Legislature(1993 - 1994)

05/06/1993 02:35 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                   SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE                                  
                          May 6, 1993                                          
                           2:35 p.m.                                           
                                                                               
                                                                               
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
                                                                               
 Senator Robin Taylor, Chairman                                                
 Senator Rick Halford, Vice-Chairman                                           
 Senator George Jacko                                                          
 Senator Suzanne Little                                                        
                                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
                                                                               
 Senator Dave Donley                                                           
                                                                               
  OTHERS PRESENT                                                               
                                                                               
 Representative Fran Ulmer                                                     
 Representative Eldon Mulder                                                   
 Representative Jerry Sanders                                                  
                                                                               
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
                                                                               
 SENATE CS FOR HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 7(HES)                          
 Relating to Alcohol-Related Birth Defects Awareness Week.                     
                                                                               
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 93 (CRA)                                                
 "An Act relating to the village public safety officers                        
 program."                                                                     
                                                                               
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 187(FIN) am                                             
 "An Act authorizing the interception of private communications                
 related to the commission of certain criminal offenses;                       
 relating to pen registers, trap devices, and communications                   
 in electronic storage; amending statutes relating to                          
 eavesdropping and wiretapping; relating to the penalty for                    
 violation of statutes relating to eavesdropping and                           
 unauthorized interception, publication, or use of private                     
 communications; and providing for an effective date."                         
                                                                               
 HOUSE BILL NO. 160(title am)                                                  
 "An Act relating to the time for filing certain civil actions                 
 based on a defect in an improvement to real property; and                     
 providing for an effective date."                                             
                                                                               
 HOUSE BILL NO. 97                                                             
 "An Act clarifying the responsibilities of the Department of                  
 Health and Social Services and parents for children who are                   
 committed to the custody of the department and are placed by                  
 the department with the parents; and providing for an                         
 effective date."                                                              
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 119(JUD) am                                             
 "An Act authorizing a sentencing court to impose a sentence                   
 of a day fine instead of a sentence of imprisonment on a                      
 defendant convicted of a misdemeanor; directing the Alaska                    
 Supreme Court to develop and implement a day fine plan;                       
 requiring the Alaska Court System to report to the legislature                
 on the use of day fines; amending Alaska Rule of Criminal                     
 Procedure 32; and providing for an effective date."                           
                                                                               
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 137(JUD)                                                
 "An Act authorizing special medical parole for terminally ill                 
 prisoners."                                                                   
                                                                               
 HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 19                                            
 Relating to the sale of state royalty gas.                                    
                                                                               
 HOUSE BILL NO. 170                                                            
 "An Act extending the termination date of the Board of Marine                 
 Pilots."                                                                      
                                                                               
 SENATE CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 101(L&C)                                         
 "An Act relating to the adoption of the National Electrical                   
 Code and the National Electrical Safety Code."                                
                                                                               
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
                                                                               
 HCR 7 -  See HESS minutes dated 3/22/93.                                      
                                                                               
 HB 93 -  NONE                                                                 
                                                                               
 HB 187 - NONE                                                                 
                                                                               
 HB 160 - See Judiciary minutes dated 4/28/93.                                 
                                                                               
 HB 97 -  See HESS minutes dated 4/14/93 and 4/16/93.                          
          See Judiciary minutes dated 4/28/93.                                 
                                                                               
 HB 119 - NONE                                                                 
                                                                               
 HB 137 - See HESS minutes dated 4/21/93.                                      
                                                                               
 HCR 19 - See Oil & Gas minutes dated 4/27/93.                                 
                                                                               
 HB 170 - See Labor & Commerce minutes dated 4/22/93.                          
          See Judiciary minutes dated 4/28/93.                                 
                                                                               
 HB 101 - See Labor & Commerce minutes dated 3/23/93 and                       
          4/13/93.  See Judiciary minutes dated 4/28/93.                       
                                                                               
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
                                                                               
 Arthur Snowden, Administrative Director                                       
 Judicial Branch                                                               
 303 K Street                                                                  
 Anchorage, Alaska 99501-2084                                                  
   POSITION STATEMENT: No position on HB 187.                                  
                       Supported HB 119.                                       
                                                                               
 C. E. Swackhammer, Deputy Commissioner                                        
 Department of Public Safety                                                   
 P.O. Box 111200                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska 99811-1200                                                     
   POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 187.                                    
                                                                               
 Elmer Lindstrom, Special Assistant                                            
 Dept. of Health & Social Services                                             
 P.O. Box 110601                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0601                                                     
   POSITION STATEMENT: Supported HB 97.                                        
                                                                               
 Judy Jordan, Aide                                                             
 Representative Gail Phillips                                                  
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
   POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HCR 19.                                    
                                                                               
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
                                                                               
 TAPE 93-55, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
                                                                               
  Chairman Robin Taylor  called the Judiciary Committee meeting                
 to order at 2:35 p.m.                                                         
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR introduced HCR 7 (ALCOHOL-RELATED BIRTH DEFECTS                
 AWARENESS) to committee. The prime sponsor is REPRESENTATIVE                  
 IRENE NIICHOLIA.                                                              
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD moved to pass SENATE CS FOR HOUSE CONCURRENT                  
 RESOLUTION NO. 7(HES) from committee with individual                          
 recommendations.  Without objections, so ordered.                             
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR introduced HB 93 (VILLAGE PUBLIC SAFETY                        
 OFFICERS PROGRAM) to committee.  The prime sponsor is                         
 REPRESENTATIVE RICHARD FOSTER.                                                
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD moved to pass CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 93(CRA)                   
 from committee with individual recommendations.  Without                      
 objections, so ordered.                                                       
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR introduced HB 187 (INTERCEPTION OF PRIVATE                     
 COMMUNICATIONS) to committee by request of the Governor.                      
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD moved to pass CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 187(FIN)                  
 am from committee with individual recommendations.                            
                                                                               
 SENATOR LITTLE asked if there had been a hearing on this bill,                
 and SENATOR TAYLOR asked for any discussion on the bill at                    
 this time.                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR LITTLE asked for an explanation of the bill.                          
                                                                               
 SENATOR JACKO asked about the legality of wire tapping, and                   
 SENATOR TAYLOR explained it was presently legal for one party                 
 of the conversation to tape the other party.  He said, for                    
 surveillance purposes, there was some significant standards                   
 that have been set by the courts in the Glass decision.                     
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR called on ARTHUR SNOWDEN, Administrator of the                 
 Court System to answer the question.                                          
                                                                               
 MR. SNOWDEN said the court system has not taken a position on                 
 the bill, but he knew it incorporated many of the federal                     
 protections in the state wire tapping law.  He explained it                   
 would allow wire tapping under certain circumstances.                         
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR next called on C. E. SWACKHAMMER, Deputy                       
 Commission of Public Safety, to testify.                                      
                                                                               
 MR. SWACKHAMMER offered to answer questions.                                  
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked how the Glass decision affected wire                   
 tapping in Alaska and how the process would be handled.                       
                                                                               
 Number 081                                                                    
                                                                               
 MR. SWACKHAMMER explained the Glass decision applies to a                   
 warrant, called a Glass Warrant, which is now required for                    
 undercover purposes in recording testimony.  He said the law                  
 would allow Public Safety to actually tap into monitor phone                  
 calls under very strict guidelines.                                           
                                                                               
 MR. SWACKHAMMER explained these guidelines gave a very limited                
 time frame, reporting procedures, and the criteria for getting                
 the warrant in the first place. He further explained the                      
 reporting procedures during the process of the wire tapping                   
 and recording.  He said they only do about two per year                       
 because of the labor intensive nature of the procedure.                       
                                                                               
 SENATOR LITTLE asked what new costs were reflected in the                     
 fiscal note.                                                                  
                                                                               
 MR. SWACKHAMMER said it reflects about $20 thousand the first                 
 year in equipment needed to affect the wiretap, some travel,                  
 but the majority of the money is paid in overtime.  He said                   
 there would be no new positions, but the duties would be                      
 expanded to include transcription.  In addition, he said there                
 would be a need for interpreters where foreign languages are                  
 involved.                                                                     
                                                                               
 There being no objections, CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 187(FIN) am                  
 (INTERCEPTION OF PRIVATE COMMUNICATIONS) passed from                          
 committee.                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD moved to adopt CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 160 (8-                  
 LSO627\J).                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 141                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR LITTLE asked for a clarification on the changes                       
 proposed in the committee substitute.                                         
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR said it was a similar amendment as one added                   
 to the senate bill, along with a clarification amendment by                   
 MIKE FORD, who drafted the amendment.  He explained the                       
 amendments as dealing with latent risks of invisible defects                  
 in a building and shared responsibility in the statute of                     
 limitations.  There was a clarifying discussion on these                      
 amendments.                                                                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR here being no objections, CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO.                
 160(JUD) was adopted.                                                         
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD moved to pass SENATE CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO.                    
 160(JUD) (LIABILITY OF DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION PROFESSIONALS)                     
 from committee with individual recommendations.  It is                        
 accompanied by a resolution for a title change.  There was                    
 objection from SENATOR LITTLE.  The bill passed on a 3-1 vote.                
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR returned HB 97 (PARENTAL CARE FOR CHILD IN                     
 STATE CUSTODY) to committee and invited ELMER LINDSTROM,                      
 Special Assistant to the Department of Health & Social                        
 Services, to testify.                                                         
                                                                               
 MR. LINDSTROM explained the bill, introduced by House HESS                    
 Committee at the request of the department, was a housekeeping                
 measure made necessary by a court decision in 1991 which would                
 change the way the department has always done business.  In                   
 that case, the Supreme Court ruled that the department must                   
 pay for the medical costs of children in state custody even                   
 though the children live with their parents.  He explained                    
 the decision might hold the state responsible for substantial                 
 costs such as food, shelter, and education.  He said the bill                 
 addresses the court decision.                                                 
                                                                               
 Number 228                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR LITTLE asked if the parent's relative need was                        
 considered in the bill.  MR. LINDSTROM said a family in need                  
 would be eligible to apply for any of the other public                        
 assistance programs and have no effect on those families                      
 already on public assistance.                                                 
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD moved to pass HOUSE BILL NO. 97 from committee                
 with individual recommendations.  Without objections, so                      
 ordered.                                                                      
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR introduced CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 119(JUD) am                   
 (AUTHORIZE USE OF DAY FINES IN MISDEMEANOR CASES) and invited                 
 the sponsor, REPRESENTATIVE FRAN ULMER, to testify.                           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ULMER reviewed the work of the Sentencing                      
 Commission to relieve prison overcrowding and the high cost                   
 of our prison system.  She said one of the recommendations was                
 the day fine idea embodied in HB 119, and she explained some                  
 background information on the successful use of day fines by                  
 other states; however,it has not been used previously in                      
 Alaska.                                                                       
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE ULMER explained judges, in misdemeanor cases,                  
 would have an additional sentencing option for those cases for                
 which the judges feel it would be appropriate.  A day fine is                 
 a percentage of daily income, and she explained it as a                       
 sliding scale approach to paying a fine.  She reminded the                    
 committee there were over 2000 misdemeanants waiting to do                    
 time in the State of Alaska.  She explained how it would                      
 relieve prison overcrowding and increase the fines paid to the                
 State of Alaska.                                                              
                                                                               
 SENATOR LITTLE clarified the bill would apply mostly to lower                 
 class misdemeanors, and REPRESENTATIVE ULMER explained it                     
 would apply to only those misdemeanors that were considered                   
 non-person crimes - only property crimes.                                     
                                                                               
 Number 273                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR introduced HB 137 (PAROLE OF TERMINALLY ILL                    
 PRISONERS) and invited the sponsor, REPRESENTATIVE ELDON                      
 MULDER, to testify.                                                           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER explained his bill was also an outgrowth                
 of recommendations from the Sentencing Commission and related                 
 to special medical parole for terminally ill inmates.  He                     
 quoted the Department of Corrections as asking for this useful                
 tool to be used by the parole board.  He referred to the                      
 stipulation in the bill that the use of the allowance would                   
 not be used if it would diminish the crime or the parole board                
 thought the inmate was a risk to society.                                     
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE MULDER explained the present practice in                       
 regards to ill inmates with the state picking up 100% of the                  
 cost, but a special medical parole would allow Medicare or                    
 Medicaid to pick up the cost.  He thought the issue was doubly                
 important with AIDS in the inmate population, and he said                     
 there were six identified HIV positive cases within the prison                
 community, although it might be higher.                                       
                                                                               
 SENATOR LITTLE clarified it would only be used in a few cases,                
 and REPRESENTATIVE MULDER agreed it would only be used in very                
 special cases.                                                                
                                                                               
 SENATOR JACKO moved to pass CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 137(JUD)                    
 from committee with individual recommendations.  Without                      
 objections, so ordered.                                                       
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR called on MR. SNOWDEN, who wished to testify                   
 on HB 119 (AUTHORIZE USE OF DAY FINES IN MISDEMEANOR CASES).                  
                                                                               
 MR. SNOWDEN, Administrative Director for the Court System,                    
 explained that the Court System, apart from the Sentencing                    
 Commission, had been working on the concept of day fines and                  
 has produced a large report on their findings.  He indicated                  
 day fines were being used in many European Countries, and many                
 states were using day fines for 70% of their crimes.                          
                                                                               
 MR. SNOWDEN said, if the judges were not able to use day                      
 fines, there will be tremendous jail problems.  He explained                  
 it helped the poor and rural in Alaska.  He said the rich                     
 would pay and big fines would not be assigned to poor people                  
 who can't afford them.                                                        
                                                                               
 MR. SNOWDEN explained presently the Sixth & C Street jail,                    
 which is for misdemeanors, has been closed four times in the                  
 last month.  He said the judges of this state are frustrated                  
 and want to be able to use the jail facilities for truly                      
 violent people.  He said it will take about a year for the                    
 judges to put the day fine system together, and if it doesn't                 
 pass this year, it would be two more years before there could                 
 be any relief.                                                                
                                                                               
 In his final plea, MR. SNOWDEN stressed it was something                      
 needed by the judges to stop the overcrowding of the jails.                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR LITTLE move to pass CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 119(JUD) am                 
 from committee with individual recommendations.  Without                      
 objections, so ordered.                                                       
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR introduced HCR 19 (ENCOURAGE SALE OF STATE                     
 ROYALTY GAS) and invited JUDY JORDAN, to testify for the                      
 sponsor, REPRESENTATIVE GAIL PHILLIPS.                                        
                                                                               
 Number 348                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. JORDAN urged the legislators to reaffirm their positive                   
 support for the sale of the North Slope royalty gas.  She                     
 explained the sale of this gas would add several hundred                      
 million dollars to the state's annual revenues, and provide                   
 a tremendous job and economic stimulus consistent with the                    
 construction and operation of a multi-billion transportation                  
 link.  She provided some history on the sale of liquified                     
 natural gas from the Kenai Peninsula said REPRESENTATIVE                      
 PHILLIPS was pleased to encourage the extension of trade to                   
 Japan.                                                                        
                                                                               
 MS. JORDAN  quoted REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS as saying, "... we                 
 are in the position to help balance the energy trade, and the                 
 environmental imperatives of the Pacific Rim."                                
                                                                               
 (Nothing more was done on the bill at this time, as there was                 
 no quorum.)                                                                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR introduced HB 170 (EXTEND BOARD OF MARINE                      
 PILOTS) and invited the sponsor, REPRESENTATIVE JERRY SANDERS,                
 to testify.                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. SANDERS read his Sponsor's Statement which affirmed the                   
 importance of the marine pilots to the safe and economical                    
 seaborne commerce in Alaska.  He said the bill would extend                   
 the Board of Marine Pilots from June 30, 1994 to June 30,                     
 1998, and he gave some historical significance to the board,                  
 which was organized to protect the state's interest in the                    
 life, property, environment, and efficient flow of water borne                
 commerce for the State of Alaska.                                             
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE SANDERS describe the composition of the board,                 
 the establishment of qualifications, the required training                    
 for pilots, the examination of the pilots, and the issuance                   
 of licenses to qualified persons.  He urged the extension of                  
 the board because of the competitive nature of shipping in                    
 Alaska these days through setting tariffs and implementing                    
 regulations in the interest of safety and commerce.                           
                                                                               
 (Nothing more was done on the bill at this time, as there was                 
 no quorum.)                                                                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR called HB 101 (NATIONAL ELECTRICAL CODE)                       
 sponsored by the House Labor & Commerce Committee, to explain                 
 the bill would bring Alaska into compliance with current and                  
 existing codes across the United States.  He also explained                   
 it would be important to the Department of Labor in their                     
 ability to regulate the safety and health of the National                     
 Electrical Safety Code.                                                       
                                                                               
 (Nothing more was done on the bill at this time, as there was                 
 no quorum.)                                                                   
                                                                               
 There being no further business to come before the committee,                 
 the meeting was adjourned at 3:10 p.m.                                        
                                                                               
                                                                               

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