       (H)       <Bill Held Over to 2/10/12>                                                                            
02/10/12       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 216                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: REGULATIONS: INFORMATIVE SUMMARY/BILLS                                                                             
SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) P.WILSON                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
03/30/11       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/30/11       (H)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
04/12/11       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
04/12/11       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/12/11       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
01/19/12       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
01/19/12       (H)       Moved CSHB 216(STA) Out of Committee                                                                   
01/19/12       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
01/20/12       (H)       STA RPT CS(STA) 2DP 4AM                                                                                
01/20/12       (H)       DP: P.WILSON, LYNN                                                                                     
01/20/12       (H)       AM: KELLER, GRUENBERG, SEATON, PETERSEN                                                                
01/23/12       (H)       FIN REFERRAL ADDED AFTER JUD                                                                           
01/30/12       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
01/30/12       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
01/30/12       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/03/12       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
02/03/12       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/03/12       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/10/12       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 296                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CRIME OF ESCAPE/DEF. OF CORRECT. FACILITY                                                                          
SPONSOR(S): JUDICIARY                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
01/25/12       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/25/12       (H)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
02/01/12       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
02/01/12       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/01/12       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/10/12       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MARY MILLER, Director                                                                                                           
Tribal Transportation Department                                                                                                
Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska                                                                
(CCTHITA)                                                                                                                       
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 255.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
RICHARD SVOBODNY, Deputy Attorney General                                                                                       
Central Office                                                                                                                  
Criminal Division                                                                                                               
Department of Law (DOL)                                                                                                         
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Responded  to a question  during discussion                                                             
of HB 255.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
THOMAS STUDLER, Staff                                                                                                           
Representative Steve Thompson                                                                                                   
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:   Presented HB 299 on behalf  of the sponsor,                                                             
Representative Thompson.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
NIKOLE M. NELSON, Executive Director                                                                                            
Alaska Legal Services Corporation (ALSC)                                                                                        
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:     Responded  to  questions   and  provided                                                             
comments during discussion of HB 299.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
RICHARD ALLEN, Director                                                                                                         
Anchorage Office                                                                                                                
Office of Public Advocacy (OPA)                                                                                                 
Department of Administration (DOA)                                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Provided comments  during  discussion  of                                                             
HB 299.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
QUINLAN STEINER, Director                                                                                                       
Central Office                                                                                                                  
Public Defender Agency (PDA)                                                                                                    
Department of Administration (DOA)                                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Provided  a comment  during discussion  of                                                             
HB 299.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MONICA LOONEY                                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Provided comments  during  discussion  of                                                             
HB 299.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MICHELE SHARPE                                                                                                                  
(No address provided)                                                                                                           
POSITION  STATEMENT:    Provided comments  during  discussion  of                                                             
HB 299.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
J. KATE BURKHART, Executive Director                                                                                            
Alaska Mental Health Board                                                                                                      
Division of Behavioral Health (DBH)                                                                                             
Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS)                                                                                 
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   Testified  in support  of  the passage  of                                                             
HB 299.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MARIE DARLIN, Coordinator                                                                                                       
AARP Capital City Task Force                                                                                                    
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:    During discussion  of  HB  299,  provided                                                             
comments,  and   asked  the  committee  to   support  the  bill's                                                               
proposal.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LES GARA                                                                                                         
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of HB 303.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PEGGY WILSON                                                                                                     
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of HB 216.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
DOUGLAS GARDNER, Director                                                                                                       
Legal Services                                                                                                                  
Legislative Legal and Research Services                                                                                         
Legislative Affairs Agency (LAA)                                                                                                
Juneau, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION  STATEMENT:   As  the  drafter,  responded to  questions                                                             
during discussion of HB 296.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:05:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CARL  GATTO called the  House Judiciary  Standing Committee                                                             
meeting to  order at  1:05 p.m.   Representatives  Gatto, Holmes,                                                               
Lynn,   and  Keller   were  present   at  the   call  to   order.                                                               
Representatives Pruitt  and Gruenberg arrived as  the meeting was                                                               
in progress.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
        HB 255 - READING OR TYPING MESSAGE WHILE DRIVING                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:06:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO announced  that the first 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."  [Before                                                               
the  committee  was  a proposed  committee  substitute  (CS)  for                                                               
HB 255,  Version 27-LS1165\D,  Gardner,  2/2/12,  which had  been                                                               
adopted  as the  work draft  and amended  on 2/8/12;  included in                                                               
members' packets was a new proposed CS for HB 255, Version 27-                                                                  
LS1165\X, Gardner, 2/8/12.]                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO  mentioned that a  forthcoming amendment  in members'                                                               
packets addresses a definition in the bill.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:07:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOLMES  moved  to adopt  the  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute  (CS)  for  HB   255,  Version  27-LS1165\X,  Gardner,                                                               
2/8/12, as the working document.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOLMES  explained that Version X  incorporates the                                                               
amendments that were adopted during the bill's previous hearing.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER removed his objection.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GATTO, remarking  that there  were no  further objections,                                                               
announced that Version X was before the committee.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:08:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG made  a  motion to  adopt Amendment  1,                                                               
labeled 27-LS1165\X.1, Finley/Gardner, 2/9/12, which read:                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, line 13, following "vehicle":                                                                                      
          Insert ", whether removable or permanently                                                                        
     installed,"                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, line 17:                                                                                                           
          Delete "(1)"                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, lines 18 - 20:                                                                                                     
          Delete ";                                                                                                         
               (2) "installed" means equipment in an                                                                        
     emergency vehicle, whether permanent or removable"                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOLMES objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  referred to an  accompanying memorandum                                                               
in members' packets from Legislative  Legal and Research Services                                                               
dated  February 9,  2012, and  indicated that  Amendment 1  would                                                               
clarify the  language [of Version X's  proposed AS 28.35.161(d)].                                                               
Representative   Gruenberg   offered   his   understanding   that                                                               
Representative Gara, [one  of HB 255's joint  prime sponsors,] is                                                               
amenable to the adoption of Amendment 1.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GATTO  indicated  that  Amendment  1  would  clarify  that                                                               
proposed AS  28.35.161(d)'s exemption for equipment  in emergency                                                               
vehicles  applies to  all  [authorized]  equipment regardless  of                                                               
whether it is permanently installed.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOLMES removed her objection.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GATTO,  after  ascertaining  that there  were  no  further                                                               
objections, announced that Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:11:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARY MILLER, Director,  Tribal Transportation Department, Central                                                               
Council  of  the  Tlingit  and  Haida  Indian  Tribes  of  Alaska                                                               
(CCTHITA), relayed  simply that the  CCTHITA supports HB  255 and                                                               
the intent to  provide greater safety for the  public with regard                                                               
to  driving and  driver attention,  supporting those  things that                                                               
will improve public safety on Alaska's roadways.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO closed public testimony on HB 255.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER said  he  objects to  moving  HB 255  from                                                               
committee,  expressing  a  reluctance  to  have  reading  a  text                                                               
message while driving be a crime.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN,  expressing agreement,  questioned  whether                                                               
enforcement would even be possible.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PRUITT  mentioned possibly  having the  bill apply                                                               
only  when  a person  who  is  texting  while driving  causes  an                                                               
accident.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:18:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RICHARD  SVOBODNY,  Deputy   Attorney  General,  Central  Office,                                                               
Criminal  Division, Department  of Law  (DOL), in  response to  a                                                               
question, clarified that in discussions  he's had with the Public                                                               
Defender  Agency   (PDA),  he  had  indicated   that  there  were                                                               
communities  in  Alaska  in  which the  crime  of  texting  while                                                               
driving is  not being  prosecuted.  Further  research by  him, he                                                               
relayed, has  indicted that in  some instances that is  the case,                                                               
and  that  in  other  instances, different  judges  in  the  same                                                               
community are making  differing rulings - with  some treating the                                                               
behavior as illegal and others  not.  Therefore, it's not correct                                                               
to say  that the existing  law isn't being enforced,  because law                                                               
enforcement officers  are still  charging people with  the crime,                                                               
but  rather   that  the  crime  isn't   always  being  prosecuted                                                               
depending on who the judge is  in a particular case.  In response                                                               
to comments  and a question, he  indicated that the state  has no                                                               
right to appeal a dismissal  by the court except in extraordinary                                                               
circumstances, and what occurred in  State v. Adams wasn't such a                                                             
circumstance.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG posited  that  passage of  Section 1  -                                                               
which would add a statement of  purpose in uncodified law - would                                                               
clarify for the  court that it is and has  been the legislature's                                                               
intent all  along that  the conduct of  texting while  driving be                                                               
illegal.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO, noting that the  bill now has an immediate effective                                                               
date, surmised that  once the bill is passed it  will clarify the                                                               
law immediately for everyone.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:22:57 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOLMES  moved  to  report  the  proposed  CS  for                                                               
HB 255, Version 27-LS1165\X, Gardner,  2/8/12, as amended, out of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal notes.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER objected.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
A roll call  vote was taken.   Representatives Pruitt, Gruenberg,                                                               
Holmes, Lynn, and Gatto voted  in favor of reporting the proposed                                                               
CS for HB 255, Version  27-LS1165\X, Gardner, 2/8/12, as amended,                                                               
from  committee.     Representative  Keller  voted   against  it.                                                               
Therefore, CSHB  255(JUD) was reported  from the  House Judiciary                                                               
Standing Committee by a vote of 5-1.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 1:23 p.m. to 1:25 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
               HB 299 - CIVIL LEGAL SERVICES FUND                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:25:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO  announced that the  next order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO. 299, "An  Act allowing appropriations to the civil                                                               
legal services fund from court filing fees."                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:26:07 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
THOMAS  STUDLER,  Staff,  Representative Steve  Thompson,  Alaska                                                               
State  Legislature,  on  behalf of  the  sponsor,  Representative                                                               
Thompson,  explained that  HB 299  [which is  proposing to  alter                                                               
AS 37.05.590]  would provide  a  statutory  funding mechanism  by                                                               
which the legislature may appropriate  to the state's civil legal                                                               
services fund  up to 25  percent of  the filing fees  received by                                                               
the Alaska  Court System (ACS)  during the previous  fiscal year.                                                               
Appropriations from the civil legal  services fund may then go to                                                               
organizations  that provide  civil legal  services to  low-income                                                               
Alaskans,  organizations  such  as   the  Alaska  Legal  Services                                                               
Corporation (ALSC), which was established  in 1966 to address the                                                               
civil-legal-aid  needs   of  low-income  Alaskans.     The  ALSC,                                                               
specifically, is  a U.S.C. 501(c)(3) non-profit  corporation that                                                               
obtains  its  funding  from  a variety  of  state,  federal,  and                                                               
private sources.   Such funding,  however, has dwindled  over the                                                               
years - from  $4.2 million in 1987, to less  than $3.1 million as                                                               
of 2010,  with state appropriations decreasing  from $1.2 million                                                               
in fiscal year 1984  (FY 84), to less than $350,000  [in FY 12] -                                                               
and what has not decreased, and  has instead even grown, has been                                                               
the number of qualified applicants seeking ALSC services.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. STUDLER explained  that HB 299 aims to  correct the resultant                                                               
funding shortfall being experienced  by the ALSC, thereby helping                                                               
to  ensure civil  legal representation  for  Alaska's most  needy                                                               
population.  Yearly,  of those people the  ALSC provides services                                                               
to:   over  600  are seniors,  over 40  percent  reside in  rural                                                               
communities,  and  over 550  deal  with  domestic violence  (DV).                                                               
Last year alone, 2,541 qualified  Alaskans received services from                                                               
the ALSC,  which, due  to funding limitations,  was only  able to                                                               
meet the needs of 81 percent of its qualified applicants.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. STUDLER, in response to  questions, indicated that each year,                                                               
it would be up to the  legislature, during the budget process, to                                                               
determine  what  percent of  received  filing  fees, if  any,  to                                                               
appropriate  to  the civil  legal  services  fund, though  in  no                                                               
instance shall  it exceed  25 percent.   The bill  only addresses                                                               
funding and services related to  civil cases, not criminal cases,                                                               
and all funding  provided for by AS 37.05.590  - whether existing                                                               
or as proposed by  HB 299 - comes from the  general fund to begin                                                               
with.   House  Bill 299  was  introduced to  address the  funding                                                               
shortages [experienced by organizations  that provide civil legal                                                               
services  to low-income  Alaskans, such  as the  ALSC], and  it's                                                               
estimated that  25 percent  of the filing  fees received  [by the                                                               
ACS   during  the   previous  fiscal   year]   would  amount   to                                                               
[approximately] $666,000.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:34:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NIKOLE  M.  NELSON,  Executive Director,  Alaska  Legal  Services                                                               
Corporation (ALSC),  in response to questions,  explained that if                                                               
the ALSC  were to receive  the maximum amount provided  for under                                                               
HB 299,  it would  represent only  a 20  percent increase  in the                                                               
ALSC's  overall  budget; that  such  an  increase, if  all  other                                                               
funding sources  stayed flat,  would allow the  ALSC to  serve an                                                               
additional 500 families  - last year the ALSC was  forced to turn                                                               
away  [approximately  2,500]  families   because  of  a  lack  of                                                               
resources;  that  the  intent  of  HB  299  is  to  increase  the                                                               
availability of funds  in order to meet the  civil legal services                                                               
needs  of  Alaska's low-income  population;  that  even with  the                                                               
additional funding provided for via  HB 299, the ALSC would still                                                               
be underfunded and  thus would still be unable to  meet all those                                                               
needs; and  that the hope  is that even  with passage of  HB 299,                                                               
the   ALSC  would   still  receive   its  "regular"   legislative                                                               
appropriation,  with  the legislature  then  being  able to  give                                                               
consideration  each year  during the  budget process  to possibly                                                               
providing additional funding as outlined under HB 299.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. NELSON added that in  2001, the Alaska Supreme Court's Access                                                               
to Justice  Task Force recommended  that the ALSC budget  be what                                                               
would  now   -  after  adjusting   for  inflation  -   amount  to                                                               
approximately $7.5 million, but the  ALSC's current budget - from                                                               
all sources  - amounts to only  about $3.5 million.   Again, even                                                               
with the maximum  amount of additional funding that  HB 299 could                                                               
provide  for, the  ALSC would  still be  extremely underfunded  -                                                               
with a budget  far below the aforementioned  recommendation - and                                                               
thus  would still  be  unable  to meet  all  of  the civil  legal                                                               
services  needs  of Alaska's  low-income  population.   She  then                                                               
provided  the  committee  with   further  information  about  the                                                               
services the ALSC  provides to low-income Alaskans  and about its                                                               
staff,  along with  some recent  statistics,  and recounted  that                                                               
over the last  five years, in terms of  domestic relations cases,                                                               
the ALSC had a 96 percent  success rate in helping clients obtain                                                               
the results they  needed, and that last year the  ALSC was on the                                                               
forefront  of fighting  the epidemic  of  domestic violence  that                                                               
plagues Alaska.  However, and again,  last year the ALSC also had                                                               
to  turn away  hundreds  of qualified  people seeking  assistance                                                               
simply because  it lacked  the necessary  resources to  help; the                                                               
ALSC's client base continues to  increase every year, but funding                                                               
levels have simply not kept  pace regardless that the ALSC enjoys                                                               
widespread, bipartisan  community support throughout Alaska.   In                                                               
conclusion, she relayed  that in terms of enabling  access to the                                                               
civil  justice system  regardless of  one's financial  situation,                                                               
the ALSC believes that HB 299 would be part of the solution.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:41:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RICHARD  ALLEN,  Director,  Anchorage Office,  Office  of  Public                                                               
Advocacy  (OPA), Department  of  Administration (DOA),  explained                                                               
that  the OPA's  indeterminate fiscal  note for  HB 299  reflects                                                               
that there  is still a  question about  whether the OPA  would be                                                               
required  to represent  the opposing  party  in situations  where                                                               
someone is being  represented by the ALSC.   Regardless that that                                                               
question has yet to be addressed,  he opined, the ALSC does a lot                                                               
of good for a lot of  vulnerable Alaskans, and is the appropriate                                                               
agency to  handle the  civil legal  services needs  of low-income                                                               
Alaskans.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:43:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
QUINLAN  STEINER,  Director,   Central  Office,  Public  Defender                                                               
Agency  (PDA), Department  of Administration  (DOA), said  simply                                                               
that HB 299 would have no impact on the PDA.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:43:44 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MONICA  LOONEY  recounted  that  she  and  her  son,  victims  of                                                               
domestic  violence, sought  and received  civil legal  assistance                                                               
from the ALSC,  allowing the two of them to  once again feel safe                                                               
and no longer in jeopardy from  the perpetrator, at least for the                                                               
time  being.   In  conclusion,  she  expressed support  [for  the                                                               
ALSC], adding that she felt lucky  to have been chosen to receive                                                               
civil  legal  services  from  the  ALSC  given  its  overwhelming                                                               
caseload.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:47:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MICHELE  SHARPE  recounted  that  she  and  her  three  children,                                                               
victims  of domestic  violence, sought  and received  civil legal                                                               
services from the ALSC, allowing the  four of them to escape from                                                               
the violence.   In  conclusion, she  expressed her  gratitude for                                                               
the  ALSC's assistance,  adding  that she  wanted  to stress  the                                                               
importance of  that assistance, both  to her family and  the many                                                               
others in desperate need of such assistance.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:51:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
J.  KATE  BURKHART,  Executive  Director,  Alaska  Mental  Health                                                               
Board, Division of Behavioral Health  (DBH), Department of Health                                                               
and  Social Services  (DHSS), explained  that  the Alaska  Mental                                                               
Health Board supports  the passage of HB 299 because  the ALSC is                                                               
the civil  legal services agency  that most often  represents the                                                               
Alaska Mental Health Board's clients,  who often live in poverty.                                                               
Furthermore,  the ALSC  employs  attorneys  who have  specialized                                                               
training  and  experience in  addressing  the  issues most  often                                                               
faced by those  with mental illness.  She then  disclosed that in                                                               
the  past, she  has  worked for  the  ALSC as  an  attorney.   In                                                               
conclusion, she opined that it  is very important for the clients                                                               
of the Alaska Mental Health Board  to have access to the services                                                               
provided  by the  ALSC and  to  be represented  by competent  and                                                               
compassionate attorneys, such as those working for the ALSC.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:54:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MARIE  DARLIN, Coordinator,  AARP Capital  City Task  Force, said                                                               
that the AARP receives many  calls from older Alaskans with legal                                                               
questions and  problems who simply  don't know where to  turn for                                                               
assistance,  and the  AARP can  refer  those who  qualify to  the                                                               
ALSC, trusting  that the  ALSC can  be relied upon  to do  a good                                                               
job.   The  number of  such calls  is only  going to  increase as                                                               
Alaska's  population  ages, she  predicted,  with  more and  more                                                               
elderly Alaskans  seeking assistance with all  the various issues                                                               
they face.  In conclusion, she  said the AARP urges the committee                                                               
to  support  HB 299's proposal  to  provide  additional funds  to                                                               
address   the  civil-legal-aid   needs  of   Alaska's  low-income                                                               
population.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GATTO,  after ascertaining  that  no  one else  wished  to                                                               
testify, closed public testimony on HB 299.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:56:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  made  a  motion  to  adopt  Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 1,  to add an immediate  effective date to HB  299.  He                                                               
ventured  that   adoption  of  Amendment   1  might   enable  the                                                               
legislature to consider appropriating  funds as allowed under the                                                               
bill during the current legislative  budget process.  There being                                                               
no objection, Conceptual Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOLMES, remarking  upon how  difficult, daunting,                                                               
and terrifying it  can be to try to navigate  the legal system on                                                               
one's own, and how such efforts  can complicate and slow down the                                                               
civil justice system, characterized HB 299 as a good bill.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO  mentioned that members'  packets contain  letters of                                                               
support and  two fiscal notes,  and offered his  understanding of                                                               
some of the  types of cases that the ALSC  addresses, those it is                                                               
prohibited from  addressing, and  the amount  of filing  fees the                                                               
ACS received [during the previous fiscal year].                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:02:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOLMES moved to report  HB 299, as amended, out of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations and  the accompanying                                                               
fiscal  notes.   There  being  no  objection, CSHB  299(JUD)  was                                                               
reported from the House Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 2:02 p.m. to 2:04 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
           HB 303 - SUSPENDED IMPOSITION OF SENTENCE                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:04:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO  announced that the  next order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO.  303, "An Act relating to  suspended imposition of                                                               
sentence for certain criminal offences."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:05:14 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LES  GARA,  Alaska  State  Legislature,  sponsor,                                                               
explained  that  HB 303  would  allow  people  who have  had  the                                                               
imposition  of  their sentence  suspended  -  known as  suspended                                                               
imposition  of  sentence   (SIS)  -  [and  have   been  issued  a                                                               
certificate by  the court to  the effect  that the court  has set                                                               
aside] the  conviction, to state  when questioned that  they have                                                               
never  been convicted  [of the  crime they  were sentenced  for],                                                               
with that statement  then being considered to be true.   The bill                                                               
is  intended to  address  situations  in which  a  person -  when                                                               
applying for  something - is  asked whether he/she has  ever been                                                               
convicted  of  a  crime.    Some  other  states  will  expunge  a                                                               
conviction from  a person's criminal  record, but  expungement of                                                               
record is not  available in Alaska, and the  Alaska Supreme Court                                                               
has indicated that under the  wording of existing statute, when a                                                               
person granted  an SIS [and  issued a certificate]  is responding                                                               
to the  question of whether he/she  has ever been convicted  of a                                                               
crime,  he/she must  answer "yes,"  [because he/she  actually was                                                               
convicted and the  conviction was merely set aside].   He offered                                                               
his  understanding  that  under  current   law,  an  SIS  is  not                                                               
available when the underlying crime  is a crime against a person;                                                               
HB 303 would not change that.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA  relayed  that   an  amendment  labeled  27-                                                               
LS1192\M.1,  Gardner, 2/8/12,  in  members'  packets would  limit                                                               
HB 303's proposed  change to AS  12.55.085(e) such that  it would                                                               
then  only apply  in situations  involving  a misdemeanor  crime;                                                               
that amendment read [original punctuation provided]:                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 7, following "subsection":                                                                                
          Insert "for a misdemeanor offense"                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 8, following "the":                                                                                       
          Insert "misdemeanor"                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GARA,  in  response to  questions,  offered  some                                                               
examples of the types of crimes  for which a court might grant an                                                               
SIS, noted that some felony crimes  are also eligible for an SIS,                                                               
and  surmised,   therefore,  that  limiting  the   bill  via  the                                                               
aforementioned amendment would be the best approach.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:15:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  pointed  out   that  a  person  can't  be                                                               
sentenced without  first being  convicted, and  with an  SIS, the                                                               
court merely refrains from imposing  the sentence; therefore, the                                                               
change proposed by  the bill would essentially allow  a person to                                                               
lie on applications,  for example, with regard  to whether he/she                                                               
was ever convicted.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GARA  - indicating a  belief that setting  aside a                                                               
conviction was equivalent  to removing it, that if  it's been set                                                               
aside, it  doesn't exist anymore  - opined  that if a  person has                                                               
been granted an SIS [and  been issued a certificate], then he/she                                                               
should be allowed to state  on applications that he/she has never                                                               
been convicted.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PRUITT  mentioned  that   he  has  concerns  with                                                               
HB 303's proposed change.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  suggested that  HB 303 be  amended such                                                               
that  the court  -  on  a case-by-case  basis  -  would have  the                                                               
discretionary authority to  permit a person to  state that he/she                                                               
has not been  convicted, or such that the person  would then have                                                               
the right to specify that the conviction had been set aside.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO relayed that HB 303 would be held over.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
        HB 216 - REGULATIONS: INFORMATIVE SUMMARY/BILLS                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:23:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO  announced that the  next order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL NO.  216,  "An  Act relating  to  deadlines in  bills                                                               
directing  the adoption  of regulations  and  to the  informative                                                               
summary required for the proposed  adoption, amendment, or repeal                                                               
of a  regulation."   [Before the committee  was CSHB  216(STA); a                                                               
proposed  committee  substitute  (CS)  for HB  216,  Version  27-                                                               
LS0701\T, Bannister,  2/2/12, was adopted  as the work  draft and                                                               
amended on 2/3/12.]                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:24:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  HOLMES moved  to adopt  a new  proposed committee                                                               
substitute  (CS)  for  HB 216,  Version  27-LS0701\R,  Bannister,                                                               
2/9/12, as the working document.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PRUITT objected  for the  purpose of  discussion.                                                               
[Although  that   objection  was  never  formally   removed,  the                                                               
committee treated Version R as the work draft before it.]                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:25:36 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PEGGY WILSON, Alaska  State Legislature, sponsor -                                                               
after briefly  recapping that HB  216 is intended to  ensure that                                                               
proposed  regulatory changes  are completed  in a  timely manner,                                                               
and  that  the associated  notices  are  accompanied by  a  brief                                                               
description  of the  proposed changes  written in  clear, easily-                                                               
readable language  - explained that in  addition to incorporating                                                               
Amendment 1  to Version  T, Version R  now also  contains changes                                                               
intended  to   address  members'  concerns  and   suggestions  as                                                               
expressed during  the bill's last  hearing.   Specifically, under                                                               
Version  R, Section  1's proposed  AS 24.08.035(f)  now clarifies                                                               
that  it will  be the  affected department  that shall  include a                                                               
deadline   in  its   fiscal  note;   Section  1's   proposed  [AS                                                               
24.08.035(g) clarifies  that as used in  proposed subsection (f),                                                               
the   term,  "agency"   includes  the   Alaska  Housing   Finance                                                               
Corporation (AHFC), the Alaska  Industrial Development and Export                                                               
Authority (AIDEA),  the Alaska Public Offices  Commission (APOC),                                                               
and  the Alaska  Oil  and Gas  Conservation Commission  (AOGCC)];                                                               
Section  2's  proposed AS  44.62.200(d)  no  longer contains  the                                                               
words,  "without  cross-referencing   the  Alaska  Administrative                                                               
Code"  at  the  end  of  its  second  sentence;  and  newly-added                                                               
Section 4 provides for an effective date of July 1, 2012.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG questioned  whether that's  the correct                                                               
effective date to provide for.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  P.  WILSON said  she  would  research that  issue                                                               
further.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  GATTO announced  that HB  216,  Version R,  would be  held                                                               
over.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
       HB 296 - CRIME OF ESCAPE/DEF. OF CORRECT. FACILITY                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:30:49 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO announced  that the final order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 296, "An  Act relating  to service of  process on                                                               
prisoners;  relating to  the  crime of  escape;  relating to  the                                                               
definition of  'correctional facility';  amending Rule  4, Alaska                                                               
Rules of Civil  Procedure; and providing for  an effective date."                                                               
[HB 296 had been amended on 2/1/12.]                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG,  on  behalf of  the  committee,  which                                                               
sponsored  HB  296, explained  that  after  discussions with  the                                                               
administration,  the  committee  is  choosing not  to  include  a                                                               
legislative purposes  section -  which would have  specified that                                                               
the bill's  intended purpose was  to codify the  court's decision                                                               
in  Bridge v.  State, 258  P.3d 923  (Alaska App.  2011); not  to                                                             
amend the statutes  pertaining to "good time" credit;  to amend -                                                               
as  suggested  by  the  administration  -  Section  3's  proposed                                                               
AS 11.56.310(c)'s  definition  of   what  constitutes  a  "secure                                                               
correctional facility";  and to  delete Section  4 -  which would                                                               
alter   existing   AS   11.81.900(b)(9)'s  definition   of   what                                                               
constitutes  a "correctional  facility".    A proposed  amendment                                                               
included  in members'  packets is  intended to  effect those  two                                                               
changes, which, again, were suggested by the administration.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:33:46 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG made  a  motion to  adopt Amendment  2,                                                               
labeled 27-LS1199\D.4, Gardner, 2/10/12, which read:                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Page 1, line 2:                                                                                                            
          Delete "'correctional facility'"                                                                                    
          Insert "'secure correctional facility'"                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, lines 13 - 18:                                                                                                     
          Delete all material and insert:                                                                                       
               "(1)  has construction fixtures or security                                                                      
     features that are designed to restrict the ability of                                                                      
       a person under official detention from leaving the                                                                       
     facility without lawful authority; or                                                                                      
               (2)  has correctional officers or other                                                                          
     persons authorized to prevent a person under official                                                                      
     detention from leaving without lawful authority."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 2, lines 19 - 23:                                                                                                     
          Delete all material.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Renumber the following bill sections accordingly.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, line 2, following "Act,":                                                                                          
          Insert "and"                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Page 3, lines 3 - 4:                                                                                                       
          Delete "and the definition of "correctional                                                                           
     facility" in AS 11.81.900(b)(9), as amended by sec. 4                                                                      
     of this Act,"                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE HOLMES objected.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER questioned  whether  Section 4's  proposed                                                               
change  to the  definition in  AS 11.81.900(b)(9)  regarding what                                                               
constitutes   a   "correctional   facility"  would   impact   the                                                               
reimbursement  of  Medicaid  funds  to  the  state  for  eligible                                                               
prisoners.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG again  relayed that  Amendment 2  would                                                               
delete  Section 4;  furthermore, HB  296 is  only addressing  the                                                               
crime of  escape in the second  degree - AS 11.56.310 -  in which                                                               
the  person  would  have  had  to have  escaped  from  a  "secure                                                               
correctional facility," with that term then also being defined.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 2:38 p.m. to 2:49 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:52:04 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
DOUGLAS GARDNER, Director, Legal  Services, Legislative Legal and                                                               
Research Services, Legislative Affairs  Agency (LAA), in response                                                               
to questions, concurred  with Representative Gruenberg's comments                                                               
and explanations, and additionally  noted that under Amendment 2,                                                               
proposed AS  11.56.310(c)(2) would  use the broader  term, "other                                                               
persons",  whereas currently  under the  bill, it  uses the  more                                                               
limited term,  "other facility staff"; that  retention of Section                                                               
4 could  lead to conflicts  with regard to the  various statutory                                                               
definitions of  the term, "correctional  facility"; and  that the                                                               
bill addresses the statutes pertaining  to the crime of escape in                                                               
the  second  degree,  not the  statutes  pertaining  to  Medicaid                                                               
reimbursements.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  indicated  a preference  for  removing                                                               
Section 4,  and for having HB  296 focus narrowly on  the court's                                                               
decision in Bridge.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR GATTO relayed that HB 296,  as amended, would be held over,                                                               
with the motion to adopt Amendment 2 left pending.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:05:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Judiciary Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 3:05 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 255 Legislative Legal Services Memo.pdf HJUD 2/10/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 255
HB 255 CS X version.pdf HJUD 2/10/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 255
CSHB 255(JUD) Amendment X 1.pdf HJUD 2/10/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 255
HB 216 AM CS (JUD)_T2.pdf HJUD 2/10/2012 1:00:00 PM
HB 216