Legislature(2001 - 2002)

03/20/2001 05:05 PM RLS

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
                 HOUSE RULES STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                               
                         March 20, 2001                                                                                         
                           5:05 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Pete Kott, Chair                                                                                                 
Representative Brian Porter                                                                                                     
Representative Vic Kohring                                                                                                      
Representative Carl Morgan                                                                                                      
Representative Lesil McGuire                                                                                                    
Representative Ethan Berkowitz                                                                                                  
Representative Reggie Joule                                                                                                     
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 22                                                                                                   
Relating  to a  diverse community;  condemning a  recent racially                                                               
motivated attack;  and requesting  the Municipality  of Anchorage                                                               
police department  to conduct a  conclusive investigation  and to                                                               
take rapid action against the perpetrators.                                                                                     
     - HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                           
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                               
BILL: HJR 22                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE:DIVERSE COMMUNITY/CONDEMN HATE CRIMES                                                                               
SPONSOR(S): RLS BY REQUEST OF HOUSE                                                                                             
Jrn-Date   Jrn-Page                     Action                                                                                  
03/16/01     0626       (H)        READ THE FIRST TIME -                                                                        
03/16/01     0626       (H)        RLS                                                                                          
03/16/01     0626       (H)        REFERRED TO RULES                                                                            
03/20/01                (H)        RLS AT 5:00 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                 
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 01-3, SIDE A                                                                                                               
Number 0001                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  PETE  KOTT  called  the  House  Rules  Standing  Committee                                                               
meeting  to order  at 5:05  p.m.   Representatives Kott,  Porter,                                                               
Kohring, Morgan,  McGuire, Berkowitz,  and Joule were  present at                                                               
the call to order.                                                                                                              
HJR 22-DIVERSE COMMUNITY/CONDEMN HATE CRIMES                                                                                  
Number 0038                                                                                                                     
CHAIR KOTT announced  that the only order of  business before the                                                               
committee would be  HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 22,  Relating to a                                                               
diverse  community;   condemning  a  recent   racially  motivated                                                               
attack;  and  requesting  the Municipality  of  Anchorage  police                                                               
department  to conduct  a conclusive  investigation  and to  take                                                               
rapid action against the perpetrators.                                                                                          
Number 0046                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  PORTER said  that he  and others  have been  torn                                                               
regarding  what  to  do  in  response  to  the  recent  paintball                                                               
incident.   He said, "To say  that we're outraged, is  probably a                                                               
euphemism at this  stage."  He informed the committee  the he has                                                               
an  edited version  of the  videotape  of this  incident for  the                                                               
committee's review.  He indicated  that this incident has created                                                               
the recognition that perhaps our state has a problem.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  PORTER  noted  his  past life,  which  makes  him                                                               
appreciate  the situation  that the  Anchorage Police  Department                                                               
and  the state  prosecutor's office  are facing.   He  also noted                                                               
that the Minority Leader has  prepared and prosecuted these kinds                                                               
of  cases.   He  acknowledged  that  the communities  want  swift                                                               
action,  which certainly  should occur  when possible.   However,                                                               
one must  take care not  to jeopardize a  successful prosecution.                                                               
Representative  Porter said,  "And  that's  the delicate  balance                                                               
that is going  on right now in Anchorage.   Notwithstanding that,                                                               
I  think  it  would  not  tip  that  balance  adversely  for  the                                                               
legislature to express its point of view of the entire area."                                                                   
Number 0248                                                                                                                     
The  video  recording  made  by   the  teens  was  shown  to  the                                                               
committee.   The videotape shows  the three teens  driving around                                                               
downtown Anchorage  shooting paintballs at Native  Alaskans.  The                                                               
audio from the video recording lasts about 20 minutes.                                                                          
Number 1461                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE PORTER said:                                                                                                     
     I think you can appreciate  even more after seeing that                                                                    
     why, if  I were in  my previous  life, I would  want to                                                                    
     make sure  that I  took every step  and that  the whole                                                                    
     criminal  justice system  prepared  a  case and  didn't                                                                    
     start the 120-day rule ticking  until it was absolutely                                                                    
     sure that the prosecution would  be successful.  One of                                                                    
     the problems with making a  premature arrest is that it                                                                    
     starts the  speedy trial  rule ticking.   And  that, by                                                                    
     our case law, requires  the prosecution must be started                                                                    
     within  120 days.   If  evidence is  still out-of-state                                                                    
     being processed  or all  of the  victims have  not been                                                                    
     identified and those kinds of  things, you run afoul of                                                                    
     not having  as a  good a ...  prosecution as  you might                                                                    
     want to  have.   So, I think  that explains  the delay,                                                                    
     but doesn't necessarily mean we have to.                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE PORTER related his  understanding that a couple of                                                               
other  folks  who were  unaware  of  the  meeting would  like  to                                                               
testify.   Therefore, Representative  Porter said he  didn't mind                                                               
delaying  passage of  HJR  22 from  committee  until those  folks                                                               
could testify.  He offered  the following amendment, Amendment 1,                                                               
for consideration:                                                                                                              
     Page 1, lines 2-3:                                                                                                         
          Delete "conduct a conclusive investigation and to                                                                     
     take rapid action against the perpetrators"                                                                                
          Insert "continue their conclusive investigation                                                                       
     and  for  the criminal  justice  system  to take  rapid                                                                    
     action to reach their determination of this case"                                                                          
     Page 2, line 20:                                                                                                           
          Delete "the swift prosecution and punishment of                                                                       
          Insert "for the criminal justice system to take                                                                       
     the actions necessary to reach a rapid determination"                                                                      
Number 1550                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE  moved that the committee  adopt Amendment                                                               
1.  There being no objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                          
CHAIR KOTT  announced his intention  to hold the hearing  open in                                                               
order to allow  others to testify.  He also  announced his intent                                                               
to calendar this resolution as quickly as possible.                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE said  that she  looked forward  to moving                                                               
this resolution  as quickly  as possible.   She  acknowledged the                                                               
notion  regarding whether  or not  passing resolutions  is really                                                               
doing "our" job.  She related  her belief that in this case, this                                                               
resolution  is very  important and  offers support  to the  local                                                               
authorities  that she  believes are  doing their  job diligently.                                                               
In  her  opinion, this  resolution  also  addresses some  of  the                                                               
concerns   regarding  whether   or   not  this   is  a   problem.                                                               
Representative McGuire said that  in discussions with colleagues,                                                               
it  is  evident  that  that [the  legislature]  recognizes  [hate                                                               
crimes] are a problem and want  to do all possible to support the                                                               
authorities.   In  conclusion,  Representative McGuire  expressed                                                               
her support.                                                                                                                    
Number 1626                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  JOULE noted  his appreciation  for the  intent of                                                               
this  resolution.    He  also  noted  that  there  is  a  similar                                                               
resolution in  the Senate, although  it has a  somewhat different                                                               
scope.   The  Senate  resolution,  SJR 19,  calls  for the  Civil                                                               
Rights  Commission  to  perform  a formal  investigation  of  the                                                               
paintball incident as well as others.   He asked if such had been                                                               
taken into account in this resolution.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  PORTER said  that  he didn't  oppose adding  such                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE JOULE  also noted  his appreciation of  Chair Kott                                                               
allowing the committee time to review  HJR 22 as well as inviting                                                               
the  Alaska  Federation   of  Natives  (AFN)  to   speak  to  the                                                               
Number 1724                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  BERKOWITZ  remarked  that he  was  reviewing  the                                                               
criminal  statutes, which  seem to  provide ample  opportunity to                                                               
express the frustrations  that exist.  He  informed the committee                                                               
that  he  spent  some  time  as the  hate  crimes  prosecutor  in                                                               
Anchorage.  He said, "You never see  a case as clear cut as this.                                                               
This is  appalling.   And I  think if  anyone operates  under the                                                               
notion that  there's no racism  in Alaska, it should  dispel that                                                               
notion."  Furthermore, any steps  that [the legislature] can take                                                               
to  heighten public  awareness and  sensitivity should  be taken.                                                               
He  acknowledged that  he  has been  critical  of the  resolution                                                               
process in  the past.  However,  a process must begin  by talking                                                               
about  it.   He  said, "A  resolution of  this  nature can  carry                                                               
substantial  weight  and  I  hope  that we  make  sure  that  the                                                               
resolution we put forward carries that kind of weight."                                                                         
CHAIR KOTT agreed that there  is ample opportunity under a number                                                               
of  statutes to  prosecute.    He related  his  belief that  "the                                                               
resolution ... would go a long way towards that prosecution."                                                                   
Number 1797                                                                                                                     
CHAIR KOTT announced that the  committee would recess to the call                                                               
of the  chair at 5:40  p.m.   [The committee reconvened  on March                                                               
21, 2001, at 4:36 p.m.]                                                                                                         

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