Legislature(1997 - 1998)

05/03/1997 08:10 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
             HOUSE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                            
                          May 3, 1997                                          
                            8:10 a.m.                                          
                                                                               
                                                                               
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
                                                                               
 Representative Jeannette James, Chair                                         
 Representative Ethan Berkowitz                                                
 Representative Fred Dyson                                                     
 Representative Kim Elton                                                      
 Representative Mark Hodgins                                                   
 Representative Al Vezey                                                       
                                                                               
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                
                                                                               
 Representative Ivan Ivan                                                      
                                                                               
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
                                                                               
 HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 21                                                 
 Relating to amendment of Title VIII of the Alaska National Interest           
 Lands Conservation Act.                                                       
                                                                               
      - MOVED HJR 21 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                          
                                                                               
 HOUSE BILL NO. 55                                                             
 "An Act relating to the fiscal operations of the Alaska Railroad              
 Corporation and to land acquired by the State of Alaska under the             
 Alaska Railroad Transfer Act of 1982 or otherwise acquired for                
 railroad purposes; and providing for an effective date."                      
                                                                               
      - HEARD AND HELD                                                         
                                                                               
 *HOUSE BILL NO. 269                                                           
 "An Act relating to permits to carry concealed handguns; and                  
 relating to the possession of firearms."                                      
                                                                               
      - MOVED HB 269 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                          
 CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 141(RLS) am                                            
 "An Act relating to permits to carry concealed handguns; and                  
 relating to the possession of firearms."                                      
                                                                               
      - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                
 (* First public hearing)                                                      
                                                                               
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
                                                                               
 BILL:  HJR 21                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: REQUESTING CONGRESS TO AMEND ANILCA                              
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) MASEK, Ogan, Cowdery, Ryan, Martin,             
 Vezey, Mulder, Rokeberg, Kohring, Austerman                                   
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE      JRN-PG             ACTION                                       
 02/12/97       314    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/12/97       314    (H)   RESOURCES, STATE AFFAIRS                          
 03/13/97              (H)   RES AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                       
 03/13/97              (H)   MINUTE(RES)                                       
 03/20/97              (H)   RES AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                       
 03/20/97              (H)   MINUTE(RES)                                       
 03/27/97              (H)   MINUTE(RES)                                       
 04/01/97       893    (H)   RES RPT 2DP 2DNP 3NR                              
 04/01/97       893    (H)   DP: MASEK, OGAN                                   
 04/01/97       893    (H)   DNP: NICHOLIA, JOULE                              
 04/01/97       893    (H)   NR: DYSON, GREEN, HUDSON                          
 04/01/97       894    (H)   ZERO FISCAL NOTE (H.RES)                          
 04/08/97              (H)   STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 04/08/97              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 04/10/97              (H)   STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 04/10/97              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 04/15/97              (H)   STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
 04/15/97              (H)   MINUTE(STA)                                       
 04/18/97      1188    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): COWDERY, RYAN, MARTIN               
 04/18/97      1188    (H)   VEZEY                                             
 04/22/97      1275    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): MULDER                              
 04/23/97      1307    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): ROKEBERG                            
 04/24/97      1331    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): KOHRING                             
                                                                               
 BILL:  HB  55                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: ALASKA RR BUDGET AND LAND                                        
 SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF LEGISLATIVE BUDGET AND AUDIT                  
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE      JRN-PG             ACTION                                       
 01/13/97        42    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/13/97        42    (H)   TRANSPORTATION, FINANCE                           
 01/15/97        78    (H)   STA REFERRAL ADDED                                
 02/05/97              (H)   TRA AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 17                        
 02/05/97              (H)   MINUTE(TRA)                                       
 02/10/97              (H)   TRA AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 17                        
 02/10/97              (H)   MINUTE(TRA)                                       
 02/17/97              (H)   TRA AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 17                        
 02/17/97              (H)   MINUTE(TRA)                                       
 02/19/97              (H)   TRA AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 17                        
 02/19/97              (H)   MINUTE(TRA)                                       
 02/24/97              (H)   TRA AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 17                        
 02/24/97              (H)   MINUTE(TRA)                                       
 02/25/97       461    (H)   TRA RPT  CS(TRA) NT 2DP 2DNP 2NR                  
 02/25/97       461    (H)   DP: SANDERS, COWDERY                              
 02/25/97       462    (H)   DNP:  HUDSON, ELTON                               
 02/25/97       462    (H)   NR:  MASEK, WILLIAMS                              
 02/25/97       462    (H)   3 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (LAW, 2-DNR)                  
 02/25/97       462    (H)   REFERRED TO STATE AFFAIRS                         
 05/03/97              (H)   STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
                                                                               
 BILL:  HB 269                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: CONCEALED HANDGUN PERMITS                                        
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) VEZEY                                           
                                                                               
 JRN-DATE      JRN-PG             ACTION                                       
 05/01/97      1445    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 05/01/97      1445    (H)   STATE AFFAIRS, FINANCE                            
 05/03/97              (H)   STA AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                       
                                                                               
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TERRY MARTIN                                                   
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 502                                                       
 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                     
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3783                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of HB 55.                                        
                                                                               
 JAMES BALDWIN, Assistant Attorney General                                     
 Governmental Affairs Section                                                  
 Civil Division                                                                
 Department of Law                                                             
 P.O. Box 110300                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0300                                                     
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3600                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided testimony on HB 55.                             
                                                                               
 DOROTHY URBACH                                                                
 P.O. Box 249                                                                  
 Seward, Alaska 99664                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 224-3089                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided testimony in opposition to HB 55.               
                                                                               
 JOHNE BINKLEY                                                                 
 P.O. Box 80447                                                                
 Fairbanks, Alaska 99708                                                       
 Telephone:  (907) 479-6006                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided testimony in opposition to HB 55.               
                                                                               
 BILL SHEFFIELD, Chairman                                                      
 Board of Directors                                                            
 Alaska Railroad Corporation                                                   
 P.O. Box 107500                                                               
 Anchorage, Alaska 99510                                                       
 Telephone:  (907) 265-2403                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided testimony in opposition to HB 55.               
                                                                               
 JOLENE M. MOLITEROS, Administrator                                            
 Federal Railroad Administration                                               
 Address not provided                                                          
 Telephone:  Not provoded                                                      
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided testimony on HB 55.                             
                                                                               
 TROY STRASS                                                                   
 909 Chugach Way, Lot 81                                                       
 Seward, Alaska 99503                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 562-9380                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided testimony in opposition to HB 55.               
                                                                               
 DICK BISHOP, Executive Director                                               
 Alaska Outdoor Council                                                        
 211 4th Street, Suite 302                                                     
 Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 463-3830                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided testimony in support of HB 269.                 
                                                                               
 STEVE HEYANO                                                                  
 1201 Denali Street, Number 109                                                
 Anchorage, Alaska 99501                                                       
 Telephone:  (907) 258-7475                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided testimony in support of HB 269.                 
                                                                               
 DUANE BUELL                                                                   
 P.O. Box 32319                                                                
 Juneau, Alaska 99802                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 780-4489                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided testimony in support of HB 269.                 
                                                                               
 PATRICK JOHNSON                                                               
 54540 East End Road                                                           
 Homer, Alaska 99603                                                           
 Telephone:  (907) 235-3170                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided testimony in support of HB 269.                 
                                                                               
 DEL SMITH, Deputy Commissioner                                                
 Office of the Commissioner                                                    
 Department of Public Safety                                                   
 P.O. Box 111200                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska 99811-1200                                                     
 Telephone:  (907) 465-4322                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided testimony on HB 269.                            
                                                                               
 GREG HALL                                                                     
 P.O. Box 813                                                                  
 Delta Junction, Alaska 99737                                                  
 Telephone:  (907) 895-5050                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided testimony in support of HB 269.                 
                                                                               
 DAVID WILLIAMS                                                                
 420 West 12th Street                                                          
 Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 586-9178                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided testimony in support of HB 269.                 
                                                                               
 HORACE BLACK                                                                  
 P.O. Box 10811                                                                
 Fairbanks, Alaska 99710                                                       
 Telephone:  (907) 457-7300                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided testimony in support of HB 269.                 
                                                                               
 DEAN J. GUANELI, Assistant Attorney General                                   
 Legal Services Section                                                        
 Criminal Division                                                             
 Department of Law                                                             
 P.O. Box 110300                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0300                                                     
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3428                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided testimony on HB 269.                            
                                                                               
 JAYNE ANDREEN, Executive Director                                             
 Council on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault                               
 Department of Public Safety                                                   
 P.O. Box 111200                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska 99811-1200                                                     
 Telephone:  (907) 465-4356                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided testimony on HB 269.                            
                                                                               
 JERRY BAGNESCHI                                                               
 923 East 17th Avenue                                                          
 Anchorage, Alaska 99501                                                       
 Telephone:  (907) 274-9267                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided testimony in support of HB 269.                 
                                                                               
 TUCKERMAN BABCOCK, Legislative Assistant                                      
    to Senator Lyda Green                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 125                                                       
 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                     
 Telephone:  (907) 465-6600                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided testimony on HB 269.                            
                                                                               
 BILL JONES                                                                    
 P.O. Box 795                                                                  
 Barrow, Alaska 99723                                                          
 Telephone:  (907) 852-0307                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided testimony in support of HB 269.                 
                                                                               
 LAUREE HUGONIN, Executive Director                                            
 Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault                        
 130 Seward Street, Room 501                                                   
 Telephone:  (907) 586-3650                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided testimony on HB 269.                            
                                                                               
 HAL HUME                                                                      
 4016 Birch Lane                                                               
 Fairbanks, Alaska 99709                                                       
 Telephone:  (907) 479-6724                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided testimony on HB 269.                            
                                                                               
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
                                                                               
 TAPE 97-56, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 0001                                                                   
                                                                               
 The House State Affairs Standing Committee was called to order by             
 Chair Jeannette James at 8:10 a.m.  Members present at the call to            
 order were Representatives James, Berkowitz, Dyson, Elton, Hodgins,           
 and Vezey.  Members absent were Ivan.                                         
                                                                               
 HJR 21 - REQUESTING CONGRESS TO AMEND ANILCA                                
                                                                               
 The first order of business to come before the House State Affairs            
 Standing Committee was HJR 21, Relating to amendment of Title VIII            
 of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.                       
                                                                               
 Number 0035                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JEANNETTE JAMES explained she had been requested to move HJR
 21 to the House Rules Standing Committee.  She asked for a motion.            
                                                                               
 Number 0050                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MARK HODGINS moved that HJR 21 move from the                   
 committee with individual recommendations and the attached fiscal             
 note(s).                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 0071                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE KIM ELTON and REPRESENTATIVE ETHAN BERKOWITZ                   
 objected at the same time.                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 0115                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ stated he was sorry that Representative              
 Ivan Ivan was not here because his views carried a lot of weight              
 with him on this issue.                                                       
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ further stated it was unfortunate that we            
 were proceding in this manner.  Senator Ted Stevens expressly                 
 indicated that the resolution complicated matters.  It was a                  
 mistake to fly in the face of his warning.  More work should have             
 been done when imposing a solution on a problem that required                 
 consensus to move forward, especially since the testimony indicated           
 this was highly contentious.  Ultimately, the state would have to             
 be united in its approach to the subsistence question.  "I don't              
 think HJR 21 unites, it divides."                                             
 Number 0205                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE FRED DYSON stated he had been surprised at the                 
 vehement reaction to the resolution when to him it appeared to be             
 a good option to explore.  He had hoped that the resolution would             
 produce a lot more meaningful dialogue instead of the polarized               
 reactions.  "I don't think that it is going to be the solution as             
 Representative Berkowitz says until there is some buy in by all the           
 parties."  However, we have got to move because of the October 1,             
 1997 deadline.  He believed that there would be a draconian impact            
 on Alaska's subsistence of fish and game as a result of the take              
 over by the federal government.  He did not think that HJR 21 by              
 itself would solve the problem.  But, there were two other                    
 proposals that could be part of the solution.  Therefore, he agreed           
 to move the bill forward.  He did not want people to think that he            
 had caved in on his views.  The resolution was a good faith attempt           
 for a solution.  It was in no way meant to diminish the rights to             
 the use of Alaska's fish and game.                                            
                                                                               
 Number 0398                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON stated HJR 21 was a solution that favored one            
 wing of those affected.  The other solutions that Representative              
 Dyson referred to had yet to be heard.  House Joint Resolution 21             
 was the only solution moving forward.  He noted that there had been           
 two or three special sessions over the past seven years on the                
 issue of subsistence.  "I guess I think that this moving forward              
 with this bill is divisive.  I think it drives wedges between the             
 people who need to come toward the middle for a solution.  And, I             
 agree absolutely with Senator Ted Stevens about the impact of this            
 particular solution."  He objected to moving the resolution and to            
 moving it this late in the session.                                           
                                                                               
 Number 0554                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES stated the solution to the issue would not be solved by           
 the legislature but by the public.  She would not say that HJR 21             
 was not needed, nor would she say that the language was not                   
 correct.  There were three components to the solution:  a                     
 resolution to be sent to Congress; a statute to be written in an              
 Alaskan way; and a constitutional amendment to be enacted that                
 would not violate the common use clause, and that would give                  
 similar protection and comfort as the Alaska National Interest                
 Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) gave.  She would move the                     
 resolution forward, but her recommendation would be amend rather              
 than do pass.                                                                 
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES called for a roll call vote.  Representatives James,              
 Dyson, Hodgins and Vezey voted in favor of the motion.                        
 Representatives Berkowitz and Elton voted against the motion.                 
 House Joint Resolution 21 was so moved from the House State Affairs           
 Standing Committee.                                                           
 HB 55 - ALASKA RR BUDGET AND LAND                                           
                                                                               
 The next order of business to come before the House State Affairs             
 Standing Committee was HB 55, "An Act relating to the fiscal                  
 operations of the Alaska Railroad Corporation and to land acquired            
 by the State of Alaska under the Alaska Railroad Transfer Act of              
 1982 or otherwise acquired for railroad purposes; and providing for           
 an effective date."                                                           
                                                                               
 Number 0720                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES explained the plan for the bill was to hold it over               
 until Tuesday, May 6, 1997, in order to take additional testimony.            
                                                                               
 Number 0799                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE TERRY MARTIN, Alaska State Legislature, explained              
 the bill was introduced on behalf of the Legislative Budget and               
 Audit Joint Committee after allegations that the Alaska Railroad              
 was not following the procedure act for the state of Alaska.  A               
 letter by Norman C. Gorsuch, Attorney General, dated May 26, 1984,            
 indicated that the state should not neglect its responsibility to             
 privatize the railroad.  The legislature only wanted to be a                  
 conduit to save the railroad because the federal government wanted            
 to get rid of it.  Since then there had been efforts to privatize             
 the railroad and to stop it, but that was a different battle.  The            
 bill did not deal with privatization, selling the railroad, or the            
 land.  It only dealt with bringing the corporation under the                  
 Executive Budget Act (EBA) like every other corporation in the                
 state.  Last year, a letter from Tamara Brandt Cook, Director,                
 Division of Legal and Research Services, indicated that the state             
 must bring the Alaska Railroad under the EBA.  Therefore, the                 
 legislature on behalf of the public would be able to protect the              
 land, resources, and other assets that belonged to the state.                 
                                                                               
 Number 1070                                                                   
                                                                               
 JAMES BALDWIN, Assistant Attorney General, Governmental Affairs               
 Section, Civil Division, Department of Law, was the next person to            
 testify in Juneau.  The Administration was not in support of the              
 bill.  The opinion from 1984 referred to by Representative Martin             
 was being misrepresented.  There were varying types of corporations           
 in the state in different business.  The legislature had chosen to            
 treat each of the corporations differently under the EBA.  There              
 had been other corporations that had been totally off budget.  The            
 opinion in 1984 was a value judgement of the type of entity that              
 would operate the Alaska Railroad.  The legislature chose that it             
 would be an entity that was capable of conducting business as a               
 private corporation, but also recognizing that it was a                       
 governmental entity.  The legislature wanted it to run without                
 subsidy on a business type budget, not a governmental type budget;            
 otherwise, it would be bound by the state's fiscal year, line-                
 items, and the requirements of the EBA.                                       
                                                                               
 MR. BALDWIN further stated there was concern that access to the               
 credit market would be impaired by placing the railroad under the             
 EBA.  The railroad took advantage of a small issuers exemption to             
 the Internal Revenue Code which gave a better interest rate because           
 it was under $10 million.  If the railroad was lumped with the                
 state under the EBA it would not be considered less than $10                  
 million and the cost of borrowing would be more.                              
                                                                               
 Number 1285                                                                   
                                                                               
 DOROTHY URBACH was the first person to testify via teleconference             
 in Seward.  She was opposed to the bill because it would limit                
 flexibility to the customers on long-term contracts.  It would also           
 limit financing for future acquisitions.  The Alaska Railroad had             
 a very efficient board of directors and was making a profit.  "Why            
 destroy it?" she asked.                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 1337                                                                   
                                                                               
 JOHNE BINKLEY was the next person to testify via teleconference in            
 Fairbanks.  He currently served on the board of directors for the             
 Alaska Railroad.  He had also served in the Alaska State                      
 Legislature, and had been part of a family business for his entire            
 life.  There were many reasons to oppose the bill and there was               
 only one reason to pass the bill.                                             
                                                                               
 MR. BINKLEY further stated the Alaska railroad retained its earned            
 revenue unlike any other agency.  The bill would preclude the                 
 railroad from enjoying the status that allowed it to get a lower              
 interest rate from banks.  It would also violate the covenant in              
 the existing long-term debt and would have the banks call on the              
 notes.  The banks would no longer be able to enjoy the tax break              
 from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).                                      
                                                                               
 MR. BINKLEY further stated it would preclude the railroad from                
 borrowing money in the future for capital expenditures because it             
 would require a legislative appropriation.  The railroad relied               
 heavily on equipment.  It would be disastrous to try and get money            
 from the legislature.                                                         
                                                                               
 MR. BINKLEY further stated it would increase the risk to the state            
 of Alaska.  The Alaska Railroad purchased its insurance for                   
 catastrophic single occurrence coverage for up to $75 million.                
 There had been dozens of lawsuits against the Alaska Railroad                 
 Corporation and not once had the state been named.                            
                                                                               
 MR. BINKLEY further stated the railroad's peak season was the                 
 summer months.  The EBA would force the railroad to adopt the                 
 state's fiscal year which ended on June 30.  It did not make any              
 business sense to interrupt the fiscal year in the middle of the              
 busiest season.  The railroad's fiscal year was the calendar year             
 ending in the off season which allowed for more efficiency.                   
                                                                               
 MR. BINKLEY further stated that the federal government realized in            
 running the Alaska Railroad that it would not work if political               
 power was the board of directors.  Political power was why the                
 railroad lost huge sums of money over the years.  It was also why             
 the Railroad Act said to set it up as a private or separate                   
 corporation.  The bill would be in violation of the act, but he did           
 not know if the federal government would take action.                         
                                                                               
 MR. BINKLEY further stated the only one reason to pass the bill was           
 to allow for the legislature to have more influence over the                  
 running of the Alaska Railroad.  He did not believe that the bill             
 would only allow for a small line in the front section of the                 
 budget because he had seen how the legislature worked and how it              
 affected the operations of state agencies.  The railroad ran on the           
 same principles as the private sector - customer service and                  
 profit.  In addition, he was appalled that a republican run                   
 legislature was even considering this type of bill.                           
                                                                               
 Number 1782                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS asked Mr. Binkley if he received any                   
 compensation from the Alaska Railroad now?                                    
                                                                               
 MR. BINKLEY replied, "Yes."  He received a stipend as a board                 
 member as called for in law.                                                  
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS stated he now understood the testimony of              
 Mr. Binkley.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 1800                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. BINKLEY replied, if Representative Hodgins was suggesting that            
 he was testifying because it was benefitting him financially, he              
 took exception to the comment.  He worked in a family business with           
 over 140 employees that received a paycheck every Friday.  His                
 employees were his primary focus.  He was asked to serve on the               
 board.  He did not serve because of a stipend.  He served because             
 he felt a true and genuine obligation to keep something going that            
 worked for the state of Alaska.                                               
                                                                               
 Number 1832                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS apologized to Mr. Binkley.                             
                                                                               
 Number 1837                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON stated he was really uncomfortable about just            
 what happened.  He was also uncomfortable because of the laughing             
 in the audience when people were testifying telephonically.                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES asked the committee members and the audience to control           
 their gestures.                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 1903                                                                   
                                                                               
 BILL SHEFFIELD, Chairman, Board of Directors, Alaska Railroad                 
 Corporation, was the next person to testify via off-net in                    
 Anchorage.  He noted today was Railroad Day in Anchorage and Jolene           
 M. Molitoris, Federal Railway Administration, was here as well                
 wishing to testify.                                                           
                                                                               
 MR. SHEFFIELD further stated there were three basic categories of             
 flaw in the bill:  the impact on the private businesses that                  
 thrived on the railroad, the governmental problems, and the damage            
 to the fundamental way the railroad was organized.                            
                                                                               
 MR. SHEFFIELD explained the railroad was purchased from the federal           
 government so that Alaskans could control a vital transportation              
 corridor.  The legislature understood that governmental railroads             
 were often run for political reasons and by bureaucrats.  And, if             
 it had to compete for money with hospitals and schools, it would              
 fall into disrepair.  Therefore, the railroad was set up precisely            
 to avoid the pitfalls.  It was separated so that it could hire                
 professional managers whose goals were to provide good service,               
 earn a profit, and focus on safety.  The bill would violate the               
 separation.                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. SHEFFIELD explained the bill was bad for business and for the             
 contractors.  Its business year was established to met the business           
 flow.  The state's fiscal year would rip its business year right              
 down the middle of its busiest season.  The railroad had to act               
 quickly because it was a service business.  It could not wait for             
 the legislature to increase its budget or to collect the extra                
 revenue.  The bill would also hurt its ability to borrow money to             
 upgrade equipment, expand its service, or track for example.  The             
 loans were not written so that the interest and principle were                
 depended upon legislative appropriation.  It was hard to believe              
 that a commercial lender would loan the railroad money at the                 
 current interest rates if repayment was dependent upon legislative            
 appropriation.  This would cause the railroad to either go under or           
 force it to go to the legislature for subsidy.                                
                                                                               
 MR. SHEFFIELD explained the bill had been sold to the public as a             
 good governmental bill with no real oversight or added                        
 responsibility for the state.  The Alaska Railroad Corporation was            
 intentionally separated from the government so that any financial             
 obligations would not fall back to the state in the case of default           
 or liability.  If the bill passed the state would be liable                   
 regardless of the new tort reform law because with control came               
 responsibility and real cost.                                                 
 MR. SHEFFIELD stated, in conclusion, the bill would add a layer of            
 governmental bureaucracy to a profitable and self-sustaining asset.           
 It would increase the cost of doing business and strain the ability           
 of the railroad to obtain financing for improvements affecting                
 customer service.  It would undue the intent of the legislature in            
 1985, and it would expose the citizens and the Governor to                    
 substantial liability.                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 2245                                                                   
                                                                               
 JOLENE M. MOLITEROS, Administrator, Federal Railroad                          
 Administration, was the next person to testify via off-net.  The              
 Clinton Administration was committed to a partnership that enhanced           
 rail transportation for the twenty-first century.  She was here to            
 focus on the safe operations of the railroad and to enhance the               
 partnership.  The railroad was a crucial transportation resource              
 for the future of the state.  It was unique in the United States              
 because it represented the artery of the state's transportation               
 system.  It was important to know that there was federal                      
 legislation that would help the railroad compete for existing                 
 transportation resources enhancing its ability to become more                 
 profitable and safe.  She reiterated she had been impressed with              
 the partnership around safety and customer service.  It was the               
 type of relationships that the president believed would enhance the           
 transportation system in the twenty-first century to meet global              
 competition.                                                                  
                                                                               
 TAPE 97-56, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 0001                                                                   
                                                                               
 TROY STRASS was the next person to testify via teleconference in              
 Seward.  He started his career with the Alaska Railroad in                    
 passenger services.  He was concerned about the impact of the bill            
 on the budget cycle of the railroad.  It was important to have the            
 money for the busy season in the summer months.  He could not see             
 how the railroad could expand under the fiscal cycle of the state.            
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES announced the public testimony was closed for today.              
 The bill would be scheduled again for Tuesday, May 6, 1997.                   
                                                                               
 Number 0068                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON apologized to Representative Martin for his              
 reaction earlier in light of the realization that he was not being            
 contemptuous to the testifiers.                                               
                                                                               
 HB 269 - CONCEALED HANDGUN PERMITS                                          
                                                                               
 The next order of business to come before the House State Affairs             
 Standing Committee was HB 269, "An Act relating to permits to carry           
 concealed handguns; and relating to the possession of firearms."              
 Number 0094                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE AL VEZEY, sponsor of HB 269, explained the bill was            
 an attempt to tweak the existing law.                                         
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY explained Sec. 1 and Sec. 2 amended the                  
 criminal statutes to make it clear that no felon, even a non-                 
 violent felon, would ever be able to apply for a concealed carry              
 permit.                                                                       
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY explained Sec. 3, Sec. 5 and Sec. 15 cleaned             
 up the law to make it easier to enforce.  Section 15 recognized the           
 right of an out-of-state permit holder to carry in the state of               
 Alaska.  He suggested amending the bill to limit the time to 120              
 days - 30 days more than the 90 days required to get a permit.  We            
 would not want a person to maintain his citizenship in another                
 state just for the purpose of carrying a concealed handgun without            
 getting a permit in Alaska.  Section 3 and Sec. 5 improved the                
 definition that allowed municipalities and villages to prohibit the           
 possession of concealed weapons.  Section 5 allowed for a person to           
 carry a concealed handgun into a restaurant even if it served                 
 alcoholic beverages; as-long-as, the permittee did not consume                
 alcohol.                                                                      
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY explained Sec. 7 and Sec. 8 ensured that the             
 applicant received a copy of the law and required the Department of           
 Public Safety to compile a summary of the law.  Section 8 required            
 the department to process the permit without waiting unduly long              
 for the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) to complete the                
 background check.  It also gave the authority to revoke a permit if           
 it received information that would make the permittee ineligible.             
                                                                               
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY explained Sec. 10 simplified the standards for           
 the qualifications to apply.  It also allowed a person under the              
 age of 21 to carry with the permission of his parents, and only on            
 the parent's dwelling or place of business.                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ stated he did not follow the parental                
 permission Representative Vezey explained in Sec. 10.                         
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY apologized because it was not in Sec. 10, but            
 in the statute that Sec. 10 addressed.                                        
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY explained Sec. 12 reduced the fee.                       
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY explained Sec. 13 amended the language to give           
 the department the authority to suspend permits for anyone who was            
 ineligible under law to possess a handgun.                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY explained Sec. 14 amended the language to                
 increase the elapsed time for a conviction of a misdemeanor from              
 "5" years to "6" years.                                                       
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY explained Sec. 16 repealed prohibitions that             
 were not applicable.                                                          
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY explained Sec. 17 simplified some of the                 
 definitions.                                                                  
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY explained Sec. 18 repealed redundant aspects             
 of the law.                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 0354                                                                   
                                                                               
 DICK BISHOP, Executive Director, Alaska Outdoor Council (AOC), was            
 the first person to testify in Juneau.  The AOC was a statewide               
 conservation organization and the official state association of the           
 National Rifle Association.  The AOC supported the right of an                
 individual to keep and bear arms, and the safe and ethical use of             
 firearms.  The AOC supported the permit to carry a concealed                  
 handgun, HB 269, and SB 141.  The AOC was pleased that the debate             
 had gotten beyond the emotional stage and had gotten down to the              
 nuts and bolts of refining the law.  The AOC in particular                    
 supported the provisions of the right to carry wherever it was not            
 prohibited by law, the reciprocity, the accommodations for the                
 honorably retired police officers, the streamline process of the              
 application process, the improved protections for the permittee,              
 the concise definition of concealed handgun, and the strong stance            
 against felons having the same privileges.  The AOC urged the                 
 passage of HB 269.                                                            
                                                                               
 Number 0473                                                                   
                                                                               
 STEVE HEYANO was the first person to testify via teleconference in            
 Anchorage.  He was a student at the university.  He supported HB
 269.  He held a concealed handgun permit.  He wondered why the                
 opposition believed somebody would go through the permitting                  
 process and still commit a crime.  The common criminal would not go           
 through the hoops necessary to commit a crime.  He stated, "All we            
 are are law abiding citizens trying to protect ourselves in pretty            
 much any where we go."                                                        
                                                                               
 Number 0544                                                                   
                                                                               
 DUANE BUELL was the next person to testify in person in Juneau.  He           
 had followed the concealed handgun legislation since the beginning.           
 He agreed with Representative Vezey that HB 269 was a clean up of             
 the existing law.  He supported the bill fully.                               
                                                                               
 Number 0584                                                                   
                                                                               
 PATRICK JOHNSON was the next person to testify via teleconference             
 in Homer.  He taught a concealed carry class and had served in two            
 different law enforcement agencies over the years.  He was                    
 positively in favor of the bill.  He supported the reciprocity                
 provision.  It had yet to present a problem in other states,                  
 otherwise the anti-gun press would report it.  He supported the               
 provision to allow permittees to carry into a bar when not                    
 consuming alcohol, the provision that recognized retired law                  
 enforcement officers, and the provision to reduce the fees.  As an            
 instructor, he had seen people not take the class because it was              
 too expensive.  He recognized it was a catch-22 situation because             
 the fees supported the program, while at the same time it kept                
 people out that could potentially generate more fees.  He noted in            
 conclusion that as an instructor he had not graduated a student               
 that he did not feel comfortable with.                                        
                                                                               
 Number 0735                                                                   
                                                                               
 DEL SMITH, Deputy Commissioner, Office of the Commissioner,                   
 Department of Public Safety, was the next person to testify in                
 Juneau.  He was concerned about the reciprocity issue.  He                    
 supported reciprocity if the permittee met the standards of the               
 state.  He was concerned that a person could carry a concealed                
 handgun without being aware of the standards of Alaska.  He                   
 recognized that the fee could be high for some people.  The                   
 department was now spending close to the fee of $122 for two clerks           
 to run the program.  If the fee was reduced to $99 the department             
 would try to live within the means, but it could mean that he would           
 have to cut back on the personnel.  He did not want to go any lower           
 than two because he did not want to slow down the process.  He was            
 also concerned about the issue of individuals in alcohol treatment            
 programs covered under current law which was not addressed in HB
 269.                                                                          
                                                                               
 Number 0880                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES asked Representative Vezey if the bill addressed                  
 individuals in alcohol treatment programs?                                    
                                                                               
 Number 0891                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. SMITH stated it was covered under current law.                            
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES asked Representative Vezey if the bill took it away?              
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY replied we did not address the issue.                    
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES asked Representative Vezey if it was still there?                 
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY replied to the best of his knowledge it was              
 still there.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 0913                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ asked Mr. Smith if reducing the fees would           
 slow down the permitting process?                                             
                                                                               
 Number 0920                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. SMITH replied the permitting process took about 30 days.  If              
 the fee was reduced to $99 and the volume did not change, it could            
 potentially affect the permitting process.  The department would              
 have to cut back the times it was open for business.                          
                                                                               
 Number 0958                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY asked Mr. Smith what his other concern was               
 besides, reciprocity, fees, and individuals in substance abuse                
 programs?                                                                     
                                                                               
 MR. SMITH replied he could not recall another concern.                        
                                                                               
 Number 1027                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON asked Mr. Smith if there was information to              
 demonstrate that non-violent felons that were clean for 10 years              
 were a threat to public safety?                                               
                                                                               
 Number 1063                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. SMITH replied he was not sure if there was any statistical data           
 for non-violent felons.  He would be opposed to any violent felons            
 - ever - to carry a concealed handgun or a gun.  He was concerned             
 in general about the state extending a privilege to someone who               
 violated the law.  He did not have any strong feelings, however, if           
 after 10 years a non-violent felon should be punished for life.               
                                                                               
 Number 1104                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON stated there was a provision that allowed a              
 felon if he or she stayed out of the clutches of the law to get the           
 right to vote back.                                                           
                                                                               
 Number 1142                                                                   
                                                                               
 GREG HALL was the next person to testify via teleconference in                
 Delta Junction.  He supported HB 269.  There was a language                   
 difference in the sponsor statements between HB 269 and SB 141.  He           
 could not see the difference in the bills, however.  He found Sec.            
 5 redundant because if a person had a sip of alcohol with a gun it            
 was a violation of the law anyway.  He was concerned about an                 
 amendment offered to SB 141 that required the announcement of a               
 concealed gun upon entering a home when there were dishonest                  
 people.  He was also concerned about retirees.  A person should not           
 be given special treatment after retirement because the part of               
 carrying a gun for his career was over.  He did not have a problem            
 with active or reserve policemen, however.                                    
                                                                               
 Number 1369                                                                   
                                                                               
 DAVID WILLIAMS was the next person to testify in Juneau.  He                  
 supported HB 269 and believed that the changes were reasonable.  It           
 was very aggravating to leave his gun behind when entering a hotel            
 or restaurant simply because there was a bar attached to the                  
 premises.  There were laws already on the books to prohibit                   
 drinking while in possession of a gun.  The reduction of the fees             
 would be appreciated because he knew of some people who could not             
 afford the cost.  In Fairbanks, it amounted to $400 for a couple to           
 get their licenses.  The prohibition of a derringer was silly                 
 because it was designed as a concealed firearm.  Relaxing the laws            
 would encourage more law abiding people to apply when only a little           
 over 2 percent of eligible Alaskans carried a license.  In Florida,           
 not one innocent person had been killed or injured by a concealed             
 permittee in the eight years post its reform.  A study of good                
 samaritans that came to the aid of violent crime victims indicated            
 that 80 percent were gun owners and many carried one with them or             
 in their car.  A more user friendly concealed carry law would                 
 benefit the citizens and contribute to the security of society.               
                                                                               
 Number 1568                                                                   
                                                                               
 HORACE BLACK was the next person to testify via teleconference in             
 Fairbanks.  House Bill 269 was a good bill as it stood right now.             
 He could not in any way support CSSB 141(FIN) because it would be             
 detrimental and punitive to permittees.  He quoted a statement by             
 a woman who left her gun in her car because she could not bring it            
 into the restaurant where violence broke out and many were killed.            
 There was a notable lacking of knowledge in regards to what other             
 states were doing from those that opposed this type of legislation            
 when it made sense to research what other were doing.  The facts              
 indicated that concealed handguns saved money in preventative                 
 crimes and the associated damage expense.  Thousands of crimes were           
 prevented by permittees because they were there at the outset of              
 the incident while the police were called after the crime had been            
 committed.  There were ten times more permit holders than police              
 officers.  In addition, permit holders were honorable citizens and            
 the crime rate was about the same rate as the crime rate amongst              
 state legislatures and members of the United States Congress -                
 extremely small.                                                              
                                                                               
 Number 2031                                                                   
                                                                               
 DEAN J. GUANELI, Assistant Attorney General, Legal Services                   
 Section, Criminal Division, Department of Law, was the next person            
 to testify in Juneau.  It was one thing to reduce the fees or speed           
 up the process, but it was another thing to tinker with the                   
 underlying qualifications.  He objected to changes in who and where           
 a person could carry a concealed handgun.  Current law specified a            
 number of areas in the state where concealed handguns could not be            
 carried even with a permit.  The areas were carefully considered              
 three years ago.  They represented sensitive areas where tempers              
 flared and included the following:  police departments,                       
 correctional facilities, governmental offices, and domestic                   
 violence shelters.  House Bill 269 would wipe away their                      
 protection.  It had been said that all of the areas could rely on             
 current criminal trespassing laws for protection such as posting a            
 sign:  "No concealed handguns".  A sign would work only in private            
 buildings such as domestic violence shelters.  It would not work in           
 public buildings such as the legislature because it would not                 
 prohibit somebody from entering the premise.  If a person failed to           
 leave a public building upon direction the crime of criminal                  
 trespass was committed.  Therefore, there could be signs posted in            
 public buildings, but they would not make a bit of difference.                
                                                                               
 MR. GUANELI further stated that there were 6,000 permittees or 1              
 percent of the Alaskan population.  Therefore, 99 percent of                  
 Alaskans did not carry a concealed handgun.  The individuals that             
 did not carry felt more comfortable in public buildings knowing it            
 was against the law to have a concealed handgun.  It was a balance            
 between the desires of the 1 percent who carried and the comfort              
 level of the 99 percent who did not carry.                                    
                                                                               
 MR. GUANELI further stated current law indicated who could and who            
 could not carry a concealed handgun.  Individuals, for example, in            
 a treatment program could not obtain a permit unless they had been            
 out of treatment for three years.  The bill, however, would repeal            
 that protection.                                                              
                                                                               
 TAPE 97-57, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 0001                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. GUANELI further stated that any of the provisions in AS                   
 18.65.705, "Qualification to obtain a permit" should not be swept             
 away.  They were more specific than federal law and provided more             
 guidance.                                                                     
                                                                               
 MR. GUANELI further stated in regards to reciprocity, unless there            
 was a provision indicating that the requirements of another state             
 were as strict as Alaska's, you elevated the rights of nonresidents           
 above the rights of residents.  Nonresidents could carry a gun when           
 hunting, fishing, or hiking for protection before there was a                 
 concealed handgun permit law - all the reasons for a tourist to               
 carry a gun.  There were provisions in Alaska law that did not                
 exist in other states.  For example, provisions in Alaska law                 
 required a person to inform a police officer that he or she was               
 carrying a concealed handgun.  People from other states would not             
 know that they were required to do that thereby putting them at               
 risk of violating the law.  At the least, the state should limit              
 its reciprocity with those states that had the same requirements.             
 It was the same concept as a drivers license, except that there was           
 a broad interstate compact amongst the states.                                
                                                                               
 Number 0249                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES stated she understood the public's fear of guns.  She             
 asked Mr. Guaneli how we could change the public's view by                    
 separating the gun from the carrier?                                          
                                                                               
 Number 0334                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. GUANELI replied he was not certain how to change public                   
 perception.  People had very deeply held beliefs on some subject              
 matters including guns.  There were a lot of honest and law abiding           
 citizens who believed that guns made them safer.  There were also             
 a lot of honest and law abiding citizens who believed that guns put           
 them in greater danger.                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 0407                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES stated there were a lot of dead people who believed               
 that their only protection was the police.  Her basic belief was              
 that a person had responsibility for himself.                                 
                                                                               
 Number 0475                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON stated, in regards to testimony from Mr.                 
 Guaneli, a sign would not do anything except inform.  The sign                
 itself was not a physical barrier from a person carrying onto the             
 premise a concealed weapon.  He asked Mr. Guaneli to clarify what             
 he meant by the signs prohibiting.                                            
                                                                               
 Number 0526                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. GUANELI replied in a private building if a sign was posted and            
 a person entered with a concealed handgun it was a crime.  In a               
 public building if a sign was posted and a person entered with a              
 concealed handgun it was not a crime until the person was                     
 confronted and directed to leave.                                             
                                                                               
 Number 0576                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON stated the only thing that would stop a person           
 was a search.  The word "prohibit" was being used differently.                
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON asked Mr. Guaneli how was it possible to                 
 balance the right of a person to protect himself with the                     
 prohibited places, particularly for those that had been a victim of           
 domestic violence?  Essentially, the law said to a stalker where he           
 could go when a victim was vulnerable.                                        
                                                                               
 Number 0681                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. GUANELI replied there was no evidence to indicate that a                  
 stalker waited for a person to enter an area where a concealed                
 handgun was prohibited.  He would prefer to maintain the sanctity             
 of sensitive areas rather than opening them up to concealed                   
 handguns.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 0739                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE DYSON stated he saw the sanctity of a person being             
 able to protect himself as a higher need.                                     
                                                                               
 Number 0760                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS stated as a private pilot when he flew into            
 Canada he familiarized himself with the laws.  Ignorance should not           
 protect somebody from the law in regards to reciprocity.                      
                                                                               
 Number 0796                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. GUANELI agreed ignorance of the law was not an excuse.                    
                                                                               
 Number 0800                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES stated experience had shown that a person had to park             
 his gun at various times throughout the day due to the prohibitions           
 in law.  She believed that leaving a gun in a car, for example, was           
 the most dangerous place because the owner was not in control of              
 it.  The safest place to keep a gun was concealed on the owner's              
 body because no one would know it was there and the owner would be            
 in control.  She was more concerned about the individuals that were           
 carrying a concealed handgun without a permit because they felt               
 danger.                                                                       
                                                                               
 Number 0962                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ explained his experience with a concealed            
 weapon was with a narcotics trafficker.  The fact that the                    
 trafficker had a permit was of assistance to law enforcement.  He             
 wondered if AS 11.61.200(a)(12) with the exception of the language            
 "is concealed" was the same as AS 11.61.200(a)(1).                            
                                                                               
 Number 1052                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. GUANELI stated the two provisions were very similar.  Non-                
 violent felons would be allowed to obtain a permit after a certain            
 period of time elapsed.  Alaska Statute 11.61.200(a)(1) stated a              
 felon could not possess a concealed handgun with some exceptions              
 until 10 years had elapsed.  Alaska Statute 11.61.200(a)(12) stated           
 a felon could not knowingly possess a concealed handgun.                      
                                                                               
 Number 1134                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY stated he was puzzled by the comment made by             
 Representative Berkowitz in regards to a narcotics trafficker being           
 allowed to carry a concealed carry permit.                                    
                                                                               
 Number 1151                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ explained the language sweep on page 2,              
 lines 13-14, would not include a convicted narcotics trafficker               
 with a concealed weapon.                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 1178                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY stated it would still be a felony to possess             
 any narcotic with the intent to sell.  And, 10 years would still              
 have to elapse before he or she was eligible for a permit.                    
                                                                               
 Number 1202                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BERKOWITZ stated a person convicted of vehicular               
 assault not involving a weapon would be unable to use the                     
 affirmative defense under (a)(12).  Whereas, a person convicted of            
 a narcotics defense involving a weapon, but not convicted on the              
 weapons portion, would be able to use the affirmative defense under           
 (a)(12).                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 1234                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. GUANELI explained the critical point was the language on page             
 2, line 15, "and".  A person convicted of burglary after 10 years             
 time could only possess a concealed weapon in his own house; on his           
 land; or when engaged in hunting, fishing, trapping, or other                 
 lawful outdoor activities.                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 1301                                                                   
                                                                               
 JAYNE ANDREEN, Executive Director, Council on Domestic Violence and           
 Sexual Assault, Department of Public Safety, was the next person to           
 testify in Juneau.  The council was concerned that individuals with           
 domestic violence offenses would be eligible for a permit.                    
 Legislation was passed at the federal level prohibiting an                    
 individual with a domestic violence offense from obtaining a                  
 permit.  Alaska's definitions revised last year were broader.  The            
 council was also concerned about the removal of domestic violence             
 and sexual assault programs as places were concealed handguns would           
 be banned.  Domestic violence shelters would be able to post a sign           
 and were secured facilities.  However, there were outreach offices            
 for most of the programs for the community based clients.  In                 
 addition, most domestic violence offenders did not have a criminal            
 record.  They would be eligible for a permit.                                 
                                                                               
 Number 1456                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES asked Ms. Andreen if anything had been done to prohibit           
 a woman from coming to a shelter with a concealed handgun?                    
                                                                               
 Number 1476                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. ANDREEN replied, currently, a woman would not be able to bring            
 a concealed handgun into a shelter.                                           
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES asked Ms. Andreen if HB 269 allowed her to do that?               
                                                                               
 MS. ANDREEN replied it could depending on interpretation.                     
                                                                               
 Number 1501                                                                   
                                                                               
 JERRY BAGNESCHI was the next person to testify via teleconference             
 from Anchorage.  He was in support of HB 269 and SB 141.  He was              
 concerned about the prohibition of guns in the schools because his            
 wife attended the university in Anchorage where there had been                
 several rapes on campus.  In Fairbanks, several women had been                
 killed on campus.  There should be a provision for colleges.                  
                                                                               
 Number 1588                                                                   
                                                                               
 TUCKERMAN BABCOCK, Legislative Assistant to Senator Lyda Green, was           
 the next person to testify in Juneau.  He was here to answer any              
 questions in regards to SB 141 or HB 269 and its relationship to SB
 141.                                                                          
                                                                               
 MR. BABCOCK noted the concerns of the Department of Public Safety             
 had been addressed in SB 141 with the amended reciprocity                     
 provisions.  In addition, the Alaska's Peace Officers Association             
 objected to the lowering of the fees, otherwise it supported SB
 141.  The police chiefs of Valdez and the North Slope Borough                 
 endorsed SB 141.  The police chief of Wasilla also spoke in favor             
 of the bill.                                                                  
                                                                               
 MR. BABCOCK further noted the experience of the last two and a half           
 years had shown that a concealed handgun had yet to be used.  And,            
 despite the provisions that discriminated against a person from               
 carrying a concealed handgun versus carrying an opened handgun into           
 certain areas, the public safety question had been answered.                  
                                                                               
 Number 1750                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ELTON asked Mr. Babcock if HB 269 allowed somebody             
 to enter a home with a concealed handgun if a sign was not posted?            
                                                                               
 Number 1764                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. BABCOCK replied a provision was added in the Senate Finance               
 Committee, which Senator Green did not support, that would require            
 a person to announce when entering a home that he or she was                  
 carrying a concealed weapon.  House Bill 269 did not have the same            
 requirement.                                                                  
                                                                               
 Number 1809                                                                   
                                                                               
 BILL JONES was the next person to testify via teleconference in               
 Barrow.  He supported HB 269 as written.  Law abiding Alaskans had            
 already proven that they could handle the responsibility of                   
 carrying a concealed weapon.  The opposition in general was                   
 emotional and not backed up with facts or statistics.                         
                                                                               
 Number 1847                                                                   
                                                                               
 LAUREE HUGONIN, Executive Director, Alaska Network on Domestic                
 Violence and Sexual Assault, was the next person to testify in                
 Juneau.  The network did not support the changes in Sec. 10, Sec.             
 13 and Sec. 16 and would prefer the current law.                              
                                                                               
 MS. HUGONIN stated there were some circumstances where a person               
 would not be eligible to carry a firearm.  The courts had ordered             
 the forfeiture of a deadly weapon if it was in the actual                     
 possession of or used by the defendant during the commission of a             
 crime of domestic violence, crimes against a person, or crimes of             
 theft, for example, in Alaska.  Another circumstance was a person             
 knowingly possessing a firearm that was capable of being concealed            
 if he or she had been convicted.  In addition, there were a couple            
 of circumstances when a protective order was granted that a person            
 would be required to not use a gun while committing a crime of                
 domestic violence.  The network believed that a person who had                
 committed a domestic violence crime should not be permitted to                
 carry a concealed weapon.                                                     
                                                                               
 MS. HUGONIN stated the proposed bill loosened the protections in              
 Sec. 13 that were currently available because it only applyed to a            
 person convicted of a second class "A" misdemeanor.                           
                                                                               
 MS. HUGONIN stated the network was primarily concerned about                  
 domestic assault facilities in Sec. 16.  She did not agree that a             
 person could carry a concealed or opened handgun into a secured               
 facility because he would be stopped at the door.  A victim would             
 be asked to turn over her weapon until further arrangements were              
 made and she was ready to leave the shelter.  A victim would not be           
 penalized if she brought her weapon with her to a shelter, however.           
                                                                               
 MS. HUGONIN stated she was concerned about reciprocity and the                
 deletion of certain training requirements in Sec. 18.  It would be            
 a helpful safeguard to require training before reissuing a permit.            
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES stated from her experience individuals preparing to               
 carry a concealed handgun would not forget their training.  They              
 often engaged in target practice and were very concerned about                
 safety, therefore, additional training would not be necessary.                
 Number 2352                                                                   
                                                                               
 HAL HUME was the next person to testify via teleconference in                 
 Fairbanks.  He had been a state police officer for over 15 years              
 and was a certified firearms instructor.  Vermont had the right               
 approach because constitutionally good and honest citizens had the            
 right to carry a firearm - concealed and opened.  Studies had shown           
 there was less crime in states that had a concealed carry law.  He            
 had a problem with bureaucrats that assumed the majority of the               
 citizens were not stable and responsible individuals so that they             
 needed to be controlled.  A concealed carry law was simply                    
 protecting the public from honest and responsible citizens, not               
 criminals.                                                                    
                                                                               
 TAPE 97-57, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 0001                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. HUME further stated the automobile was just as much of a weapon           
 as a firearm when the state did not require training in a                     
 classroom, for example.  If the state was concerned about death and           
 accidents, it should consider better training for drivers as                  
 opposed to additional firearm training.  In addition, he wondered             
 why a permittee would be required to submit his firearm to a police           
 officer if demanded.  It would only create a chance for accidental            
 discharge.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 0080                                                                   
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE HODGINS moved that HB 269 move from the committee              
 with individual recommendations and the attached fiscal note(s).              
 There was no objection, HB 269 was so moved from the House State              
 Affairs Standing Committee.                                                   
                                                                               
 ADJOURNMENT                                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 0095                                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIR JAMES adjourned the House State Affairs Standing Committee              
 meeting at 10:35 a.m.                                                         
                                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects