Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

02/12/2018 01:30 PM JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Please Note Time Change --
+= HB 316 RESTRICT ACCESS MARIJUANA CRIME RECORDS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
+= HB 315 CONFIDENTIALITY OF ANIMAL & CROP RECORDS TELECONFERENCED
Moved HB 315 Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                       February 12, 2018                                                                                        
                           1:31 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. 315                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to the confidentiality of certain records on                                                                   
animals and crops; and providing for an effective date."                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED HB 315 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 316                                                                                                              
"An  Act  relating  to  the sealing  of  certain  court  records;                                                               
restricting the publication of certain  records of convictions on                                                               
a  publicly available  website; relating  to public  records; and                                                               
amending Rule 37.6, Alaska Rules of Administration."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 315                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CONFIDENTIALITY OF ANIMAL & CROP RECORDS                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
01/26/18       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/26/18       (H)       JUD, RES                                                                                               
02/09/18       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
02/09/18       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/09/18       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/12/18       (H)       JUD AT 1:30 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB 316                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: RESTRICT ACCESS MARIJUANA CRIME RECORDS                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): DRUMMOND                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
01/31/18       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/31/18       (H)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
02/09/18       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
02/09/18       (H)       <Bill Hearing Canceled>                                                                                
02/12/18       (H)       JUD AT 1:30 PM GRUENBERG 120                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
JOAN WILSON, Assistant Attorney General                                                                                         
Commercial and Fair Business Section                                                                                            
Civil Division                                                                                                                  
Department of Law (DOL)                                                                                                         
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  During the hearing of HB 315, answered                                                                   
questions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
PATRICK FITZGERALD, Staff                                                                                                       
Representative Harriet Drummond                                                                                                 
Alaska State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska                                                                                        
POSITION STATEMENT:  During the hearing of HB 316, presented the                                                              
legislation on behalf of Representative Drummond, and answered                                                                  
questions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
NANCY MEADE, General Counsel                                                                                                    
Office of the Administrative Director                                                                                           
Alaska Court System                                                                                                             
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  During the hearing of CSHB 316, answered                                                                 
questions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
PETER MLYNARIK                                                                                                                  
Soldotna, Alaska                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  During the hearing of CSHB 316, testified.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:31:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR MATT  CLAMAN called the House  Judiciary Standing Committee                                                             
meeting  to order  at 1:31  p.m. Representatives  Claman, Kreiss-                                                               
Tomkins, Millett  (alternative for Representative  Reinbold), and                                                               
Kopp were present  at the call to order.   Representatives LeDoux                                                               
and Eastman arrived as the meeting was in progress.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
        HB 315-CONFIDENTIALITY OF ANIMAL & CROP RECORDS                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:32:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 315, "An  Act relating to the  confidentiality of                                                               
certain  records  on animals  and  crops;  and providing  for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN advised  that subsequent to the  2/9/18 hearing, the                                                               
committee  received a  memorandum  on the  topic  of the  "Alaska                                                               
Grown" program and how it relates to HB 315.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Chair  Claman  advised Joan  Wilson,  Department  of Law  of  the                                                               
questions  regarding  the intersection  between  HB  315 and  the                                                               
"Alaska Grown" program and asked how  many times the DOL had been                                                               
involved  in  civil  enforcement actions  regarding  the  "Alaska                                                               
Grown" program.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:33:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOAN  WILSON, Assistant  Attorney  General,  Commercial and  Fair                                                               
Business  Section,  Civil  Division,  Department  of  Law  (DOL),                                                               
responded  that  the  question  of  enforcement  relates  to  the                                                               
Division of  Agriculture and the Department  of Natural Resources                                                               
(DNR) interest in  the "Alaska Grown" trademark  the state holds.                                                               
She  explained that  when farmers  or ranchers  would like  their                                                               
products  to carry  that  logo,  they apply  to  the Division  of                                                               
Agriculture for  a license  and under that  license agree  to use                                                               
the logo accurately.  For  example, when used for livestock, that                                                               
livestock must be grown and raised  in Alaska for six months.  In                                                               
the  event someone  should attempt  to violate  the program,  the                                                               
enforcement action is to withdraw  their use of the trademark and                                                               
withdraw  their licensing  rights to  the trademark.   She  noted                                                               
that she has  not seen a civil enforcement action  or any type of                                                               
criminal  action,  and  that  it  would  be  stretch  to  turn  a                                                               
misrepresentation   claim  into   a   criminal   act,  but   good                                                               
prosecutors can  do many things.   In essence, this will  be "our                                                               
efforts" to protect  the trademark, and in the  event people have                                                               
concerns  regarding abuse  of the  trademark they  should contact                                                               
the  Division  of  Agriculture because  it  works  directly  with                                                               
ranchers and/or the sellers of  the product to make certain there                                                               
has been  no misuse  of the  trademark.  In  the event  there are                                                               
concerns  about (audio  difficulties) the  steps are  withdrawing                                                               
their participation in the program, she reiterated.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:35:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  referred to the limited  resources in the                                                               
Department  of Natural  Resources (DNR)  and asked  whether there                                                               
had  been discussions  regarding allocating  additional resources                                                               
so some of  those enforcement actions or  prosecutions might take                                                               
place in the future.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WILSON answered  that  she  could not  say  there have  been                                                               
discussions to  date, and she  has not heard that  enforcement of                                                               
this program  caused concern that  the division did not  have the                                                               
staff or the expertise.  Again,  she said, the main attempt is to                                                               
make sure  it is simply not  an error on a  person's part because                                                               
the  division is  trying to  develop  a cooperative  relationship                                                               
with  its farmers  and ranchers  to make  sure that  trademark is                                                               
used appropriately.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:36:35 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN offered  a scenario  of a  business owner                                                               
selling meat  that may or  may not  have come from  Alaskan grown                                                               
products, but they wanted to  demonstrate their pride in being an                                                               
Alaskan.  In that regard, he  said, the person has a label behind                                                               
the counter that  read, "Alaska Grown" even though  he sold meats                                                               
from  one place  and meats  from Alaska.   He  asked whether  the                                                               
department would  view that as  a violation, a cause  of concern,                                                               
or  simply  interpreted it  as  the  person  is  proud to  be  an                                                               
Alaskan.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILSON quiered whether  Representative Eastman's scenario was                                                               
a situation where  someone was selling "Alaska Grown"  meats in a                                                               
grocery store, for example.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  clarified  that  he was  thinking  of  a                                                               
person selling meats, some of which  are Alaska grown and some of                                                               
which  are not,  but the  store owner  wanted to  demonstrate his                                                               
pride for  "Alaska grown things"  so he posted an  "Alaska Grown"                                                               
type of  label somewhere  in his  store.   He asked  whether that                                                               
would be considered a violation.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN asked  whether his  question was  that if  a person                                                               
sold pork that fit within  the "Alaska Grown" definition and some                                                               
pork that  did not fit, and  there was an "Alaska  Grown" sign in                                                               
the shop, whether that person violated the trademark.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILSON  noted that that  actual circumstance had  taken place                                                               
previously  wherein the  division  worked with  the retailers  to                                                               
make certain  they were properly  advertising.  Again,  she said,                                                               
the first approach is to assume  a person made a mistake and work                                                               
with them so they credibly and  correctly use that trademark.  In                                                               
Representative  Eastman's scenario,  she said  she would  have to                                                               
see if the  (audio difficulties) held the trademark,  and in most                                                               
cases,  it would  be  the farmer  or the  rancher.   She  offered                                                               
concern regarding any licensing in  that manner, and that when it                                                               
has  been used  in a  commercial enterprise,  the entity  must be                                                               
licensed to even carry that sign to advertise the meat.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:39:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   EASTMAN  surmised   that  DNR   is  focused   on                                                               
preventing  future violations,  and that  possibly it  is not  as                                                               
focused  on  holding people  to  task  or pursing  sanctions  for                                                               
something  brought to  their attention,  even  if it  might be  a                                                               
violation.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. WILSON  clarified that the  department takes the  program and                                                               
enforcement  of  the trademark  seriously.    Simply because  the                                                               
division's first  attempt is  education, that  does not  mean the                                                               
division will  not withdraw  a license to  use that  trademark if                                                               
someone was treating that trademark nefariously,                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  commented  that  having  looked  at  the                                                               
information to  become confidential,  he did  not see  how making                                                               
the  information as  to whether  an item  had been  imported into                                                               
Alaska would be considered confidential.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:41:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP  commented that  this  is  a good  piece  of                                                               
legislation  because  it  will  increase  reporting  of  possible                                                               
health hazards  to the public,  whether it deals with  animals or                                                               
crops, the  whole goal  is to increase  reporting.   Although, he                                                               
pointed  out,  due  to  competitive   practice  there  is  a  big                                                               
disincentive   to   report.      He   opined   that   the   whole                                                               
confidentiality  issue had  been correctly  crafted where  if, in                                                               
fact, a  health hazard  is found to  exist, the  information then                                                               
becomes public, and there are  ways to disclose that information.                                                               
He described it  as confidential information when  a person deals                                                               
with the Office  of the State Veterinarian  (OSV) regarding their                                                               
crops  and animal  health  data  unless there  is  a hazard  that                                                               
pushes that information out into the public record.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:42:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS moved  to report  HB 315,  Version                                                               
30-GH2584\A out of committee  with individual recommendations and                                                               
the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN objected.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:42:41 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
A  roll call  vote  was taken.   Representatives  Kreiss-Tomkins,                                                               
LeDoux, Millett,  Kopp and  Claman voted in  favor of  passing HB                                                               
315 out of  committee.  Representative Eastman  voted against it.                                                               
Therefore,  HB  315  was  reported out  of  the  House  Judiciary                                                               
Standing Committee by a vote of 5-1.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:45:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
The committee took an at-ease from 1:45 p.m. to 1:46 p.m.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
         HB 316-RESTRICT ACCESS MARIJUANA CRIME RECORDS                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:46:18 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN announced that the  final order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 316, "An Act  relating to the sealing  of certain                                                               
court records; restricting the publication  of certain records of                                                               
convictions on  a publicly available website;  relating to public                                                               
records;   and    amending   Rule    37.6,   Alaska    Rules   of                                                               
Administration."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:46:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PATRICK  FITZGERALD,  Staff,   Representative  Harriet  Drummond,                                                               
advised that HB 316 is intended  to clean up the records from the                                                               
Alaska Court System  and the permanent records  of those Alaskans                                                               
convicted  of  simple  possession   of  marijuana  prior  to  the                                                               
legalization  of  marijuana.   The  burden  of lifelong  criminal                                                               
records  of a  crime that  is now  legal has  kept Alaskans  from                                                               
achieving their  fullest potential,  he said.   This legislation,                                                               
he related, is  not designed to wipe out records  or give a clean                                                               
slate to  serious offenders,  but instead  it will  eliminate the                                                               
obstacles  that  have  kept  Alaskans  from  gaining  employment,                                                               
advancing in their careers, or  qualifying for certifications due                                                               
to a  simple possession [conviction]  on their record.   Mothers,                                                               
fathers, neighbors, and friends who  made mistakes in the past or                                                               
were simply  in the  wrong place  at the  wrong time,  have dealt                                                               
with barriers that potentially kept  them from achieving a higher                                                               
quality of life, and stressed that  this is not a "pot bill, this                                                               
is a jobs  bill."  The recreational use of  marijuana was enacted                                                               
on 11/7/16, and  since that time Alaska has  received millions of                                                               
dollars  in  state  revenue  has  been  generated  from  cannabis                                                               
businesses and small business owners  who have started to prosper                                                               
in the cannabis  economy.  Many Alaskans have  benefited from the                                                               
legalization  of cannabis  and now  there is  a chance  to expand                                                               
that group by eliminating the  barriers that are holding Alaskans                                                               
back  and  stunting  their  ability   to  become  productive  and                                                               
contributing members of society, he advised.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:48:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  moved to  adopt CSHB  316, Version                                                               
30-LS1017\O,  Martin,  2/8/18 as  the  working  document.   There                                                               
being no objection, Version O was before the committee.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:48:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP referred to  CSHB 316, [AS 12.62.160(f)] page                                                               
1, line  6, asked whether this  is inclusive of the  Alaska Court                                                               
System and all other agencies that may release this information.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. FITZGERALD advised that the intent  of the bill is to include                                                               
multiple agencies and not simply  restrict it to the Alaska Court                                                               
System or the Department of Public Safety (DPS).                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:49:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  asked Mr. Fitzgerald  to list all  of the                                                               
items on the schedule VIA controlled substance list.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  FITZGERALD  advised that  it  is  defined within  CSHB  316,                                                               
Section  1, AS  12.62.160 of  the sectional  analysis located  on                                                               
BASIS, which read as follows:                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Schedule VIA  definition: AS 11.71.190 (a)  a substance                                                                    
     shall be  placed in schedule  VIA if it is  found under                                                                    
     AS 11.71.120  to have  the lowest  degree of  danger or                                                                    
     probable danger to the person or public.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
           (b) marijuana is a schedule VIA controlled                                                                           
     substance.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
1:50:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  asked whether  there is anything  on that                                                               
list aside from marijuana.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. FITZGERALD answered no.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:50:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX asked  how  many  prosecutions have  taken                                                               
place  since the  Ravin  v.  State, 537  P.2d  494 (Alaska  1975)                                                             
decision for the personal use of marijuana.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. FITZGERALD answered that the  sponsor does not have any solid                                                               
numbers because  this bill would  have to  become a law  in order                                                               
for  the  court  and  different  agencies  to  comb  through  and                                                               
determine  exactly where  this applies.   However,  he said,  the                                                               
sponsor has  seen statistics  of roughly  700 individuals  in the                                                               
Alaska Court System that this would pertain to since 2007.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:51:38 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX   asked  whether   the  700   people  were                                                               
originally charged  solely with  simple possession  of marijuana.                                                               
It was  her understanding that,  for quite some time,  Alaska was                                                               
not  charging  people  with simple  possession  under  the  Ravin                                                             
decision  because it  would be  unconstitutional.   Perhaps,  she                                                               
suggested, those  people were charged  with something  else, such                                                               
as sales and plea bargained it down to a simple possession.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  FITZGERALD responded  that  the  intent of  HB  316 is  with                                                               
regard to the standalone possession  charge and if the person was                                                               
convicted of  dealing, this  bill would  not apply.   He  said he                                                               
would get back to the committee after researching the question.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP  said, "There was  a never-never land,  so to                                                               
speak"  of marijuana  as to  when it  was and  was not  enforced.                                                               
Under Ravin, law  enforcement did not cite if  it found marijuana                                                             
in a home under four ounces.   As a matter of practice, he opined                                                               
that there  was not a law  enforcement agency in Alaska  that was                                                               
actively enforcing the law after the  Ravin decision if it was in                                                             
a private residence.  Although, if  a person was contacted in the                                                               
street,  car,  or public  place,  a  number of  citations/summons                                                               
could be written  for simple possession, the  class B misdemeanor                                                               
tickets  that fell  outside of  the scope  of personal  use in  a                                                               
home.   He explained that that  was the reason for  the disparity                                                               
and, as  Mr. Fitzgerald pointed  out, hundreds of  citations were                                                               
still issued  after Ravin because other  than in a home,  the law                                                             
was enforced.   Although,  he mused, the  tooth fairy  would have                                                               
had to literally deliver it to the home.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
1:54:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  asked  Representative Kopp  if  something                                                               
else was involved  in most of these instances where  a person was                                                               
prosecuted.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP  answered that  this bill  actually precludes                                                               
any case  where there was  an associated charge the  person would                                                               
not be eligible for confidentiality.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Therefore, it would only pertain  to the cases with no associated                                                               
charge, which  often happens  when law  enforcement comes  upon a                                                               
vehicle parked out of  sight at 3:00 a.m., and it  is a couple of                                                               
people smoking marijuana.   Oftentimes, he said,  the only result                                                               
of  that contact  is a  class B  misdemeanor summons  for smoking                                                               
marijuana,  and that  is all.   The  nature of  the circumstances                                                               
with  no other  associated charge  was not  uncommon, he  pointed                                                               
out.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
1:55:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  asked whether there are  any statistics as                                                               
to the  job application issue,  and how that has  affected people                                                               
in real life.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP  reminded  the  committee that  one  of  the                                                               
problems with the  under 21-years of age possession  is that even                                                               
an alcohol offense  could prevent acceptance into  the  military,                                                               
attending military  school, and  federal aid for  education loans                                                               
due to  a substance abuse  related offense.   Two years  ago, the                                                               
legislature decided to treat under  21-years of age possession as                                                               
a  violation for  a  first-time offender  for  that very  reason.                                                               
Similarly,  he said,  this legislation  would have  a significant                                                               
employment  impact because  it would  be  considered a  substance                                                               
abuse offense/conviction of record.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
1:56:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  asked exactly  where the language  of the                                                               
bill refers  to the  fact that  if there  was another  charge, it                                                               
would not  come up  under confidentiality.   He referred  to CSHB                                                               
316, [Sec.  2, AS 22.35.040(2)],  page 2,  line 5, which  read as                                                               
follows:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
          (2) was not convicted of any other charge in                                                                          
     that case.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  said  he  was trying  to  reconcile  the                                                               
sponsor's  information and  the bill  language.   In response  to                                                               
Representative  LeDoux's question,  he  advised  that the  entire                                                               
Arctic  Valley  side   of  Fort  Richardson  is   not  gated  and                                                               
frequently people were found "doing  illegal things" in that part                                                               
of the base.   He said he  could not remember a  single time that                                                               
the  only illegal  thing  the people  were  doing was  possessing                                                               
marijuana, "that would be very rare."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN, in  response to  Representative Eastman's  earlier                                                               
query,  the bill  makes clear  that the  legislation is  only for                                                               
standalone convictions for  marijuana is on page  4, lines 15-18,                                                               
and pointed to lines 17-18, which read as follows:                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
          (18) ... if the defendant was not convicted                                                                       
     of any other charges in that case.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
1:58:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX said that she  wanted to make it clear that                                                               
a person  could not be convicted  of another charge, but  if they                                                               
were charged with  a more serious crime, conceivably  it might be                                                               
reduced under a  plea bargain to simple  possession of marijuana.                                                               
Possibly,  she  suggested, many  of  these  700 people  may  have                                                               
committed another crime other than "simply smoked a joint."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. FITZGERALD deferred to Nancy  Meade, Alaska Court System.  He                                                               
opined that  the manner in which  this bill is crafted,  it would                                                               
be  a small  number of  people because  the intent  is standalone                                                               
possession of marijuana.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  argued that  it may be  the intent  of the                                                               
legislation,  but  the  result  of  it  is  that  it  expunges  a                                                               
conviction  that may  have been  entered into  as a  plea bargain                                                               
when someone was charged with a more significant crime.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:00:28 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NANCY  MEADE, General  Counsel, Administrative  Staff, Office  of                                                               
the Administrative  Director, Alaska  Court System,  advised that                                                               
she had  delivered statistics to  the bill sponsor's  office that                                                               
was limited  to cases  with convictions  under the  possession of                                                               
marijuana  provision.   Representative  LeDoux  was correct,  she                                                               
advised, many of  those cases that ended up with  a conviction of                                                               
a class B misdemeanor may well  have included other charges.  She                                                               
explained  that a  great majority  of  cases are  resolved via  a                                                               
person  plea  bargaining  to something  less  than  the  original                                                               
charge.  She  advised that she does  not have the data  as to the                                                               
frequency of that  taking place, but she suspects  it happened in                                                               
a good number of these cases.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:01:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN asked  whether Ms. Meade was  aware of any                                                               
cases where a  plea bargain resulted in a charge  that was higher                                                               
than the original charge.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE  answered that she is  not the expert on  plea bargains                                                               
as it  is conducted by  the Department of  Law (DOL), but  in her                                                               
experience she would say that would not occur.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:01:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN opened public testimony on CSHB 316.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:02:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PETER  MLYNARIK  commented  that  he did  not  know  whether  the                                                               
records would be sealed for  those people age 18-21 years because                                                               
it is  illegal for them  to possess marijuana.   He said  that he                                                               
agrees with  Representative LeDoux,  "if convicted"  because many                                                               
of  these people  received other  charges and  pled down  to this                                                               
misdemeanor  possession.    Other  laws have  been  changed  from                                                               
misdemeanors  to  violations,  and   he  asked  whether,  in  all                                                               
fairness, those people  should have their records  sealed.  Also,                                                               
he said,  there have been  changes from felonies  to misdemeanors                                                               
wherein  the person  is  a felon  but  now it  was  changed to  a                                                               
misdemeanor, like  most of the  drug possession laws  for heroin,                                                               
and  asked whether  that  person's records  should  be sealed  to                                                               
prevent this  felony conviction in order  to look for a  job.  In                                                               
the marijuana  business, he offered,  there are not  any criminal                                                               
convictions  that prevent  a person  from  obtaining a  marijuana                                                               
handler's permit.   In that regard, the person could  work in the                                                               
marijuana industry  without any problem,  and even if they  own a                                                               
license  there is  only a  two-year window.   He  offered concern                                                               
with the  legislation isolating  out this  one crime  and sealing                                                               
the records because  only a small percentage of  people have been                                                               
convicted strictly for simple possession.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN  advised the committee  that Mr.  Mlynarik testified                                                               
on his own  behalf and not in his capacity  as the Soldotna Chief                                                               
of Police.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:04:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN,  after  ascertaining  no one  wished  to  testify,                                                               
closed public testimony on CSHB 316.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
2:05:11 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN offered a  scenario wherein a criminal law                                                               
made an  action illegal one year,  and then legal the  next year,                                                               
and asked what  opportunities are available to  an individual who                                                               
would fall  under that scenario  to sue for damages  or otherwise                                                               
try to  exercise rights not  available to them under  the current                                                               
law.   He further asked  what happens when an  illegal [criminal]                                                               
law becomes legal if someone was  harmed by the fact that the law                                                               
existed in the first place and can  argue that they did not get a                                                               
job and now  they are poor and destitute.   He asked whether that                                                               
person has a claim.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  commented  that   she  has  been  a  firm                                                               
supporter that  the initiative, voted  for by the  people, should                                                               
not be changed  in any manner, shape, or form.   She advised that                                                               
a person  cannot pick and choose  in a society of  laws, by which                                                               
law they choose  to abide.  The convicted persons  knew they were                                                               
doing  something illegal  and she  does not  believe that  simply                                                               
because  the  legislature  changed  the law  that  that  person's                                                               
record should be sealed.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:08:02 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP,  in  response to  Representative  Eastman's                                                               
question, offered  an example of a  real problem in the  law that                                                               
has  nothing to  do with  drugs or  alcohol.   He explained  that                                                               
approximately 20-years  ago, the Municipality of  Anchorage had a                                                               
more  restricted law  regarding  carrying  concealed weapons  and                                                               
bumped up against the fact that  statewide a person could carry a                                                               
handgun in their  car, shoot the gun at the  gun range, and there                                                               
would be no  problem, except if they drove into  Anchorage it was                                                               
a  misdemeanor charge.   People  arriving from  out of  town were                                                               
shocked that  a contact with  law enforcement ended up  with them                                                               
receiving a misdemeanor summons, or  worse.  Finally, he advised,                                                               
the Supreme Court struck it down  and ruled that under AS 44, the                                                               
state  has supremacy  with gun  laws.   Except,  there were  many                                                               
people  with  misconduct  involving  weapons, which  is  a  lower                                                               
degree  misdemeanor  offense, due  to  a  disparity in  the  law.                                                               
Representative Eastman's  question was whether people  would have                                                               
recourse if  they had a crime  on their record which  then became                                                               
legal.   Some  people  may feel  there is  a  moral turpitude  in                                                               
having a  gun in the car,  but he is  not in that camp,  he said.                                                               
Representative Eastman  pointed to a  problem in the  current law                                                               
where it is  difficult to receive expungement or  anything off of                                                               
a person's record even if they  have very sound reasons to remove                                                               
it from their record.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
2:10:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  said he wondered whether  any sort                                                               
of measures  were taken after  prohibition ended  for bootleggers                                                               
or people illegally consuming alcohol,  and whether their records                                                               
were expunged  federally or  otherwise.  He  said he  offered his                                                               
comment for fodder  for the sponsor's office  to perhaps research                                                               
this issue.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:11:01 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX,  in  response  to  Representative  Kopp's                                                               
comments  regarding the  Municipality  of  Anchorage, she  opined                                                               
that there would be a different  standard when a law was declared                                                               
unconstitutional and  there might be  a way someone  having their                                                               
record expunged.   She  explained that there  is a  difference in                                                               
the case  of a violation  of an unconstitutional law  which never                                                               
should have been  on the books in the first  place because it was                                                               
unconstitutional, rather than  simply a law that  was changed due                                                               
to a  change of policy.   She related that  in her view  they are                                                               
separate issues.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:12:21 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP advised  that under  Ravin, the  court ruled                                                             
that  it  was  unconstitutional  due  to  a  citizen's  right  to                                                               
privacy, and  the state would  not have an interest  in enforcing                                                               
criminalizing marijuana in the home  if it was under four ounces.                                                               
He said that it is the  same, in the weapon issue, the disparity,                                                               
and  the drug  possession  issue where  the  Supreme Court  found                                                               
issues under the constitution.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP remarked that it  is an under 21-years of age                                                               
violation for a simple possession,  without a plea agreement, and                                                               
it would  truly be  a standalone  charge by itself.   He  said he                                                               
thought there  were different ways  to craft this  legislation to                                                               
get  at  the  intent  wherein  simple  possession  was  the  sole                                                               
standalone issue.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:13:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN  referred to the question  of post-conviction relief                                                               
and noted,  for example, the  Municipality of  Anchorage charges,                                                               
wherein  a  person  would  probably  be in  good  shape  if  they                                                               
continued to  appeal their  conviction on  constitutional grounds                                                               
and the  court subsequently ruled  that it  was unconstitutional,                                                               
the person would  win on their pending case.   Except, it becomes                                                               
more problematic if  the person was convicted and  did not appeal                                                               
their  conviction, and  now  there is  this  conviction on  their                                                               
record on a  statute that later became unconstitutional.   In the                                                               
world  of post-conviction  relief, sometimes  people can  go back                                                               
post-conviction  and  receive  relief  on those  grounds  if  the                                                               
statute  was  later  declared   unconstitutional.    Under  those                                                               
circumstances it  is rare  that damages  could be  recovered from                                                               
the state for having prosecuted a  person for a crime it believed                                                               
at the time was constitutional.   Those, he offered, are just one                                                               
of a myriad  of challenges and it is interesting  in this case in                                                               
which the  discussion is about  a statute to  create expungement.                                                               
He added that the history of  many Alaska governors going back in                                                               
time is  that the  governors rarely use  their clemency  power to                                                               
grant pardons.   In the event  a governor so desired,  they could                                                               
go  back  and  grant  pardons  to  everyone  with  old  marijuana                                                               
convictions, which could solve the legislature's problem.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:15:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN  asked  whether expungement  was  not  an                                                               
option available to  the legislature because that  would get into                                                               
a separation of powers issue  where the executive branch is given                                                               
the opportunity to  expunge or grant clemency.   He asked whether                                                               
that  was the  reason  the sponsor  went this  way  or was  there                                                               
another reason.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  FITZGERALD responded  that when  researching this  bill, the                                                               
sponsor was told not to  use the word "expungement" and therefore                                                               
the language  stays away from that  word in this bill.   The idea                                                               
behind the bill, he explained,  is confidentiality with the court                                                               
system and  withholding the  schedule VIA  misdemeanor conviction                                                               
from public access                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:16:53 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN   said  that  in  going   this  route  of                                                               
confidentiality,  there  is   a  significant  difference  between                                                               
making a  conviction confidential and  expunging the record.   He                                                               
pointed out that  if someone applied for a job  and must list any                                                               
convictions, if their record was  deemed confidential, would they                                                               
be  lying on  the  application if  they said  there  had been  no                                                               
convictions.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  FITZGERALD  answered that  this  issue  was brought  to  the                                                               
sponsor's attention.   The intent of  this bill is that  any sort                                                               
of  court or  state authority,  state troopers,  Anchorage Police                                                               
Department, and so  forth, would have access to  the records, but                                                               
the conviction for  simple possession would be  withheld from the                                                               
private employer.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:18:42 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN said he understands  the idea of trying to                                                               
help  someone with  job applications  by  making the  information                                                               
confidential, except if  the only way the person  is being helped                                                               
is simply  by letting them  lie on  an application and  making it                                                               
harder for  their lie  to be found  out.  He  said he  was unsure                                                               
that was actually helping the person.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. FITZGERALD  advised he  will perform  research on  that issue                                                               
and get back to the committee.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:19:23 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX pointed  out to  Representative Kopp  that                                                               
the issue  is not exactly  the same with  the unconstitutionality                                                               
issue   because   under  Ravin,   the   court   decided  it   was                                                             
unconstitutional   in  the   home,  it   did  not   say  it   was                                                               
unconstitutional outside of the home.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP  said that in  both cases, the  Supreme Court                                                               
found  constitutional  violations  and  on  those  constitutional                                                               
grounds the cases were dismissed.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
[HB 316 was held over.]                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
2:20:45 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ADJOURNMENT                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
There being no further business before the committee, the House                                                                 
Judiciary Standing Committee meeting was adjourned at 2:20 p.m.                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB315 ver A 2.9.18.PDF HJUD 2/9/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 2/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
HRES 3/21/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/26/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/2/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 315
HB315 Additional Document-DEC Memo Regarding SB164 and Alaska Grown 2.12.18.pdf HJUD 2/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
HRES 3/21/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/23/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 3/26/2018 1:00:00 PM
HRES 4/2/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 315
SB 164
HB316 Work Draft Committee Substitute ver O 2.12.18.pdf HJUD 2/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 2/26/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 316
HB316 Sponsor Statement 2.12.18.pdf HJUD 2/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 316
HB316 Sectional Analysis ver O 2.12.18.pdf HJUD 2/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 316
HB316 Fiscal Note DPS-CJISP 2.12.18.pdf HJUD 2/12/2018 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 2/26/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 316