Legislature(1995 - 1996)
05/06/1995 09:40 AM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
MINUTES SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE May 6, 1995 9:40 a.m. TAPES SFC-95, #63, Side 2 (000-end) SFC-95, #65, Side 1 (000-370) CALL TO ORDER Senator Rick Halford, Co-chair, convened the meeting at approximately 9:40 a.m. PRESENT In addition to Co-chairman Halford, Senators Phillips, Rieger, Sharp, and Zharoff were present. ALSO ATTENDING: Senator Taylor; Representative Therriault; Former Senator Pat Pourchot, Legislative Director, Office of the Governor; Nico Bus, Acting Director, Division of Support Services, Dept. of Natural Resources; Juanita Hensley, Chief, Driver Services, Dept. of Public Safety; Bruce Twomley, Chairman, Limited Entry Commission, Dept. of Fish and Game; Katherine Buchanan, aide to Representative Grussendorf; Melinda Gruening, aide to Representative Joe Green; Daniella Loper, aide to Representative Porter; and aides to committee members and other members of the legislature. SUMMARY INFORMATION SB 167 - DAY FINES & INFO FOR COLLECTING FINES The bill continued to be held in a subcommittee under Senator Rieger, and two members of his choosing, for work during the interim. HB 32 - PFD ADMINISTRATIVE PROCEEDINGS Appearance by Melinda Gruening on behalf of Representative Green. CSHB 32 (Fin) was REPORTED OUT of committee with a fiscal note from the Dept. of Revenue showing zero cost and revenue of $121.8. HB 107 - RESTRICTED LIMITED ENTRY PERMITS Discussion with Senator Taylor, Katherine Buchanan, and Bruce Twomley. CSHB 107 (FSH) was then REPORTED OUT of committee with a zero fiscal note from the Dept. of Fish and Game. HB 159 - DWI LAWS/ MINOR IN POSSESSION LAWS Discussion was had with Daniella Loper and Juanita Hensley. The bill was held in committee due to concerns regarding lack of a revenue fiscal note and costs shown on the Dept. of Corrections note. Co-chairman Halford directed that the Legislative Finance Division review assumptions in all fiscal notes and provide information on revenues resulting from increasing the minimum fine from $1,000 to $5,000. HB 191 - MANAGEMENT OF STATE LAND AND RESOURCES Discussion was had with Rep. Therriault and Nico Bus. The bill was then held in committee for further review of repealing language and lease provisions. SENATE BILL NO. 167 An Act relating to day fines in certain criminal cases and release of employment information for use in the collection of criminal judgments. Co-chairman Halford inquired concerning the status of work on SB 167. Senator Rieger commented upon feedback received from the Council on Domestic Violence and the Alaska Court System and said that agencies involved in the issue have no problem with additional work being done during the interim to make the bill more meaningful. The court system is hesitant to implement the program as presently envisioned since it does not appear to get to the targeted problem. Co-chairman Halford directed that SB 167 be held for interim work in a subcommittee chaired by Senator Rieger. CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 159(JUD) An Act allowing a person under age 21 to be arrested by a peace officer without a warrant for illegal possession, consumption, or control of alcohol; relating to the offenses of driving while intoxicated and failure to submit to a chemical test of breath or blood; and providing for an effective date. Co-chairman Halford directed that CSHB 159 (Jud) be brought on for discussion. DANIELLA LOPER, aide to Representative Porter, came before committee and read from the sponsor's statement (copy appended to these minutes). She noted that drunk driving remains a misdemeanor in Alaska regardless of the number of times an individual is convicted. At some point repeat convictions should constitute a felony. The proposed bill would provide the criminal justice system tools to combat this crime by: 1. Allowing a peace officer in any municipality to arrest without a warrant minors who drink alcohol. 2. Rendering drunk driving a felony on the third offense within a five-year period. 3. Granting prosecution ability to convict based on prior offenses of lower blood alcohol levels than provided for in current statutes. The provision highlighted in item 3, above, would allow Alaska to take into consideration convictions in other states with lower blood alcohol standards when convicting an individual on the third offense. The proposed bill would give Alaska one of the toughest drunk driving statutes in the nation. Passage would send a clear message that Alaskans will no longer tolerate persons who drive drunk. Senator Rieger asked how the proposed bill would mesh with earlier passed legislation allowing peace officers to take action without a warrant against juveniles in possession. Ms. Loper advised that prior legislation allowed state troopers to take action but did not allow municipalities to do so. This bill makes that technical correction. Discussion followed between Senator Rieger and Ms. Loper regarding the case in Ketchikan giving rise to both the proposed bill and earlier passed legislation regarding warrantless arrest of juveniles. In response to a question from Senator Zharoff regarding infringement on individual rights, Ms. Loper directed attention to page 1, line 8, and noted language allowing a peace officer to arrest without a warrant when an officer has "reasonable cause for believing that the person has committed a crime . . . ." Senator Zharoff suggested that arrest would then be based on the judgment of the officer. Ms. Loper concurred, advising that that is the case in almost every crime. Senator Zharoff voiced concern regarding potential for harassment of juveniles by police officers and suggested that municipal liability may occur. Ms. Loper reiterated that the standard in the proposed bill reflects statutory practice since "the early 1960s." Further discussion of the definition of "reasonable cause" followed. Senator Rieger cited statutory ability to arrest without a warrant in cases of stalking and suggested that ability to make such an arrest usually involves immediate danger to another person. He then noted that the situation is somewhat different when applied to a minor in possession. He acknowledged that the proposed bill is less troublesome than earlier passed legislation in that the instant bill allows for warrantless arrest followed by the usual judicial process while the earlier bill allowed for warrantless arrest, conviction, and subsequent appeal of the conviction. Ms. Loper next referenced a memorandum from the district attorney and read the following definition of minor consuming (AS 04.16.050) into the record: A person under the age of twenty-one years may not knowingly consume, possess, or control alcoholic beverages furnished persons under 04.16.051(b). The district attorney contends that the word "possess" should be interpreted to include possession by consumption. Two judicial officers in the First Judicial District have ruled that it does not. The court ruled that an officer who contacts a minor under the influence of alcohol may not arrest the minor unless the officer actually sees the minor consume the alcohol, possess the alcohol, or control the alcohol. Merely being under the influence in the officer's presence is not enough. That is why the proposed bill is attempting to change current statutes. Further discussion followed regarding the definition of a class C felony. Ms. Loper advised that it is the lowest class of felony. In response to a question from Senator Zharoff, Co-chairman Halford advised that "this area is specifically exempted from the day fines original legislation." Senator Rieger referenced new language in Sec. 9, page 5, and inquired concerning punishment under subsection (q), noting that it applies in some cases but not others. Ms. Loper explained that subsection (q) establishes the new conviction upon a third offense. For an individual convicted of more than two DWI offenses, the third conviction will become a class C felony. The perpetrator will spend 240 days in jail and will be subject to a $5,000 fine. JUANITA HENSLEY, Chief of Driver Services, Division of Motor Vehicles, Dept. of Public Safety, advised that for an individual arrested for a subsequent drunk driving offense within a preceding ten-year period, present law applies and a felony will not be charged. When a third DWI offense occurs within a five-year period, the perpetrator would fall under new subsection (q) provisions and a felony would be charged. Co-chairman Halford asked how the cumulative fiscal note cost of $1.8 million could be reduced. Ms. Loper asked that in considering fiscal note costs, members bear in mind the cost of a life. Senator Rieger suggested that fiscal notes should show anticipated revenue resulting from the higher fine associated with a class C felony. Co-chairman Halford concurred. Senator Sharp observed that new efforts take time to implement. Fiscal notes evidence addition of 16 new positions scattered throughout four departments. He then questioned whether costs set forth on fiscal notes would actually accrue in the first year of operation. Co-chairman Halford again concurred. In response a question from Senator Rieger regarding the levy of fines, Juanita Hensley explained that the statutory fine schedule reflects a minimum fine. At the present time, the court can levy a maximum fine of up to $5,000 on a misdemeanor drunk driving conviction. The minimum fine for a third offense is $1,000. She then attested to judgments on first offenses ranging from $200 to $500. When queried further by the Senator concerning changes under the proposed bill, Mrs. Hensley advised, "In most of these cases I see the courts only assessing a minimum fine." If a minimum fine of $5,000 for third-offense felony drunk driving is established, the court will require "at least a $5,000 fine" for the offense. Discussion of the number of arrests, prosecutions, and convictions followed. Senator Rieger suggested that the bill should generate approximately $300.0 in general fund revenues. Co-chairman Halford suggested that at a 50% collection rate the legislation should generate "half a million dollars . . . ." He then voiced need for the Legislative Finance Division to review fiscal note assumptions and develop revenue projections based on both assumptions and fine increases. The Co-chairman then directed that the bill be held in committee pending receipt of a fiscal note reflecting anticipated revenues. Senator Sharp also asked that Legislative Finance review the Dept. of Corrections fiscal note for possible reduction associated with implementation of the new effort. HB 191 CS FOR SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 191(FIN) An Act relating to the management and disposal of state land and resources; relating to certain remote parcel and homestead entry land purchase contracts and patents; and providing for an effective date. Co-chairman Halford directed that CSSSHB 191(Fin) be brought on for discussion. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT, sponsor of the legislation, came before committee. He explained that the proposed bill reflects the result of discussions with staff from the Dept. of Natural Resource in the course of subcommittee hearings on the budget. It contains cleanup language and provisions for Title 38 developed from legislation that died on the floor of the House during the final days of last session. Representative Therriault explained that in an attempt to mitigate the impact of reduced funding, he asked department staff to "go through their statutes [and] determine those things that were outdated or just flat didn't make sense any more." Negotiations and input produced the current bill which cleans up language directing the agency to do things that no longer make sense. An additional provision deals with the land swap along the Glenn Highway to Girdwood. A controversial section dealing with mining statutes was removed from the bill and placed in separate legislation. In response to a question from Senator Rieger, Representative Therriault explained that the land swap relates to right of way for a road project. Responding to a question from Co-chairman Halford regarding repeals within Sec. 5, Representative Therriault said that provisions therein would place the land disposal program on the same footing as other natural resource sale programs. Whether or not to submit a budget request each year would be discretionary rather than mandatory. Each budget proposal would be complete and would request full funding needed to get land disposals ready for sale, including access roads and other capital improvements that might be required. Co-chairman Halford further inquired concerning recreational cabin-site leases and sales. Representative Therriault noted that the current recreational cabin permit has never been utilized because it is not workable as presently structured. The new proposal is for a five-year lease at market value with a right of renewal for an additional five years or outright purchase at fair market value. The survey is paid for by the purchaser. In response to a question from Senator Phillips, Representative Therriault advised that fair market value would be established at the time of purchase. NICO BUS, Legislative Liaison, Dept. of Natural Resources, came before committee in response to a question from Senator Phillips. He explained that the lease terms would depend upon the size of the tract of land. Billing could be monthly, quarterly, or annually. Further discussion of the operation of the lease program followed. Representative Therriault directed attention to page 17, lines 23 through 28, and noted provisions that a lease not exceed five years with the right of an additional five-year extension. At any time during the lease, the lessee may purchase the remote cabin site by conducting a survey at that time. Senator Phillips expressed a preference for front loading the program by setting the purchase price at initiation of the lease and obtaining that price in five payments over the term of the lease with the possibility of a five-year extension of purchase payments. Representative Therriault explained that under present bill provisions, an individual could enter a lease and immediately move into a purchase. There may be individuals who only wish to lease the property rather than own it. The current bill accommodates both approaches. In his concluding remarks, Representative Therriault referenced the accompanying positive $225.0 fiscal note. Co-chairman Halford expressed concern that the positive revenue "comes from not doing anything because most of the `shalls' that apply to the commissioner, in existing law, are changed to `mays'. . . " End: SFC-95, #63, Side 2 Begin: SFC-95, #65, Side 1 Co-chairman Halford referenced Sec. 24, relating to set-net leases, and noted that the program was designed to tie lease permits to nearby communities. The proposed bill appears to repeal that condition. He then noted repeal of provisions relating to remote parcels, the homestead program, subdivision, etc., and advised of increasing discomfort with the bill. Representative Therriault suggested that Ron Swanson, Director, Division of Lands, Dept. of Natural Resource, be asked to come before committee to speak to technical questions. The Co-chairman concurred. Senator Zharoff also voiced concern regarding application of Sec. 24 to Bristol Bay, where much traditional use of salmon occurs. Co-chairman Halford noted that some of the mandatory provisions within Title 38 were designed to force administrations who sought to retain all land in state ownership to do differently. He then directed that the bill be held in committee for further review. CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 32(FIN) An Act relating to administrative proceedings involving a determination of eligibility for a permanent fund dividend or authority to claim a dividend on behalf of another; and providing for an effective date. Co-chairman Halford directed that CSHB 32 (Fin) be brought on for discussion. MELINDA GRUENING, aide to Representative Joe Green, came before committee. Senator Rieger MOVED that CSHB 32 (Fin) pass from committee with individual recommendations. No objection having been raised, CSHB 32 (Fin) was REPORTED OUT of committee with a fiscal note from the Dept. of Revenue showing zero cost and revenue of $121.8. Co-chairmen Halford and Frank and Senator Sharp signed the committee report with a "do pass" recommendation. Senators Phillips, Rieger, and Zharoff signed "no recommendation." CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 107(FSH) An Act relating to restrictions attached to certain commercial fisheries limited entry permits. Co-chairman Halford directed that CSHB 107 (FSH) be brought on for discussion. SENATOR TAYLOR came forward, directed attention to SCS CSHB 107 (Res), and explained that changes therein would result in a title change and subsequent debate. He suggested that the bill is of sufficient importance that consideration should revert to the version transmitted by the House. Senator Taylor acknowledged that problems with the present limited entry system should be addressed. However, the proposed bill is not the vehicle in which to do so. If it is not possible to act on the House bill, Senator Taylor suggested a two-year extension of the moratorium to prevent depletion of the resource by "outside boats." That could occur since the original moratorium is in its wind-down year, and open season on entry into the dungeness fishery would result if something is not passed this year. Co-chairman Halford voiced interest in ensuring that permits are not transferable. Prior discussion indicates that such action is too late in coming. While permit entry to individual fisheries is acceptable, transfer of permits for money is wrong. KATHERINE BUCHANAN, aide to Representative Grussendorf, came before committee. She explained that the original bill would allow the limited entry commission to use "a few more tools to decide how to limit the entry . . . ." Original limited entry provisions were for salmon. The crab fishery is different. The proposed bill would allow the commission to base the limited entry permit on the past number of pots fished, if it chose to do so. BRUCE TWOMLEY, Limited Entry Commission, Dept. of Fish and Game, came before committee. He explained that the bill only applies to fisheries not yet limited. The net fishery would not be impacted. In response to a question from Senator Rieger, Mr. Twomley explained that all net salmon fisheries are 100% limited. He acknowledged that some herring and other species are not under limited entry provisions. Responding to a further comment by Senator Rieger, Mr. Twomley said that the commission has no authority over halibut, advising, "The feds have captured that through a treaty entered some time ago." The proposed bill is directed to a specific fishery with an existing deadline. The Southeast dungeness fishery is under a moratorium authorized by legislation. The moratorium expires in January. A dungeness fleet is poised outside of Alaska ready to take advantage of the opening unless the state can follow through with a plan. The proposed bill represents a plan and "something near a consensus" that members of fleet, bureaucrats, and legislators have been able to work out. This solution would maintain controls and avoid the threatened invasion. Ms. Buchanan explained that the Senate Resources version of the bill would allow permits to be stacked. An individual fisherman issued a 50-pot permit could purchase additional permits up to a 300-pot maximum. Co-chairman Halford reiterated that the change necessitated a title amendment and suggested that need for new title language be avoided at this late stage of the session. Senator Rieger asked if the limited entry commission would support the change within SCS CSHB 107 (Res) had it not necessitated a title change. Mr. Twomley explained that the commission did not oppose the change nor would it oppose deletion. Of primary interest is the bill transmitted by the House. Further discussion of the reach of the Senate version followed. Senator Zharoff inquired concerning additional tools provided to the commission by the proposed bill. Mr. Twomley referenced ability to limit growth in fisheries which are not now limited. He spoke specifically to fisheries consisting of a large variety of people fishing at different levels of participation and cited the Southeast dungeness fishery as an example. In response to an additional question from Senator Zharoff concerning public input, Mr. Twomley assured that maximum public input would be guaranteed under existing law. Any proposal would have to be put before the public and proceed through the "entire process." Senator Zharoff asked if the bill would impact sea urchin or sea cucumber fisheries. Mr. Twomley acknowledged that both the House and Senate versions could encompass those areas. Discussion followed between Senator Rieger and Mr. Twomley regarding limited entry permit transfer procedures and laws governing transfer. Mr. Twomley said that Alaska law generally controls because transfer does not occur until or unless the limited entry commission approves the transfer. He acknowledged limited intrusion of federal law. Senator Zharoff MOVED for passage of CSHB 107 (FSH) with individual recommendations and the accompanying zero fiscal note. No objection having been raised, CSHB 107 (FSH) was REPORTED OUT of committee with a zero fiscal note from the Dept. of Fish and Game. Senator Rieger and Senator Zharoff signed the committee report with a "do pass" recommendation. Co-chairman Halford and Senators Phillips and Sharp signed "no recommendation." RECESS Co-chairman Halford announced that the meeting would be recessed at this time prior to commencement of work on HB 78 and HB 217. The meeting was recessed at approximately 10:55 a.m. and scheduled to reconvene at 12:30 p.m.