Legislature(1993 - 1994)

04/28/1994 04:20 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                   SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE                                  
                         April 28, 1994                                        
                           4:20 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                                                           
                                                                               
 CONFIRMATION HEARINGS:  Ethel Staton, Board of Governors                      
                           Alaska Bar Association                              
                                                                               
      Jeff Feldman, Commission on Judicial                                     
                            Conduct                                            
                                                                               
                          Janice Leinhart, Judicial Council                    
                                                                               
 HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 60                                                 
 Relating to an amendment to the Constitution of the United States             
 prohibiting federal courts from ordering a state or a political               
 subdivision of a state to increase or impose taxes.                           
                                                                               
 HOUSE BILL NO. 78                                                             
 "An Act relating to the testimony of children in certain criminal             
 proceedings; and providing for an effective date."                            
                                                                               
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 2(RLS)                                                  
 "An Act requiring drug and alcohol tests for school bus drivers."             
                                                                               
 CS FOR SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 128(FIN)                         
 "An Act relating to paternity determinations and acknowledgements."           
                                                                               
 HOUSE BILL NO. 331 am                                                         
 "An Act relating to claims on permanent fund dividends for                    
 defaulted public assistance overpayments."                                    
                                                                               
 HOUSE BILL NO. 429                                                            
 "An Act relating to the special education service agency."                    
                                                                               
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 410(STA)                                                
 "An Act relating to real estate appraisers and the Board of                   
 Certified Real Estate Appraisers."                                            
 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."                      
                                                                               
 SB 21 (MISC. GRANDPARENT VISITATION RIGHTS) was scheduled, but not            
 taken up this date.                                                           
 HB 214 (DISCLOSURE OF MINOR'S RECORDS BY PARENT) was scheduled, but           
 not taken up this date.                                                       
                                                                               
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
                                                                               
 HJR 60 - See State Affairs minutes dated 4/18/94.                             
                                                                               
 HB  78 - No previous action to record.                                        
                                                                               
 HB   2 - See Health, Education & Social Services minutes dated                
          3/16/94.                                                             
                                                                               
 HB 128 - See Health, Education & Social Services minutes dated                
          3/21/94.                                                             
                                                                               
 HB 331 - See Health, Education & Social Services minutes dated                
          4/8/94.                                                              
                                                                               
 HB 429 - See Health, Education & Social Services minutes dated                
          3/21/94 and 4/18/94.                                                 
                                                                               
 HB 410 - See Judiciary minutes dated 4/23/94 & 4/25/94.                       
                                                                               
 HB 79 - See Health, Education & Social Service minutes dated                  
         2/2/94.  See Judiciary minutes dated 4/18/94, 4/23/94,                
         and 4/25/94.                                                          
                                                                               
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
                                                                               
 Ethel Staton                                                                  
 P.O. Box 829                                                                  
 Sitka, AK 99835                                                               
                                                                               
 Jeff Feldman                                                                  
 500 L St., Suite 400                                                          
 Anchorage, AK 99501                                                           
                                                                               
 Janice Lienhart                                                               
 619 East Fifth Ave.                                                           
 Anchorage, AK 99501                                                           
                                                                               
 David Harding, Staff to Representative Eileen MacLean                         
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered information on HB 78                           
                                                                               
 Judi Jordan, Staff to Representative Gail Phillips                            
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Present to respond to questions                        
                      on HB 2                                                  
                                                                               
 Renee Chatman, Staff to Representative Bettye Davis                           
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered information on HB 128                          
                                                                               
 Phil Petri, Operations Manager                                                
 Child Support Enforcement Division                                            
 Department of Revenue                                                         
 P.O. Box 100400                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-0400                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered information on HB 128                          
                                                                               
 Representative Cynthia Toohey                                                 
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Prime Sponsor of HB 331                                
                                                                               
 Jan Hansen, Director                                                          
 Division of Public Assistance                                                 
 Department of Health & Social Services                                        
 P.O. Box 110640                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-0640                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Answered questions on HB 331                           
                                                                               
 Walt Wilcox, Staff to Representative Jeannette James                          
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Present to respond to questions on HB 429              
                                                                               
 Commissioner Margaret Lowe                                                    
 P.O. Box 110601                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-0601                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered information on HB 429                          
                                                                               
 Patti Swenson, Staff to Representative Con Bunde                              
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Testified on HB 79                                     
                                                                               
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
                                                                               
 TAPE 94-43, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
  CHAIRMAN ROBIN TAYLOR  called the Judiciary Committee meeting to             
 order at 4:20 p.m.                                                            
 SENATOR TAYLOR brought  HJR 60  (AMEND US CONSTIT. TO LIMIT FED.              
 COURTS) before the committee as the first order of business.                  
 There being no witnesses present to testify on the legislation,               
 Senator Taylor asked for the pleasure of the committee.                       
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD moved that HJR 60 be passed out of committee with             
 individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so                  
 ordered.                                                                      
 Number 036                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR brought  HB 78  (TESTIMONY OF MINORS IN CRIMINAL               
 TRIALS) before the committee as the next order of business.                   
                                                                               
 DAVID HARDING, staff to Representative Eileen MacLean, explained              
 the bill makes it possible to protect children under the age of 16            
 from appearing in person as witnesses at criminal trials.  Current            
 law allows witnesses under the age of 13 to testify by video tape             
 or closed circuit television if the court finds that testifying in            
 person would be too difficult for the child.  There has been                  
 concern about children who are forced to testify in sexual abuse of           
 a minor and assault cases.                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR commented that HB 78 is a good bill, but it can                
 cause some major problems, and he hopes it can be found to be                 
 constitutional.                                                               
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD moved that HB 78 be passed out of committee with              
 individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so                  
 ordered.                                                                      
 Number 070                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR introduced  CSHB 2(RLS)  (DRUG TESTING FOR SCHOOL BUS     S    
 DRIVERS) as the next order of business.                                       
                                                                               
 JUDI JORDAN, staff to Representative Gail Phillips, was present to            
 respond to questions from the committee.  There being no questions,           
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked for the pleasure of the committee.                       
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD moved that CSHB 2(RLS) be passed out of committee             
 with individual recommendations.  SENATOR LITTLE objected, stating            
 her concern is that false positives are gained disproportionately             
 on drug tests.  SENATOR TAYLOR agreed with her concern, and                   
 expressed his hope that additional legislation in the future will             
 provide for a back-up testing device or one, at least, that would             
 not be at the cost of the individual.  SENATOR HALFORD pointed out            
 that the bill requires that regulations include a hearing before              
 disposition is imposed.  SENATOR LITTLE maintained her objection,             
 and by a show of hands, the motion carried on a four to one vote.             
 Number 110                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR brought  CSSSHB 128(FIN)  (EARLY ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF            
 PATERNITY) before the committee as the next order of business.                
                                                                               
 RENEE CHATMAN, staff to Representative Bettye Davis, stated non               
 support of children has become a national epidemic, with one-fourth           
 of the children in the United States now living with a single                 
 parent, and an estimated 60 percent spending at least part of their           
 childhood in a single parent home.  In almost half of these cases,            
 the absent parent does not pay child support.  Many of these                  
 children are born out of wedlock and paternity is established in              
 only 30 percent of such cases.                                                
                                                                               
 HB 128 requires that the state prepare a paternity acknowledgement            
 form to be used at the time of birth.  The form is signed by both             
 parents; it will list the father's name and social security number;           
 and it will have to be notarized by a notary public.  The bill also           
 lays out specific responsibilities of hospitals or midwives should            
 the birth occur outside a hospital setting.  In addition, the State           
 of Alaska is required to give full faith and credit to a                      
 determination of paternity made by another state regardless of the            
 method in which the paternity is established.  Another component of           
 the bill provides for procedures to allow a default order to be               
 entered in contested paternity cases upon showing that process was            
 served on the defendant in accordance with state law.                         
                                                                               
 Ms. Chatman pointed out that as of December 1993, there were 39,969           
 cases pending in the Alaska Child Support Enforcement Division, and           
 7,192 of those cases are directly related to paternity                        
 verification.                                                                 
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD asked if there is an acknowledgement of paternity,            
 is there any way that later on this person can get a blood test.              
 PHIL PETRI, Operations Manager, Child Support Enforcement Division,           
 clarified that the presumptive evidence provided for in the bill              
 brings it in line with current state statute, AS 25.020.050, which            
 states that the punitive father acknowledges in writing being a               
 parent of a child.  He added that they still have the right to go             
 into court, they still have the right to get blood tests, and the             
 judge can overturn it.                                                        
                                                                               
 There was general discussion on the use of the terms "conclusive              
 evidence" and "presumptive evidence."  SENATOR TAYLOR stated he               
 thought that "presumptive" was more than a sufficient standard to             
 accomplish the purpose.                                                       
                                                                               
 SENATOR LITTLE moved that CSSSHB 128(FIN) be passed out of                    
 committee with individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection,             
 it was so ordered.                                                            
 Number 267                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR stated the next order of business would be a                   
 confirmation hearing on Ethel Staton who has been serving on the              
 Board of Governors of the Alaska Bar and is up for reappointment.             
                                                                               
 ETHEL STATON, testifying from Sitka via the Legislative                       
 Teleconference Network, stated she is a born and raised Alaskan,              
 and she expressed her appreciation at being reappointed to the                
 board.                                                                        
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR thanked Ms. Staton on behalf of the committee for              
 her assistance and services to the state.                                     
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD moved that a letter be sent to the full membership            
 of the Senate stating that a confirmation hearing on Ethel Staton             
 was held and there were no stated objections to her reappointment             
 to the Board of Governors of the Alaska Bar.  Hearing no objection,           
 the motion carried.                                                           
                                                                               
 Number 298                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR introduced  HB 331 am  (USE PFD'S TO RECOVER WELFARE           
 OVERPAYMENTS) as the next order of business.                                  
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY, prime sponsor of HB 331, explained             
 the legislation is a mechanism by which the Department of Health &            
 Social Services will be able to collect overpayment of welfare                
 checks after the person is off of welfare.    There is no problem             
 when a family is on welfare because there is a mechanism in place             
 to take a small amount of each check.  The problem arises when the            
 person is no longer under the welfare system and they fail to repay           
 amounts owed.  HB 331 allows the garnishment of the individual's              
 permanent fund dividend for an overpayment, be it the result of an            
 overpayment by the department or by misinformation by the                     
 recipient.                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR JACKO asked how big of a problem this was.  REPRESENTATIVE            
 TOOHEY answered it amounts to approximately one half million                  
 dollars.  JAN HANSRN, Director, Division of Public Assistance,                
 Department of Health & Social Services, added that the overpayments           
 can vary from a $50 error to a complete AFDC check.                           
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD moved that HB 331 am be passed out of committee               
 with individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so             
 ordered.                                                                      
 Number 327                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR stated the next order of business would be a                   
 confirmation hearing on the appointment of Jeff Feldman to the                
 Commission on Judicial Conduct.                                               
                                                                               
 JEFF FELDMAN, a 19-year member of the Alaska Bar Association                  
 testifying from Anchorage, spoke to the importance of insuring that           
 the judiciary is properly administered.   He said whatever can be             
 done to ensure that the public has trust that the system is                   
 functioning  fairly and efficiently is an effort well worth making.           
 He expressed his willingness to serve on the Commission.                      
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD moved that a letter be sent to the full membership            
 of the Senate stating that a confirmation hearing has been held on            
 Mr. Feldman's appointment to the Commission on Judicial Conduct and           
 that there were no stated objections.  Hearing no objection, the              
 motion carried.                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 350                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR brought  HB 429  (SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICE AGENCY)            
 before the committee as the next order of business.                           
                                                                               
 WALT WILCOX, staff to Representative Jeannette James, was present             
 to respond to questions.                                                      
                                                                               
 MARGARET LOWE, Commissioner of the Department of Health & Social              
 Services, explained that this is a special education service agency           
 that provides individualized teaching services to low incidence               
 handicapping condition children in rural areas.  This would remove            
 the agency from being under the Governor's Council on Disabilities            
 and Special Education making it its own private nonprofit agency.             
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD moved that HB 429 be passed out of committee with             
 individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so                  
 ordered.                                                                      
 Number 385                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR stated the next order of business would be a                   
 confirmation hearing on the appointment of Janice Lienhart to the             
 Judicial Council.                                                             
                                                                               
 JANICE LIENHART, testifying from Anchorage, expressed her                     
 appreciation for having the opportunity to serve on the Judicial              
 Council.  She believes she offers a unique balance to the makeup of           
 the Council.  She said the members on the Council are working                 
 together very well, and it has been very rewarding.                           
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD moved that a letter be sent to the full membership            
 of the Senate stating that a confirmation hearing has been held on            
 Ms. Lienhart's appointment to the Judicial Council and that there             
 were no stated objections.  Hearing no objection, the motion                  
 carried.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 400                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR brought  CSHB 410(STA)  (REAL ESTATE APPRAISERS)               
 before the committee as the next order of business.  He noted the             
 legislation had a previous hearing before the committee, and that             
 it changes the standard whereby the board will now set the                    
 certification levels, as well as brining the state into compliance            
 with federal law.                                                             
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD moved that CSHB 410(STA) be passed out of committee           
 with individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so             
 ordered.                                                                      
 Number 425                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR brought CSHB 79(FIN) am (DAMAGE TO PROPERTY BY                 
 MINORS) before the committee as the final order of business.  He              
 directed attention to a proposed Judiciary SCS, which was prepared            
 as a result of concerns raised at a previous hearing on the                   
 legislation.  One change provides for two reasonable standards for            
 the parent to get out from under liability: (1) unless the parent,            
 legal guardian, or person having custody of the minor has been made           
 a party in the civil action; and (2) if the parent, legal guardian,           
 or person having legal custody of the minor has acted reasonably to           
 exercise control over the minor or to influence the minor's                   
 behavior.                                                                     
                                                                               
 SENATOR DONLEY stated his support for the new language in the                 
 committee substitute.                                                         
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD moved that SCS CSHB 79(JUD) be adopted.  Hearing no           
 objection, the motion carried.                                                
                                                                               
 There was discussion on what the amount should be that could be               
 recovered in a civil action, which is set at $2,000 in current                
 statute.                                                                      
                                                                               
 SENATOR HALFORD moved that on page  1, line 7 of the Judiciary SCS,           
 to delete "$2,000" and replace it with "$5,000."  Hearing no                  
 objection, the amendment was adopted.                                         
                                                                               
 PATTI SWENSON, staff to Representative Con Bunde, stated that                 
 Representative Bunde would like that amount to be set at $25,000.             
 She related that recently there was vandalism on two school                   
 playgrounds, and the vandalism at one school was $10,000 and at the           
 other school it is over $20,000 at this point.  She said if the               
 amount were higher, in the future it would help school districts or           
 any organization that sustained such damage.                                  
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked for the pleasure of the committee.                       
                                                                               
 SENATOR JACKO moved that SCS CSHB 79(JUD), as amended, 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 4:55 p.m.                                            
                                                                               

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