Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/17/1995 02:59 PM Senate JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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                                                               
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
 SENATE BILL NO. 106                                                           
 "An Act prohibiting the employment of minors at striptease                    
 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."                          
 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                 
  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                                                                     
 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                  
 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           
 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              
 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.                                     

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