Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

01/29/2018 01:30 PM JUDICIARY

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01:33:38 PM Start
01:34:07 PM HB129
02:22:51 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
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Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                        January 29, 2018                                                                                        
                           1:33 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Matt Claman, Chair                                                                                               
Representative Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins                                                                                          
Representative Gabrielle LeDoux                                                                                                 
Representative David Eastman                                                                                                    
Representative Chuck Kopp                                                                                                       
Representative Charisse Millett (alternate)                                                                                     
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Zach Fansler, Vice Chair                                                                                         
Representative Lora Reinbold                                                                                                    
Representative Louise Stutes (alternate)                                                                                        
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 129                                                                                                              
"An  Act   relating  to  sport  fishing,   hunting,  or  trapping                                                               
licenses,  tags, or  permits; relating  to penalties  for certain                                                               
sport   fishing,  hunting,   and  trapping   license  violations;                                                               
relating  to  restrictions  on the  issuance  of  sport  fishing,                                                               
hunting, and trapping licenses;  creating violations and amending                                                               
fines  and  restitution  for  certain  fish  and  game  offenses;                                                               
creating  an exemption  from payment  of restitution  for certain                                                               
unlawful  takings of  big game  animals;  relating to  commercial                                                               
fishing  violations; allowing  lost federal  matching funds  from                                                               
the  Pittman  -  Robertson,  Dingell -  Johnson/Wallop  -  Breaux                                                               
programs  to be  included in  an order  of restitution;  adding a                                                               
definition of  'electronic form'; and providing  for an effective                                                               
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB 129                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: FISH & GAME: OFFENSES;LICENSES;PENALTIES                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
02/15/17       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/15/17       (H)       RES, JUD                                                                                               
03/29/17       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/29/17       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/29/17       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
03/31/17       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 106                                                                             
03/31/17       (H)       Scheduled but Not Heard                                                                                
04/03/17       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
04/03/17       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/03/17       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
04/05/17       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
04/05/17       (H)       Moved CSHB 129(RES) Out of Committee                                                                   
04/05/17       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
04/07/17       (H)       RES RPT CS(RES) 6DP 3NR                                                                                
04/07/17       (H)       DP: BIRCH, PARISH, WESTLAKE, DRUMMOND,                                                                 
                        TARR, JOSEPHSON                                                                                         
04/07/17       (H)       NR: TALERICO, JOHNSON, RAUSCHER                                                                        
01/29/18       (H)       JUD AT 1:30 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
MAJOR BERNARD CHASTAIN, Deputy Director                                                                                         
Division of Alaska Wildlife Troopers                                                                                            
Department of Public Safety                                                                                                     
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  During the hearing of HB 129, offered a                                                                  
sectional analysis of the legislation.                                                                                          
AARON PETERSON, Assistant Attorney General                                                                                      
Office of Special Prosecutions                                                                                                  
Criminal Division                                                                                                               
Department of Law                                                                                                               
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  During the hearing of HB 129, answered                                                                   
BRUCE DALE, Director                                                                                                            
Division of Wildlife Conservation                                                                                               
Department of Fish & Game                                                                                                       
Palmer, Alaska                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  During the hearing of HB 129, answered                                                                   
NICK STEEN                                                                                                                      
Wasilla, Alaska                                                                                                                 
POSITION STATEMENT:  During the hearing of HB 129, testified.                                                                 
MARK RICHARDS, Executive Director                                                                                               
Resident Hunters of Alaska                                                                                                      
Fairbanks, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION  STATEMENT:   During  the  hearing  of HB  129,  offered                                                             
support for the legislation.                                                                                                    
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
1:33:38 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MATT  CLAMAN called the House  Judiciary Standing Committee                                                             
meeting to  order at 1:33  p.m. Representatives  Claman, Eastman,                                                               
Millett  (alternate  for  Representative Reinbold),  and  Kreiss-                                                               
Tomkins were present at the  call to order.  Representatives Kopp                                                               
and LeDoux arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                              
        HB 129-FISH & GAME: OFFENSES;LICENSES;PENALTIES                                                                     
1:34:07 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN announced  that the only order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO.  129, "An Act relating to  sport fishing, hunting,                                                               
or  trapping licenses,  tags, or  permits; relating  to penalties                                                               
for  certain   sport  fishing,  hunting,  and   trapping  license                                                               
violations;  relating to  restrictions on  the issuance  of sport                                                               
fishing, hunting, and trapping  licenses; creating violations and                                                               
amending  fines  and  restitution   for  certain  fish  and  game                                                               
offenses; creating  an exemption from payment  of restitution for                                                               
certain  unlawful  takings  of  big  game  animals;  relating  to                                                               
commercial  fishing violations;  allowing  lost federal  matching                                                               
funds from  the Pittman -  Robertson, Dingell -  Johnson/Wallop -                                                               
Breaux  programs  to be  included  in  an order  of  restitution;                                                               
adding a  definition of 'electronic  form'; and providing  for an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
1:34:46 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR  BERNARD  CHASTAIN,  Deputy Director,  Division  of  Alaska                                                               
Wildlife  Troopers,  Department  of   Public  Safety,  turned  to                                                               
Section  1 of  the  sectional analysis,  and  explained that  the                                                               
primary focus  of HB 129  is four  main points: First,  it allows                                                               
the  person   who  receives  a   citation  for  not   having  the                                                               
appropriate sport fishing, hunting,  or trapping license in their                                                               
immediate possession to present  those licenses to the Department                                                               
of  Public  Safety  (DPS)  because  it  could  be  a  correctable                                                               
citation.  Second,  it becomes unlawful for a person  to obtain a                                                               
sport  fishing,  hunting, or  trapping  license  if the  person's                                                               
rights  to  engage  in  those  activities  had  been  revoked  or                                                               
suspended  in  Alaska.    Third,  it  increases  the  restitution                                                               
amounts for unlawfully  taken big game animals,  and it increases                                                               
strict liability commercial fishing  fines for first, second, and                                                               
third offenses.  Fourth, it creates  the option of charging for a                                                               
violation  or misdemeanor  offense  for  most statutes  contained                                                               
under AS 16.05  and 10.10.  He explained that  this clarifies the                                                               
proper  documentation a  person must  have on  their person  when                                                               
engaging in  certain activities,  and it reorders  the activities                                                               
of trapping and  fur dealings to exclude the latter  from being a                                                               
correctable citation.   This  legislation, he  advised, "reorders                                                               
some of these  so that the first three are  sport activities, and                                                               
4  and  5  are  considered   commercial  activities."    This  is                                                               
important,  and it  is contained  in Section  3 of  the bill,  he                                                               
pointed out.                                                                                                                    
1:37:07 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR  CHASTAIN  advised  that  Section  2  is  amended,  and  it                                                               
actually  includes the  words "this  or another  state."   In the                                                               
event a person is revoked  or suspended from hunting, fishing, or                                                               
trapping in Alaska,  the person is revoked or  suspended to hunt,                                                               
fish, or  trap in another  state, territory, or country  and vice                                                               
versa.   However, it  does not include  "this or  another state."                                                               
He  explained, "So,  actually including  Alaska as  one of  those                                                               
options,  so  if  you're  suspended   in  Alaska,  you  are  also                                                               
prohibited from purchasing a license here in Alaska."                                                                           
1:37:38 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR  CHASTAIN explained  that Section  3 creates  a correctable                                                               
violation.   He  explained [AS  16.05.330(f)] to  mean that  if a                                                               
person  is charged  with violating  this section  for failure  to                                                               
have a license  in their actual possession.  The  person will not                                                               
be convicted  if they produce in  the office of the  arresting or                                                               
citing  agency no  later than  30-days  after the  issuance of  a                                                               
citation,  a license  previously issued  to the  person that  was                                                               
valid  at the  time of  the  offense.   He related  that this  is                                                               
similar to correctable citations  for vehicle insurance and other                                                               
types of situations.                                                                                                            
MAJOR  CHASTAIN  explained that  [AS  16.05.330(g)]  read that  a                                                               
license in actual  possession may be in paper  or electronic form                                                               
because the  Alaska Department of  Fish & Game (DF&G)  desires to                                                               
create a situation where electronic  licenses are allowed, and it                                                               
will develop that process and put it forward.                                                                                   
MAJOR  CHASTAIN  explained  that [AS  16.05.330(h)]  specifically                                                               
states  any peace  officer presented  with  an electronic  device                                                               
under  (g) of  this section  shall be  immune from  any liability                                                               
resulting from damage to the device.                                                                                            
1:39:44 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR  CHASTAIN  explained  that   Sections  4-5  are  the  first                                                               
sections  that reorder  and  align  penalties in  Title  16.   He                                                               
advised  that, "Throughout  this bill,  I'm going  to talk  about                                                               
what  that means.   And,  whenever  I talk  about reordering  and                                                               
aligning the  penalties, it means  this same thing."   He advised                                                               
that under  Title 16, there are  a variety of different  types of                                                               
misdemeanor  offenses  and  this  bill attempts  to  align  those                                                               
offenses with  AS 12.55 as a  class A misdemeanor.   In the event                                                               
AS  12.55 changes,  or  the legislatures  chooses  to change  the                                                               
penalties associated with a class  A misdemeanor, those will also                                                               
change according to whatever changes take place under AS 12.55.                                                                 
MAJOR  CHASTAIN  offered that  this  bill  allows prosecutors  to                                                               
charge  offenses  as  a  violation  in the  event  that  is  more                                                               
appropriate.  It creates two  separate categories of crimes under                                                               
5  AAC  and  Title  16,  a misdemeanor  or  a  violation  offense                                                               
depending upon the seriousness of  the offense, which offers more                                                               
tools to prosecutors when determining the appropriate charge.                                                                   
1:41:32 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR  CHASTAIN   advised  that  Section  6   raises  the  strict                                                               
liability  commercial  fishing  offense fines  from  the  amounts                                                               
established  in 1988.    These  fines are  given  to a  convicted                                                               
defendant, and  these are  the maximum  fines allowed  under that                                                               
penalty for  that offense.   Under current  law, he  pointed out,                                                               
there is  a maximum of $3,000  for a first offense;  a maximum of                                                               
$6,000 for  a second offense; and  a maximum of $9,000  for third                                                               
or   subsequent  convictions.      These   fines  are   increased                                                               
accordingly,   he  explained,   and   they  primarily   represent                                                               
inflation  changes from  1988 dollars  to 2016  dollars.   Strict                                                               
liability   commercial  fishing   violations  are   not  criminal                                                               
offenses,  and  they  are considered  violations  with  a  higher                                                               
dollar amount, he said.                                                                                                         
1:42:43 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR  CHASTAIN advised  that Section  7 amends  AS 16.05.722  by                                                               
adding  a new  subsection requiring  a court  system to  transmit                                                               
notice  of all  of  the  convictions under  this  section to  the                                                               
Commercial   Fisheries  Entry   Commission  (CFEC).   Similar  to                                                               
driver's  licenses, commercial  fishermen are  applied points  to                                                               
their  licenses.     When  a  person  is   convicted  of  certain                                                               
commercial  fishing offenses  it is  important that  those points                                                               
are  applied to  that license,  and that  the commercial  fishing                                                               
convictions are  conveyed to the  agency responsible  for keeping                                                               
track of the total points applied to an individual, he said.                                                                    
1:43:16 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR  CHASTAIN advised  that Sections  8-16  align the  offenses                                                               
within  Title   16.    Sections  8-16   remove  unclassified  and                                                               
different types  of misdemeanors,  aligns them  all with  class A                                                               
misdemeanors, and  creates a separate  section for  violations to                                                               
be charged under those sections.                                                                                                
MAJOR   CHASTAIN  advised   that  Section   17(b)  provides   for                                                               
restitution  amounts;  these amounts  are  put  in place  when  a                                                               
person is  convicted by a  court of  law for illegally  taking an                                                               
animal.   In the event the  animal is taken illegally,  the court                                                               
may  impose restitution  in addition  to the  fines or  penalties                                                               
associated by the  court.  He explained that in  1984, these were                                                               
put in  place primarily  because the animals  and fish  belong to                                                               
Alaskans collectively, and  when someone takes an  animal or fish                                                               
illegally,  the victim  is the  state.   The restitution  amounts                                                               
listed  attempt to  make the  state whole  for the  value of  the                                                               
resource taken  illegally, and some  animals reflect  an increase                                                               
in fines  due to the inflationary  rate from the 1984  dollars to                                                               
today's  dollars,  or  they  reflect  changes  made  in  previous                                                               
committees, he explained.                                                                                                       
1:45:19 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR CHASTAIN advised that Section  18 adds a new subsection and                                                               
he paraphrased  as follows:  "a defendant may  not be  ordered to                                                               
pay  restitution  under (b)  of  this  section if  the  defendant                                                               
voluntarily turns themselves in to  law enforcement."  He advised                                                               
that several hundred people each  year turn themselves in because                                                               
they killed  an animal that they  believed was legal at  the time                                                               
yet turned  out to be  illegal.  Under  this section and  in that                                                               
circumstances, he said, if all of  the meat is salvaged, and they                                                               
turned themselves into the state  troopers and are charged with a                                                               
violation  offense,   the  court  may  not   impose  restitution.                                                               
Thereby, he  related, it  offers an incentive  for the  person to                                                               
actually turn themselves in rather  than leaving an animal in the                                                               
field to waste.                                                                                                                 
1:46:13 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR CHASTAIN  advised that Section  19 defines  the "electronic                                                               
form" as it pertains to  Section 3 under AS 16.05.330(g), wherein                                                               
the  electronic form  provides  for  a display  of  images on  an                                                               
electronic  device,  such  as  a  mobile  telephone,  tablet,  or                                                               
MAJOR CHASTAIN  advised that Sections 21-26  change the penalties                                                               
associated   in  Title   16,  and   it  aligns   those  penalties                                                               
MAJOR CHASTAIN  advised that  Section 27 is  amended by  adding a                                                               
new  subsection,  and it  aligns  penalties  under AS  16.10.130.                                                               
Sections  28-29 are  amended  by  adding a  new  section for  the                                                               
applicability and the effective date of the act.                                                                                
1:47:21 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT referred to  electronic licenses and asked                                                               
whether the process  would be that folks take a  picture of their                                                               
license and keep it on their  phones, or whether the person would                                                               
receive  an electronic  license  from the  Department  of Fish  &                                                               
MAJOR CHASTAIN said  that whatever format the  Department of Fish                                                               
& Game  (ADF&G) decides  is appropriate  for licensing  will also                                                               
work for  the enforcement side.   He noted that there  are pieces                                                               
of licensing that  requires recording items on  licenses, such as                                                               
a  king salmon  tag or  the harvest  tickets on  the back  of the                                                               
license itself.   There must be  a process in place  to make sure                                                               
those are represented  in an electronic format.   There have been                                                               
recent discussions with the Department  of Fish & Game (ADF&G) as                                                               
to how  that might  look, but  it requires  ADF&G to  develop the                                                               
process first, "before that is  something that is acceptable," he                                                               
1:48:36 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT  noted   that  currently,  subsequent  to                                                               
receiving her king salmon tag she  is required to write where the                                                               
king salmon was harvested and the  date.  She asked whether there                                                               
would be an  electronic submission for that  information or would                                                               
it still be on the honor system  as to the location she lands her                                                               
king salmon,  noting that that is  why the picture would  seem to                                                               
be more accurate.                                                                                                               
MAJOR  CHASTAIN  reiterated  that  he could  only  answer  as  to                                                               
enforcement purposes,  and his division will  enforce whatever is                                                               
the  appropriate  license type  the  Department  of Fish  &  Game                                                               
(ADF&G) says is "okay to present."                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT commented  that perhaps  that could  be a                                                               
friendly amendment to include at some point.                                                                                    
1:49:51 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS referred to  Section 17, noting two                                                               
zero  fiscal notes,  and questioned  that with  the increases  in                                                               
restitution it  would seem that  this bill would have  a positive                                                               
fiscal note.                                                                                                                    
MAJOR CHASTAIN  advised that this  money would be an  increase to                                                               
the state and  go into the general fund, there  is no fiscal note                                                               
to the Department  of Public Safety (DPS) as it  will not receive                                                               
any money from the increases in restitution.                                                                                    
1:50:46 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  asked  Major  Chastain  what  the                                                               
projected  increase  from restitutions  to  the  general fund  is                                                               
expected to be  and offered that he could provide  that answer at                                                               
a later  date.  The  percentage increases in  restitution amounts                                                               
for  the different  game animals  vary so  it is  not a  straight                                                               
inflationary adjustment,  he pointed  out.   He then  asked Major                                                               
Chastain  to speak  to the  rationale  as why  restitution for  a                                                               
moose  more  than doubles,  whereas  a  black bear  increases  33                                                               
percent.  Relatedly,  he asked whether DPS  would have objections                                                               
to  language  that  may   automatically  inflation  adjust  these                                                               
restitution amounts going into the future.                                                                                      
MAJOR CHASTAIN responded  that as far as  the restitution amounts                                                               
go from  an enforcement standpoint,  if the troopers are  doing a                                                               
good  job at  enforcement, and  part  of that  is education,  the                                                               
state will  have less animals taken  illegally over time.   It is                                                               
difficult to put a number on  what the DPS thinks the increase of                                                               
restitution  dollars would  be because  it  varies from  year-to-                                                               
year.  He  pointed out that it is  the view of DPS that  if it is                                                               
doing its  job, it  is preventing some  of these  violations from                                                               
occurring.  As  to the increase in restitution  amounts, he said,                                                               
in  the  House  Resources  Standing   Committee  and  the  Senate                                                               
Resources  Standing  Committee  there  was a  lot  of  discussion                                                               
about, "what  is the value  of these  animals to the  citizens of                                                               
the  state."    He  noted   that  different  legislators  offered                                                               
different  values   depending  upon   the  area   the  legislator                                                               
represents, the  food source value  to their community,  and what                                                               
they believe the value would be  for that animal in the area they                                                               
represent.  He reiterated that  the value itself changed for some                                                               
of those animals due to  the amendments passed in the committees.                                                               
As  to  inflation proofing,  he  opined  that inflation  proofing                                                               
would  be appropriate  because  the fines  have  not changed  for                                                               
quite  some time  and putting  some  sort of  inflation in  there                                                               
keeps some sort of a standard in place.                                                                                         
1:53:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN asked whether  the information regarding restitution                                                               
dollars  the state  had  received  over the  last  ten years  was                                                               
available, and whether  those figures could be  available for the                                                               
next hearing.                                                                                                                   
MAJOR   CHASTAIN  responded   that  he   was  unsure   how  those                                                               
restitution dollars are organized,  but he would perform research                                                               
and if the information was available,  he would provide it to the                                                               
1:53:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN referred  to Section  18 and  described a                                                               
scenario  where  the DPS  made  contact  with an  individual  who                                                               
advised that they were reporting  the kill voluntarily.  He asked                                                               
whether there is  an assumption that because the  hunter "did not                                                               
do it  on their  own" before the  department contacted  them that                                                               
they are guilty,  or whether it is more the  idea that "they said                                                               
they did it voluntarily, so we'll just take them at their word."                                                                
MAJOR CHASTAIN  answered that the  DPS deals with a  wide variety                                                               
of those  types of scenarios  each year.   The general  belief is                                                               
that it  requires a lot  of fortitude on  the part of  the person                                                               
making  the phone  call when  turning themselves  into the  state                                                               
troopers.   That, he  offered, is  a tough  call to  make because                                                               
oftentimes  people  are  ashamed   of  their  mistake  in  having                                                               
committed that violation,  but they want to do what  is right for                                                               
that  situation, and  the DPS  treats them  accordingly.   On the                                                               
other side,  he commented, the  DPS also deals with  those people                                                               
who  have no  intention of  turning themselves  in until  the DPS                                                               
catches them in  the field with an illegal animal.   Those people                                                               
then say,  "I'm so  glad you're  here, I was  just about  to turn                                                               
myself in."  The DPS investigates  that situation as it would any                                                               
other crime,  and if it  has every  reason to believe  the person                                                               
was  going to  turn themselves  in, the  person would  be treated                                                               
1:55:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN referred  to Sections 10, 13,  14, 16, 21,                                                               
23, 25,  and 27,  noting that those  sections stipulate  that the                                                               
violations  are strict  liability, and  asked that  in the  event                                                               
someone  accidentally violated,  why the  state would  still hold                                                               
them fully accountable.                                                                                                         
MAJOR  CHASTAIN noted  that there  is  a lengthy  answer to  that                                                               
question and  summarized that fish  & game violations  are unlike                                                               
many other violations because his  division must be able to catch                                                               
people committing  these violations,  and many times  no culpable                                                               
mental state is required.    Certainly, under 5 AAC  and a lot of                                                               
other  regulations  the Board  of  Fish  and  the Board  of  Game                                                               
create, the culpable  mental state is simply  negligence that the                                                               
person violated, similar to a  speeding ticket.  Therefore, under                                                               
Title 16, this would allow a  prosecutor to decide whether it was                                                               
more appropriate  to charge someone  with a maximum of  $500 fine                                                               
violation versus  charging them with  a misdemeanor offense.   It                                                               
aligns that  decision accordingly  in statute with  the penalties                                                               
under AS 12.55.   He explained that it is  defined as a violation                                                               
under AS  12.55, it is also  defined as a class  A misdemeanor as                                                               
defined under AS 12.55, as well.                                                                                                
1:57:46 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  CLAMAN  commented  that  to a  large  extent,  the  strict                                                               
liability nature of certain fish &  game offenses is not a change                                                               
in the current law, it is the law today.                                                                                        
MAJOR CHASTAIN commented  that Chair Claman was  correct, in that                                                               
almost all  fish & game violations  under 5 AAC that  are created                                                               
by  the Board  of Fish  and the  Board of  Game, the  standard is                                                               
strict liability.                                                                                                               
CHAIR CLAMAN  surmised that  this is  not a  bill in  which there                                                               
would be  a change in the  standard, it is just  changing some of                                                               
the penalties related to those violations.                                                                                      
MAJOR  CHASTAIN  clarified  that  HB 129  creates  two  different                                                               
categories  of   charging,  wherein  it  creates   an  additional                                                               
charging scheme  of strict  liability in  statute which  does not                                                               
currently exist.                                                                                                                
1:58:24 PM                                                                                                                    
AARON  PETERSON, Assistant  Attorney General,  Office of  Special                                                               
Prosecutions,  Criminal Division,  Department  of Law,  responded                                                               
that  all  of  the  sections  Representative  Eastman  referenced                                                               
create  the  ability  to  reduce   offenses  to  violations  that                                                               
currently,   can  only   be  charged   as  misdemeanors,   (audio                                                               
difficulties)  uniform throughout  the bill.   Currently,  if the                                                               
Department of Law (DOL) receives a  case that can only be charged                                                               
as a  misdemeanor, which under Title  16 means there is  a mental                                                               
state involved, the  state has to prove that the  mental state is                                                               
negligence  as the  major (audio  difficulties).   Sometimes,  he                                                               
noted,  the   state  troopers   or  DOL   might  believe   it  is                                                               
appropriate, given  the circumstances, to  reduce it to  a strict                                                               
liability violation.   Under Title 16, currently,  several of the                                                               
offenses  cannot  be reduced,  so  this  bill would  remedy  that                                                               
requirement and give the prosecutor  the discretion to reduce the                                                               
offense to the lesser offense.                                                                                                  
1:59:44 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  requested the rationale for  creating the                                                               
strict  liability  component  and  the  value  of  having  strict                                                               
MR.   PETERSON  reiterated   that  it   is  dependent   upon  any                                                               
circumstance and  whether it may  be appropriate to have  a lower                                                               
level charge.   He  pointed out  that this  is not  necessarily a                                                               
proof problem to  be remedied here, it is an  attempt through the                                                               
legislature to  give the DOL  and the DPS  the ability to  have a                                                               
lower  level charge  for  someone  who may  have  made an  honest                                                               
mistake but was still negligent.   Yet, given the totality of the                                                               
circumstances,  the  appropriate  resolution might  be  a  strict                                                               
liability violation.  This legislation,  he explained, would give                                                               
prosecutors  and the  DPS the  ability  to either  make that  the                                                               
initial charging decision  or the ultimate resolution  of a case,                                                               
which is  on a case-by-case  basis, so  it would just  be another                                                               
2:01:35 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  referred to the fiscal  notes, noting that                                                               
the increase in  dollars for fines goes into the  general fund so                                                               
the  department does  not have  a fiscal  note.   She asked  what                                                               
would happen  if the  amount of dollars  for fines  decreased and                                                               
less  money went  to the  general fund,  and whether  there would                                                               
still be no  fiscal notes.  She further asked  whether there is a                                                               
way  of  knowing  when  something goes  into  the  general  fund,                                                               
whether it will cost the state or benefit the state.                                                                            
MAJOR CHASTAIN responded that DPS  is unique in this situation in                                                               
that it  is squarely in  the middle of  the line here  because it                                                               
does not receive  any funding or any benefits  from the increased                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX expressed that that  was not a criticism of                                                               
DPS, she  was simply  trying to determine  whether there  was any                                                               
way  this committee  could know  whether something  would benefit                                                               
the state in terms of revenue or the opposite.                                                                                  
2:03:49 PM                                                                                                                    
BRUCE   DALE,  Director,   Division  of   Wildlife  Conservation,                                                               
Department of Fish  & Game, advised that he was  unaware why that                                                               
would  be  a zero  fiscal  note  and he  would  get  back to  the                                                               
committee with an answer.                                                                                                       
2:04:06 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT referred to Section  2 and asked about the                                                               
communications  between   states,  and  how  they   know  whether                                                               
someone's license had been suspended or revoked.                                                                                
MAJOR CHASTAIN  advised that  Alaska is  part of  the Inter-State                                                               
Wildlife  Violators  Compact,   with  approximately  38-39-member                                                               
states currently.  There is  reciprocity with all of those states                                                               
for suspended licenses, just like  a driver's license, except not                                                               
all states belong to the compact.   He offered that Alaska is one                                                               
of the few  states with this statute on its  books that discusses                                                               
suspension  of licenses.   Many  other  states do  not have  this                                                               
statute  and  they rely  on  the  Inter-State Wildlife  Violators                                                               
Compact  as  part  of  the reciprocity  to  determine  whether  a                                                               
license had been  suspended or revoked.  In the  event someone is                                                               
suspended  in one  of the  other member  states, he  advised that                                                               
that member state  enters the license into  the compact database,                                                               
and all  of the states  belonging to  the compact have  access to                                                               
that database.                                                                                                                  
2:05:21 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE MILLETT  offered a scenario where  someone obtains                                                               
a  resident fish  &  game  license, but  they  also  have one  in                                                               
another state, and asked whether DPS has that same database.                                                                    
MAJOR  CHASTAIN  responded  that  the DPS  has  access  to  other                                                               
states, mainly through law enforcement,  but it is not a database                                                               
similar to  the Alaska Public Safety  Information Network (APSIN)                                                               
or  National Crime  Information Center  (NCIC) to  determine that                                                               
information.  The  DPS does have access to  Alaska's own database                                                               
to  determine licensing  through the  Department of  Fish &  Game                                                               
(ADF&G).    Many times,  he  offered,  investigating a  residency                                                               
situation  involves a  law  enforcement  officer contacting  that                                                               
other agency to  ask them to run the person  for licenses in that                                                               
state.  The DPS will  then receive certified documents from those                                                               
states  regarding the  person's licensing  and then  conducts its                                                               
investigation, he said.                                                                                                         
2:06:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN referred  to Section 2, and noted  that existing law                                                               
is, "you are already looking for  other states and this allows us                                                               
to look  at Alaska, as  well."  He  said he found  it interesting                                                               
that the  legislature was not  doing that for purposes  of Alaska                                                               
2:06:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN   suggested  asking  the   Department  of                                                               
Revenue (DOR) to provide a fiscal note on HB 129.                                                                               
CHAIR  CLAMAN  pointed  out  that he  had  addressed  that  issue                                                               
earlier when  he asked  Major Chastain to  obtain the  figures on                                                               
the restitution  the state has  received over the last  10 years,                                                               
and that  he hoped the  figures would  be available for  the next                                                               
2:07:02 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP asked whether it  is a prima facia offense if                                                               
a person is caught in possession  of more fish is allowable or is                                                               
in possession  of an out-of-season  animal.  He asked  whether it                                                               
is necessary to  establish mental state because  it is possession                                                               
alone as a prima facia offense.                                                                                                 
MAJOR CHASTAIN responded  that the answer is "yes and  no."  Many                                                               
times,  he  said, there  are  other  issues allowing  someone  to                                                               
possess that  animal or fish,  such as a  proxy.  There  are also                                                               
"seasons that are  out there" that are outside  of normal seasons                                                               
or  permits that  allow people  to  sometimes possess  game.   He                                                               
explained that the DPS still  has to establish whether the season                                                               
is,  in fact,  open  or closed,  and whether  they  have a  legal                                                               
reason to  have that animal.   But, he  remarked, if that  is all                                                               
true, there  is a  regulation dealing  with legal  possession and                                                               
transportation,  which deals  primarily  with  the person  simply                                                               
possessing the animal.                                                                                                          
2:08:18 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP  surmised that there  is due process  even on                                                               
prima facia  offenses, and  there could  be justification  in the                                                               
law that  a person would otherwise  be guilty "but for"  a number                                                               
of things that can make it justified.                                                                                           
MAJOR CHASTAIN said that Representative Kopp was correct.                                                                       
2:08:41 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP  referred to  Section 8, dealing  with taking                                                               
brown  bears  at  landfills.    He  asked  whether  there  was  a                                                               
particular  issue wherein  the criminal  negligence mental  state                                                               
was removed.  He  pointed out that "is the one  where if a person                                                               
is within  1/2 mile of a  landfill," and "now we're  just saying"                                                               
if you take a brown or  grizzly bear period, the person is guilty                                                               
of the  offense.   He asked  whether there was  a surge  in brown                                                               
bear taking near these solid waste disposal sites.                                                                              
MAJOR CHASTAIN  related that that  section basically  creates two                                                               
separate   categories  to   charge:  either   under  a   class  A                                                               
misdemeanor or a  violation, the same as the other  sections.  He                                                               
noted that when that statute was put  in place, it had to do with                                                               
brown  bears  being  attracted to  solid  waste  disposal  sites.                                                               
Obviously, he said,  when bears are attracted to a  site they are                                                               
much  easier to  kill  so people  were hanging  out  at the  dump                                                               
shooting brown  bears, and  the legislature at  the time  did not                                                               
want that happening.                                                                                                            
2:10:05 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP  referred  to   Section  14,  adding  a  new                                                               
subsection  regarding  a  person  "without  any  culpable  mental                                                               
state," and  noted that the  section begins  with "Intentionally,                                                               
but we're  not removing that."   He referred to AS  16.05.790 and                                                               
asked  that  Major  Chastain  talk  the  committee  through  that                                                               
involved section and subsections.                                                                                               
MAJOR CHASTAIN  explained that AS  16.05.790 was put in  place in                                                               
1991, and  it primarily relates to  obstructing someone's ability                                                               
to  take  or   view  game.    He  referred  to   Section  14,  AS                                                               
16.05.790(g), which read as follows:                                                                                            
         (g) A person who, without any culpable mental                                                                          
     state, violates this section is guilty of a violation                                                                      
     punishable as provided in AS 12.55.                                                                                        
MAJOR CHASTAIN explained  that that is the same as  what is being                                                               
done  in  other  sections.    Since,  he  commented,  it  already                                                               
includes that DPS could charge a  person with a misdemeanor if it                                                               
was a serious violation, this creates  a section in which the DPS                                                               
could charge the  offense as a violation if it  was determined to                                                               
not be  as serious as a  misdemeanor offense.  This  section is a                                                               
complicated  requirement,  he  acknowledged, and  certain  things                                                               
have to be  in place before the DPS can  charge someone with that                                                               
offense.   It  says  that it  does  not have  to  do with  normal                                                               
competitive practices,  such as two  people going after  the same                                                               
moose, and  that certain things have  to be in place  in order to                                                               
be charged with this offense, he explained.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP  commented that  there appears to  be several                                                               
mental states in that same section,  and it is a bit complicated.                                                               
He surmised  that Major  Chastain was saying  that this  gives an                                                               
option for  the lowest  level of  violation to  be charged  if it                                                               
appears that a mental  state is an issue that may  not be able to                                                               
be established.                                                                                                                 
MAJOR CHASTAIN answered in the affirmative.                                                                                     
2:12:37 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN returned  to Section  8, noting  that the                                                               
bill  creates two  separate categories  where a  person could  be                                                               
found  guilty.   He  asked whether  the  strict liability  option                                                               
being created  distinguishes between the group  using brown bears                                                               
as  target practice  close to  a  dump versus  someone trying  to                                                               
defend  themselves from  a bear  attack.   He asked  whether that                                                               
strict  liability still  leaves open  making that  distinction or                                                               
whether it closes that off.                                                                                                     
MAJOR  CHASTAIN  answered that  there  is  a separate  regulation                                                               
regarding   defense  of life  and property,  a person  is legally                                                               
justified  in  defending  themselves, another  person,  or  their                                                               
property.   In that situation,  he advised, under  the regulation                                                               
and the  guidelines in that  regulation, it is  not prosecutable,                                                               
and the person is legally justified in defending themselves.                                                                    
2:13:59 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  CLAMAN  referred  to  Section  6 and  the  fines  for  the                                                               
commercial  fishing violations.   He  pointed out  that under  AS                                                               
16.05.722(a)(1) and  (2), the fines  are double, except  under AS                                                               
16.05.722(a)(3)  the  maximum  fine  was  not  double  the  prior                                                               
amount.    He  said  that   in  his  mind,  third  or  subsequent                                                               
convictions would  be more culpable  than paragraphs (1)  and (2)                                                               
offenders and asked why the paragraph (3) fine was not double.                                                                  
MAJOR CHASTAIN responded that paragraph  (3) was added later than                                                               
the  original   statute.    Wherein,   he  explained,   the  fine                                                               
associated  with paragraph  (3), $15,000  fine represents  the 50                                                               
percent  increase  over the  original  statute  that was  put  in                                                               
place.   He noted  that paragraphs  (1) and  (2) were  first into                                                               
statute, and paragraph (3) was added sometime later.                                                                            
CHAIR CLAMAN  surmised that  the inflation  adjustment calculated                                                               
that $15,000 was the inflation  adjustment for when $9,000 became                                                               
the maximum.                                                                                                                    
MAJOR CHASTAIN answered in the affirmative.                                                                                     
2:15:24 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN opened public testimony on HB 129.                                                                                 
2:15:48 PM                                                                                                                    
NICK STEEN  advised he was  testifying on his own  behalf because                                                               
he  would like  to see  the permanent  revocation of  hunting and                                                               
fishing  privileges  for any  individual  convicted  of a  (audio                                                               
difficulties),  and particularly,  commercial operators  making a                                                               
living  off  of the  public's  resources.    He related  that  an                                                               
individual was  convicted of fishing  in closed waters,  25 miles                                                               
from  the nearest  open area,  and asked  why that  person should                                                               
ever be  allowed to commercially fish  in Alaska again.   He then                                                               
related the  following incidents  regarding hunting game:  a game                                                               
guide was  convicted of harvesting  three brown bears in  an area                                                               
in which he had a permit  for just one bear; another guide buried                                                               
a  harvested brown  bear so  his clients  could harvest  a larger                                                               
animal; and  a guide was  convicted of conducting hunts  for non-                                                               
residents  in an  area closed  to non-residential  hunting.   And                                                               
yet, "we  as a state" are  not opposed to removing  a CDL license                                                               
for  traffic  violations  or  removing  a  medical  license  from                                                               
doctors who mis-prescribe  barbiturates, and so forth.   He asked                                                               
why   the   state  does   not   remove   these  licenses   (audio                                                               
difficulties)   livelihood   while  flagrant   violators   (audio                                                               
difficulties)  whether  hunting  or fishing,  they  are  stealing                                                               
(audio difficulties.)                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  asked  Mr.   Steen  to  send  his                                                               
written comments to the committee due to audio difficulties.                                                                    
MR.  STEEN advised  that he  will  forward his  testimony to  the                                                               
2:18:44 PM                                                                                                                    
MARK RICHARDS,  Executive Director,  Resident Hunters  of Alaska,                                                               
related that  the Resident  Hunters of  Alaska fully  supports HB
129,  and  he  thanked  Governor  Walker  for  introducing  these                                                               
changes  as the  Resident Hunters  of Alaska  fully supports  the                                                               
higher fees.   He referred  to Section 3, [AS  16.05.330(h), page                                                               
2, lines  25-26] regarding providing  a license in  an electronic                                                               
form  and noted  that it  is similar  to Representative  Sadler's                                                               
recently introduced  HB 260.   Currently, he commented,  a person                                                               
can apply  on line  for a  hunting (audio  difficulties) license,                                                               
pay  online, receive  a PDF  file,  and print  their licenses  at                                                               
home, which  is "pretty  much" available  in an  electronic form.                                                               
It  was his  belief  that the  department would  not  be able  to                                                               
duplicate  duck or  salmon  stamps, so  the  Resident Hunters  of                                                               
Alaska view it  "more as a redundant license"  because the person                                                               
already  has  their  duck  and   salmon  stamps  on  their  paper                                                               
licenses.  Also,  he added, a person will always  have to carry a                                                               
harvest ticket  in paper form  because they  have to cut  out the                                                               
dates and months of the harvest immediately after harvesting.                                                                   
CHAIR  CLAMAN,  after  ascertaining  no one  wished  to  testify,                                                               
closed public testimony on HB 129.                                                                                              
[HB 129 was held over.]                                                                                                         
2:22:51 PM                                                                                                                    
There being no  further business before the  committee, the House                                                               
Judiciary Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 2:22 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB129 ver D 1.29.18.pdf HJUD 1/29/2018 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 1/31/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 129
HB129 Transmittal Letter 1.29.18.pdf HJUD 1/29/2018 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 1/31/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 129
HB129 ver D Sectional Analysis 1.29.18.pdf HJUD 1/29/2018 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 1/31/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 129
HB129 Fiscal Note DPS-AWT 1.29.18.pdf HJUD 1/29/2018 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 1/31/2018 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 2/5/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 129
HB129 Fiscal Note DFG-CO 1.29.18.pdf HJUD 1/29/2018 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 1/31/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 129