Legislature(1995 - 1996)
02/27/1995 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 27, 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. 46 "An Act revising the provision of law under which a minor may be charged, prosecuted, and sentenced as an adult in the district court, and adding to the list of offenses for which a minor may be prosecuted as an adult in the district court." SENATE BILL NO. 82 "An Act relating to revocation of a driver's license for illegal possession or use of a controlled substance or illegal possession or consumption of alcohol by a person at least 13 but not yet 21 years of age; and providing for an effective date." SENATE BILL NO. 3 "An Act relating to an antitrust exemption for persons engaged in the fishing industry." CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 21(RES) "An Act relating to penalties for violations of commercial fishing laws." SENATE BILL NO. 14 "An Act relating to criminal mischief." 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 46 No previous action. SB 82 No previous action SB 3 See Resources Committee minutes dated 1/25/95, 1/27/95, 2/3/95. SB 21 See Resources Committee minutes dated 1/25/95 and 2/3/95. SB 14 See Judiciary Committee minutes dated 2/1/95, 2/6/95, and 2/8/95. SB 10 See Judiciary Committee minutes dated 2/6/95, 2/8/95, and 2/10/95. WITNESS REGISTER Margot Knuth Assistant Attorney General Criminal Division Department of Law P.O. Box 110300 Juneau,AK 99811-0300 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in opposition to SB 46, in support of SB 82, and answered questions on SB 14. Jerry McCune President United Fishermen of Alaska 211 4th, No. 112 Juneau, Alaska 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 3. Dorne Hawxhurst President Cordova District Fishermen United P.O. Box 939 Cordova, AK 99574 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 3. Ed Crane 2550 Denali #1201 Anchorage, AK 99503 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 3. Dwight Perkins Special Assistant Department of Labor P.O. Box 21149 Juneau, AK 99802-1149 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 3 Dean Paddock Bristol Bay Driftnetters Assn. P.O. Box 20312 Juneau, AK 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 3 Kelly Goode Legislative Aide State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99811 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified for sponsor of SB 21. Dean Guaneli Assistant Attorney General Department of Law P.O. Box 110300 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0300 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 10. ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 95-8, SIDE A Number 001 CHAIRMAN ROBIN TAYLOR called the Judiciary Committee meeting to order at 2:00 p.m. The first order of business was SB 46. SB 46 SJUD - 2/27/95 SB 46 PROSECUTE JUVENILE AS ADULT IN DIST. CT. SENATOR TAYLOR, sponsor of SB 46, informed committee members he has introduced SB 46 for the purpose of amending and cleaning up the laws applicable to juveniles for which the juvenile is automatically treated as an adult. Currently, juveniles are being treated as adults for traffic violations, possession of tobacco, fish and game offenses, and parks offenses. Alcohol offenses would be treated the same way under SB 46. The juvenile would no longer come under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health and Social Services, but would be prosecuted in court. An ordinance passed by the City and Borough of Sitka requires juveniles committing alcohol offenses be charged with an infraction and fined up to $300. He stated the community, including police officers and substance abuse program workers, are satisfied with this approach to the problem. SENATOR ADAMS commented he is opposed to SB 46 because he does not feel juveniles should end up with criminal records for committing the minor crime of drinking alcohol. He suggested looking at the violation, since many teenagers do drink. He preferred reviewing the juvenile justice system. He expressed concern that no fiscal notes from the Departments of Law and Corrections have been submitted despite the fact that approximately 1200 cases would be added to their caseloads. He urged the committee to approach this type of offense as a violation or an infraction. Number 086 MARGOT KNUTH, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Law, gave the following testimony. SB 46 would refer 1200 minor consuming and minor in possession offenses to the District Court. She estimated that many more offenses are committed, and as a result of the enforcement of the "use it, lose it" law, passed last year, the Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) is receiving between 200 - 300 cases per month. Statistics from the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) reveal the national average of children between the ages of 12 - 17 consuming alcohol on a monthly basis is 20 percent, but in Alaska the number is 64 percent. If this offense is classified as a misdemeanor, two-thirds of our youth would begin their adult life with criminal records. From the prosecutorial standpoint, classifying the offense as a violation rather than a misdemeanor would prevent a criminal conviction on a child's record and would allow for easier processing. Number 140 SENATOR GREEN questioned where the problem lies and whether the law should be changed. MS. KNUTH replied the community of Barrow is generating statistics comparing the current number of alcohol related prosecutions, domestic violence incidents, and inpatient hospital visits before and after the ban on liquor. Those statistics are showing the number of all of those offenses has decreased substantially after the ban. SENATOR TAYLOR expressed his frustration about the inability of the system to address this problem when the number of people affected is so large. He agreed with Senator Adams' and Ms. Knuth's concerns regarding the fiscal impact. He suggested changing the offense to an infraction, rather than a misdemeanor, and indicated he would bring SB 46 with that change before the committee on Wednesday. SJUD - 2/27/95 SB 82 DRIVER'S LIC REVOCATION;ALCOHOL/DRUGS The next order of business before the committee was SB 82. SENATOR MILLER, sponsor of the measure, explained SB 82 is an expansion upon the "use it, lose it" law passed during a previous session. Under existing law, teenagers caught with alcohol lose their drivers' licenses, but the existing law only applies to state violations, and over one-half of the violations fall under municipal ordinances. SB 82 allows municipalities to apply the same provisions. Number 200 MARGOT KNUTH testified on behalf of the Department of Law in support of SB 82. She proposed an amendment which has been made on the House version of the measure. The current law requires an officer to have both probable cause and to observe the offender using alcohol or a controlled substance. The legislative intent of the law was not to require the police officer to observe the minor in the act of using alcohol or the controlled substance, however the law can be interpreted that way. The amendment would insert the words "to believe" after the words "probable cause" on line 7, page 1, and delete the words "and based on personal observation". The same change would be made on page 2, line 17. SENATOR MILLER moved the adoption of the amendment. There being no objection, the motion passed. Number 260 MS. KNUTH noted the House made a second amendment on page 2, line 23, which clarifies that the municipal ordinance must have substantially similar provisions and specifies the violations as the use of alcohol or a controlled substance. The committee took no action on that amendment. SENATOR GREEN moved SB 82 as amended out of committee with individual recommendations. There being no objections, the motion passed. SJUD - 2/27/95 SB 3 ANTITRUST EXEMPTION FOR FISHERMEN SENATOR DUNCAN, sponsor of SB 3, read a sponsor statement to the committee. He noted the Senate passed an identical bill to SB 3 last year, however the measure did not reach the House floor for a vote. SB 3 allows commercial fishermen to form associations to collectively negotiate raw or processed fish prices with processors, however it does not authorize processors to agree among themselves. It only covers collective bargaining between fishermen and a processor or a group of processors. SB 3 gives a state antitrust exemption as a first step, which is necessary to obtaining Congressional approval for a federal exemption. SB 3 would stabilize Alaska's fishing industry. SB 3 also removes ambiguities between state and federal laws. Number 339 JERRY McCUNE, President of the United Fishermen of Alaska, testified in support of SB 3. He commented that during a strike in Bristol Bay, the processors were invited to discussions, however under the Sherman Antitrust law, processors cannot collectively gather to discuss prices, therefore they were unable to participate. SENATOR TAYLOR expressed concern that the passage of SB 3 would create a second step in which the processors will demand the same exemption so that they can collectively gather to determine prices. MR. McCUNE replied SB 3 forbids that practice, as does the federal law. He added the fishermen are the self employed individuals bargaining with the industry. Number 367 SENATOR TAYLOR agreed, but pointed out that neither party can do that under current law, therefore once one party is given the exemption, the other might request the same. MR. McCUNE noted processors can back out of negotiations and post a price. DORNE HAWXHURST, President of Cordova District Fishermen United (CDFU), testified in support of SB 3. She stated the CDFU supports the measure for three reasons: it clarifies ambiguities in existing state law; it evens the playing field for fishermen; and it removes inconsistencies between federal and state laws. Number 406 ED CRANE testified on his own behalf in support of SB 3. He emphasized the strength of his personal conviction resulting from his many years of involvement in agribusiness. He stated most other states have an antitrust exemption and he felt SB 3 will help to set the scene for changes necessary to the fishing industry as they must have stability in supply and price to compete in world food markets. He commented adversarial relationships between harvesters and processors have to end, and SB 3 will help to make that happen. SENATOR TAYLOR asked Dwight Perkins and Dean Paddock if they were opposed to SB 3. Both replied negatively, and Mr. Paddock noted he strongly supported SB 3. SENATOR GREEN moved SB 3 out of committee with individual recommendations. There being no objection, the motion passed. Number 442 SJUD - 2/27/95 SB 21 FINES FOR COMMERCIAL FISHING VIOLATIONS KELLY GOODE, legislative aide to Senator Halford, reviewed SB 21 for the committee. CSSB 21 (RES) increases punishment for violations of commercial fishing laws by adding a provision to current law which increases the maximum fine allowable for third and subsequent offenses. The maximum fine would be $9,000. A stronger version of CSSB 21 (RES) passed the Senate last year. There being no other witnesses wishing to testify, SENATOR MILLER moved CSSB 21 (RES) out of committee with individual recommendations. There being no objection, the motion passed. SJUD - 2/27/95 SB 14 INCREASED PENALTIES FOR JOYRIDING The committee took up the next order of business, SB 14. SENATOR ADAMS asked for clarification regarding which version was under discussion. SENATOR MILLER moved the adoption of Version G, dated 2/9/95, as the working version. There being no objection, the motion passed. Number 473 MARGOT KNUTH gave the following review of Version G of SB 14 for committee members. Version G approaches the problem of joyriding in Alaska in an incremental way. Joyriding offenses have doubled over the past two years, creating a significant problem. The original version of SB 14 changed the first joyriding offense to a felony, however after the Departments of Law, Public Safety and Health and Social Services expressed concern that the desired results might not be achieved, different approaches have been reviewed. Over one-half of the offenders are juveniles, therefore the Department of Law (DOL) proposed those offenders be treated as adults, as they are under current law if they are driving while intoxicated. MS. KNUTH gave a sectional analysis of the bill. In Section 1, a first joyriding offense would be treated as a misdemeanor, however a second offense would be considered a felony if the offender has turned 18. The first misdemeanor offense would be counted against the offender if he/she recommits. In Section 3, passengers riding in a joyridden vehicle would be charged with a Class B misdemeanor. Section 4 requires the court to order restitution for the victim when the offense is committed by a juvenile offender. Section 5(f) specifies that those offenders who are not in a felony class can perform community work service in lieu of all but 24 hours of a sentence of imprisonment. Section 6 imposes a mandatory 3 day minimum jail sentence for the offense of joyriding, even as a misdemeanor. Section 6 was added by the Division of Legal Services to keep the sanctions for joyriding by juveniles consistent with those for adults convicted of joyriding. MS. KNUTH noted the DHSS and DOL are concerned about carrying over the mandatory minimum 3 day jail sentence for juveniles since a court could order a jail sentence for up to one year for a Class A Misdemeanor. She asked that Sections 5 and 6 be removed so that juvenile offenders would go to juvenile detention facilities if they were sentenced to jail time. Number 536 SENATOR TAYLOR moved to amend CSSB 14 (JUD) to delete Section 5 and Section 6. There being no objection, the motion passed. MS. KNUTH continued. Sections 7 and 8 allow the court to suspend a person's driving privileges for the offense of joyriding. SENATOR ADAMS questioned Senator Leman's amendment to delete that provision (lines 15 - 18, page 4). MS. KNUTH noted those lines contain no time frame, which may have been a technical error. She explained, by adopting Senator Leman's amendment, a first joyriding offense would bring a license revocation of 30 days, a second offense would bring a 1 year revocation. Number 572 SENATOR TAYLOR moved the adoption of Senator Leman's amendment to delete on page 4, lines 15-18: "Upon a subsequent conviction of a person for an offense described in (a)(1) of this section, the court shall revoke the person's license, privilege to drive, or privilege to obtain a license and may not grant the person limited license privileges." SENATOR ADAMS requested that after changes are made, the bill be held over to the next meeting to provide members adequate time to review it. There was no opposition to that request. SENATOR TAYLOR noted there being no objection to the adoption of the amendment, the motion passed. MS. KNUTH continued with the sectional analysis. She stated Section 9 allows juveniles to be prosecuted in District Court, as an adult, and if the offense is joyriding or passenger joyriding, the offender will appear in District Court. SENATOR TAYLOR announced CSSB 14 (JUD) would be held over until Wednesday, March 1. TAPE 95-9, Side A SJUD - 2/17/95 SB 10 CRIMINAL DISCOVERY RULES The committee took up SB 10 as the next order of business. SENATOR MILLER moved the adoption of Version K, dated February 27, 1995, as the working version. There being no objection, the motion passed. SENATOR ADAMS questioned the need for SB 10 in light of the Supreme Court ruling. DEAN GUANELI, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Law, testified. He explained that the Supreme Court reviewed and adopted the Criminal Rules Committee recommendations and further revised them. He noted some people, including John Salemi, felt those changes did not go far enough, especially in the area of criminal discovery rules. Neither the Criminal Rules Committee nor the Supreme Court adopted Mr. Salemi's ideas. In addition, some of the revisions the Supreme Court adopted make it even more difficult for the prosecution to use information acquired from the defense. For example, the Supreme Court included a sentence that reads, "Information obtained by the prosecutors under this rule may be used only for cross examination or rebuttal of defense testimony." Mr. Guaneli explained that the prosecution could not use information acquired by the defense on expert testimony until cross examination or rebuttal occurs, which prevents prosecutors from using such information in structuring cases. A second revision affects expert testimony and requires the defense attorney to write a summary of the expert's testimony for the prosecution. Mr. Guaneli felt the summary to be of little use to the prosecution. He felt these practices were objectionable. MR. GUANELI explained that Version K of CSSB 10 (JUD) repeals and reenacts Rule 16 of the Alaska Rules of Criminal Procedure instead of setting out the new rule and showing the specific changes, which is a change from previous versions. Number 136 SENATOR ADAMS again questioned the need for SB 10. SENATOR TAYLOR commented that SB 10 would make a subtle, sophisticated policy change and he noted a bill requiring a two- thirds majority vote recently failed on the Senate floor. He commented that unless the committee is successful in achieving something that has a strong working relationship on both sides of the aisle, it would be a waste of time to put it to a full vote. Secondly, he expressed concern that if the bill was passed into law, the Supreme Court might rewrite the rule under the separation of powers. He noted the Supreme Court was gracious in accommodating the legislature by addressing the issue in a timely manner. Number 176 SENATOR MILLER reiterated the concern of adequate support for the measure on the Senate floor. SENATOR TAYLOR stated the bill would be held in committee. There being no further business before the committee, SENATOR TAYLOR adjourned the meeting at 3:04 p.m.