Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/17/1995 02:59 PM Senate JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE March 17, 1995 2:59 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. 106 "An Act prohibiting the employment of minors at striptease businesses." SENATE BILL NO. 85 "An Act making corrective amendments to the Alaska Statutes as recommended by the revisor of statutes; and providing for an effective date." SENATE BILL NO. 26 "An Act providing for automatic waiver of juvenile jurisdiction and prosecution of minors as adults for certain violations of laws by minors who use firearms to commit criminal offenses and relating to the sealing of the records of those minors." SENATE BILL NO. 27 "An Act relating to child visitation rights of grandparents and other persons who are not the parents of the child." SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 14 - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Alaska relating to certain public corporations. PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION SB 106 - No previous action. SB 85 - See State Affairs minutes dated 3/7/95. SB 26 - No previous action. SB 27 - See Health, Education & Social Services minutes dated 3/1/94. WITNESS REGISTER Senator Dave Donley Alaska State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99811 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 26 and SB 27 Pamela Finley Division of Legal Services Legislative Affairs Agency 130 Seward St., Suite 509 Juneau, Alaska 99811 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on SB 85 Dwight Perkins Department of Labor P.O. Box 21149 Juneau, Alaska 99802-1149 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 106 Kathy Tibbles Division of Family & Youth Services Dept. of Health & Social Services P.O. Box 110630 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0630 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed to SB 26, supported SB 27 Margot Knuth Assistant Attorney General Department of Law P.O. Box 110300 Juneau,AK 99811-0300 POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed to SB 26 Yona Hall AARP 3590 Glacier Highway Juneau, AK 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 27 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 95-12, SIDE A Number 001 SJUD - 3/17/95 SB 106 PROHIBIT EMPLOY MINORS AT STRIP TEASE CHAIRMAN ROBIN TAYLOR called the Judiciary Committee meeting to order at 2:59 p.m. The first bill before the committee was SB 106, sponsored by Senator Miller. SENATOR MILLER informed committee members that a situation in Fairbanks was brought to his attention that was the impetus for SB 106. Later in the year the same situation was occurring in Anchorage and could be in the Kenai in the near future. He explained there are strip tease businesses that do not serve alcohol and as a result are able to get around age limits when hiring employees. In the Fairbanks case, a 16 year old year was found to be working in a strip tease joint. Also, because no alcohol beverages are served there is no age limit on individuals who may frequent these establishments. SENATOR MILLER commented on the committee substitute. Section 1 states an individual must be 18 years old or older to enter an establishment that offers adult entertainment. Section 2 states a minor may be employed in the entertainment industry, but specifies that an individual must be 18 to be employed in the adult entertainment industry,and it contains a list of the types of businesses in that industry. SENATOR MILLER noted the Department of Labor supports the bill, but has proposed an amendment to raise the age of employment to 21. He stated he supports the amendment but did not want to jeopardize the legislation from passing because of the serious need for the legislation. Number 071 SENATOR GREEN moved to adopt the committee substitute for SB 106 (Cramer, 3/17/95). There being no objection, the committee substitute was adopted. DWIGHT PERKINS, Department of Labor, testified in support of CSSB 106 (JUD). He stated the Department has recently found clubs operating in Fairbanks and Anchorage employing minors who are usually runaways or disadvantaged youth. He explained that both employers and employees fill out parts of work permits. Generally the parents fill out the part for the employee, however this is not done in these cases. SENATOR MILLER noted KIDPAC and the Womens' Lobby were supportive of CSSB 106 (JUD). He moved adoption of the amendment (Cramer, 3/17/95) which changes the definition of "minors" from youth under age 18 to youth under age 21. SENATOR ADAMS objected and questioned why an 18 year old who is finished with high school should not be able to choose where he/she works. Number 132 SENATOR MILLER stated he understood the objection and although he supported the amendment, he felt leaving it at age 18 to be better than what is currently allowed. SENATOR DONLEY questioned whether the amendment had been reviewed by the Department of Law. SENATOR MILLER replied it has been reviewed by the Department of Labor and the Department of Law. SENATOR DONLEY commented terms such as "adult entertainment" are difficult to define, and noted that modern dance could fall under the definition. He expressed concern that the definition may go too far. SENATOR MILLER replied some definition is necessary to create standards. He added that many of the standards in the definition are from the obscenity statutes passed last year. He felt the prosecution would have to make judgement calls to some extent, but reiterated some standards are better than none. SENATOR TAYLOR announced that a thorough review by the Department of Law of the definitions to clarify what activities are illegal, and whether or not they are enforceable, needs to be conducted before the bill is scheduled for a vote on the Senate floor. SENATOR GREEN asked for clarification of the definition of the word "minor." SENATOR TAYLOR explained there is a whole series of definitions for people at various ages, but generically, a youth below the age of 18 is considered a minor. After that age, an individual can vote and enter into a contract, and it is the cutoff age for criminal activity. Number 222 SENATOR MILLER expressed concern that the proposed amendment might cast a lot of doubt on the bill because of the 18 - 21 year old issue. He withdrew his motion to adopt the amendment. There being no objection, the amendment was withdrawn. SENATOR ADAMS noted the penalty provision in Section 4 carries a 90 day prison sentence. He questioned the lack of support for prison funding. SENATOR MILLER commented the Departments have submitted zero fiscal notes, therefore he assumed the measure could be implemented without cost to the state. SENATOR TAYLOR noted he supported additional funding for prisons. SENATOR ADAMS commented Senator Taylor was one of the few brilliant people on the floor that day. Number 261 SENATOR GREEN moved CSSB 106 (JUD) out of committee with individual recommendations. There being no objection, the motion carried. SJUD - 3/17/95 SB 85 1995 REVISOR BILL Pamela Finley, Assistant Revisor of the Division of Legal Services, testified on CSSB 85 (STA). She explained committee packets contained three amendments, entitled F1, F2, and F3. She asked committee members if they had any questions on the State Affairs committee substitute. Number 275 SENATOR ADAMS asked about Section 19. MS. FINLEY commented Section 19 deals with APOC disclosures. She explained all of the subsections in AS 39.50.030 (b) refer back to activities conducted in the previous calendar year. The Attorney General's Office pointed out that Subsection (6) does not contain that provision, and ought to because it would be unreasonable to expect an individual to disclose loans that were paid off 10 or 20 years ago. The Attorney General's Office suggested the inclusion of a time limit, but because of the way the subsection is structured it would be difficult to include a time limit in the middle of the paragraph. She also noted it was unclear that the $500 limitation applied to loans or loan guarantees. To clarify the subsection, the $500 limit was included in the first sentence, and the previous calendar year provision was included at the end of the paragraph. Number 292 SENATOR ADAMS questioned how that change would apply to a person who has been a resident of the state for the past ten years. MS. FINLEY replied it would require the disclosure of a loan/loan guarantee or indebtedness only if that loan or loan guarantee was made or the indebtedness was incurred during the preceding calendar year, or if the amount owed was in excess of $500 during the previous calendar year. She expressed concern about this section but stated she thought it fixes the problem without changing the way things happen. She commented the section tracks the regulation and the APOC reviewed it without concern. SENATOR TAYLOR asked Ms. Finley to return to the committee on Monday to continue the review of CSSB 85 (STA), in order to give committee members more time to review it. Number 317 SJUD - 3/17/95 SB 26 OFFENSES BY JUVENILE USING FIREARMS SENATOR DONLEY, sponsor of SB 26, testified before the committee. He stated in Anchorage there is a clear problem with juveniles bringing guns to school. Progress has been made over the past eight years in decreasing the problem, but police are concerned about the fact that the penalty is not a significant deterrent as offenders are treated through the juvenile process. SB 26 is aimed at second-time firearm violation offenders, and would require them to be waived into adult court. Number 340 SENATOR DONLEY stated there are a lot of suspensions occurring in Anchorage. He noted there is a new federal mandate relating to firearm offenders in educational facilities. He explained SB 26 deals with all firearms violations, not only those at educational facilities. He added that six years ago a law was passed which made it illegal to have a firearm on school property, but because the offenders are juveniles, the penalties are ineffective. Even when students were expelled, they were allowed to re-enroll in another school in the same school district after a certain period of time. Number 376 SENATOR ADAMS asked what the penalty would be for the second offense. SENATOR DONLEY clarified it would depend on the crime. The range would be huge, and would include a felony for armed robbery. SENATOR TAYLOR asked what the penalty would be for bringing a gun to school for the second time. SENATOR DONLEY replied it is a misdemeanor. Number 390 SENATOR GREEN noted that in conversations with judges, they have expressed great frustration that serious offenses by juveniles remain sealed. SENATOR DONLEY replied for a second offense, the individual would be tried as an adult in court which is open to the public. Number 402 MARGOT KNUTH, assistant attorney general with the Department of Law, testified. She noted Governor Knowles introduced HB 206 which relates to juveniles and guns, and several other measures are pending before the legislature on the same subject. She stated the administration cannot support SB 26, which has an automatic waiver for juveniles age 14 and over for a second weapon offense, for several reasons. She stated the bill goes too far, too early. HB 206, the Governor's bill, expands the use it, lose it concept, so that driving privileges would be revoked for offenses. According to Shirley Warner of the Anchorage Police Department, the use it, lose it approach has done more to curb alcohol use among juveniles, and the same holds true in Juneau. MS. KNUTH continued. Part of the problem is the dynamics of offenders. It isn't the severity of the sanction that deters people from committing crimes, but how much they believe they are going to get caught, and whether the imposition of sanctions seems realistic to them. Juveniles have difficulty believing they will end up in jail for certain offenses, but they do believe they may have their licenses revoked. She noted the state will lose $38 million in federal funds if, by October, a statute is not in place that requires the expulsion of a student for a minimum of one year for bringing guns on to school grounds. HB 28, sponsored by Representative Bunde, attempts to do that. The question of what to do with students that have been expelled needs to be addressed. HB 28 would also raise the level of the offense from a class B misdemeanor to a class A misdemeanor. Under existing law, the ability to petition for waiver of a juvenile exists, at any age, when unamenability to treatment can be shown. It is not automatic, but if the juvenile has committed a second offense, that argument is feasible. For those reasons, Ms. Knuth asked the committee to hold the bill. Number 450 SENATOR ADAMS asked what the state's plan is for continuing the education of a student who has been expelled from school. MS. KNUTH replied that issue is currently being discussed. SENATOR TAYLOR commented SB 26 does not provide for expulsion. Number 458 SENATOR ELLIS asked if SB 26 were to become law, a 14 yr. old, who brought a gun to school for the second time, would be waived into adult court. He also asked where the sentence would be served. MS. KNUTH responded the juvenile could not serve the sentence in the same institution as an adult due to federal prohibitions. She was not sure whether juveniles would serve the sentence at McLaughlin or whether special wings exist in adult prisons. SENATOR ELLIS noted McLaughlin is full, therefore they would most likely be at overcrowded adult facilities but segregated from the adult population. MS. KNUTH agreed. SENATOR TAYLOR added a judge could also fine the offender and take money from the individual's permanent fund dividend check, or assign community work. Number 472 KATHY TIBBLES, Director of the Division of Family and Youth Services, testified in opposition to SB 26 primarily because of the age range covered in the measure. She stated there are adolescents who are increasingly difficult to deal with, but at age 14 the opportunity to turn some juveniles around still exists. Existing statutes allow juveniles to be waived to adult court for heinous crimes which serves the purpose better than an automatic waiver, particularly for children as young as 14. Number 482 SENATOR TAYLOR stated no 14 year old would ever be impacted by SB 26 unless they had, at 13, committed the same offense. He commented the bill only applies to recidivists. MS. TIBBLES replied it is possible that an adolescent could be charged and adjudicated at 13 or 14 years of age for taking a weapon to school, or for shooting a stop sign. The second offense could be more serious, perhaps a felony offense. She added the federal law prohibiting transfer of a juvenile to an adult court starts at age 16. She thought it was possible that a 14 year old could end up in an adult jail as a result of a conviction in adult court if waived. She believed that would preclude any second chance available to try to turn the adolescent around. Number 499 SENATOR GREEN asked if a judge would be precluded at that point from alternate sentencing. SENATOR TAYLOR responded no judge in the state would be so naive to think he/she could place a 14 year old into an adult facility. Number 504 SENATOR DONLEY noted the administration recently supported a bill in the Finance Committee that required a child of any age to go to adult court for stealing a motor vehicle, for a first offense. He reiterated a second time firearm offender is a greater public safety threat than a person who commits a joyriding offense. He felt the administration's position to be inconsistent. Number 522 SENATOR GREEN suggested combining SB 26 with the "use it, lose it" bill and Representative Bunde's bill. SENATOR MILLER moved SB 26 out of committee with individual recommendations. There being no objection, the motion carried. SJUD - 3/17/95 SB 27 MISC. GRANDPARENT VISITATION RIGHTS SENATOR DONLEY, sponsor of SSSB 27, presented the following comments to the committee. A similar measure has passed both the House and Senate, but not in the same year. Currently, Alaska is the only state that does not give legal status to grandparents to request visitation rights of their grandchildren. The judge would only take action if it was in the best interest of the children. SSSB 27 merely allows grandparents to ask for permission. Number 544 SENATOR GREEN asked what kinds of problems have occurred in other states as a result of this legislation. She questioned whether the law would complicate cumbersome custody issues. SENATOR DONLEY replied grandparents sometimes take sides in divorce cases, and one parent may not want the spouse's grandparents to have access to the children. SSSB 27 does not compel access to the children, it gives the grandparents legal status to ask the court for access to the children. Number 559 MS. TIBBLES strongly supported SSSB 27. She commented there are many times when divorce creates alienation and hostility within a family, and when the children need some consistency, it is often the grandparents who can provide support for the children. Number 569 FONA HALL testified in support of SSSB 27 on behalf of AARP. She discussed her own situation with absentee and local grandchildren and stated SSSB 27 kicks in when visitation is denied. SENATOR GREEN moved SSSB 27 out of committee with individual recommendations. There being no objection, the motion carried. There being no further business before the committee, SENATOR TAYLOR adjourned the meeting at 3:47 p.m.