Legislature(1993 - 1994)
04/18/1994 01:55 PM Senate JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE April 18, 1994 1:55 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Robin Taylor, Chairman Senator Dave Donley Senator Suzanne Little MEMBERS ABSENT Senator Rick Halford, Vice-Chairman Senator George Jacko COMMITTEE CALENDAR SENATE BILL NO. 268 "An Act relating to facilities for the care of children; to child placement agencies; to maternity homes; to certain residential facilities for adults; and to foster homes for adults; and providing for an effective date." SENATE BILL NO. 166 "An Act relating to registration of a motor vehicle, and issuance, renewal, reinstatement, and revocation of a driver's license for failure to appear in court or failure to pay a fine." SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 18 Requesting the governor to offer the United States Congress $10,000,000,000 in cash, or other terms that may be negotiated between the state and the federal government, to purchase all federal land, water, or land and water, including any surface or subsurface interests, in Alaska other than military reservations and federal offices, to have the federal government relinquish all dominion, control, and regulatory authority over all land, water, or land and water, including surface or subsurface interests, in Alaska other than military reservations and federal offices, and providing a bonus if certain federal agencies are removed from the state within six months of the federal sale to the state and relinquishment of control. CS FOR SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 397(FIN) "An Act relating to the power to levy property taxes in second class cities." CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 79(FIN) am "An Act relating to recovery from a parent or legal guardian of wilful or malicious destruction of property by a minor." CS FOR HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 50(RES) Relating to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council comprehensive rationalization plan. PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION SB 268 - See Health, Education & Social Services minutes dated 4/8/94. SB 166 - See Transportation minutes dated 4/12/94. SCR 18 - See Resources minutes dated 4/8/94 and 4/11/94. HB 397 - See Community & Regional Affairs minutes dated 3/22/94. HB 79 - See Health, Education & Social Service minutes dated 2/2/94. HJR 50 - See Resources dated 3/24/94 and 3/28/94. WITNESS REGISTER Pat O'Brien Department of Health & Social Services P.O. Box 110630 Juneau, AK 99811-0630 POSITION STATEMENT: Offered information on SB 268 Juanita Hensley, Chief of Driver Services Division of Motor Vehicles Department of Public Safety P.O. Box 20020 Juneau, AK 99802-0020 POSITION STATEMENT: Offered information on SB 166 David Kamrath, Staff to Representative Harley Olberg State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Offered information on HB 397 Representative Con Bunde State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Prime Sponsor of HB 79 Patty Swenson, Staff to Representative Con Bunde State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Offered information on HB 79 Vince Usera, Assistant Attorney General Department of Law P.O. Box 110300 Juneau, AK 99811-0300 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on HB 79 Kathy Tibbles Division of Family & Youth Services Department of Health & Social Services P.O. Box 110630 Juneau, AK 99811-0630 POSITION STATEMENT: Responded to questions on HB 79 Cheryl Sutton, Staff to Representative Carl Moses State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Offered information on HJR 50 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 94-37, SIDE A Number 001 CHAIRMAN ROBIN TAYLOR called the Judiciary Committee meeting to order at 1:55 p.m. He brought SB 268 (COMMUNITY CARE FACILITIES) before the committee as the first order of business. PAT O'BRIEN, Department of Health & Social Services, explained that SB 268 is a follow-up to two other pieces of legislation heard by the committee: the bill on assisted living and the bill for vulnerable adults. The provisions for licensing adult facilities were taken out of the existing licensing law, and rather than moving those provisions and leaving the remaining law that would apply to children and family without change, it was decided to update the entire law. Ms. O'Brien directed attention to a chart outlining the number of facilities and the kinds of facilities the department will license. She pointed out that most of the facilities licensed are child foster homes; the second largest number of facilities licensed are child care homes; the third largest number of facilities licensed are child care centers; etc. The chart also includes the adult facilities. The department licenses more than 1,900 facilities with a capacity to serve 13,600 individuals, either children or dependent adults. Ms. O'Brien spoke to the difficulties of the licensing procedures that vary significantly for the different kinds of facilities. SB 268 compiles all of those various procedures that are currently in regulations and puts them into statute, which will increase efficiency. Ms. O'Brien noted that the department has a proposed amendment which will revise a change that was made in the Senate Health, Education & Social Services Committee. Number 103 SENATOR LITTLE asked what the difference was between a child family care home and a foster home. MS. O'BRIEN explained that in a foster home, the child is there for 24 hours a day, and, usually, that child is in state custody and placed there by the department. In a family child care home, those children are there for day care. Number 131 SENATOR LITTLE moved the following amendment to CSSB 268(HES): Page 6: Delete the text in lines 22 - 25, and insert new subsections to read: (2) for one or more children of any age placed by a parent for a period of up to forty-five days; (3) for one or more children nine years of age or older placed by a parent for an extended period with either (A) authorization for emergency medical care; or (B) a consent to temporary custody; Renumber the following subsections accordingly. Page 22: Delete lines 9, 10, 11, 12 & 13 Page 22, line 8: Insert after "24-hour care", "on a continuing basis of 45 days or more to one or more children who are apart from their parents"; Ms. O'Brien explained that the amendment puts all of the exemptions back in the exemptions sections to make it clear who is exempt and who is not exempt. After further discussion and questions on the amendment and hearing no objection to the amendment, SENATOR TAYLOR stated the amendment was adopted and would be incorporated into a Judiciary CS. He then asked for the pleasure of the committee. Number 200 SENATOR LITTLE moved that CSSB 268(JUD) be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. Number 210 SENATOR TAYLOR brought SB 166 (DRIVER'S LIC REVOC;PARKING AUTHORITIES) before the committee as the next order of business. JUANITA HENSLEY, Chief, Driver Services, Division of Motor Vehicles, Department of Public Safety, directed her comments to a proposed Judiciary CS. Ms. Hensley explained the bill will allow the court to suspend a drivers license of anyone who fails to appear in court or fails to pay a fine for a moving violation. It will also allow putting a hold on the vehicle registration electronically for unpaid parking fines that will require full payment of all of an individual's parking fines before their vehicle can be re-registered. The actual notice of the suspension from the court would be the traffic citation that the person is being issued. That traffic citation will be revised to be the actual notice of suspension, so, if an individual fails to pay the fine or fails to appear in court, the court can then suspend their driving privilege until the individual meets all of the requirements. Number 255 SENATOR TAYLOR noted the states of Hawaii, Washington, Oregon and California are using this same concept, and he commented this would save Alaska's law enforcement people a lot of time because they are constantly having to go out and serve bench warrants and do checks on various people. Number 264 SENATOR LITTLE asked how the suspension of the drivers license would occur. MS. HENSLEY responded that the traffic citation issued to an individual on the spot will be revised to provide that it is a notice of license suspension if the individual fails to appear in court or fails to pay a fine for the offense. Speaking to the fiscal note, MS. HENSLEY pointed out that the court system has advised that there are 25,000 failed to appear or failed to pay traffic fines a year. It is estimated that the court will suspend 10 percent of those. Based on historical background from the Division of Motor Vehicles, 90 percent of all people whose licenses are suspended or revoked will come in and reinstate. Number 311 SENATOR DONLEY referred to the language on page 2, line 6, "register the applicant's vehicle" and suggested changing it to "any vehicle owned by the applicant," because an individual may own more than one vehicle. SENATOR TAYLOR moved that CSSB 166(JUD) be adopted. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. SENATOR DONLEY moved his suggested amendment to page 2, line 6. Hearing no objection, the amendment was adopted. Number 338 SENATOR LITTLE asked why Sections 4 and 5 of the original bill were deleted in the committee substitute. MS. HENSLEY clarified that those sections dealt with reinstatement fees, and with them in the bill, the state would not have been able to recoup the costs of operating this program. She said it takes a certain amount of work to reinstate a drivers license, and these individuals should be subject to the same $100 reinstatement fee as anyone else whose license is suspended or revoked. Number 359 SENATOR TAYLOR asked for the pleasure of the committee. SENATOR LITTLE moved that CSSB 166(JUD), as amended, be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. Number 382 SENATOR TAYLOR brought SCR 18 (PURCHASE FEDERAL LAND FROM THE U.S.) .) before the committee. SENATOR LITTLE requested that the resolution be held for consideration until the next meeting on Wednesday. SENATOR TAYLOR stated SCR 18 would be held until Wednesday's meeting. Number 400 SENATOR TAYLOR introduced CSSSHB 397(FIN) (TAXING POWER OF SECOND CLASS CITIES) as the next order of business. DAVID KAMRATH, staff to Representative Harley Olberg, said AS 29.45.590 presents an operations and economic development problem for second class cities. That law places a 5 mill limit on the rate of real and personal property taxes that they may levy, and given new and emerging fiscal problems of the state, which result in less municipal assistance and revenue sharing, less state and federal grant monies, and heavy competition for those scarce dollars, second class cities face revenue shortfalls which threaten their economic stability and hinder development. Mr. Kamrath explained that HB 397 allows a second class city to levy a property tax of 20 mills (2 percent) without a referendum. However, the City of Whittier, which requested the legislation, is not in favor of raising the millage rate without a referendum, and he requested that the committee amend the bill to put the referendum requirement back in the bill. Number 443 SENATOR TAYLOR moved to reinsert the referendum requirement on page 1, line 5. Hearing no objection, he stated the amendment was adopted and it would incorporated into a Judiciary SCS. Number 461 SENATOR TAYLOR asked if Representative Olberg had looked at whether a second class city like Whittier could establish a right to tax the Alaska Railroad on its assets. MR. KAMRATH answered that that issue was looked at last year and it was ruled that they could not tax the railroad. Number 475 SENATOR LITTLE inquired why these second class cities would not consider reclassifying to a first class city, because that would take away the taxation limits. MR. KAMRATH answered that to become a first class city there has to be a population of 400 or more, and the population of Whittier is currently 279. Number 505 SENATOR TAYLOR asked for the pleasure of the committee. SENATOR LITTLE moved that SCS CSSSHB 397(JUD) be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. Number 510 SENATOR TAYLOR brought CSHB 79(FIN) am (DAMAGE TO PROPERTY BY MINORS) before the committee as the next order of business. PATTY SWENSON, staff to Representative Con Bunde, related the intent of HB 79 is provide adequate compensation to organizations or individuals whose property has been vandalized by minors. The amount of compensation available in current statute is $2,000 and the legislation will raise the amount to $25,000. She noted the amounts awarded for vandalism in other states, under similar statutes, range to $10,000 to $15,000, with California being the highest at $25,000. The bill also adds language to current statute that would release parents or legal guardians from liability for damages caused by minors who have run away or are missing, providing that the parent or legal guardian makes a report of that person being missing or a runaway. Number 548 SENATOR DONLEY asked what happens when a parent kicks a minor out of the house and some vandalism occurs. KATHY TIBBLES, Division of Family & Youth Services, responded that it is her understanding that unless the minor runs away and is reported as missing, the parent is still responsible and can't abrogate that responsibility, unless there was a petitioning to allow the court to emancipate the minor. VINCE USERA, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Law, pointed out that if the minor were under the legal custody of the state, the parent would not be responsible. SENATOR DONLEY expressed his concern that he didn't think the legislation was fair to parents who may really be good parents, but just have a bad kid, because there is nothing in the bill to provide them with any relief. TAPE 94-37, SIDE B Number 035 SENATOR DONLEY commented that he didn't think parents could even insure against this risk. MS. SWENSON said that some insurance companies cover this and people do collect on their homeowner's insurance for vandalism that was intentional by a minor. Number 110 SENATOR TAYLOR also expressed concern with the $25,000 figure, saying that it has been on the books for a number of years at $2,000, and he would feel more comfortable with a lower number than $25,000. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE pointed out that this is a civil action and the case would have to be pled before a court, and whether the parents are culpable or not culpable should be part of that proceeding. He thought if it were a jury trial the parents would have an excellent chance of defending themselves. SENATOR TAYLOR agreed that it was a civil action, but he said it doesn't provide for any defense other than the defense of the child being a runaway and the parent having filed a report. Number 170 There was discussion on setting some reasonable standards or defenses for the parents before they are liable. It was agreed that the bill would be held in committee to be worked on so that there would be a better consensus on it before reporting it out of committee. Number 290 SENATOR TAYLOR brought CSHJR 50(RES) (NPFMC COMPREHENSIVE RATIONALIZATION PLAN) before the committee as the final order of business. CHERYL SUTTON, staff to Representative Carl Moses, said the resolution reaffirms the importance of the shore-based processing industry to Alaska and asks the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to incorporate fairness, equal rights of access and equity to this sector of the commercial fishing industry as it considers its current comprehensive rationalization plan. There being no other testimony on HJR 50, SENATOR TAYLOR asked for the pleasure of the committee. SENATOR DONLEY moved that CSHJR 50(RES) be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. There being no further business to come before the committee, the meeting was adjourned at 3:10 p.m.