Legislature(1995 - 1996)
04/24/1995 01:36 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE April 24, 1995 1:36 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 HOUSE BILL NO. 200 "An Act reassigning responsibility for the custody of persons pending their arraignments, commitment to the custody of the commissioner of corrections, or admission to a state correctional facility, and authorizing the commissioner of corrections to employ guards for emergencies on the same basis as the commissioner of public safety, as partially exempt service employees; and providing for an effective date." CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 28(FIN) am "An Act relating to the possession of weapons within the buildings of, grounds of, or on the parking lot of preschools, elementary, junior high, and secondary schools or while participating in a school-sponsored event; requiring the expulsion or suspension of students possessing deadly weapons on school grounds; requiring reports to the Department of Education concerning those expulsions or suspensions; and relating to school lockers and other containers provided in a public or private school by the school or the school district." SENATE BILL NO. 115 "An Act relating to the establishment, modification, and enforcement of support orders and the determination of parentage in situations involving more than one state; amending Alaska Rule of Administration 9; amending Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure 79 and 82; and providing for an effective date." SENATE BILL NO. 116 "An Act relating to administrative establishment of paternity and establishing paternity by affidavit; relating to child support enforcement; and providing for an effective date." CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 42 (STA) am "An Act relating to absentee voting, to electronic transmission of absentee ballot applications, and to delivery of ballots to absentee ballot applicants by electronic transmission, and enacting a definition of the term 'state election' for purposes of absentee voting." CS FOR HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 5(FIN) am Proposing amendments to the Constitution of the State of Alaska relating to terms of legislators. CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 95(L&C) "An Act relating to automobile liability insurance for uninsured or underinsured motor vehicles; and providing for an effective date." PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION HB 200 - No previous Senate action to report. CSHB 28 (Fin)am - No previous Senate action to report. SB 115 - SB 115 - See Health, Education & Social Services minutes dated 4/12/95. SB 116 - See Health, Education & Social Services minutes dated 4/12/95. CSHB 42 (Sta)am - See State Affairs minutes dated 3/28/95 and Judiciary minutes dated 4/22/95. CSHJR 5 (Fin)am - See Judiciary minutes dated 4/22/95. CSSB 95 (L&C) - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 2/28/95, 3/21/95, and 3/28/95. See Judiciary minutes dated 4/12/95, 4/19/95. WITNESS REGISTER Dennis DeWitt Legislative Aide Alaska State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99811-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified for sponsor of HB 200 Lt. Ted Bachman Alaska State Troopers Dept. of Public Safety 5700 E. Tudor Rd. Anchorage, AK 99507-1225 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 200 Patty Swenson Legislative Aide Alaska State Capitol Juneau, Alaska 99811-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified for sponsor of HB 28 Margot Knuth Assistant Attorney General Department of Law P.O. Box 110300 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0300 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on HB 28 Peggy Robinson-Wilson Vice President, Anchorage School Board P.O. Box 196650 Anchorage, AK 99519-6650 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 28 Sheila Peterson Department of Education 801 W. 10th St., Suite 200 Juneau, AK 99801-1894 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of HB 28 Representative Con Bunde Alaska State Legislature Juneau, Alaska 99811-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HB 28 Art Peterson NCCUSL 350 N. Franklin St. Juneau, Alaska 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 115 Marilyn May Assistant Attorney General Department of Law 1031 W. 4th Ave., Suite 200 Anchorage, AK 99501-1994 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on SB 115 Glenda Straube Child Support Enforcement Division Department of Revenue 550 W. 7th Ave., Suite 410 Anchorage, AK 99501 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 115 and SB 116 Stuart Hall Office of the Ombudsman P.O. Box 113000 Juneau, Alaska 99811-3000 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 115 Don Koch Division of Insurance Dept. of Commerce & Economic Development P.O. Box 110805 Juneau, AK 99811-0805 POSITION STATEMENT: Answered questions on SB 95 Representative Gene Therriault Alaska State Legislature Juneau, Alaska 99811-1182 POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of HJR 5 Chris Christensen Alaska Court System 303 K Street Anchorage, AK 99501 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HJR 5 Charles McKee P.O. Box 143452 Anchorage, AK 99514 POSITION STATEMENT: No position stated ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 95-25, SIDE A Number 001 CHAIRMAN ROBIN TAYLOR called the Judiciary Committee meeting to order at 1:36 p.m. The first order of business before the committee was HB 200. HB 200 CUSTODY OF PRISONERS DENNY DEWITT, legislative aide to Representative Mulder, sponsor of the measure, gave the following testimony. HB 200 completes the move of community jails from the Department of Public Safety to the Department of Corrections by making the technical changes required to change authority to the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections. Both the Hickel budget and the Knowles budget proposals, in both the House and Senate versions, make the financial transfer. Number 037 SENATOR ADAMS asked about the number of employee transfers included in the financial transfer. MR. DEWITT replied a contract function is transferred; local agencies provide those services under contract. The House budget contained two departmental positions to manage the program; the Senate version contained one position. Jail employees are municipal employees, however the state does pay for some employee expenses under the contract. SENATOR TAYLOR stated he understood the program to be managed by a Dept. of Public Safety employee one-quarter time, yet through the committee process, two full-time positions were added to administer a single form of contract, signed by 14 people. Number 080 MR. DEWITT believed the House Finance subcommittee included two positions based on the premise that more than simple contract management would be necessary; supervision and other functions would be added. The additional functions were part of the reason for the transfer to the Dept. of Corrections. A recommendation from the Task Force on Community Jails suggested more technical assistance from the Department in the operation and supervision of community jails. SENATOR TAYLOR noted HB 200 has a referral to the Senate Finance Committee where that issue can be reviewed. Number 102 LT. TED BACHMAN, Alaska State Troopers, presented the following testimony. Since July 1, 1994, he administered the contracts for the Department of Public Safety. The community jails program consists of 15 municipally owned and operated jails throughout the state, primarily in rural areas. They are staffed by approximately 70 people, who require initial screening and training. The jails respond to between 2 and 5 civil law suits per year which require research, recordkeeping, and other activities associated with the suits. The program position monitors prisoner intake and time served as well as expenditures and contract compliance. Although the contracts were unified and standardized, monitoring monthly operations and compliance oversight must still occur. Number 138 SENATOR GREEN moved HB 200 out of committee with individual recommendations. There being no objection, the motion carried. HB 28 POSSESSION OF GUNS ON SCHOOL PROPERTY PATTY SWENSON, staff to Representative Bunde, sponsor of HB 28, testified. HB 28 brings Alaska into compliance with the federal Gun Free Schools Act. It prohibits the possession of guns within school buildings, or on school grounds, and elevates the crime from a class B to a class A misdemeanor. HB 28 allows locker searches if notice is posted prominently in the schools. Locker searches are constitutional as long as notice of the policy is posted. Locker searches would be permitted only for weapons, guns, and drugs. Other items found during a search could not be used against a student. Personal items, such as backpacks, could not be searched without probable cause. To comply with the Gun Free Schools Act, schools must change data gathering methods regarding weapons' incidences. HB 28 mandates reporting requirements that will comply with the federal legislation and improve data gathering on expulsions and weapon possession. Currently no adequate statewide data gathering program regarding the age, grade, and number of students expelled or suspended for weapons possession or drug violations exists. HB 28 mandates expulsion for one year for possession of deadly weapons on school grounds. The measure gives school administrators the ability to modify expulsions or suspensions on a case-by-case basis. Some weapons are exempted with permission, i.e. those used for drill team competitions. SENATOR TAYLOR asked Ms. Swenson if she has reviewed the proposed Senate Judiciary committee substitute and amendment. MS. SWENSON replied affirmatively and stated the sponsor does not object to the proposed changes. SENATOR TAYLOR explained the changes as follows. On page 2, line 16, the phrase, "or on the parking lot immediately adjacent to" was changed to read, "or on the school parking lot of." He noted the change was made to clarify the parameter of the law. SENATOR GREEN moved to adopt the Senate Judiciary committee substitute (Luckhaupt, 4/24/95). SENATOR ELLIS objected, and asked if any other changes were made. SENATOR TAYLOR explained there is an amendment to be offered. He maintained the objection for the purpose of discussion. SENATOR ELLIS asked for clarification of the parameters under which a locker search could occur, and whether that provision is based on case law, or the new federal law. Number 233 MARGOT KNUTH, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Law, explained the basis of the locker search provisions in HB 28 are existing law under both the U.S. and Alaska Constitutions. The provision is not required by the federal Firearms on School Grounds Act, but is consistent with U.S. Supreme Court case law. Essentially, school lockers are the property of the school, therefore students' expectation of privacy in the school lockers is reduced and the school may set criteria for reasonable searches. HB 28 codifies existing law so that schools will be able to look to the statute to determine what the parameters are to conduct searches. Notices must be at least two inches high, and the search or examination must not be more intrusive than reasonably necessary to meet the objectives of the search. Number 260 SENATOR ELLIS questioned whether it was the privacy provision in the Alaska Constitution, or the probable cause provision of the federal constitution, that prevents the search of backpacks and personal items. MS. KNUTH replied that protection is provided in both the U.S. and Alaska Constitutions, but more so under Alaska's search and seizure provision. Number 271 SENATOR ELLIS asked about the notification requirements in HB 28. MS. KNUTH responded lines 19-21 on page 4 contain that directive; it is anticipated that notice will be continuously posted during the school year. SENATOR ELLIS clarified the notice is continuous and used as a standing announcement. SENATOR ADAMS asked if a person gives up the right to privacy when using a locker owned by a municipality or school district. MS. KNUTH explained the individual never had that right with respect to the locker. Part of the basis is that the search is for contraband, and most particularly for weapons. The right to search is a balance between the expectation of the right of privacy and the right of other students and school officials to protection. SENATOR ADAMS commented he was uncomfortable with that provision. Number 303 SENATOR ELLIS asked if the posting of the search notice could occur simultaneously with the search. MS. KNUTH stated she would expect the notice to precede any searches, but it is possible that the notice might be posted on the first day of school and a search could occur on the same day. Such a situation would technically comply with the statute, however that would be a one-time hardship to the student. SENATOR ELLIS expressed concern that when teaching young people respect for laws, those laws need to be thorough and well constructed, otherwise students learn disrespect for the laws. He suggested amending the bill to prevent simultaneous notice posting and searching. Number 330 SENATOR GREEN asked if the same locker search policy is in effect under current law. MS. KNUTH stated locker searches are currently permissible. She added the notification element was included to provide better communication about that policy and instill an improved sense of trustworthiness on the part of the school. MS. KNUTH discussed the proposed amendment. The amendment changes the language on page 2, lines 18-19, from "who otherwise may lawfully possess a deadly weapon or a defensive weapon" to "21 years of age or older." This allows a certain group of people to possess weapons on school grounds, the intent being that an adult should be able to possess a defensive or deadly weapon, most specifically an unloaded firearm, in the trunk of a motor vehicle or in a closed container in a motor vehicle. The House amended the bill and removed the "21 years of age or older" language and replaced it with "who otherwise may lawfully possess a deadly weapon or a defensive weapon." Section 8 on page 3 prohibits students from carrying such weapons. The House amendment would permit a student expelled from school for a firearm violation to qualify as somebody who would otherwise be able to lawfully possess a weapon. The amendment would prevent such an occurrence. Number 356 PEGGY ROBINSON-WILSON, Vice President of the Anchorage School Board, testified on SCS CSHB 28(JUD). The Anchorage School District has had experience in expelling students for bringing guns and other deadly weapons on campus. She noted the word "school" was inserted in front of the words "parking lot" on page 2, line 16, and page 3, line 3, in the proposed Senate Judiciary committee substitute at her request. The change was requested to clarify potential jurisdictional issues that could arise at the school located in the Fifth Avenue parking garage in Anchorage. SHEILA PETERSON, Special Assistant to the Commissioner of the Department of Education, testified in support of SCS CSHB 28(JUD), primarily Section 6. When the federal government reauthorized the Education Act, it included a section dealing with the Gun Free School Act. If the state does not have this legislation in place by October 20, federal funds will be at risk. Those funds equaled approximately $90 million in 1995. Safety in the schools is of paramount concern to everyone; this measure provides school districts with tools to ensure that schools are safe. Number 420 SENATOR TAYLOR asked if there was continued objection to the adoption of the Senate Judiciary committee substitute. There being none, the motion carried. SENATOR GREEN moved to adopt Amendment #1. There being no objection, the motion carried. Number 427 SENATOR TAYLOR asked Representative Bunde if lines 20-21 on page 2 could be interpreted to mean a person could have a loaded weapon in a motor vehicle. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE explained that language was difficult to draft, but is intended to cover such things as a filet knife, as a parent might pick up a child from school on the way home from a fishing trip. A firearm must be in the trunk or in a case and must be unloaded. SENATOR TAYLOR asked if there are no circumstances under which a person could have a loaded firearm. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE replied, "That is correct, assuming you are not a peace officer or something like that." Number 443 SENATOR ELLIS asked if there is a section in the bill defining "closed container." REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE stated there is not, but he considered a closed container to be a gun case. SENATOR ELLIS asked if the closed container has to be locked. He noted many states are passing legislation making parents liable for unlocked gun cases. MS. KNUTH replied the container does not have to be locked; those containers could be as simple as a cardboard box with a lid. It is the same term used in the search and seizure law. REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE commented he assumed the term to mean the gun case, so that it is not readily accessible and would prevent a person from using a gun on impulse. SENATOR GREEN moved SCS CSHB 28(JUD)am out of committee with individual recommendations. There being no objection, the motion carried. Number 481 SB 115 UNIFORM INTERSTATE FAMILY SUPPORT ACT ART PETERSON, of the law firm Dylan & Findley, testified in his role as a Uniform Law Commissioner for Alaska. SB 115 represents the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA), promulgated by the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (NCCUSL) to replace the Uniform Reciprocal Enforcement of Support Act (URESA), also promulgated by the NCCUSL. In several decades of experience with URESA, enacted by all jurisdictions, numerous problems arose; the most significant being the problem of multiple jurisdiction and multiple court orders. Multiple court orders can conflict with each other, cause confusion for both the obligee and obligor, prevent the child from receiving the appropriate amount of support, and cause confusion in the administrative agencies and courts. SB 115 resolves those problems by providing for the avoidance of multiple court orders. SB 115 was created in 1992, after a several year study by NCCUSL. It has already been adopted by 21 states and has been introduced in several other states this year. This legislation is anticipated to eventually replace URESA in all jurisdictions. Number 518 SENATOR ADAMS stated the Attorney General's Office is interested in deleting the reference to the Alaska Rule of Administration 9. He asked Mr. Peterson's position on that deletion. MR. PETERSON responded he would support the deletion. He noted the bill title would need to be amended, as well as Section 6 on page 26. He stated the Supreme Court voted to adopt that Rule change, therefore its inclusion is unnecessary. Number 530 MARILYN MAY, Assistant Attorney General, concurred with Mr. Peterson's description of the amendment. She verified the Rule change was made by the Supreme Court. SENATOR TAYLOR asked how SB 115 would impact a divorced couple whose support order was issued in Alaska, but have since moved at separate times to Oregon. MS. MAY stated UIFSA provides a method for determining which state has continuing exclusive jurisdiction, and it is only that state that has the power to modify an existing support order. In the scenario described, the Alaska order would remain in effect until one of the parties requested a modification of the order. That could occur in Oregon, because under UIFSA that would most likely be the state with exclusive jurisdiction. Either party could make the request of the Oregon tribunal. SENATOR TAYLOR asked if that is existing law. MS. MAY stated under existing law it is possible there could be two separate orders. The Alaska order would remain in effect but a new order might be established in Oregon. If one of the parties moved back to Alaska, Alaska could collect on its order, which could differ from the amount on the Oregon order. Currently under URESA, there can be two orders of differing amounts. The law provides that a person cannot double collect, however there is often argument about which amount is to be collected. Under UIFSA, if a party requested Oregon to modify the Alaska order, it would be modified and the Alaska order would no longer be effective. Number 564 SENATOR GREEN asked if ample provision exists for everyone to be represented in court, or at all levels of the hearing process so that there are no surprises. MS. MAY commented that UIFSA is more clear than URESA in that way, and provides a specific right to be represented by an attorney. It allows states to establish or modify orders administratively if allowable under state law. GLENDA STRAUBE, Director of the Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED), stated the most important part of SB 115 is the elimination of the multiple order system which is a nationwide problem. The most difficult collection cases for CSED are the interstate cases, which comprise 44 percent of the caseload. If SB 115 is enacted, CSED estimates additional collections of $340,000 per year for the state share of the AFDC reimbursement, and about $680,000 in direct payments to children in non-AFDC cases. CSED does not anticipate any additional operating expenditures. The bill standardizes forms across state lines and allows direct income withholding. STUART HALL, Ombudsman, emphasized that enactment of SB 115 will assist many who sought the Ombudsman's help with CSED. In FY 94 and 95 to date, the Ombudsman's Office has assisted almost 1700 individuals with complaints against CSED, many of whom were custodial parents who depend on CSED to collect support from an out-of-state parent. A large number of those complaints came from single parents concerned about the slow pace of case establishment and child support collection. SB 115 will streamline the establishment process and prompt speedier collections, and would help reduce the Ombudsman's caseload. The bill will allow an Alaska order to be taken to another state, and to obtain payments directly from employers. Number 577 SENATOR TAYLOR questioned the number of the Ombudsman's cases related to CSED. MR. HALL responded approximately two-thirds of their cases involve CSED. He has discussed those complaints with Ms. Straube and Commissioner Condon. SB 115 would significantly streamline the process and reduce the level of clientele frustration. SENATOR TAYLOR asked if the frustration stems from the fact that CSED decides which order will be enforced when multiple orders exist. MR. HALL stated he was unqualified to answer that question, but repeated that the frustration stems from the fact that multiple orders exist. MR. PETERSON noted that Senator Taylor was correct, and added that SB 115 would streamline the process by providing for agency enforcement of the orders, simplify the process, eliminate some of the court backlog, and thereby minimize delays. When multiple court orders are challenged, a lengthy procedure takes place, and the courts have to resolve the issue. Under UIFSA, that problem will be eliminated, therefore subsequent handling of the order will be simplified. Number 554 SENATOR TAYLOR spoke of the high transient population in Alaska, and attributed the large number of out-of-state cases to that fact. He thought the State of Alaska was handling a lot of enforcement cases for people living elsewhere, instead of the state agency where the client resides. He cited previous testimony from CSED, in which the fact that Alaska was opting to go with the most expensive of the multiple orders without justification, was disclosed. He was concerned that policy be curtailed. SENATOR TAYLOR also discussed the fact the legislature needs to eventually make a policy call on the Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) program when both divorced parents have been judged to be competent parents but custody is awarded to one parent. When the custodial parent chooses to go on AFDC for six months, he believes the CSED should issue an automatic petition to move those children to the other parent who is willing to support them and has a job. Number 535 MS. STRAUBE replied CSED has no legal jurisdiction over custody or visitation rights. SENATOR TAYLOR spoke about the effect of the layoff in Wrangell on his constituents, and that most of those paying child support probably cannot afford to hire an attorney to request a reduction in payments. MS. STRAUBE explained if the support order was administratively established, a person can directly request a modification, at no cost. SENATOR TAYLOR asked if out-of-state orders can be modified directly by CSED. MS. STRAUBE responded they cannot. SENATOR GREEN asked for clarification of the modification process. MS. STRAUBE replied CSED can modify administrative orders directly, and if, after reviewing financial records, the modification is approved, a change of 15 percent is made. TAPE 95-25, SIDE B SENATOR TAYLOR asked if CSED modifies payments if the support order is a court order, and the recipient requests an increase based on an increase in the obligor's income. MS. MAY responded that only the court can change a court order. The CSED can provide forms, but the parent must appear in court. SENATOR TAYLOR asked Ms. May to work with committee staff to draft language to delete the reference to the Alaska Rule of Administration 9, as requested by Senator Adams. She agreed to do so. He announced a proposed committee substitute would be brought before the committee at the next meeting. SB 95 INSURANCE AGAINST UNINSURED DRIVERS Number 481 DON KOCH, Division of Insurance, clarified CSSB 95(JUD), Version O, addresses the Tumbleson issue, discussed at the previous meeting. SENATOR ELLIS moved to adopt CSSB 95(JUD). SENATOR GREEN objected. MR. KOCH explained Version O. It addresses the Tumbleson issue by restating that uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage is excess and either one can be triggered by a shortfall in the funds needed to cover a particular loss. Number 454 SENATOR TAYLOR discussed Mr. Lessmeier's projection that State Farm Insurance would have to double the cost of premiums under this interpretation, even though State Farm paid claims according to this interpretation in the past. SENATOR TAYLOR asked why the Division of Insurance would allow an insurance carrier to double rates when the premise upon which claims are paid has not changed. MR. KOCH replied the cost of this coverage has increased over time, but that cost is borne by those who voluntarily purchase the coverage, since purchase of the insurance is optional. He was unsure of the basis State Farm uses to settle claims since that information would not be made available to the Division unless a complaint was filed, or unless an examination was conducted. The Division's actuarial section is taking a hard look at the basis for rate increases. SENATOR TAYLOR stated there was some confusion in the testimony and statements made. He reiterated he could not find any justification for a projected rate increase when the interpretation for claims payments used by the carrier in the past was confirmed by a court. MR. KOCH commented the two don't necessarily relate, and the reasons for additional costs are independent of the court decision. If the carrier was settling on the basis of excess, they may have had an adverse experience with that approach that would suggest the need for higher rates. Number 394 SENATOR ADAMS maintained objection to the motion. He asked if the Division supports Sections 4 and 6 (the repealer sections). MR. KOCH answered he was not specifically aware of the statute sections being repealed. SENATOR TAYLOR clarified Section 6 makes the bill retroactive to 1990 so that the intent of the 1990 law is restated. He added most carriers have been operating under that interpretation, therefore it should not affect them. MR. KOCH agreed. Number 370 SENATOR GREEN asked if other lawsuits were pending or might be revisited due to the retroactive clause. SENATOR TAYLOR noted to his knowledge, there have only been two cases. SENATOR GREEN requested the bill be held until Friday for further review of Sections 4 and 6. She expressed concern that rate increases will discourage people from buying the insurance. MR. KOCH noted the rates are based on the experience, and if State Farm has had an experience that suggests the need for a rate increase, it will file an application for review by Division actuaries who will determine the validity. The rate level is determined by the loss history. SENATOR TAYLOR commented the bill was introduced at the request of the industry to restructure the high mandatory offer of uninsured/underinsured coverage because of reinsurance difficulties. MR. KOCH explained the bill passed in 1990 required the insurance industry to offer coverage in the amount of $1,000,000/$2,000,000. CSSB 95(JUD) changes the amount to $1,000,000/$1,000,000 to compromise with the industry. Number 285 SENATOR TAYLOR commented he had been receiving a lot of support for this measure from insurance agents statewide until the second court decision created controversy over the triggering mechanism. The legislation originated because carriers could not limit the amount of the coverage, and rates had to be determined accordingly. Those rates were higher than necessary and prevented carriers from competing in the field. He repeated the bill would be heard on Friday, April 28. SB 115 UNIFORM INTERSTATE FAMILY SUPPORT ACT SENATOR TAYLOR brought SB 115 back before the committee. SENATOR ADAMS moved to adopt Amendment #1 as follows. Page 1, line 3, delete: "amending Alaska Rule of Administration 9;" Page 26, lines 13-15, delete Section 6 Page 26, lines 19-21 should read: Sec. 8. AS 25.25.313(c), added by sec. 3 of this Act, take effect January 1, 1996 only if AS 25.25.313(c) receives the two-thirds majority of each house required by art. IV, sec. 15, Constitution of the State of Alaska. SENATOR ADAMS noted the Department did not contest any of the changes when discussed in the House. There being no objection to the adoption of the amendment, the motion carried. SENATOR ADAMS moved SB 115 as amended from the Judiciary Committee with individual recommendations. There being no objection, the motion carried. SB 116 PATERNITY; CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT MS. STRAUBE explained SB 116 allows the CSED to administratively establish paternity in a more expedient manner. New federal guidelines require paternity to be established in 75 percent of child support orders within six months. Paternity must be established prior to the issuance of an order. Due to court backlogs, cases remain on court dockets for six months. If paternity can be established administratively, the process will be shortened by at least six months. The same standards used by the court will be used, and full due process will be provided to those affected. The fiscal cost of $72.7 thousand will generate $850 thousand per year in AFDC reimbursements. SB 116 also allows the biological parents and step parents of children born in wedlock to sign an affidavit as to who the biological parents are, without appearing in court. This bill should appease both obligors and obligees. Number 170 SENATOR ADAMS moved and asked unanimous consent that SB 116 be moved to the next committee of referral with individual recommendations. There being no objection, the motion carried. Number 145 CHARLES McKEE testified via teleconference from Anchorage. He expressed frustration that he was not able to testify on several bills before the committee. HJR 5 LIMITING TERMS OF STATE LEGISLATORS REPRESENTATIVE GENE THERRIAULT, sponsor of HJR 5, asked about the change in the Senate Judiciary Committee substitute which requires a person to wait three consecutive sessions before running for office again on page 1, line 12. SENATOR TAYLOR stated that was changed for no particular reason. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT questioned how the committee substitute would impact elected municipal officials who already have term limits, most of which are shorter. After discussion, REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT clarified the committee substitute prevents a municipality from setting a term limit longer than what is established in the bill. REPRESENTATIVE THERRIAULT stated his preference for the original language in the bill. He asked if the Senate Judiciary Committee would prepare a fiscal note of $2200 to accompany the measure to cover the cost of placing the question on the ballot. SENATOR TAYLOR stated the committee would, and added the Finance Committee should review the bill. SENATOR MILLER moved adoption of SCS CSHJR 5 (JUD) (4/22/95, Cook, Version D). SENATOR ADAMS objected for the purpose of hearing testimony from the Court System. Number 066 CHRIS CHRISTENSEN, general counsel to the Judicial branch, testified in opposition to the section of HJR 5 that relates to term limits for judicial officers. The court believes the drafters of Alaska's Constitution designed a judicial appointment and retention system which is considered a model and has been copied by a number of other states. The court system does not believe that model will be improved by the changes made in HJR 5. The court takes no position on term limits for others contained in the bill. MR. CHRISTENSEN noted that arguments made against term limits for legislators are equally applicable to judicial officers. The retention election serves as the ultimate term limit for judicial officers. Also, judicial officers who have served 15 years have valuable experience. He responded to three specific reasons cited in the sponsor statement to limit terms. Regarding public support in both opinion polls and electoral results, there is no groundswell of public support for term limits for judges, especially in light of the fact the idea came into being only three days ago. Second, the sponsor states term limits will provide a flow of new legislators with new ideas. The public wants judges who enforce laws as written, not judges with new ideas. Third, the sponsor believes term limits will level the playing field for challenges to entrenched incumbents. Leveling the playing field only applies to contested elections; judicial officers have retention elections. A fourth reason in support of term limits is that it will force people to sit out for three years and get back in touch with their communities. That argument does not apply to judges since they live and work where they serve. MR. CHRISTENSEN discussed negative results that could occur if term limits were imposed on judicial officers. First, the judicial retirement system would cost more to the state because judges would be removed at the point in time they become vested. Over the long run, more people would be drawing money out of the judicial retirement system. Second, unlike legislators, most of whom have an outside career, judges are required by the rules of judicial conduct to completely give up the practice of law when they become judges. At the end of their 15 year term, judges will have to start a new career. This may serve as a disincentive to successful lawyers, to take a pay cut to become a judge, and then have to begin a new legal career at the age of 50. TAPE 95-26, SIDE A SENATOR ADAMS removed his objection to the adoption of SCS CSHJR 5 (JUD). SENATOR MILLER moved SCS CSHJR 5(JUD) out of committee with individual recommendations. SENATOR ADAMS objected. The motion passed with Senators Green, Miller and Taylor voting "Yea," and Senators Ellis and Adams voting "Nay." HB 42 ABSENTEE VOTING & USE OF FAX TOM ANDERSON, legislative aide to Representative Martin, sponsor of the measure, deferred the question of waiving the right to privacy issue to Mr. Gaguine. SENATOR ADAMS suggested getting an outside opinion of the issue. JOHN GAGUINE, Assistant Attorney General, gave the following testimony. While reviewing the minutes of the Constitution, he found there was discussion on this issue among two delegates. One asked, "How can secrecy be guaranteed if, as in the case of a blind person, or in the case of a person who cannot read, the election judges might have to assist." The second delegate responded, "The right of secrecy is not an absolutely unqualified right. It is like the right to freedom of speech, the classic example is that the right to freedom of speech does not give one the right to yell 'FIRE' in a crowded theater." After the discussion, the amendment was adopted by a voice vote. Number 131 SENATOR ADAMS commented that discussion referred only to a person's physical or mental ability. MR. GAGUINE agreed, but stated he quoted that to propose that the delegates did not intend this right to be an absolute restriction. He spoke to the fact that the bill requires the voter casting a faxed ballot to acknowledge that they are waiving whatever rights they have to absolute secrecy. He believed, if the law were challenged, the court would apply a balancing test, and would find that the minimal intrusion on ballot secrecy is outweighed by the fact that this bill enfranchises people who would otherwise not be able to vote. Number 159 SENATOR GREEN asked if anyone sees absentee ballots when they are received. MR. GAGUINE replied that at the receiving end, the ballot is commingled, therefore no one at that end could connect the voter with the ballot. He clarified he was referring to the operator at the sending end. Number 174 SENATOR MILLER commented it is possible to connect a name with an absentee ballot in a small election, therefore there is no guarantee of secrecy even with absentee ballots. Number 187 SENATOR TAYLOR discussed the history of the constitutional freedom of speech, and questioned Mr. Gaguine's reference to Messerly v State, which says that Alaska's society's interest in knowing the identity of a person who publishes an ad concerning a municipal bond proposition outweighs that person's right, under free speech, to privacy. MR. GAGUINE answered that Messerly v State became invalid as of 10 days ago since the U.S. Supreme Court issued a differing opinion. Number 220 SENATOR TAYLOR asked Mr. Gaguine to review the statutes governing the APOC reporting requirements to determine if repeal of any of that statute is necessary. MR. GAGUINE offered to pass the request to Nancy Gordon, Assistant Attorney General, in Anchorage. SENATOR TAYLOR felt it was important to inform the public of changes made in light of the Supreme Court decision. Number 232 SENATOR ADAMS asked about technical implementation of the bill, and potential disclosure of ballot information from phone line problems or human error. MR. GAGUINE assumed the court would take those types of occurrences into account when applying a balancing test. He personally considered the possibility of those types of problems occurring to be a policy decision. Number 260 SENATOR ELLIS requested the bill be held in committee for further study and discussion. SENATOR TAYLOR replied the bill would be heard again on Friday, April 28. SENATOR TAYLOR adjourned the meeting at 3:35 p.m.