Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/12/1996 09:10 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                                                                               
                             MINUTES                                           
                    SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                   
                         March 12, 1996                                        
                            9:10 a.m.                                          
                                                                               
  TAPES                                                                        
                                                                               
  SFC-96, #37, Sides 1 and 2                                                   
  SFC-96, #38, Side 1 (000-175)                                                
                                                                               
  CALL TO ORDER                                                                
                                                                               
  Senator Rick Halford,  Co-chairman, convened the  meeting at                 
  approximately 9:10 a.m.                                                      
                                                                               
  PRESENT                                                                      
                                                                               
  In  addition   to  Co-chairman  Halford,   Senators  Donley,                 
  Phillips,  Rieger,  Sharp, and  Zharoff  were present.   Co-                 
  chairman Frank arrived soon after the meeting began.                         
                                                                               
  ALSO  ATTENDING:    Senator   Judy  Salo;  Anne   Carpeneti,                 
  Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, Dept. of Law;                 
  Del  Smith, Deputy  Commissioner,  Dept.  of Public  Safety;                 
  Juanita  Hensley, Chief,  Driver  Services, Dept.  of Public                 
  Safety; Donna Schultz, Probation Officer, Division of Family                 
  Services, Dept. of Health and Social Services; Allie Gordon,                 
  aide to Senator  Frank; Mike  Greany, Director,  Legislative                 
  Finance Division; and  aides to committee members  and other                 
  members of the legislature.                                                  
                                                                               
  ALSO PARTICIPATING  VIA TELECONFERENCE FROM  FAIRBANKS:   Al                 
  Near; Carol Gordon; Lori  Backes; Florence Loucks, Director,                 
  Family Focus, Fairbanks Native  Association; Judy Schiffler;                 
  and Dana Brown.                                                              
                                                                               
  SUMMARY INFORMATION                                                          
                                                                               
  SB  86 -  COMMEMORATIVE GOLD RUSH LICENSE PLATES                             
                                                                               
            Discussion was had with Juanita  Hensley.  CSSB 86                 
            (Fin) was adopted  and REPORTED  OUT of  committee                 
            with a new  $10.0 fiscal  note from  the Dept.  of                 
            Public Safety.                                                     
                                                                               
  SB 193 -  MANDATORY INSURANCE FOR COSTS OF BIRTH                             
                                                                               
            CSSB 193 (L&C) was REPORTED  OUT of committee with                 
            zero fiscal notes  from the Dept. of  Commerce and                 
            Economic Development,  Dept. of Health  and Social                 
            Services,   and   Dept.  of   Administration  (all                 
            depts.).                                                           
                                                                               
  SB 289 -  MISC. LAWS RELATING TO RUNAWAY MINORS                              
                                                                               
                                                                               
            Discussion  was had  with  Annie Carpeneti,  Donna                 
            Schultz,  and  Del Smith.    CSSB 289  (M version,                 
            3/7/96)  was  adopted.   Teleconference  testimony                 
            from  Fairbanks was  presented by  Al Near,  Carol                 
            Gordon,   Lori   Backes,  Florence   Loucks,  Judy                 
            Schiffler, and Dana  Brown.  Ms. Backes  was asked                 
            to fax recommended amendments  to committee.   The                 
            Dept. of Law was directed  to propose language for                 
            a "findings and purposes" section within the bill.                 
            The bill was  then held  in committee for  further                 
            review.                                                            
                                                                               
                                                                               
  SENATE BILL NO. 193                                                          
                                                                               
       An  Act requiring  insurance coverage  for certain                      
       costs  of birth;  and providing  for an  effective                      
       date.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Co-chairman Halford directed  that SB 193 be  brought before                 
  committee and  noted extensive discussion  of the bill  at a                 
  previous meeting.  Senator Zharoff MOVED that CSSB 193 (L&C)                 
  pass  from committee  with  individual recommendations.   No                 
  objection having been  raised, CSSB  193 (L&C) was  REPORTED                 
  OUT of committee  with zero fiscal  notes from the Dept.  of                 
  Commerce  and  Economic  Development,  Dept. of  Health  and                 
  Social Services, and Dept.  of Administration (all  depts.).                 
  All  members signed the  committee report  with a  "do pass"                 
  recommendation with  the exception of Co-chairman  Frank and                 
  Senator Sharp who signed "no recommendation."                                
                                                                               
                                                                               
  SENATE BILL NO. 86                                                           
                                                                               
       An  Act relating  to issuance  of special  request                      
       commemorative  gold  rush  motor  vehicle  license                      
       plates.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Co-chairman Halford  directed that SB  86 be brought  on for                 
  discussion.  Senator Sharp explained  that the bill proposes                 
  to redesign  the state license  plate for motor  vehicles to                 
  reflect the ten-year (1994-2004) gold rush centennial theme,                 
  and  he referenced  letters of  support.   The  Senator then                 
  MOVED for adoption of work  draft 9-LS0689\G (Ford, 3/8/96).                 
  No objection having been raised, CSSB 86 (Fin) was ADOPTED.                  
                                                                               
  JUANITA HENSLEY, Chief, Driver  Services, Division of  Motor                 
  Vehicles, Dept. of  Public Safety, came before  committee to                 
  respond to questions.  Co-chairman Halford asked if the work                 
  draft would  be accompanied  by a  zero fiscal  note.   Mrs.                 
  Hensley responded  negatively.   The original  note, showing                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  costs of $7.7  and revenues  of $7.8, reflects  design of  a                 
  specialty license  plate depicting the  gold rush era.   The                 
  work draft allows the gold rush design to become the general                 
  issue license plate.   That would involve  contractual costs                 
  for both the designer and supplier.  Operating costs for the                 
  first  year  would be  $10.0  for  design.   An  increase in                 
  subsequent years  to $34.4  reflects rebid  of the  existing                 
  contract  which expires in January, 1997.   The contract has                 
  historically shown a  10 percent increase.  That  cost would                 
  be in addition to costs associated with the new design.                      
                                                                               
  In response to a further question from the Co-chairman, Mrs.                 
  Hensley acknowledged that  sale of the plates  would produce                 
  revenue, but she  said she  had no way  of quantifying  that                 
  revenue at this  time.  Discussion followed  regarding sales                 
  of vanity license plates.                                                    
                                                                               
  Responding  to  a  question  from  Co-chairman  Frank,  Mrs.                 
  Hensley reiterated that  the gold rush plate would be phased                 
  in as the new  general issue plate.  Senator  Donley advised                 
  that he would support availability of gold rush plates as an                 
  option.  He  stressed that the  proposal that the new  plate                 
  become general  issue represents a major change in the bill.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Senator Randy  Phillips asked  what would  happen after  the                 
  ten-year  centennial  period.   He  attested to  past public                 
  aversion  to  changing  Alaska's  license plates.    Senator                 
  Donley voiced support  for the original bill  which provided                 
  for an optional  centennial plate.  Senator  Sharp explained                 
  that the impetus behind general issue  was to make the plate                 
  available  as   economically  as  possible   at  the   $5.00                 
  replacement rate  rather than  at the  custom plate  rate of                 
  $30-$35.    The intent  was to  provide  a low  priced entry                 
  threshold through gradual phase in.   Experience with vanity                 
  plates indicates that  sales of gold rush plates  would more                 
  than  cover annual costs.   The cost escalation projected on                 
  the fiscal note would have occurred for existing plates when                 
  the contract was  rebid.  The  only difference is the  $10.0                 
  design  cost  and  nominal  costs  from  redesign  that  may                 
  increase the average cost of plates.  Sale of plates  at the                 
  replacement rate  of $5.00 provides  a $2.00 profit  for the                 
  state.  When profit  is calculated per projected  sales, the                 
  state should more than break even.  Co-chairman Frank voiced                 
  support for the adopted work draft.                                          
                                                                               
  Senator Rieger MOVED that CSSB  86 (Fin) pass from committee                 
  with accompanying fiscal  notes.   No objection having  been                 
  raised, CSSB 86 (FIN)  was REPORTED OUT of committee  with a                 
  $10.0 fiscal  note from  the Dept.  of Public  Safety.   All                 
  members  signed  the  committee  report  with  a  "do  pass"                 
  recommendation  with the  exception of  Senators Donley  and                 
  Phillips who signed "no recommendation."                                     
                                                                               
                                                                               
  SENATE BILL NO. 289                                                          
                                                                               
       An  Act  relating  to  runaway  minors  and  their                      
       families or legal custodians.                                           
                                                                               
  Co-chairman  Halford directed that SB 289  be brought on for                 
  discussion.  Co-chairman  Frank explained that the  bill was                 
  introduced  in  response  to  constituent concern  regarding                 
  runaway minors.   The intent is  to tighten laws to  provide                 
  that  police  officers return  runaways  to their  homes and                 
  allow officers an opportunity to review the situation there.                 
  The Dept. of Law discovered a loophole in existing law which                 
  makes  situations  in  which adults  inappropriately  harbor                 
  runaways difficult  to prove.   Provisions  within the  bill                 
  amend that language.                                                         
                                                                               
  Co-chairman Frank next attested to the revolving door nature                 
  of  community shelters  for runaways.   Minors  are free  to                 
  leave at any time.   Language in the proposed  bill requires                 
  that  runaways  be taken  to  "at least  a  semi-secure type                 
  environment."   That  entails  an  alarm  or  some  form  of                 
  notification that  sounds when a  young person leaves.   The                 
  appropriate authorities can then be contacted.                               
  Senator Randy Phillips referenced his prior attempts to deal                 
  with  the issue and noted a lack  of majority support at the                 
  time.  He  voiced his hope that the climate  of the existing                 
  legislature would be conducive to enactment.                                 
                                                                               
  Co-chairman Frank MOVED  for adoption of  a work draft  CSSB                 
  289 (9-LS1635\M,  3/7/96, Lauterbach).   No objection having                 
  been raised, CSSB 289 (Fin) was ADOPTED.                                     
                                                                               
  ALLIE GORDON, aide  to Senator Frank, came  before committee                 
  and conducted the  following sectional analysis of  the work                 
  draft:                                                                       
                                                                               
  Sec. 1.  New language relates to:                                            
                                                                               
       Subsection (3) provisions concerning  repeated absences                 
       from school.   "Just cause" was removed  from statutory                 
       language  and "without  the permission  of  the child's                 
       parent, guardian, or custodian" was added.  Parents who                 
       keep  their  children  out  of  school for  other  than                 
       legitimate reasons would still be in violation under AS                 
       14.30.010 (truancy law).                                                
                                                                               
       Subsection  (4)  provisions  relating  to harboring  of                 
       runaway minors.   "Just  cause" was  also removed  from                 
       existing  language  as  was  "knowledge  or."   Removal                 
       strengthens language  to the extent that  if permission                 
       has been granted, knowledge is inherent.                                
                                                                               
                                                                               
       Affirmative  defenses  to  harboring   have  also  been                 
       incorporated  within the  subsection.   These  defenses                 
       require that the defendant  reasonably believe that the                 
       child is in  danger of  physical injury or  in need  of                 
       temporary  shelter.   The  defendant  must also  notify                 
       authorities within 12 hours.                                            
                                                                               
  Sec. 2.   Deals with  courses of  action available to  peace                 
  officers after they pick up a runaway:                                       
                                                                               
       (a)  The first is to  return the runaway to his or  her                 
  legal          custodian.                                                    
                                                                               
       (b)  The  second  is  to take  the  minor  to  a nearby                 
  location       agreed to by the legal custodian.                             
                                                                               
       (c)  Take the minor to  a semi-secure shelter which has                 
  delayed        locks or alarms on the doors notifying  staff                 
                 if a minor attempts to leave.                                 
                                                                               
       Sec. 3.   Contains definitions.                                         
                                                                               
  Sec. 4.   Deals  with  liability   issues  associated   with                 
  shelters.  Shelters are not to be held liable should a minor                 
  leave and subsequently sustain injuries.                                     
                                                                               
  Sec. 5.   Describes runaway programs.  Changes deal with the                 
  time  limit  within  which  the   shelter  must  notify  the                 
  department when a minor enters the shelter or program.                       
                                                                               
  The only changes between  CSSB 289 (Jud) and CSSB  289 (Fin)                 
  occur in Sec.  1, subsections (3)  and (4), as noted  above.                 
  Co-chairman Frank added  that in reviewing existing  law, he                 
  could see no just cause for a  minor to be repeatedly absent                 
  from school.  The  Dept. of Law cited circumstances  such as                 
  an  extended  vacation,  and language  relating  to parental                 
  permission was added.                                                        
                                                                               
  Senator Rieger referenced existing law  at page 4, line  19,                 
  and  noted that it  speaks to child  abuse and  neglect.  He                 
  then pointed to language at page 2, lines 22 through 27, and                 
  noted  that  it addresses  physical  or  sexual abuse.    He                 
  subsequently inquired concerning the  difference between the                 
  two and whether something was  excluded. Senator Rieger also                 
  referenced  wording  at page  3,  lines 29-31,  and inquired                 
  regarding the standard for "material factor" compliance.                     
                                                                               
  Senator Zharoff asked  why language relating to  exercise of                 
  discretion by peace officers was removed at page 2, line 18.                 
  Ms.  Gordon  answered that  the intent  was  to lay  out the                 
  course of action for the police officer.  The first response                 
  must be to try to return the  child to his or her parent  or                 
  guardian.  Family reconciliation will  be the initial course                 
  of action unless  there is reason  to believe the child  has                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  been abused.                                                                 
                                                                               
  Comments by  Senator Phillips  and discussion  among members                 
  followed regarding  past legislative attempts  to deal  with                 
  the issue of runaways.                                                       
                                                                               
  Senator Donley questioned the zero fiscal notes submitted by                 
  the Dept.  of Health  and Social  Services, suggesting  that                 
  proposed changes  within  the bill  would  require  funding.                 
  DONNA SCHULZ, Juvenile Probation Officer, Division of Family                 
  Services, Dept. of  Health and Social Services,  came before                 
  committee.  She  expressed appreciation for ability  to work                 
  with the sponsor on the proposed bill which she acknowledged                 
  deals  with  "very difficult  problems."    Positive changes                 
  could  result  from  the  legislation.    Ms.  Schulz  noted                 
  specifically  provisions making it  easier to  bring charges                 
  for contributing to  the delinquency of  a minor.  The  bill                 
  expands  the  parental  role and  elevates  the  position of                 
  parents in determining where  a child will be placed  if the                 
  child is not returned home.                                                  
                                                                               
  Provisions  direct   peace  officers   to  use   semi-secure                 
  facilities, if possible.    And, it strengthens shelters  by                 
  allowing them  to become  semi-secure.   Officers will  also                 
  advise youth on  available mediation  services.  Ms.  Schulz                 
  voiced support for the bill.                                                 
                                                                               
  Speaking to questions regarding the fiscal notes, Ms. Schulz                 
  acknowledged that the department requested  $170.0 as a one-                 
  time cost  to  assist six  shelters in  obtaining locks  and                 
  other devices needed to make them semi-secure.                               
                                                                               
  Senator Rieger asked if statistics indicate why the majority                 
  of  runaways  leave  home.    Ms.  Schulz said  she  had  no                 
  statistical information  and  deferred  comment  to  shelter                 
  staff participating via teleconference.                                      
                                                                               
  ANNIE  CARPENETI,  Assistant   Attorney  General,   Criminal                 
  Division,  Dept.  of Law,  came  before committee.   Senator                 
  Donley  referenced  civil  division   fiscal  note  language                 
  indicating that secure placement of juveniles will "probably                 
  be  determined  to  be  unconstitutional."   Mrs.  Carpeneti                 
  voiced her understanding that "generally you're not supposed                 
  to  lock up  children .  . .  [who] are  in custody  because                 
  they're children, not because they've done something wrong."                 
  She  then  advised  that she  would  return  more definitive                 
  information  to  committee.   She  also noted  that changing                 
  language from  "secure"  to  "semi-secure"  might  cure  the                 
  constitutional issue.  Co-chairman Frank voiced a preference                 
  for a  secure facility,  advising that  many runaways  leave                 
  both home and shelter facilities for  a life on the streets.                 
  He then voice his  understanding that providing for  a semi-                 
  secure facility  and a  notification system  would cure  the                 
  constitutional problem.                                                      
                                                                               
                                                                               
  In response to  questions from Senator Donley  regarding the                 
  nature of the constitutional issues, Mrs. Carpeneti said she                 
  would provide both federal and state citations.                              
                                                                               
  Referencing CSSB 289 (Fin), Mrs.  Carpeneti advised that the                 
  Dept.  of  Law  opposes  changes  in  "contributing  to  the                 
  delinquency"  statutes.   She  pointed  specifically  to  AS                 
  11.51.130 (a)(3) at page 2, line  2, and voiced a preference                 
  for existing statutory  language.  Language in  the proposed                 
  bill applies to both parents  and non-parents.  It prohibits                 
  an  individual  from actively  keeping  a child  from school                 
  compared to  truancy laws which are more  focused on parents                 
  who are not getting the child  to school.  Removing language                 
  relating to  just cause  for absence  and inserting  wording                 
  relating  to parental permission  undercuts truancy  laws by                 
  implying that a parent can give permission for a child to be                 
  absent from school.   She cited instances of child  abuse as                 
  an  example.  Co-chairman Frank  advised of desire to remove                 
  "just cause" because "It was just a big loophole."   Senator                 
  Donley  suggested  that  both  "just   cause"  and  parental                 
  permission language be included.                                             
                                                                               
  END:      SFC-96, #37, Side 1                                                
  BEGIN:    SFC-96, #37, Side 2                                                
                                                                               
  Senator Randy Phillips  expressed frustration over  Dept. of                 
  Law  objection  to  proposed   legislative  changes  without                 
  providing an  alternative approach.   Mrs. Carpeneti  voiced                 
  her  understanding  that  there was  no  problem  with "just                 
  cause" language  in subparagraph  (3).   Concern relates  to                 
  inclusion within (4).  Co-chairman  Frank advised that "just                 
  cause" was determined to be  problematic in both subsections                 
  since  it  posed problems  for  prosecution.   In subsequent                 
  discussion of  prosecution efforts, Co-chairman  Frank asked                 
  if  the department had prosecuted under subsection (3).  Co-                 
  chairman Halford asked that the department return a response                 
  to committee.                                                                
                                                                               
  Referencing  page  2,  line 4,  Mrs.  Carpeneti  expressed a                 
  preference for  retaining "knowledge  or  permission."   The                 
  department  is  worried  about  "throw-away  kids"--children                 
  whose parents do not have the thought, attention, or care to                 
  withhold  or give permission.   Co-chairman  Frank suggested                 
  that the department  views the bill from the  perspective of                 
  an abused  child  while  the focus  of  the  legislation  is                 
  frustration felt by parents who have no ability to deal with                 
  or  cure  runaway  situations.    Mrs.  Carpeneti  cautioned                 
  against  applying  prohibitions  to  a  neighbor  who  might                 
  provide shelter in instances when a parent is unable to give                 
  rational  permission.    Co-chairman  Frank  suggested  that                 
  affirmative defense provisions  would cover that  situation.                 
  Mrs. Carpeneti  cautioned against holding  people criminally                 
  liable and placing  them in need of invoking  an affirmative                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  defense when they are  only attempting to do good  by taking                 
  in a runaway  child.  Co-chairman Frank  reiterated that the                 
  present  situation  is a  mess.      Senator  Randy Phillips                 
  stressed  need  for   a  "real  world"  solution   from  the                 
  department.     Mrs.  Carpeneti   replied  that   her  first                 
  suggestion would be  to leave  existing law intact.   It  is                 
  working and poses no problem to prosecution.                                 
                                                                               
  Mrs.  Carpeneti  said  the department  does  not  oppose the                 
  provision for placement of runaways in semi-secure shelters.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Senator Donley suggested  that an affirmative  defense would                 
  not  be  necessary  if language  within  subsection  (4) was                 
  expanded to include "unless  the person reasonably  believed                 
  the child was  in danger  of physical injury  or in need  of                 
  temporary  shelter."    Mrs.   Carpeneti  concurred  in  the                 
  suggestion.  She further noted that the department suggested                 
  inclusion of "knowledge  and/or permission" at page  2, line                 
  4, for good  reason.  She characterized  as unfair committee                 
  assertions that the department was  "throwing up roadblocks"                 
  to proposed changes.  She noted  that the department  worked                 
  with the sponsor and staff on the recent draft.                              
                                                                               
  In response to a question from Senator Sharp, Mrs. Carpeneti                 
  explained that contributing to the delinquency of a minor is                 
  a class-A misdemeanor incurring a maximum $5,000 fine or one                 
  year in jail.                                                                
                                                                               
  DEL SMITH, Deputy Commissioner, Dept. of Public Safety, next                 
  came before committee to respond  to questions.  Co-chairman                 
  Halford asked if  there had been prosecution  problems under                 
  AS 11.51.130.  Mr. Smith said he did not know, advising that                 
  local law enforcement would be more  likely to deal with the                 
  issue.   He  added  that he  had  heard of  no objection  to                 
  proposals within the bill.                                                   
                                                                               
  In  response  to a  comment  from Senator  Donley concerning                 
  fiscal  note analysis  language citing  "inestimable" costs,                 
  Mr. Smith  said he did not want to "come up with a cost that                 
  I am  unable to support, for any  particular reason."  It is                 
  unknown how  much additional  trooper time  might be  needed                 
  before  a  minor  is  returned  home or  placed  in  another                 
  appropriate location.    Senator Donley  voiced support  for                 
  funding of the legislation.                                                  
                                                                               
  Senator Rieger referenced language at the  top of page 3 and                 
  noted that  it  requires that  the  peace officer  give  the                 
  "highest  priority"  to  taking  a  minor to  a  semi-secure                 
  facility.   He then asked if language is, inadvertently, too                 
  strong.  He questioned what would  happen if a local shelter                 
  was available but the semi-secure facility was some distance                 
  away.    A literal  interpretation indicates that  the peace                 
  officer must take  the runaway to the  semi-secure location.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Mr. Smith concurred in that concern.                                         
                                                                               
  AL  NEAR next spoke  via teleconference from  Fairbanks.  He                 
  advised that  the runaway problem in Alaska,  and the United                 
  States as a whole, is reaching  epidemic proportions.  It is                 
  increasingly  touching the  lives  of middle-class  families                 
  attempting to instill  traditional values.  Laws  enacted to                 
  protect abused and neglected children are being exploited by                 
  rebellious minors challenging authority.                                     
                                                                               
  Beginning  in  the  mid-1970s,  federal  law  recognized the                 
  importance of not treating abused  and neglected minors like                 
  criminals.    Laws from  that  philosophy require  the least                 
  restrictive settings for  juveniles in custody.   To achieve                 
  mandates  at  the  state level,  certain  federal  funds for                 
  juvenile programs are contingent upon compliance.  Detention                 
  of juveniles  for running away  would place $150.0  in grant                 
  moneys at  risk.   The foregoing  approach overlooks  merely                 
  rebellious young  people who,  on advice  of peers,  exploit                 
  these laws  and manipulate  the system.   These  minors know                 
  that  law  enforcement agencies  do not  aggressively pursue                 
  runaways  or those  who  harbor  them.   The  proposed  bill                 
  addresses some deficiencies.  It falls short of dealing with                 
  runaways  who refuse  to remain  in shelters.   Minors  must                 
  learn that running away from authority  is not an option. If                 
  juveniles run away from a semi-secure facility, "They should                 
  be  placed in a secure one."   Early intervention is the key                 
  to saving these  children.  Law enforcement  officers concur                 
  that the first hours are the most dangerous.                                 
                                                                               
  Mr.  Near next attested to a case in Fairbanks where a young                 
  man was cited for contributing to the delinquency of a minor                 
  because on numerous  occasions officers found that  he had a                 
  number of young,  runaway, teenage  girls in his  apartment.                 
  He  noted that prosecution for the  offense has not produced                 
  the desired result.                                                          
                                                                               
  Senator Rieger  inquired concerning  the number  of runaways                 
  fitting into  particular categories.   Mr.  Near voiced  his                 
  impression that the  majority are young people  running away                 
  from authority.                                                              
                                                                               
  CAROL GORDON voiced support for  the legislation, terming it                 
  a "step in the  right direction."  She acknowledged  that it                 
  will  not  solve the  problem of  children  "on the  run" to                 
  escape responsibility for  their own actions  or who do  not                 
  want parental supervision.  She told of the inability of her                 
  sixteen-year  old to handle  the street life  he has chosen.                 
  The  Dept. of  Health  and  Social  Services would  not  get                 
  involved in the case because he  was not abused or neglected                 
  at home.                                                                     
                                                                               
  Mrs.   Gordon   described   the   circumstances   by   which                 
  psychiatrists  and  psychologists  recommended  that  he  be                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  placed on  24-hour  sight  and sound  watch  because  he  is                 
  considered a  danger to others.   Yet, he  was free  to walk                 
  away  and is now  on the street.   Mrs. Gordon  said she was                 
  advised there is nothing that can be done about his being on                 
  the street.  As an adoptive parent, Mrs. Gordon acknowledged                 
  that she is responsible for "anything  this boy may do."  He                 
  has  stolen  automobiles,  vandalized   property,  and  been                 
  arrested  several  times  for  shoplifting.    Loopholes  in                 
  existing  law  must  be  plugged.   Senator  Randy  Phillips                 
  stressed need to give more rights  to parents.  He suggested                 
  that  much  of  the  problem  is  simply  rebellion  against                 
  parental authority.  Co-chairman Halford concurred.                          
                                                                               
  LORI BACKES  next testified.   She  expressed  pride in  her                 
  fifteen-year-old  daughter whom  she described  as fearless,                 
  open minded, kind to those in need, and willing to sacrifice                 
  whatever  is  necessary  for  what  she  believes  in.   The                 
  downside is that she  often places herself in danger  and is                 
  easily persuaded by  people who can  take advantage of  her.                 
  Her willingness  to sacrifice  has caused  her to  turn away                 
  from a loving home and family.  Mrs. Backes stressed need to                 
  find her daughter and bring her home for her own protection.                 
  The first  assumption by  authorities was  that  she fled  a                 
  hostile situation.  That is not always the case.                             
                                                                               
  Passage  of  the  proposed  bill  would create  the  support                 
  parents need to protect children.  Mrs. Backes urged passage                 
  of the bill but noted the following:                                         
                                                                               
  Sec. 3,  page 3,  line 23,  language should  say that  young                 
  people  will  be  stopped  when  they  leave  a  semi-secure                 
  facility.                                                                    
                                                                               
  Sec. 5, page  4, supervision should  be placed in the  legal                 
  guardian rather than the department.                                         
                                                                               
  In  her concluding remarks,  Mrs. Backes referenced language                 
  at page 2 relating  to the discretion of peace  officers and                 
  suggested that  officers be  directed to  tell juveniles  to                 
  obey their parents, for their own good.                                      
                                                                               
  FLORENCE  LOUCKS, Director,  Family Focus,  Fairbanks Native                 
  Association,  next  spoke  in  support  of the  bill.    She                 
  attested to  an "extreme increase"  in the  number of  young                 
  people accessing the  shelter in  the last five  years.   In                 
  1990 the number approximated 100.  Last year there were over                 
  450.  Not all of the  children are runaways.  In some  cases                 
  the parents have requested time out.   For others the police                 
  have been  unable to  locate  the parents,  and the  shelter                 
  performs a holding  function.   While some are  throw-aways,                 
  there is a  "whole group  of youth that  really are  evading                 
  parental authority."   This is the  group that comes in  the                 
  front door and  out the  back.  The  proposed bill  provides                 
  empowerment for parents and makes it possible to take action                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  against individuals who harbor youths in situations that are                 
  not in the youth's best interest.                                            
                                                                               
  Ms. Loucks  attested to cases in which  runaways have become                 
  involved in  drugs or are sexually victimized.  She stressed                 
  need for "some way of dealing with that group of people that                 
  sort of encourage  youths to be  delinquent; to act  against                 
  their parents; to be on the street . . . ."                                  
                                                                               
  Informal questionnaires  completed by  those coming  through                 
  the shelter indicate  that 90 percent have  been involved in                 
  drugs  or alcohol  in some  manner (experimentation  through                 
  addiction).    Ms. Louks  reiterated  support for  the bill,                 
  saying that it would decrease exploitation and victimization                 
  of minors.                                                                   
                                                                               
  Senator Rieger  inquired concerning the percentage  of young                 
  people  fleeing  abusive  situations at  home.    Ms. Loucks                 
  advised of 5  to 10  percent referral from  the Division  of                 
  Family  and  Youth  Services  because of  abuse.    Not  all                 
  situations  result in an  actual finding of  abuse.  Parents                 
  indicate that  current law  is written  for those  children.                 
  The majority  of the youth  passing through the  shelter are                 
  involved  in  family  conflicts at  varying  levels.   Early                 
  intervention before these young people become involved  with                 
  street youths or undesirable  adult sheltering is essential.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  Ms. Loucks noted  that one of  the areas in family  conflict                 
  stems  from  step parents  and  "significant others."   That                 
  often requires counseling and work with all parties, but  it                 
  is doable.  Of those with  whom the shelter has worked,  the                 
  unification rate is approximately 87 percent.                                
                                                                               
  Senator Rieger inquired  concerning the percentage of  young                 
  people who are not involved in family conflict but attracted                 
  to  gang involvement  or a home  other than their  own.  Ms.                 
  Loucks responded, "There  is always  an element, when  we're                 
  talking about youth, that decide they  don't want to do what                 
  their  parents think  they  should  do."   Parents  may  not                 
  approve  of friends  or  activities.    It  then  becomes  a                 
  conflict for the youth.                                                      
                                                                               
  Ms. Loucks further advised  of a group of young  people that                 
  "have  severe emotional  problems,  and  families have  done                 
  everything  that they can."   That is another group--a small                 
  percentage but a very serious one.                                           
                                                                               
  JUDY SCHIFFLER next spoke in support of the bill and thanked                 
  members for their  efforts at improving the  legislation for                 
  the  safety of  young people  and the  strengthening of  the                 
  family unit.  She voiced  concern, however, that semi-secure                 
  provisions  would  not  prevent  a  negative  pattern   from                 
  continuing.  Through the  information pipeline, young people                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  are aware that being picked up  by authorities and placed in                 
  a semi-secure facility is "just  an inconvenient stop on the                 
  way back to the streets or to the hang out with  their group                 
  . . . of undesirables."  She  attested to the fact that many                 
  of these  young people are being used by undesirable adults.                 
  Ms. Schiffler advised of need to strengthen the consequences                 
  for running away  from a  semi-secure facility.   A  further                 
  step should be added to place young people in a  more secure                 
  surrounding.   There is  need for  earlier intervention  and                 
  increasingly tougher  consequences rather  than a  revolving                 
  door.   She urged  members to  add provisions  for a  second                 
  placement.                                                                   
                                                                               
  DANA BROWN  next spoke in support of the legislation, saying                 
  that  it  represents a  step in  the  right direction.   She                 
  advised  that  the  problem  is   much  larger  than  issues                 
  addressed  in  the  bill.    She then  described  situations                 
  involved in dealing  with her twelve-year-old, ADD-diagnosed                 
  son.  Ms. Brown told of  his rebellion against teachers, and                 
  the  junior high  school's inability to  physically restrain                 
  him.  She  attested to attempts to  obtain a court  order to                 
  have him detained for 72 hours and evaluated and controlled.                 
  In the meantime,  her son survived a  gun shot wound to  the                 
  chest from a seventeen year old using a stolen gun.                          
                                                                               
  Ms.  Brown  stressed  that  parents  with children  in  this                 
  situation have no control under current law.                                 
                                                                               
  END:      SFC-96, #37, Side 2                                                
  BEGIN:    SFC-96, #38, Side 1                                                
                                                                               
  Co-chairman    Halford    acknowledged    complaints    from                 
  constituents that present law does not provide authority for                 
  parents to "do  something that we  thought was a  legitimate                 
  parental responsibility."   The  Co-chairman next  addressed                 
  constitutional  issues  associated  with   the  bill.     [A                 
  transcript of those comments follows.]                                       
                                                                               
  Co-chairman Halford:   One of the  things we've got to  face                 
                                                                               
  head on   is the constitutional  question.   And one of  the                 
                                                                               
            ways to face that, I think, is with a findings and                 
                                                                               
            purpose section in this  bill.  We have got  to be                 
                                                                               
            able to deal  with the question of  confinement or                 
                                                                               
            we'll never get to the second tier.                                
                                                                               
                              . . .                                            
                                                                               
  Co-chairman Halford:  The question of the  constitutionality                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
  and the   rights of a minor with regard to confinement . . .                 
                                                                               
             I know they're  different than  the rights of  an                 
                                                                               
            adult.    But,  we really  need  some  kind  of an                 
                                                                               
            analysis  of  what the  courts  have said  in this                 
                                                                               
            state,  and what we could put in a bill that was a                 
                                                                               
            set of findings and purpose that said  essentially                 
                                                                               
            . . . that  the problem is epidemic, that  we find                 
                                                                               
            it to be  a threat to  both the public health  and                 
                                                                               
            safety and the individual health and safety of the                 
                                                                               
            person.   Try and reach  out to whatever terms the                 
                                                                               
            court  has  used every  time they've  overruled or                 
                                                                               
            worked against us on control of minors and pick up                 
                                                                               
            the terms that  they use to  allow us the  maximum                 
                                                                               
            amount of control in this area.                                    
                                                                               
                              . . .                                            
                                                                               
  Senator Sharp:   I think also that,  hopefully, there's some                 
                                                                               
  way with  that preamble, in trying to build it into statute,                 
                                                                               
            in defining the seriousness of  the problem, there                 
                                                                               
            should be some way to justify  extended protective                 
                                                                               
            custody for juveniles.   Which  could be the  next                 
                                                                               
            step up from just . . .                                            
                                                                               
  Co-chairman Halford:  Well, we have to beef up the penalties                 
                                                                               
       against people who enable that  kind of performance and                 
                                                                               
       don't do  it in  the sense  of helping  a kid,  because                 
                                                                               
       there really is a problem.  And  we need to find out if                 
                                                                               
       there's a finding that we can put in the bill that says                 
                                                                               
       that  90% of  these  people are,  in  fact, acting  out                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
       against authority, and 10% are  avoiding a truly unfair                 
                                                                               
       situation.  [If that is the case,] then we ought to  be                 
                                                                               
       knowing that.   There has  got to be  a standard  there                 
                                                                               
       somewhere--in the court cases.  And  it's going to take                 
                                                                               
       some   research.    I'm  not  willing  to  wait  for  a                 
                                                                               
       commission.  But I do think we have to, at least, get a                 
                                                                               
       legal  analysis  of what  we can  do  to make  our best                 
                                                                               
       constitutional argument.                                                
                                                                               
                              . . .                                            
                                                                               
  Co-chairman Halford:  [To Mrs.  Carpeneti] Could you propose                 
                                                                               
  a    findings section for  us that  is as strong  as we  can                 
                                                                               
       get?                                                                    
                                                                               
                              . . .                                            
                                                                               
  Co-chairman Frank:   Mr. Chairman, I'd like to  clarify your                 
                                                                               
  request.       Are you  referring to  the idea  of a  secure                 
                                                                               
                 environment?                                                  
                                                                               
                              . . .                                            
                                                                               
  Co-chairman Halford:  Yes.  Unless we have a situation where                 
                                                                               
  parental authority is  going to, in  some way, be  enforced,                 
                                                                               
  then  it's going  to be  ignored.   If we're  going to  hold                 
                                                                               
  parents  responsible  for the  actions  of their  kids, then                 
                                                                               
  parents have got to have the tools to be able to control the                 
                                                                               
  actions of their kids.                                                       
                                                                               
                              . . .                                            
                                                                               
  Co-chairman  Halford:    It's  not  just  the  loopholes  in                 
                                                                               
  existing law,  it's the constitutional  protections that  we                 
                                                                               
                 haven't  worked  our  way around,  basically.                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
                 And I think we  have to figure out how  to do                 
                                                                               
                 that.  Number  one, a juvenile does  not have                 
                                                                               
                 the  same   set  of   rights  as   an  adult,                 
                                                                               
                 particularly as compared  to the exercise  of                 
                                                                               
                 parental authority.  We need to know what the                 
                                                                               
                 definition of that is . . . .  There have got                 
                                                                               
                 to be some  limits there, and they've  got to                 
                                                                               
                 be set  out by  court cases,  and we  need to                 
                                                                               
                 know.   And we want  to go  as far as  we can                 
                                                                               
                 possibly constitutionally go.                                 
                                                                               
  Co-chairman Halford reiterated  need for ability of  parents                 
  to control the actions of their children.  If a minor leaves                 
  home when he or she is  not to, the police should bring  the                 
  minor back home.  Co-chairman Frank voiced need for the next                 
  step.  If a  youth runs from  a semi-secure facility, he  or                 
  she should be placed in a secure place.  Lack of that is the                 
  weak spot in  the system.   Senator Sharp  stressed need  to                 
  ensure that those  who encourage juveniles to leave home and                 
  shelter  them  should be  guilty  of an  automatic violation                 
  unless  they notify the  police or  parent within  24 hours.                 
  Current statutes and punishments relating to contributing to                 
  the delinquency of a  minor are not effective.   Co-chairman                 
  Frank suggested  that the state  is not able  to effectively                 
  prosecute because of loopholes in existing law.                              
                                                                               
  Co-chairman Halford thanked teleconference  participants for                 
  their  interest  in  the  legislation.    Co-chairman  Frank                 
  concurred.  Co-chairman  Halford directed  that the bill  be                 
  held  in  committee  for  additional  discussion  during the                 
  coming week.                                                                 
                                                                               
  ADJOURNMENT                                                                  
                                                                               
  The meeting was adjourned at approximately 10:55 a.m.                        
                                                                               

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