Legislature(1993 - 1994)
04/26/1994 04:15 PM Senate JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE April 26, 1994 4:15 p.m MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Robin Taylor, Chairman Senator Rick Halford, Vice-Chairman Senator George Jacko Senator Dave Donley Senator Suzanne Little MEMBERS ABSENT All members present COMMITTEE CALENDAR CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 319(FIN) "An Act relating to the training of law enforcement and corrections officers; to the establishment of surcharges to be assessed for violations of certain traffic offenses; allowing defendants who are unable to pay the surcharge to perform community work; creating the Alaska police standards training fund; and providing for an effective date." CS FOR HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 43(FIN) Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Alaska relating to the rights of crime victims. CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 231(FIN) "An Act relating to when previous conduct constituting a sexual offense may be used as an aggravating factor at sentencing." CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 313(JUD) "An Act relating to suspended imposition of criminal sentences and to the imposition of sentence when a suspended imposition of sentence is revoked." PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION HB 319 - No previous action to record. HJR 43 - See Judiciary minutes dated 11/16/93 and State Affairs minutes dated 3/9/94, 3/21/94, 3/23/94, and 3/28/94. HB 231 - No previous action to record. HB 313 - See State Affairs minutes dated 3/11/94. WITNESS REGISTER Representative Gail Phillips State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Prime Sponsor of HB 319 Laddie Shaw, Executive Director Alaska Police Standards Council Department of Public Safety P.O. Box 111200 Juneau, AK 99811-1200 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 319 C.E. Swackhammer, Deputy Commissioner Department of Public Safety P.O. Box 111200 Juneau, AK 99811-1200 POSITION STATEMENT: Responded to questions on HB 319 Representative Brian Porter State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Prime Sponsor of HJR 43 George Dozier, Staff to Representative Pete Kott State Capitol Juneau, AK 99801-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Offered information on HB 231 & HB 313 Margo Knuth, Assistant Attorney General Criminal Division Department of Law P.O. Box 110300 Juneau, AK 99811-0300 POSITION STATEMENT: Offered information on HB 231 & HB 313 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 94-42, SIDE A Number 001 CHAIRMAN ROBIN TAYLOR called the Judiciary Committee meeting to order at 4:15 p.m. He introduced CSHB 319(FIN) (ALASKA POLICE STNDS TRAINING FUND) as the first order of business. REPRESENTATIVE GAIL PHILLIPS, prime sponsor of HB 319, explained the legislation will do three basic things: (1) it will create an Alaska Standards Training Fund within the general fund; (2) it will provide a source of receipts for the training fund paid for by the violators of certain traffic offenses (moving violations and driving while intoxicated); and (3) it will allow the Legislature to appropriate each year for the training of law enforcement and corrections officers statewide through the Alaska Police Standards Council. She commented that training for law enforcement is sorely needed, and, in too many instances, is nonexistent. Representative Phillips said the $10 and $25 increase to traffic fines shouldn't be construed as a tax, surcharge, user fee, etc., since the Legislature does not set fine schedules. The Supreme Court and municipalities raise and adjust bail forfeiture schedules and could do so without giving the Legislature the opportunity to direct where the increase could be used and for what purpose. The anticipated receipts on only the collectable amounts of the fines would be approximately $700,000 annually. The delayed effective dates would allow the court system to implement their new accounting and to amend their bail forfeiture schedules to reflect this proposed increase, as well as allowing municipalities adequate time to prepare in-house accounting systems. Representative Phillips noted that there was a proposed Judiciary SCS before the committee, and that she has no objections to the proposed changes. Number 075 SENATOR LITTLE asked what violations the $10 and $25 fees apply to. LADDIE SHAW, Executive Director of the Alaska Police Standards Council, answered that the $10 fee will be from uniform traffic citations and the $25 fee will be from driving with a revoked license or driving while intoxicated. Number 128 SENATOR DONLEY asked how much Anchorage will benefit from this training that will be provided. DEPUTY COMMISSIONER C.E. SWACKHAMMER, Department of Public Safety, responded that every municipal police department will benefit from the proceeds that go into this training fund, and it will appropriated through the Alaska Police Standards Council. He pointed out that the new committee substitute provides that part of the proceeds will go to the Public Safety Training Academy, which also does training. SENATOR DONLEY expressed concern that because there are so many people in Anchorage, they end up paying most of the new fees and taxes, but the receipts tend to go out everywhere else at a disproportionate amount. He added he would rather see these things paid for through the communities for what services they receive. LADDIE SHAW said Anchorage supplements more of the assessment fee, but that is because of the population base. The dollars will still be equitably shared by all police officers throughout the state. Number 200 SENATOR TAYLOR moved that SCS CSHB 319(JUD) be adopted. Hearing no objection, the motion carried. SENATOR LITTLE moved that SCS CSHB 319(JUD) be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. Number 223 SENATOR TAYLOR brought CSHJR 43(FIN) (RIGHTS OF CRIME VICTIMS; CRIMINAL ADMIN) before the committee as the next order of business. REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN PORTER, prime sponsor of HJR 43, said the resolution deals with victims rights. It provides two sections: one dealing with penal administration, which reorders the priority of the considerations of penal administration, and the other relating to the rights of crime victims. In the second section dealing with victims' rights, it is taking statutory provisions that exist currently and raising them to the level of the constitution. Number 260 SENATOR LITTLE asked what the advantage is in putting these rights into the constitution when they are already in statute. REPRESENTATIVE PORTER answered it is to give them equal billing with the constitutional rights of criminal defendants. Whenever a victim's right, statutory as it is now, comes against a constitutional right of a criminal defendant, the constitutional right has greater weight. Number 280 SENATOR LOREN LEMAN, Chairman of the Senate State Affairs Committee, was present to explain changes made in the State Affairs SCS. The substantive addition in that committee was in Section 1 where they added community condemnation, rights of victims of crimes, and restitution from the offender to the current list of protecting the public and the principle of reformation. Number 326 SENATOR DONLEY said the most important question to him is the question of what kind of impact this would have on existing rights. He also has concern that the language "the Legislature shall implement" is not a sufficient guideline to accord that the courts would only go so far as the existing statutory language. He said he preferred the language that was in SJR 2 (CRIME VICTIM RIGHTS;CRIM JUSTICE ADMIN) which made several caveats, such as giving the Legislature the authority to define what a crime victim is. He suggested changing the language at the beginning of Section 24 to read "A victim of crime, as defined by law,"... REPRESENTATIVE PORTER voiced concern that by putting more words in, the more words there are to be interpreted, which increases the chances of having varying opinions on what is trying to be said. Number 460 SENATOR TAYLOR said one of his concerns is what happens with the people who perceive themselves to be a victim of a crime, but the prosecutor has decided not to prosecute. Although there used to be a provision that a private citizen could prosecute his or her own case, that was taken away approximately six years ago. SENATOR DONLEY pointed out that a private citizen still has the right to make a presentation to a grand jury. There was extensive discussion on the statutory definition of "victim." TAPE 94-42, SIDE B Number 120 SENATOR LITTLE moved the following conceptual amendment on page 1, line 14: After "Rights of Crime Victims" insert "A victim of crime, as defined by law, shall have the rights described in this section as provided by law." Hearing no objection, the amendment was adopted. SENATOR DONLEY had also suggested that in Section 12 changing the words "penal administration" to "criminal justice," but SENATOR TAYLOR said he wasn't prepared to move on that question because it was a bigger shift than he was willing to take. Number 140 SENATOR LITTLE moved that on page 2, line 9, delete the sentence "The legislature shall implement this section." SENATOR TAYLOR stated his objection of doing so at this point because he thinks it is important to have in the constitution the authorization that the legislature should, in fact, implement the section. The roll was taken with the following result: Senators Donley and Little voted "Yea" and Senator Taylor voted "Nay." The Chairman stated the amendment had failed. Number 181 SENATOR TAYLOR said there was still the question of "penal" versus "criminal," as well as the question of a proposed paragraph (b) regarding assessments against convicted defendants, and he preferred to hold HJR 43 for a couple of days in order to work on drafting acceptable language. Number 203 SENATOR TAYLOR brought CSHB 231(FIN) (AGGRAVATING/MITIGATING FACTORS;SEX CRIMES) before the committee as the next order of business. GEORGE DOZIER, staff to Representative Pete Kott, explained the legislation addresses aggravating factors and the presumptive sentencing of sex criminals. It has been pointed out by the Alaska Sentencing Commission that there are certain gaps in the coverage of aggravating factors in current statute. Currently, there is no aggravating factor where a defendant is convicted of sexual abuse of a minor and has previously committed sexual assault against an adult, and HB 231 makes that an aggravating factor. If the bill becomes law, then any individual that is subject to presumptive sentencing for a sex crime and also committed the same or similar conduct which is a sex crime it will be considered to be an aggravating factor, whether or not it was against an adult or a minor. Number 273 MARGO KNUTH, Department of Law, said this is a recommendation made by the Alaska Sentencing Commission. She agreed that there is a loophole in the law and passage of the legislation will close that gap. Number 287 SENATOR LITTLE moved that CSHB 231(FIN) be passed out of committee with individual recommendations. Hearing no objection, it was so ordered. Number 290 SENATOR TAYLOR brought CSHB 313(JUD) (IMPOSITION, REVOCATION, SUSPENDED SENTENCES) before the committee as the final order of business. GEORGE DOZIER, staff to Representative Pete Kott, said the legislation addresses the subject of suspended impositions of sentencing. Currently, sentencing judges have the option of imposing what is known as a suspended imposition of sentence. The individual is placed on probation for a period time and reasonable conditions are imposed for that probationary period. At the conclusion of the probationary period, if the defendant has successfully completed his probation and has complied with the conditions, then the court has the option of vacating the judgment against him and never sentencing him. If, instead, the defendant does not comply with the conditions of his probation, then the court may revoke his probation and sentence him for the underlying crime. This is used mostly with young defendants and for minor type of offenses. However, if a judge wants to impose a suspended imposition of sentence for an extremely minor offense, which is what this procedure is designed for, he is limited to a very short span of time that he can place the individual on probation, and this can cause problems. HB 313 grants the court in class B misdemeanors the authority to impose a suspended imposition of sentence or to place the individual on probation for a period of up to one year in granting the suspended imposition of sentence. Number 340 MARGO KNUTH, Department of Law, clarified that it isn't the period of probation - it is the period of time that the SIS can be granted. She added that judges, prosecutors and public defenders all agree that they would like to see this change. Number 358 SENATOR LITTLE moved that CSHB 313(JUD) 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 5:35 p.m.