Legislature(1993 - 1994)
03/02/1994 01:40 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE March 2, 1994 1:40 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Robin Taylor, Chairman Senator Rick Halford, Vice-Chairman Senator Dave Donley Senator Suzanne Little MEMBERS ABSENT Senator George Jacko COMMITTEE CALENDAR SENATE BILL NO. 321 "An Act relating to the taking of a legible set of fingerprints when a person is arrested, upon initial appearance or arraignment, upon the conviction of the person, and when the person is received at a correctional facility, and providing that the set of fingerprints shall be provided to the Department of Public Safety; relating to criminal and crime records and information; requiring the reporting of information concerning homicides and suspected homicides to the Department of Public Safety for analysis; requiring the Department of Public Safety to participate in the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Violent Crimes Apprehension Program." SENATE BILL NO. 286 "An Act extending the termination date of the Board of Parole; and providing for an effective date." CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 157(TRA) "An Act relating to limitations on outdoor advertising signs, displays, and devices." CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 184(L&C) "An Act relating to civil liability of certain nonprofit corporations and of volunteers of certain nonprofit corporations; and providing for an effective date." CS FOR SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 17(RES) Relating to reauthorization of the Magnuson Fishery Conservation and Management Act. PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION SB 321 - No previous action to record. SB 286 - See Labor & Commerce minutes dated 2/15/94. SB 157 - See Transportation minutes dated 3/23/93, 3/30/93, 2/10/94, and 2/15/94. SB 184 - See Labor & Commerce minutes dated 4/13/93 and 1/25/94. SJR 17 - See Resources minutes dated 2/23/94. WITNESS REGISTER Senator Rick Halford Prime Sponsor State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Reviewed SB 321 and offered two amendments. Steve Branchflower, Assistant District Attorney Department of Law 310 K Street, Suite 520 Anchorage, Alaska 99501-1975 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 321. Greg Cooper, VICAP Program Manager Federal Bureau of Investigations Quantico, Virginia POSITION STATEMENT: Reviewed VICAP. Richard Collum, Executive Director Alaska Parole Board Department of Corrections P.O. Box 112000 Juneau, Alaska 99811-2000 POSITION STATEMENT: Reviewed the amendments to SB 286 and the Parole Board. Michael Stark, Assistant Attorney General Department of Law Council, Department of Corrections and the Parole Board P.O. Box 110300 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0300 POSITION STATEMENT: Reviewed the amendments to SB 286 and the Parole Board. Senator Steve Frank Prime Sponsor State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 157, reviewed SB 184. Jim Frey SR Box 360 Gakona, Alaska 99586 POSITION STATEMENT: Expressed concerns with SB 157. Don Butler, Representative Boy Scouts of America United Way Juneau, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Reviewed SB 184. Senator Little Prime Sponsor State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SJR 17. Richard Lauber Pacific Seafood Processors Association 321 Highland Drive Juneau, Alaska 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SJR 17. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 94-13, SIDE A Number 001 CHAIRMAN ROBIN TAYLOR called the Judiciary Committee meeting to order at 1:40 p.m. He introduced SB 321 (FINGERPRINTING AND CRIME E RECORDS) as the first order of business before the committee. SENATOR HALFORD explained that SB 321 establishes a uniform system to deal with fingerprinting and it adopts the Violent Crimes Apprehension Program (VICAP). The VICAP program has information on unsolved crimes which should help with major serial type cases. VICAP identifies the fingerprint and the crime print in order to prosecute crimes more effectively. He noted his amendment which was a clarification of the definition of information. The amendment by the Department of Public Safety adds violent sexual assaults to the VICAP provisions. Senator Halford offered those amendments for the committee's review. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR held the two amendments until the conclusion of the testimony so that the committee could review them. STEVE BRANCHFLOWER, Assistant District Attorney in the Department of Law, explained that he assists police officers with their cases in order to make better cases. He informed the committee of the increase in murders in the last few years, especially in Anchorage. The conspiracy bill and the juvenile waiver bill would be a great help in facing this increase in murders. He pointed out that the legislature could also help prosecutors and police officers through the Uniform Homicide Reporting section of SB 321. This amendment would guarantee that police across the state would work with VICAP administrators in the prompt sharing of important information; receiving information in a timely manner is very important. He encouraged the committee to view the video prepared by Greg Cooper. The video features a serial killer who was arrested and prosecuted in Juneau. Mr. Branchflower described how VICAP evolved. Before VICAP, there was no national information clearinghouse to compare information. He stated that VICAP, a national computer data information center, collects and analyzes reports of violent crimes, specifically murder. He explained that VICAP deals with three categories of homicides: (1) solved or unsolved homicides which seem to be random in nature, sexually oriented, or those appearing not to have a motive, part of a series of homicides; (2) missing persons suspected of being part of a series of homicides; and (3) dead bodies suspected of being victims of homicide. Number 145 A police officer would fill out a VICAP questionnaire detailing all phases of the crime from victimology to physical evidence. This information is programmed into the VICAP computer and then a search of the database occurs in order to uncover similar patterns of homicide. Mr. Branchflower noted that if similarities are found, VICAP assists the local law enforcement agencies in coordinating investigations. He said that this had been successfully used in many Anchorage cases. He informed the committee that VICAP is located in the Behavioral Sciences Unit of the FBI which allows access to expertise in various areas. VICAP provides law enforcement with an important tool, especially helpful for remote states like Alaska. Mr. Branchflower recognized that the VICAP database depends upon reliable information. Passage of SB 321 would specify that law enforcement officers and prosecutors in Alaska want to participate nationally. He observed that accurate reporting would increase the chances of catching a murderer before he does more harm. He applauded the Department of Public Safety's amendment adding that violent sexual assaults must also be reported. He pointed out that four other states have passed similar legislation. He expressed no surprise at the zero fiscal note, many Alaskan officers are doing this on a voluntary basis now. SB 321 is needed. He believed that identifying arrested convicts with fingerprints is necessary to notify prosecutors and officers of the type of individual before them, and more importantly, to assist law enforcement protection. Passage of SB 321 would ensure that the data base would systematically and continuously input fingerprints. He indicated a slight increase in the burden on the Department of Corrections (DOC), but the fingerprint process should become self-sufficient. Number 244 SENATOR LITTLE asked if the entire state currently has the equipment and capability to do fingerprinting. STEVE BRANCHFLOWER deferred to DOC. Mr. Branchflower stated that the equipment would not be a large investment and would probably already be present in most police offices. GREG COOPER, VICAP Program Manager, clarified that VICAP's mission is to facilitate the cooperation, communication, and coordination between law enforcement agencies around the country and support their efforts to investigate, identify, track, apprehend, and prosecute the targeted violent serial killer. The VICAP national data clearinghouse is involved in case matching, multi-agency investigative task forces and major case management consultation. VICAP provides research, publication, training, and investigative resources in order to have efficient and effective investigations regarding a serial killer. From a policy and administrative perspective, Mr. Cooper supported any effort to increase VICAP's admissions; the success of the case matching capability is contingent upon the amount and accuracy of these unsolved homicides. He informed the committee that currently, the VICAP database contains over 8,000 cases which seems small in comparison to the 22,000 homicides per year. Approximately 69 percent of those homicides are unsolved. He explained that much of the reason for the decrease in the ability to solve homicides was related to the serial killer phenomena. A serial killer often travels over county and state jurisdictions which emphasizes law enforcement's difficulty in communicating with each other. VICAP attempts to coordinate law enforcement organizations in an interdependent manner. In conclusion, he applauded the efforts to increase VICAP admissions. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR thanked Mr. Cooper for his testimony. He asked if there were any questions from the committee. SENATOR DONLEY moved to adopt Senator Halford's amendment, Amendment 1. SENATOR LITTLE asked if Amendment 1 would require that fingerprinting be done at a correctional facility. SENATOR HALFORD clarified that Amendment 1 replaces (d) with more specific language. Hearing no objection, Amendment 1 was adopted. SENATOR DONLEY moved to adopt the Department of Public Safety's amendment, Amendment 2. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR pointed out that the insert for page 5, line 1 did not specify exactly where to insert the new language. SENATOR DONLEY moved to adopt Amendment 2 with drafting corrections. The insert was said to be placed on page 5, line 1, after "committed." Hearing no objections, Amendment 2 was adopted. SENATOR HALFORD moved that the adopted amendments be incorporated into a Judiciary CS and that CSSB 321(JUD) be moved out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objections, it was so ordered. Number 362 CHAIRMAN TAYLOR introduced SB 286 (CONDITIONS OF PAROLE; EXTEND BD D OF PAROLE) as the next order of business before the committee. RICHARD COLLUM, Executive Director of the Alaska Parole Board, thanked Chairman Taylor and his staff for preparing some amendments today. He explained that there were two amendments: one which would allow one board member to set conditions and the other amendment would extend the board for ten years. He pointed out that the sponsor statement contains a typographical error, there are currently 700 felons on parole supervision. SENATOR LITTLE asked if the members of the board had to be approved every four years. RICHARD COLLUM clarified that each member is appointed to a five year term with one member being appointed each year. The Board of Parole falls under the Title 44 sunset provisions of being reviewed every four years, Legislative Audit does a report every four years. Mr. Collum noted that Legislative Audit suggested extending the board for ten years. The audit would then be every ten years. SENATOR DONLEY noted constituents' complaints regarding the board. The complaints suggested that the board discouraged victims from attending the meetings. He stated that he reviewed the written notification given to victims, it did not seem to have any problems. He inquired as to the possibility that a negative perception was being given orally. RICHARD COLLUM was sure that the board members and their staff were not discouraging victims. Mr. Collum noted that they rely on institutional probation officers and field probation officers to do much of the notification. Mr. Collum stated that currently, they had encouraged teleconference testimony by victims. There was some question regarding whether they would actually do the teleconferencing or whether the institutions would even permit that. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR expressed concern regarding the need for repealers in other sections in order to accomplish the ten year provision. He asked if the ten year provision was of major significance. RICHARD COLLUM stated that the board does not object to four years; the ten year extension was offered due to Legislative Audit's suggestion. The bill was originally heard on the four year basis. SENATOR DONLEY inquired as to the board's role with the furlough program. RICHARD COLLUM deferred to the Department of Corrections, the Parole Board does not have a role in furlough program. Number 430 SENATOR HALFORD asked why the first six sections of SB 286 were retroactive to 1986. MICHAEL STARK, Assistant Attorney General and Counsel to the Alaska Department of Corrections and the Parole Board, explained that sections 1-6 were intended to fix loopholes. The Parole Board is a part-time board which meets every few months and the present statutes require decisions by the board be approved by a quorum of the board, three members. He noted that traditionally, a single board member, usually in Juneau, would be responsible for setting the supplemental conditions. There are some standard conditions that apply to every mandatory parolee. Mr. Stark informed the committee that recently some prisoners awaiting release to mandatory parole are challenging the establishment of their supplemental parole conditions because those decisions were made by a single board member. In order for the board to set supplemental conditions of mandatory parole, frequent meetings by the board would be required which would create an unnecessary drain on the State's treasury. He believed that a single board member is competent to set supplemental conditions and furthermore, the prisoner can object or appeal the proposed conditions to the entire board. In response to Senator Halford, he said that sections 1-6 were retroactive to January 1, 1986 because that is when the statute was first enacted which should eliminate some of the litigation and expenses. This clarifies that the board is not required to meet to set these conditions, the board can delegate that responsibility to one board member. SENATOR HALFORD asked if there are pending lawsuits on that issue. MICHAEL STARK said yes, there are a number of lawsuits pending. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked if the litigation was only on the issue of one board member setting supplemental conditions. MICHAEL STARK said no, but it is a significant issue that is pending. Mr. Stark noted that he hoped to moot out this issue by the adoption of the committee substitute. SENATOR HALFORD inquired as to the board's thoughts on having two lists of the board's conditions of parole: one of mandatory requirements and the other of permissive requirements. He indicated the need to require that a parolee "shall" not possess or control firearms or other dangerous weapons. The committee was informed that there are thirteen standard conditions of which Senator Halford's concern was one. Weapons, violation of the law, alcohol, association with felons, and others apply to everyone on discretionary or mandatory parole. MICHAEL STARK noted that a number of inmates have challenged the board's adoption of regulations making mandatory what the legislature considers discretionary with the board. SENATOR HALFORD suggested that the thirteen standards be put into the regulations. MICHAEL STARK said that those standards are currently reflected in statute. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said that they would review this and perhaps, offer an amendment. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR held SB 286 for further review. Number 520 CHAIRMAN TAYLOR introduced SB 157 (PROHIBITED HIGHWAY ADVERTISING) ) as the next order of business. SENATOR FRANK, Prime Sponsor, explained that SB 157 would allow advertising for directional signing for highway dependent businesses. Currently, federal law prohibits off premises advertising on federally aided highways. He noted that the state law goes further, the federal law allows off premises signing for areas zoned commercial or industrial. He directed the committee to section 2 on page 3 of SB 157, where authorization for the department's airspace leasing program would be put into statutes. Business on or adjacent to the highway can lease right-of-way space from the department or the state to put up a sign. The Tourist Orientational Directional Signing (TODS) program authorized by the federal government would also be placed in statutes. SENATOR LITTLE stated that she had the responsibility of writing and enforcing the Soldotna sign ordinance. She asked if SB 157 would override a municipality's ability to have stricter signing regulations. SENATOR FRANK said yes, but only to a limited degree. SB 157 does not allow a municipality to prohibit a sign authorized in section 1 of the bill. SENATOR HALFORD indicated that it would be controlled by zoning. SENATOR FRANK agreed, signs would only be allowed in areas zoned commercial or industrial. SENATOR LITTLE emphasized the need to have an exemption for municipalities who currently have or wish to have their own signing regulations. SENATOR FRANK said that he would be willing to consider language speaking to Senator Little's concerns. Allowing for limited signing is an important element of SB 157. He pointed out the need to review that concern with care so as not to lose the intent of the bill. SENATOR LITTLE agreed that the intent of SB 157 should not be lost. She stated that Soldotna had restrictive sign regulations in order to comply with state regulations. She felt some loosening would occur, but cities such as Soldotna should not be forced to loosen their current regulations. TAPE 94-13, SIDE B Number 590 SENATOR HALFORD felt that the national sign ordinance was a national disgrace. He stated that he wanted the minimum mandate necessary in order not to lose federal funds. From that point, municipalities should be allowed to make their own regulations. SENATOR LITTLE inquired as to the possibility that federal funds would be lost through the passage of SB 157. SENATOR FRANK said no, SB 157 does not go as far as the federal law allows. Currently, state law does not allow the exemption allowed in federal law for signing on property zoned commercial or industrial. SB 157 opens a limited window of opportunity for commercial or industrial zoned areas. SENATOR HALFORD referred to page 2, lines 15-18 of SB 157 when asking why an individual business must document at least 75 percent; why not 25 percent, 50 percent, or a significant portion of their revenue. Would that effect federal funds? He inquired of the 20 mile restriction. He expressed the need to know what could be done for these businesses to have informative signs regardless of whether 75 percent of their business comes from 20 miles away. SENATOR FRANK explained that SB 157 attempts to provide highway dependent businesses an opportunity under state law to loosen the current restrictive signing laws. He indicated that they are attempting to help the general public while staying within the federal guidelines. He stated that he was open to suggestions regarding the percentage of the business and the mileage requirements. SENATOR HALFORD asserted that as long as municipalities can adopt their own standard, he would support the minimum standard that would not jeopardize federal funding, in the unincorporated areas. He expressed concern with saying that if a business deals mainly with tourists then they would be allowed to have signs while a business dealing mainly with locals would not be allowed the same signing. SENATOR FRANK explained that some are compelled by the notion that visitors could not find their way without signing; whereas locals know where things are located. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR informed the committee that a group in Wrangell purchased green highway signs, built to specs by the Department of Transportation (DOT). DOT has not allowed them to put up these signs on the highway. They are informative signs noting the direction to the restroom, the campground, etcetera. He did not understand that situation. SENATOR FRANK reiterated his desire to present something that would work. He felt that they had broad bipartisan support for SB 157. He indicated that they try to be sensitive to highway dependent businesses while not promoting a proliferation of billboards. SENATOR TAYLOR held SB 157. JIM FREY stated that he did auto repair work at a gas station on Tok Highway. He expressed concern with SB 157. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR pointed out that the committee is trying to open up SB 157. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said that the committee would work with Senator Frank to come up with a CS and some amendments. SB 157 will be rescheduled as soon as possible. Number 481 CHAIRMAN TAYLOR introduced SB 184 (VOLUNTEERS AND EMPLOYEES OF NONPROFITS) as the next order of business before the committee. SENATOR FRANK, Prime Sponsor, explained that SB 184 would limit the liability of nonprofit agency volunteers. He said that he is trying to promote volunteerism of nonprofit agencies; nonprofit volunteers should not be held liable for actions that are not grossly negligent, reckless, or intentional misconduct. SB 184 requires that in order for nonprofit agencies to be exempt, the agency would have to carry insurance, at least $200,000 per individual claim or $500,000 for all claims. He noted that a small nonprofit agency would not be required to carry insurance; small meaning administrative operating costs of less that $100,000 in the previous year and the nonprofit must be exempt from the Internal Revenue Code. SENATOR DONLEY pointed out that the Department of Law's memorandum is different than SB 184. The memorandum stated that the liability of the nonprofit agencies would not be effected. SENATOR FRANK was not sure that the April 28, 1993 memorandum was still applicable. Senator Frank noted that the scope of the bill had been limited due to concerns of the Labor & Commerce Committee. This memorandum could speak to a different bill. SENATOR DONLEY said that there are many types of nonprofit agencies; he was not sure that nonprofit agencies should be insulated. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR noted that SEAC, the Sierra Club, and Green Peace are nonprofit. Chairman Taylor expressed concern with insulating those groups. SENATOR DONLEY asked if the American Nazi Party was nonprofit. Senator Donley stated that he did not want to give unlimited liability to all nonprofit groups solely because they are nonprofit. SENATOR FRANK suggested that perhaps, a narrower definition of the envisioned nonprofit agencies could be used. He said that he was thinking of United Way type agencies. DON BUTLER, representing the Boy Scouts of America and the United Way, suggested setting the limits of liability required higher. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR discussed a pedophile case in Ketchikan, where the pedophile was a Boy Scout leader. He said that the Ketchikan case illustrates the importance to not shield against those activities. SENATOR FRANK reviewed the Labor & Commerce version of SB 184. He thought that they had removed employees and corporations. The focus of SB 184 was on the immunity of the volunteers. He assumed that the case Chairman Taylor cited should be considered intentional conduct. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR agreed that the case was criminal conduct, intentional. Number 358 DON BUTLER suggested that upping the limit of liability that nonprofit agencies should carry would be beneficial. He noted that they carry a $15 million blanket. SENATOR LITTLE noted that SB 184 exempts nonprofit agencies operating with less that $100,000 a year administrative costs. She said that most nonprofit agencies operate under $100,000. She inquired as to the reasoning behind that amount. SENATOR FRANK stated that the amount was a way to distinguish between larger and smaller nonprofit agencies. Senator Frank felt that most nonprofit agencies would be above that $100,000 amount. SENATOR FRANK inquired of the committee's thoughts regarding if the bill was only limited to volunteers with the standard as stated on page 2, line 11 subsection (d). SENATOR LITTLE thought that was a good approach, but she did not understand (b); would it apply only up to the amount of liability insurance carried by the entity. SENATOR FRANK explained that the original intent was that if you were going to allow for some immunity, limited liability, for volunteers or corporations, they should be required to carry some insurance. If they were a large nonprofit corporation, they would need insurance in which case their liability would be limited to the amount of the insurance. This would eliminate expensive claims that could bankrupt a nonprofit corporation. SENATOR DONLEY clarified that corporations can only be sued up to the amount of their insurance or gross. SENATOR FRANK agreed. SENATOR DONLEY noted that this only applies to nonprofit corporations carrying a minimum insurance of $200,000 per individual, which means they could be sued up to $200,000. SENATOR LITTLE asked if nonprofits are currently required to have liability insurance. SENATOR TAYLOR explained that they would be required to carry liability insurance if they are grantees of the state. The state requires an indemnification agreement. Nonprofits are defined under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. SENATOR TAYLOR said that he could envision many different situations. He used two nonprofits in Wrangell that are daycare centers with volunteers and salary workers as an example. If the daycare center was coloring eggs and one of the volunteers boiling water for the eggs tripped and spilled the boiling water on a couple of kids. He said that the employee would be immune and the nonprofit could not be sued because the situation would probably not be considered gross negligence. He pointed out the two different mindsets in the legislature: one view is concerned with people being individually accountable for their criminal activities, while another view is concerned with not making the individual accountable civilly. He expressed the need for more work on SB 184. SENATOR FRANK offered to work with the committee to meet the intent of the bill without causing any harm. Number 238 CHAIRMAN TAYLOR introduced SJR 17 (MAGNUSON FISHERY CONSRV & MGT ACT) as the last order of business before the committee. SENATOR LITTLE, Prime Sponsor, explained that SJR 17 asks Congress to retain current geographic composition of the North Pacific Fishery Council. Alaska needs to retain its designated seats on that council. She noted the changes that the new CS encompasses: changes "will" to "may" on page 2, line 4 of the resolution, and five names were added to the list of the copies of the resolution. She pointed out the position paper in the committee packets. She urged favorable consideration of the committee. RICHARD LAUBER stated support for SJR 17. SENATOR LITTLE moved SJR 17 out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objections, it was so ordered. There being no further business before the committee, Chairman Taylor adjourned the meeting at 3:05 p.m.