Legislature(1995 - 1996)
02/08/1995 01:30 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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 None 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 date." 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 passed. 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 evidence. 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 SJUD-2/8/95 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.