Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/08/1995 01:30 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                   SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE                                  
                        February 8, 1995                                       
                           1:30 p.m.                                           
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
 Senator Robin Taylor, Chairman                                                
 Senator Lyda Green, Vice-Chairman                                             
 Senator Mike Miller                                                           
 Senator Al Adams                                                              
 Senator Johnny Ellis                                                          
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
 SENATE BILL NO. 60                                                            
 "An Act providing an exemption from gambling and certain alcoholic            
 beverage laws for gambling conducted by cruise ships for their                
 ticketed passengers in the offshore water of the state; relating to           
 promotions on board cruise ships; defining `cruise ship'; providing           
 for exemption procedures for certain cruise ships before they can             
 conduct gambling in the offshore water of the state; providing an             
 exemption from the coin-operated device tax for cruise ships                  
 exempted from the gambling laws; and providing for an effective               
 SENATE BILL NO.  6                                                            
 "An Act relating to registration of a motor vehicle and suspension            
 of a driver's license for failure to appear in court or failure to            
 pay a fine."                                                                  
 SENATE BILL NO. 14                                                            
 "An Act relating to criminal mischief."                                       
 SENATE BILL NO. 13                                                            
 "An Act relating to the admissibility of evidence and testimony in            
 criminal and civil proceedings; directing the admissibility into              
 evidence of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) profiles in civil and                 
 criminal proceedings; amending Rules 702(a) and 703 of the Alaska             
 Rules of Evidence to modify the rule relating to the basis or                 
 foundation for the admissibility  of expert opinion testimony that            
 is based on scientific evidence; and amending Rules 401, 403, and             
 705 of the Alaska Rules of Evidence."                                         
 SJUD - 2/8/95                                                                 
 SENATE BILL NO.  10                                                           
 "An Act revising Rule 16, Alaska Rules of Criminal Procedure,                 
 relating to discovery and inspection in criminal proceedings, to              
 adopt the comparable federal rule."                                           
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
 SB 60 - No previous action.                                                   
 SB 6 -  See State Affairs minutes dated 2/2/95.                               
 SB 14 - See Judiciary minutes dated 2/1/95.                                   
     See Judiciary minutes dated 2/6/95.                                       
 SB 13 - See Judiciary minutes dated 2/1/95.                                   
     See Judiciary minutes dated 2/6/95.                                       
 SB 10 - See Judiciary minutes dated 2/6/95.                                   
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
 Senator Bert Sharp                                                            
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of SB 60                                        
 Joe Ambrose                                                                   
 Legislative Aide to Senator Taylor                                            
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol                                                                 
 Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 6                                       
 Juanita Hensley                                                               
 Chief, Driver Services                                                        
 Division of Motor Vehicles                                                    
 Department of Public Safety                                                   
 PO Box 20020                                                                  
 Juneau, Alaska  99811-0200                                                    
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 6                                       
 Margot Knuth                                                                  
 Criminal Division                                                             
 Department of Law                                                             
 PO Box 110300                                                                 
 Juneau, AK  99811-0300                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 14                                      
 Sgt. Joe D'Amico                                                              
 Division of Alaska State Troopers                                             
 Department of Public Safety                                                   
 5700 E. Tudor Rd.                                                             
 Anchorage, AK  99507-1225                                                     
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 14                                      
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
 TAPE 95-5, SIDE A                                                             
 Number 001                                                                    
  CHAIRMAN ROBIN TAYLOR  called the Judiciary Committee meeting to             
 order at 1:35 p.m.  Present were Senators Taylor, Green, Adams and            
 Miller.  The first order of business was SB 60.                               
 SJUD - 2/8/95                                                                 
            SB  60 CRUISE SHIP GAMBLING & PROMOTIONS                          
  SENATOR BERT SHARP , sponsor, informed committee members that an             
 identical bill passed the Legislature in 1994 but was vetoed by the           
 previous Governor.  SB 60 accommodates the concerns that arose and            
 were approved during the committee process.  SB 60 authorizes the             
 Department of Commerce and Economic Development to offer an                   
 exemption for cruise ships which would allow the continuation of              
 shipboard casino operations while in Alaskan waters.  Casino                  
 gambling on cruise ships is a worldwide accepted practice.  Casino            
 operations would not be allowed while the ship is in port or within           
 3 miles of a port of call.  By allowing gambling activities on                
 state waters, the state would benefit from the collection of                  
 exemption fees, ranging from $7,500 to $40,000 per ship (depending            
 on passenger size).  Casino gambling has no impact on Alaskan                 
 communities as only ticketed passengers are allowed on board while            
 the casinos are in operation.  In the interest of maintaining world           
 class cruise amenities on board Alaska destination cruises, Senator           
 Sharp urged the committee's support of SB 60.                                 
 Number 44                                                                     
 SENATOR ADAMS asked what the Administration's position is on SB 60.           
 SENATOR SHARP understood this Administration to be more friendly to           
 SB 60 than the past Administration.                                           
 Number 65                                                                     
 SENATOR ADAMS made a motion to move SB 60 out of committee with               
 individual recommendations.  Without objection, the motion passed.            
 Number 069                                                                    
 SJUD - 2/8/95                                                                 
        SB   6 LICENSING/REGISTRATION SUSPENSION/DENIAL                       
 The next order of business was SB 6.  SENATOR TAYLOR, sponsor,                
 asked JOE AMBROSE to testify before the committee.  MR. AMBROSE               
 stated the intent of SB 6 is to encourage individuals to make court           
 appearances and pay outstanding fines related to moving vehicle               
 citations and parking offenses.  Each year, 25,000 traffic                    
 citations for moving violations go unpaid in Alaska, according to             
 the Department of Public Safety.  SB 6 is designed to provide the             
 court system, and municipalities, throughout Alaska, with                     
 additional leverage in the collection of fines.  It would also                
 apply to an individual who fails to appear in court when ordered.             
 SB 6 passed the Senate in a 17-3 vote last year as SB 166. SB 6               
 would be a valuable tool for use by the courts in addressing the              
 problems created by those who choose to ignore the law, especially            
 those who fail to make court ordered appearances or to pay fines              
 imposed by the court.  SB 6 is based on statutes from other states.           
 In the State of Washington, over 50 percent of those who receive              
 notice of possible sanctions clear up outstanding matters within              
 one week.  SB 6 ties the failure to settle moving violations to the           
 driver's license and parking violations to vehicle registration               
 which mirrors California law.                                                 
 Number 096                                                                    
 SENATOR ADAMS asked why both moving and parking violations are                
 included in SB 6, since parking violations are under the                      
 jurisdiction of municipalities.  MR. AMBROSE replied SB 6 is based            
 on the California statute which operates the same way.  When the              
 bill went through the process last year, there seemed to be quite             
 a bit of interest from the urban areas to give them leverage when             
 attempting to collect parking fines.                                          
 Number 114                                                                    
 SENATOR ADAMS questioned whether the sentence that allows the                 
 department to require electronic reporting in Section 2 could                 
 create a burden for municipalities.  He asked whether this could be           
 considered an unfunded mandate imposed by the state on                        
 municipalities.  SENATOR TAYLOR replied that is not the intention;            
 the sentence refers to the use of personal computers and disks as             
 most municipalities now use.  SENATOR ADAMS asked, if SB 6 passes,            
 what the time frame would be for municipalities to install the                
 electronic devices, and to notify the state of parking violations.            
 Number 140                                                                    
 MR. AMBROSE explained SB 6 calls for electronic reporting which               
 would allow a municipality, with a stack of uncollectible parking             
 citations, to make a report to the Division of Motor Vehicles.                
 When that individual tries to renew a vehicle registration,                   
 outstanding fines would have to be paid prior to registering the              
 vehicle.  SENATOR ADAMS discussed a scenario in which a person with           
 several vehicles driven by other family members might be prevented            
 from registering a vehicle because an outstanding parking citation            
 on one of the vehicles exists.  MR. AMBROSE referred to line 5 of             
 page 2 which states actual notice must be given to the applicant.             
 SENATOR ADAMS expressed concern with the inclusion of parking                 
 violations in SB 6.                                                           
 Number 182                                                                    
 JUANITA HENSLEY, Chief of Driver Services for the Division of Motor           
 Vehicles (DMV), testified.  She stated that a similar bill was                
 introduced several years ago in the Legislature to assist                     
 municipalities in the collection of parking fines.  Two years ago,            
 Senator Taylor introduced a bill to deal with moving violations.              
 At the request of some of the municipalities, the parking citation            
 provision was added.  To ease the burden on the Department of                 
 Public Safety, the department requested that municipalities have              
 electronic access to motor vehicle registration files to place a              
 hold on vehicle registrations until outstanding fines are paid.               
 She noted line 7 of Section 2 refers to any vehicle, so that all              
 fines on vehicles owned by the applicant would have to be paid                
 before a vehicle could be registered.                                         
 SENATOR ADAMS asked if the DMV would notify the owner of the                  
 violation a second time, after issuance of the citation.  MS.                 
 HENSLEY explained notification would occur when the person                    
 attempted to register the vehicle.                                            
 Number 232                                                                    
 SENATOR ELLIS asked what entity in Anchorage would be transferring            
 information to the DMV.  MS. HENSLEY replied the Anchorage Parking            
 Authority.  SENATOR ELLIS asked for clarification of the term "any            
 vehicle."  MS. HENSLEY replied it would include any vehicle subject           
 to registration in Title 28, such as passenger cars, trucks, and              
 commercial vehicles, but not 3 and 4 wheelers.  SENATOR ELLIS                 
 expressed concern that the Anchorage Parking Authority would be the           
 entity transferring information.                                              
 SENATOR ADAMS asked what time line will be used for municipality              
 notification to the state.  MS. HENSLEY stated there has not been             
 any discussion on a time line.  SENATOR TAYLOR noted the time for             
 notification would be determined by the municipality.                         
 SENATOR ADAMS referred to the fiscal note from the Trial Court                
 System and asked how the percentages of revocations and                       
 terminations were determined. MS. HENSLEY was not familiar with the           
 fiscal note from the Court System.  She explained that Section 3 of           
 SB 6 allows the court to suspend a driver's license.  In 1994 the             
 Court System estimated it would suspend approximately 2500 drivers'           
 licenses out of the 25,000 unpaid moving violations.                          
 Number 296                                                                    
 SENATOR ELLIS asked if an individual has an unpaid parking ticket             
 on a personal vehicle, would that outstanding fine effect the                 
 registration of business vehicles registered by that individual.              
 MS. HENSLEY answered affirmatively.  SENATOR TAYLOR explained every           
 time the individual attempted to register any vehicle, outstanding            
 fines would have to be paid first.  SENATOR ELLIS requested                   
 information on the schedule of fines and penalties for outstanding            
 parking citations.  SENATOR TAYLOR noted the municipalities                   
 requested the inclusion of parking violations to strengthen the               
 municipalities' position against people who waste police officers'            
 time and court time by not taking responsibility for the payment of           
 fines.  Currently the municipalities request bench warrants for               
 these people.                                                                 
 SENATOR ADAMS asked what the Department of Public Safety's position           
 would be if Section 2 was deleted.  MS. HENSLEY stated the                    
 Department would have no problem with the deletion of Section 2.              
 Number 345                                                                    
 SENATOR MILLER moved SB 6 out of committee with individual                    
 recommendations.  SENATOR ADAMS objected.  He stated Section 2                
 needs to be eliminated.  SENATOR TAYLOR stated SB 6 has a further             
 referral to the Senate Finance Committee, where the municipalities            
 should be requested to present a justification for Section 2.                 
 SENATOR ELLIS asked the committee to officially request information           
 on the schedule of parking fines and penalties for late payment.              
 SENATOR TAYLOR agreed.  A roll call vote was taken on the motion              
 with the following results:  Senators Taylor, Green and Miller                
 voted "Yea," and Senators Adams and Ellis voted "Nay."  The motion            
 SJUD - 2/8/95                                                                 
                      SB  13 DNA EVIDENCE                                      
 The next item on the agenda was SB 13.  SENATOR TAYLOR announced a            
 committee substitute had been prepared (Work Draft G, 2/2/95,                 
 Chenoweth) which modifies the standard by which the court                     
 determines whether expert testimony is admissible.  The                       
 modification allows the use of cutting edge technology, specific to           
 DNA testing (page 4, lines 26-30).  This specification                        
 significantly narrows the definition.                                         
 Number 386                                                                    
 SENATOR MILLER made a motion to adopt CSSB 13 in lieu of the                  
 original bill.  SENATOR ADAMS objected for the purpose of                     
 discussion.  He asked if the only difference between the original             
 bill and the committee substitute is that the CS limits the                   
 amendment to Rule 702(a) to refer to DNA testing only.  SENATOR               
 TAYLOR replied affirmatively, and explained an earlier work draft,            
 (F) dated 1/31/95, referred to any expert of any kind (lines 18 and           
 29 of page 4).  Work Draft G narrows expert testimony to DNA                  
 SENATOR ADAMS asked if Senator Ellis' question regarding Native               
 American profiles had been addressed.  SENATOR ELLIS replied, to              
 his knowledge, the FBI did not find any studies along those lines.            
 Number 418                                                                    
 SENATOR MILLER made a motion to move CSSB 13 (Work Draft G) out of            
 committee with individual recommendations. There being no                     
 objection, the motion carried.                                                
 Number 425                                                                    
           SB  14 INCREASED PENALTIES FOR JOYRIDING                          
 SENATOR TAYLOR announced SB 14 was the next item on the agenda.  At           
 his request, the Department of Law prepared an amendment to include           
 juveniles.  The amendment (Amendment #1) makes joyriding a moving             
 traffic violation therefore both adult and juvenile violators would           
 be treated the same.  SENATOR ELLIS asked if this provision would             
 trigger the new law that requires the mandatory waiver of juveniles           
 into adult court.  SENATOR TAYLOR answered no, currently juveniles            
 are tried in adult court for moving traffic violations, such as               
 speeding or driving in a negligent manner.  The amendment would               
 specifically designate joyriding as a moving traffic violation.               
 SENATOR TAYLOR moved the adoption of Amendment #1.  Due to                    
 objection, the motion was under discussion.                                   
 Number 470                                                                    
 Margot Knuth, Assistant Attorney General with the Department of               
 Law, testified.  She explained Amendment #1 would specify joyriding           
 as a criminal offense in Title 28.  Title 47.10.010 (the statute              
 governing juvenile proceedings) requires that juveniles committing            
 offenses listed in Title 28 be waived to adult court.  By creating            
 the offense in Title 28, juveniles over 16 years of age would be              
 tried as adults.  The offense would also be reflected in the                  
 offender's record.  Driving privileges could then be suspended.               
 The amendment reflects several concerns of the Department of Law.             
 The first concern is the fiscal impact of raising first joyriding             
 offenses to a felony level, especially if juveniles are included,             
 because the number of joyriding incidents has doubled in Anchorage            
 alone.  If first offenses are designated as felonies, the                     
 Department of Law would have to prosecute those cases because                 
 felonies can only be prosecuted by the State, therefore the cases             
 currently being handled by the Anchorage Municipality would be                
 transferred to the State.  To further increase the workload, the              
 juvenile offenders, which comprise 50 percent of the cases, would             
 also be referred to the Department of Law.  The number of new                 
 felony cases prosecuted by the Department would be 400 to 800 per             
 year.  Secondly, juveniles would not be affected by changing the              
 first offense to a felony, because delinquency rules require those            
 offenders be treated as juveniles and the offense would not be                
 reflected in their records.                                                   
 Ms. Knuth explained the amendment leaves criminal mischief offenses           
 where they are now, and adds to Title 28 the joyriding offense                
 which would be recorded as a first offense unless the offender                
 causes $500 or more in damages to the vehicle, which is currently             
 a felony.  The intent is to target the hundreds of cases in                   
 Anchorage in which cars are taken but either not damaged, or in               
 which damages cost less than $500.  By placing the offense in Title           
 28, it will remain a misdemeanor and can be prosecuted by                     
 municipalities and the State, and an offender's license would                 
 automatically be suspended upon conviction.  This method would be             
 enforceable on a consistent and thorough basis, and could be                  
 considered an incremental approach to the problem.                            
 Ms. Knuth noted she has been advised by Anchorage police officers             
 that license suspension is the single most effective means of                 
 getting a juvenile's attention.  By including this measure in Title           
 28, points from the offense would carry over to further license               
 actions if the person re-offends.                                             
 Number 526                                                                    
 SENATOR ADAMS noted the amendment allows the offense to be                    
 considered a Class C felony, which is punishable by a fine of up to           
 $50,000 or five years of prison.  He asked what other types of                
 crimes are categorized as Class C felonies.  MS. KNUTH stated this            
 amendment does not change a second offense to a Class C felony;               
 that is already in statute.  Other Class C felonies include                   
 possession of cocaine, theft of property valued at more than $500,            
 and reckless tampering with the pipeline.  She noted Senator                  
 Leman's original bill would have made a first occasion joyriding              
 offense a Class C felony and would elevate a second offense to a              
 Class B felony.  The amendment maintains first offenses as                    
 misdemeanors, but allows a Class C felony designation for the                 
 second offense.                                                               
 SENATOR ADAMS asked Ms. Knuth if she believed joyriding should be             
 classified with other Class C felonies.  MS. KNUTH replied she was            
 unaware of the Administration's position on the existing law that             
 makes joyriding a felony when it is a second offense.                         
 SENATOR ADAMS noted the fiscal note from the Alaska State Troopers            
 indicates there are 700 thefts per year, yet reflects no costs                
 associated with the passage of SB 14.  He questioned the                      
 underestimation of costs.                                                     
 SGT. JOE D'AMICO, Alaska State Troopers (AST), responded to Senator           
 Adams' concern.  He noted the Alaska State Troopers response to               
 vehicle thefts would not be affected by raising the offense to a              
 felony since the type and amount of investigations conducted by the           
 AST would not change.  He estimated the AST solves about two-                 
 sevenths of the reported cases.  Approximately half of the reported           
 cases are not treated as criminal mischief cases, usually because             
 of the juvenile factor.   If the offense is classified as a felony,           
 approximately 100 cases would be prosecuted, and the only                     
 difference would be a Grand Jury hearing which would have a                   
 negligible fiscal impact on the Alaska State Troopers.  He stated             
 of the 700 cases, 2 went to trial.                                            
 SENATOR ADAMS asked if the State would be required to prosecute the           
 cases in court if the offense is changed to a felony.  SGT. D'AMICO           
 replied affirmatively.  SENATOR ADAMS expressed doubt that the AST            
 would have sufficient funds to apprehend these offenders.  He                 
 questioned the need for a supplemental appropriation and the                  
 additional 8 positions requested by the Alaska State Troopers.                
 SGT. D'AMICO stated if the crime is changed from a misdemeanor to             
 a felony, the investigative responsibility would not shift from the           
 municipality to the Alaska State Troopers, therefore there would be           
 no fiscal impact.  The fiscal impact would occur in the agency                
 prosecuting the cases.                                                        
 TAPE 95-5, SIDE B                                                             
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked if there was further objection to the                    
 amendment.  SENATOR ADAMS maintained his objection.  A roll call              
 vote was taken with the following result:  Senators Green, Miller,            
 and Taylor voted "Yea" and Senators Ellis and Adams voted "Nay."              
 SENATOR MILLER moved SB 14 as amended out of committee with                   
 individual recommendations.  SENATOR ELLIS asked if the committee             
 would be receiving a revised fiscal note from the Court System.               
 SENATOR TAYLOR replied that would have to be presented to the                 
 Finance Committee.  SENATOR ELLIS expressed concern that the                  
 amendment makes a significant fiscal impact to the bill.                      
 Number 556                                                                    
 Ms. Knuth clarified the amended version is the less expensive                 
 version.  Elevating first offenses to felonies and including                  
 juveniles would have increased the costs significantly.  The                  
 approach taken by the committee in adopting the amendment is more             
 economical than any other approach considered by the committee.               
 The original fiscal notes are much closer to being accurate to the            
 amended version.                                                              
 SENATOR TAYLOR stated the motion before the committee was to move             
 SB 14 as amended from committee with individual recommendations.              
 SENATOR ADAMS objected.  A roll call vote was taken with the                  
 following results:  Senators Miller, Taylor and Green voted "Yea"             
 and Senators Ellis and Adams voted "Nay."  The motion passed.                 
 SJUD - 2/8/95                                                                 
                SB  10 CRIMINAL DISCOVERY RULES                                
 The committee took up SB 10.  SENATOR ADAMS asked the committee if            
 they could wait to see what comes out of the Rules Committee                  
 regarding the State Supreme Court ruling, prior to taking action.             
 SENATOR TAYLOR delayed further hearing on SB 10 until Friday,                 
 February 10.                                                                  
 SENATOR TAYLOR adjourned the meeting at 2:27 p.m.                             

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