Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/26/1996 01:30 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                   SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE                                  
                       February 26, 1996                                       
                           1:30 p.m.                                           
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
 Senator Robin Taylor, Chairman                                                
 Senator Lyda Green, Vice-Chairman                                             
 Senator Mike Miller                                                           
 Senator Al Adams                                                              
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
 Senator Johnny Ellis                                                          
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
 SENATE BILL NO. 242                                                           
 "An Act relating to sentencing for felony offenses."  SCHEDULED BUT           
 NOT HEARD.                                                                    
 SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 32                                                
 Proposing amendments to the Constitution of the State of Alaska               
 relating to the constitutional defense council.                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 269                                                           
 "An Act relating to court records concerning children in need of              
 aid and delinquent minors."                                                   
 SENATE BILL NO. 270                                                           
 "An Act relating to juveniles; relating to the jurisdiction of                
 juvenile courts; relating to the release of juveniles; and relating           
 to records concerning juveniles."                                             
 SENATE BILL NO. 289                                                           
 "An Act relating to runaway minors and their families or legal                
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
 SJR 32 - No previous Senate action.                                           
 SB 269 - No previous Senate action.                                           
 SB 270 - No previous Senate action.                                           
 SB 289 - No previous Senate action.                                           
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
 Senator Judy Salo                                                             
 Alaska State Capitol                                                          
 Juneau, Alaska  99811-1182                                                    
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Sponsor of SB 269                                      
 Senator Steve Frank                                                           
 Alaska State Capitol                                                          
 Juneau, Alaska  99811-1182                                                    
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of SB 289                                       
 Kelly Huber                                                                   
 Alaska State Capitol                                                          
 Juneau, Alaska  99811-1182                                                    
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified for sponsor of SB 270                         
 Bernard Goodno                                                                
 c/o P.O. Box 92                                                               
 Delta Junction, AK  99737                                                     
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposed SJR 32                                         
 Gene Ottenstroer                                                              
 c/o P.O. Box 1059                                                             
 Delta Junction, AK  99739                                                     
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Opposed SJR 32                                         
 Carmen Clark-Weeks                                                            
 1026 Nelchina                                                                 
 Anchorage, AK  99501                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 270                                       
 Lynn Stimler                                                                  
 P.O. Box 201844                                                               
 Anchorage, AK  99520                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on SB 269 and SB 270                          
 Chris Christensen                                                             
 Office of the Administrative Director                                         
 Alaska Court System                                                           
 303 K St.                                                                     
 Anchorage, AK  99501-2084                                                     
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Commented on SB 269 and SB 270                         
 Cam Carlson                                                                   
 P.O. box 80234                                                                
 Fairbanks, AK  99708                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 289                                       
 Diane Worley                                                                  
 Division of Family and Youth Services                                         
 P.O. Box 110630                                                               
 Juneau, AK  99811-0630                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Commented on SB 269 and SB 270                         
 John Regitano                                                                 
 210 1st Ave.                                                                  
 Fairbanks, AK  99701                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 289                                       
 Al Near                                                                       
 P.O. Box 80847                                                                
 Fairbanks, AK  99708                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 289                                       
 Guy Patterson                                                                 
 P.O. Box 70854                                                                
 Fairbanks, AK  99707                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Commented on SB 289                                    
 Florence Loucks                                                               
 201 1st Ave.                                                                  
 Fairbanks, AK  99701                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 289                                       
 Judy Shiffler                                                                 
 929 Reindeer Dr.                                                              
 Fairbanks, AK  99709                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported SB 289                                       
 Anne Carpeneti                                                                
 Department of Law                                                             
 P.O. Box 110300                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99811-0300                                                    
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Commented on SB 269, SB 270 and SB 289                 
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
 TAPE 96-16, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
  CHAIRMAN ROBIN TAYLOR  called the Judiciary Committee meeting to             
 order at 1:37 p.m.  All members were present except Senator Ellis.            
 The first item of business, SB 242, was rescheduled at the                    
 sponsor's request.  The committee took up SJR 32.                             
             SJR 32 CONSTITUTIONAL DEFENSE COUNCIL                            
 SENATOR TAYLOR, prime sponsor of SJR 32, informed committee members           
 the measure would amend the Alaska Constitution to create a                   
 constitutional defense council which could, on behalf of the state,           
 bring actions or intervene in actions, involving questions of state           
 or federal constitutional law.  In the past year, the Governor                
 dismissed the Babbitt case a few days before it was to be heard               
 before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.  That case decided who             
 would implement federal regulations concerning subsistence in                 
 Alaska.  Dismissal of that case allowed the federal government to             
 proceed, without objection, in drafting and imposing regulations on           
 Alaskans which is in violation of the Alaska Constitution according           
 to the Alaska Supreme Court. The legislature attempted to bring               
 that action but was denied on the basis of standing.  Similarly, an           
 appeal was recently dismissed regarding tribal status.  Dismissal             
 of that appeal forfeited significant state constitutional rights.             
 SJR 32 would allow voters to amend the Constitution to establish a            
 council comprised of five appointed members, subject to                       
 confirmation by a majority of the legislature with the presiding              
 officers of each house serving as ex-officio members.  One member             
 would be appointed by the Governor, two by the House Speaker, and             
 two by the Senate President.  Appointed members would serve five-             
 year terms, and could be removed for cause only by the appointing             
 authority.  Terms would be staggered.  The constitutional amendment           
 would be placed before the voters during the next election cycle.             
 Number 085                                                                    
 SENATOR GREEN asked if SJR 32 is patterned after constitutional               
 amendments from other states.  SENATOR TAYLOR replied two other               
 states have amended their constitutions.  In both states, the                 
 council acts in an advisory capacity to the Governor, however both            
 states have an elected attorney general.  If the governor disagrees           
 with the advisory group, public debate would likely bring about               
 intervention or involvement in litigation to protect the state's              
 constitution.  That amendment is considered to be a first step in             
 both of those states, but if it does not prove to be effective,               
 legislation similar to SJR 32 will be introduced.                             
 SENATOR ADAMS asked which states have amended their constitutions.            
 SENATOR TAYLOR responded Arizona and Utah.  SENATOR ADAMS asked,              
 had this council been in place, what issues it would have                     
 challenged.  SENATOR TAYLOR replied, aside from the two cases                 
 previously mentioned, there have been times in the past when the              
 legislature attempted to intervene in litigation and was denied               
 that opportunity due to standing.                                             
 Number 136                                                                    
 BERNARD GOODNO, testifying from Delta Junction, stated he believes            
 a constitutional defense council is unnecessary.  If legislators              
 uphold their oath of office, every law passed would conform to the            
 Constitution.  Any publically-elected official not upholding that             
 oath is committing treason and should be tried.                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR noted this bill does not address legislation passed            
 in the state, as adequate procedures and precautions exist, however           
 it does address federal legislation which mandates action be taken            
 in the state.  He felt removal of office to be a harsh standard to            
 use if a better method is available.                                          
 MR. GOODNO stated he is reviewing other court cases regarding                 
 jurisdiction of the federal government and offered to send                    
 information to the committee.                                                 
 GENE OTTENSTROER, testifying from Delta Junction, did not believe             
 a council is necessary, and questioned whether its formation would            
 be legal since the council would not be publically elected yet have           
 power to change the Constitution.  He questioned whether a council,           
 appointed by government officials, should have that power.                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR explained the council would only have the authority            
 to bring suit if it believed the Alaska Constitution was being                
 violated.  MR. OTTENSTROER disagreed, and believed it could make              
 changes to the Constitution.                                                  
 There being no further testimony, SENATOR GREEN moved SJR 32 out of           
 committee with individual recommendations.  SENATOR ADAMS objected.           
 The motion carried with Senators Taylor, Green, and Miller voting             
 "yea," and Senator Adams voting "nay."  SENATOR ADAMS wished                  
 Senator Taylor luck in obtaining 14 votes.                                    
       SB 269 CT RECORDS PUBLIC FOR CERTAIN DELINQUENTS                      
 Number 223                                                                    
 SENATOR JUDY SALO, sponsor of SB 269, gave the following summary of           
 the legislation.  SB 269 removes some of the current protection for           
 juvenile names of perpetrators of crime.  The existing protection             
 ensures a juvenile does not become a criminal by virtue of being so           
 labelled, however the nature of juvenile crime in the past decade             
 has changed, and more juveniles are committing felonies.  In                  
 drafting SB 269, a balance between the rights and protection of               
 juvenile offenders and victims of juvenile crime was considered.              
 SB 269 would allow records to be opened if the offender committed             
 a felony and is over 13 years of age.  Because of the escalating              
 number and serious nature of juvenile crimes, the vast majority of            
 Alaskans feel juvenile offenders are overprotected.                           
 SENATOR SALO continued. Section 1 lists those records still                   
 protected.  Section 1(d)(2) exempts the records of minors in need             
 of aid to prevent the loss of federal funding.  Section 2 again               
 addresses the child in need of aid confidentiality provision, and             
 Section 3 pertains to the opening of records and their                        
 availability.  The fiscal note from the Department of Health and              
 Social Services is extensive and deals with the potential loss of             
 federal funding.                                                              
 Number 275                                                                    
 SENATOR ADAMS stated both SB 269 and SB 270 conflict with federal             
 law, and need further review to remedy that problem.  Additionally,           
 the state would lose Title IV funding which amounts to $8 million             
 per year.                                                                     
 SENATOR GREEN asked if there has been a way to do both.  SENATOR              
 SALO replied she and staff reviewed this problem extensively.                 
 Representative Oken has introduced a bill which addresses the same            
 issue and may come closest to maintaining federal funds.  She                 
 explained if the Court System is asked to differentiate between               
 records of minors, the process to delineate between all of the                
 records would be extensive, therefore not only would federal                  
 funding be jeopardized, but the workload would increase                       
 SENATOR ADAMS questioned whether the general policy issue of                  
 opening records of children 13 and older should be reviewed.                  
 SENATOR GREEN asked if any distinction is made regarding access to            
 records based on the nature of the crime, under current law or in             
 SB 269.  SENATOR SALO replied SB 269 does allow records of felons             
 to be opened, but the differentiation was made in the spirit of               
 preventing the names of minors who had committed one misdemeanor              
 from being released, rather than to comply with federal law.  She             
 commented the records would become closed again at age 18 if the              
 sentence had been served, but that is unlikely if a person                    
 committed a felony.                                                           
 SENATOR TAYLOR announced he would hold further testimony on SB 269            
 until both Senators Frank and Halford have presented testimony on             
 their bills.                                                                  
         SB 289 MISC. LAWS RELATING TO RUNAWAY MINORS                         
 SENATOR STEVE FRANK, sponsor of SB 289 gave the following                    
 testimony.  SB 289 arose from discussions with parents in Fairbanks           
 about runaways, a difficult issue surrounded by an extreme amount             
 of frustration.   Concrete suggestions from parents were studied              
 when drafting the legislation to find ways to improve the                     
 situation.  SB 289 removes "just cause" in AS 11.51.130 (the                  
 contributing to the delinquency of a minor section), because it is            
 virtually impossible for the Department of Law to prosecute a                 
 person because those words create a large loophole.  SB 289                   
 requires a police officer to take a runaway home, after being                 
 picked up.  This policy change mandates the police officer to                 
 escort the child to the home and determine whether it is a safe               
 environment, rather than rely on the runaway's statements.  If the            
 police officer feels the child could be in danger in the home                 
 environment, the runaway would be taken elsewhere.  SB 289 also               
 addresses the revolving door nature of runaway shelters by                    
 requiring that shelters be "semi-secure," which would enable                  
 shelter managers to notify police when a runaway has left.  That              
 term was chosen because the requirement of a fully secure shelter             
 would entail constitutional questions and higher costs.  SB 289               
 places more emphasis on family reconciliation and decreases the               
 revolving door problem.                                                       
 SENATOR FRANK explained changes made to the proposed committee                
 substitute.  On page 1, lines 14 and 15, the words "without just              
 cause" would be deleted because there are not many good reasons to            
 encourage a child to be repeatedly absent from school.                        
 SENATOR ADAMS asked who suggested the changes made in the proposed            
 committee substitute.  SENATOR FRANK replied parents made the                 
 SENATOR FRANK continued.  On page 2, line 15, the phrase "within 12           
 hours" should be deleted as it is an arbitrary amount of time which           
 is unnecessary.  On page 2, line 29, and page 3, line 3, the word             
 "suspect" should be changed to "believed" to create a higher                  
 standard for the police officer to meet.                                      
 SENATOR TAYLOR noted the actual work draft of the committee                   
 substitute is significantly different than the bill that was                  
 referred to the committee.  He commented on page 2, beginning on              
 line 2, language has been added regarding notification of various             
 departments.  SENATOR FRANK explained his staff has been working              
 with the department, service providers and parents.  Changes to the           
 proposed committee substitute reflect that effort.                            
        SB 270 JUVENILE OFFENDER PROCEEDINGS & RECORDS                        
 KELLY HUBER, legislative assistant to Senator Halford, sponsor of             
 SB 270, explained the legislation as follows.  SB 270 reflects                
 concerns about the juvenile justice system brought to Senator                 
 Halford's attention by the Municipality of Anchorage.  SB 270                 
 provides municipalities the ability to respond to less serious                
 juvenile offenders by expanding its jurisdiction to subject                   
 juveniles who commit less serious crimes to civil infractions                 
 and/or mediation.  SB 270 also grants the court more flexibility              
 when considering standard bail in sentencing factors.  This will              
 provide the courts the latitude to make appropriate decisions when            
 the public interest differs from the best interest of the juvenile.           
 The bill also amends current statute to make public records of                
 juvenile offenders age 13 or older.  That provision applies to                
 misdemeanor offenses as well as felonies, however there are                   
 specific requirements for different offenses.                                 
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked whether the disclosure provision in SB 270               
 would create the same problems discussed in Senator Salo's bill.              
 MS. HUBER answered that regarding the elimination of federal funds,           
 the sponsor is aware of that possibility and expects that issue to            
 be addressed in the Finance Committee.  SENATOR TAYLOR felt the               
 legal change necessary to satisfy that concern should be made in              
 the Judiciary Committee.  SENATOR ADAMS suggested incorporating SB
 270 into SB 269.                                                              
 The committee took public testimony on SB 269, SB 270 and SB 289.             
 Number 473                                                                    
 CARMEN CLARK-WEEKS, Anchorage Municipal Prosecutor, testified in              
 support of SB 270.  The bill grants the municipality flexibility              
 when responding to low-level juvenile offenses.  Current response             
 demands to an increased number of serious juvenile offenses                   
 prevents the municipality from giving attention to lower-level                
 offenses.  Section 1 would allow the municipality to set up a                 
 program to allow individuals to be immediately charged with the               
 infraction, would appoint a hearing officer to respond to the                 
 charges and set immediate consequences.  Section 2 gives the court            
 more options when determining the juvenile's level of                         
 dangerousness, community needs, likelihood that parents or                    
 guardians will get them to court, and the likelihood of                       
 reappearance in court.  Currently the juvenile court system, in               
 making conditions of release or dispositional orders, is restricted           
 to choosing the option that is in the best interest of the                    
 juvenile.  SB 270 incorporates the same factors used by the court             
 with adult offenders.  Regarding the policy issue of record                   
 disclosure, Ms. Clark-Weeks commented that although the public                
 perceives the juvenile justice system to be ineffective, to a large           
 degree, that misperception is created by the cloak of secrecy                 
 surrounding that system.  The secrecy allows judges, prosecutors,             
 defense attorneys and witnesses to avoid responsibility and                   
 LYNN STIMLER, Executive Director of the Alaska Civil Liberties                
 Union (ACLU), testified in opposition to the record disclosure                
 provision in both SB 269 and SB 270.  She discussed HB 115 which              
 did not pass out of committee because of the fiscal note attached             
 to it.  She asked for more clarification of the costs associated              
 with record disclosure.  She disagreed that secrecy is a problem.             
 She noted juveniles have a lesser right to attorneys than adults              
 therefore finding enough attorneys to defend disclosure of records            
 will be difficult.  Juveniles have a fundamental right of privacy             
 and a right to rehabilitation; the disclosure of records is                   
 violative of those rights and may be detrimental to employment and            
 educational potential.  She noted HB 104 permits the release of               
 juvenile records to the media.  She felt it important that all of             
 these bills be reviewed simultaneously so that this issue is                  
 addressed with consistency regarding juvenile rights.                         
 Number 569                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR commented many people share the same concerns but              
 felt it is difficult to rationalize the current policy in which a             
 juvenile is treated as an adult in district court and the name is             
 disclosed if he/she committed misdemeanor offenses, such as                   
 reckless driving, in possession of tobacco and/or alcohol, or                 
 damaging public property, however if that same juvenile stole a               
 vehicle, a felony offense, he/she falls under the jurisdiction of             
 the Division of Family and Youth Services and records are kept                
 TAPE ONE, SIDE TWO                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
 MS. STIMLER felt the scenario described to be somewhat inflammatory           
 but plausible.  She noted the State of Alaska has had a consistent            
 policy in regard to the protection of juvenile records but is now             
 moving toward disclosure.  Although she opposed disclosure of any             
 juvenile records, she repeated her belief that a piecemeal approach           
 may be unconstitutional and may violate important federal                     
 legislation that was enacted for a purpose.  She asked if the                 
 legislature will be setting up a revolving door of recidivism                 
 because disclosing records stigmatizes juveniles.  She felt the               
 goal of the juvenile justice system should be rehabilitation.                 
 SENATOR TAYLOR clarified his opinion that existing state law is a             
 piecemeal approach which treats juveniles as adults for some                  
 offenses and not for others with little rationale for the                     
 differentiation.   He agreed a more consistent approach is                    
 necessary to meet objectives.                                                 
 MS. STIMLER added that if the legislative focus regarding these               
 bills is on finding ways to prevent the loss of federal funds, the            
 same problems will exist.  SENATOR TAYLOR commented the goal should           
 be to create a rational policy and asked Ms. Stimler to provide               
 written suggestions.                                                          
 Number 544                                                                    
 MS. CLARK-WEEKS clarified if a juvenile did more than $50 in damage           
 to public property in Anchorage, the juvenile would be charged with           
 a criminal offense as a juvenile, not as an adult, based on Green             
 v. State.  She explained in that Alaska Supreme Court decision, a             
 distinction was made between traffic offenses under Title 28 and              
 criminal offenses under Title 11.                                             
 CHRIS CHRISTENSEN, general counsel to the Alaska Court System,                
 testified on both SB 269 and SB 270.  The Alaska Court System takes           
 no position on either piece of legislation.  A fiscal note has been           
 completed for SB 269, but not for SB 270.  Approximately three-               
 quarters of the cost of the submitted fiscal note is due to the               
 fact that all existing juvenile records in the specified categories           
 would need to be opened, not just records created after the                   
 effective date.  The Court System's filing system treats all such             
 records as confidential.  A review of all files would be extremely            
 time consuming and expensive but necessary for two reasons.  The              
 court handles both delinquency cases and child in need of aid                 
 (CHINA) cases.  Because of the relationship between a juvenile's              
 CHINA case and delinquency case, there is frequently much CHINA               
 developed information in a delinquency file.  This information                
 would need to be separated out before the files could become                  
 public.  Much of the time, the Court System will not know why                 
 information was put in a file, and whether it was CHINA                       
 information.  If either bill passes, a new system will be created             
 and the cost to do so prospectively would be much less.  Second,              
 unlike adult criminal files which typically have a separate file              
 for each arrest, a juvenile's entire delinquent history is usually            
 handled in a single file.  It would require substantial clerical              
 effort to review a file and separate out the confidential matters             
 from the public matters.  He explained the current procedure used             
 by the Court System when an adult file is requested, which is not             
 computerized.  Statewide, courts receive over 3500 written requests           
 per year for adult criminal records outside the city where the                
 court is located.  Many more individuals and businesses make                  
 requests at the court house.  In Anchorage alone, approximately 75            
 people per day request 500 individual files.  The Court System                
 faces a tremendous potential impact if SB 269 is made retroactive.            
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked if the Court System has determined the fiscal            
 impact of the infraction portion of SB 270.  MR. CHRISTENSEN                  
 replied the fiscal note has not been prepared, but that is one of             
 the areas that will have associated costs.  Currently a person                
 charged with a municipal infraction can pay the fine directly to              
 the municipality if the person does not choose to contest the                 
 infraction and pays in a timely manner.  Approximately one-third of           
 municipal infractions result in courthouse activity.  The court               
 system has predicted the largest single class of new municipal                
 citations will be curfew violations and estimates 500 to 1,000 of             
 those violations per year in Anchorage, and approximately 2,000               
 SENATOR TAYLOR stated one portion of SB 270 would allow                       
 municipalities to use a minor violation statute to impose up to a             
 $300 fine for certain violations, the other portion allows for                
 disclosure of records for juveniles over the age of 13.  He asked             
 Mr. Christensen his opinion of utilizing violations as a way of               
 controlling juvenile activities.  MR. CHRISTENSEN replied the                 
 Supreme Court would take no position on that approach.                        
 Number 453                                                                    
 CAM CARLSON, testifying from Fairbanks, stated keeping the names of           
 juvenile delinquents confidential has not deterred delinquent                 
 behavior.  She believed the best deterrent would be to publish                
 names and pictures on the front page of newspapers statewide.  She            
 supported more exposure of juvenile offenders.                                
 DIANE WORLEY, Director of the Division of Family and Youth Services           
 (DFYS), testified on SB 269 and SB 270.  DFYS will lose up to $8              
 million if either bill is enacted.                                            
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked if she could offer recommendations.  MS.                 
 WORLEY noted DFYS worked closely with Representative Kott on HB
 104.  They thought they had designed a process whereby federal                
 dollars would not be lost, however in further discussions with the            
 federal government, that process would jeopardize those funds.                
 DFYS is currently meeting with Region 10 officials and other                  
 federal officials to obtain a written determination specifying what           
 can and cannot be part of file disclosure.  DFYS is also reviewing            
 how other states are addressing this problem.                                 
 Number 410                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked Ms. Worley why Alaska is not losing federal              
 funds at present since Alaska has chosen, as a state, to publically           
 disclose traffic violations, fish and game violations, parks                  
 violations, and minor consumption of alcohol and tobacco                      
 possession.  MS. WORLEY replied federal funding is strictly related           
 to those cases dealt with through DFYS which include both CHINA and           
 juvenile delinquents.  Those offenders are not being treated in               
 district court as adults.                                                     
 SENATOR TAYLOR questioned whether it would be simpler to add a                
 provision requiring all juveniles committing misdemeanors to be               
 treated as adults.  That would maintain the separate category of              
 the worst felons.                                                             
 MS. WORLEY responded the DFYS strongly believes youth need to be              
 accountable and the community needs to be protected, but also                 
 believes an avenue for rehabilitation needs to be available.                  
 Keeping juveniles in the juvenile justice system creates a better             
 avenue for that component of the system and by providing                      
 rehabilitation, those offenders are less likely to become repeat              
 Number 393                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR repeated the legislature needs to develop a more               
 rational system for distinguishing between certain juvenile                   
 offenses.  MS. WORLEY agreed a thoughtful and planned process is              
 necessary and the goal of DFYS.  The Governor's Conference on Youth           
 and Justice is looking at prevention efforts, early intervention,             
 and the profile of current offenders.  She offered to provide the             
 committee with the funding determination from the federal                     
 government when it is received, to be used as a starting point for            
 a workable solution.                                                          
 SENATOR ADAMS moved adoption of the proposed committee substitute             
 (Version G) of SB 289.  There being no objection, the motion                  
 The committee took public testimony from Fairbanks on CSSB 289.               
 JOHN REGITANO, the Executive Director of the Fairbanks Native                 
 Association (FNA), supported the legislation as it addresses                  
 concerns of families of runaway children without decreasing child             
 protective provisions, and does not jeopardize existing funding to            
 runaway shelters.                                                             
 AL NEAR concurred with Mr. Regitano's testimony and supported the             
 changes made in the committee substitute.  He suggested striking              
 the "just cause" language altogether because he did not believe               
 there is any just cause for keeping a child away from school.  He             
 agreed with changing the word "suspect" to "believe" but felt a               
 runaway should be placed in a more secure facility if he/she leaves           
 the semi-secure shelter.                                                      
 GUY PATTERSON agreed with Mr. Near's suggestion that runaways that            
 continue to leave shelters be placed in a more secure facility.  As           
 a parent of a runaway, he has seen the system abused by runaways              
 repeatedly.  He questioned whether changing the word "suspect" to             
 "believe" would disadvantage the parent in court.  He believed a              
 different agency, not the police officer, should do the                       
 FLORENCE LOUCKS, Director of the Family Focus Shelter, felt CSSB
 289 addresses parents concerns, the concerns of shelter providers,            
 and the problem of people who harbor runaways.  She supported the             
 semi-secure provision, as it does not violate federal regulations             
 regarding restraining adolescents.                                            
 Number 108                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked what will prevent the revolving door problem.            
 MS. LOUCKS responded that this provision places the youth in                  
 protective custody, which is not the case at present.                         
 SENATOR TAYLOR stated current law allows for a delinquency petition           
 when the minor is refusing care.  A record of the minor's absences            
 from a facility could be presented to a judge.  MS. LOUCK agreed              
 this provision would provide a paper trail.                                   
 JUDY SHIFFLER stated her support of CSSB 289 as a parent, teacher             
 and concerned community member.  Runaways quickly become wise to              
 the procedures of the social service and justice systems and find             
 easy loopholes.  The bill helps protect runaways from their own and           
 other's behavior by requiring early notification of runaways and              
 establishing stiffer and quicker consequences for the child.  She             
 agreed increasing consequences are necessary to prevent the                   
 revolving door syndrome.                                                      
 MS. CARLSON thanked Senator Frank for his work on CSSB 289 as she             
 has volunteered in this arena for 15 years.  She has seen too many            
 families destroyed by governmental interference with families.  The           
 state should not be taking custody of children unless it can                  
 provide better care and can prove the family to be a major failure.           
 TAPE TWO, SIDE ONE                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
 SENATOR TAYLOR moved adoption of amendment #1 to CSSB 289 (page 1,            
 line 14 delete "without just cause" and on page 2, line 5 delete              
 "within 12 hours").                                                           
 SENATOR ADAMS requested the amendments be voted on individually so            
 that the Department of Law can address the "suspect" language.                
 There being no objection to adoption of amendment #1, the motion              
 SENATOR TAYLOR moved adoption of amendment #2 to CSSB 289am (on               
 page 2, line 29 and on page 3, line 3, delete the word "suspect"              
 and insert the word "believe").  SENATOR ADAMS objected and                   
 requested testimony from the Department of Law.                               
 ANNE CARPENETI, Department of Law, stated the change from "suspect"           
 to "believe" raises the standard and is more commonly used in legal           
 issues.  She requested time to review AS 47.17 before taking a                
 position on that change.                                                      
 SENATOR TAYLOR stated that because the bill has two more committee            
 referrals, the Department of Law's position could be provided to              
 either of those committees.                                                   
 SENATOR ADAMS maintained his objection to the adoption of amendment           
 SENATOR TAYLOR withdrew the motion to adopt amendment #2 and                  
 announced he would repeat it on Wednesday, after the Department of            
 Law has had the opportunity to review it.                                     
 SENATOR ADAMS requested a position paper on CSSB 289 am from the              
 Division of Family and Youth Services prior to Wednesday.                     
 MS. CARPENETI asked to comment on CSSB 289.  She stated this bill             
 brings into Title 11 many of the concepts used often in Title 47.             
 Those concepts are not defined in Title 11 and are difficult for              
 prosecutors to deal with.  She agreed with removal of the 12 hour             
 requirement as it would be difficult for the state to prove the               
 custodian knew, or should have known, that the minor was absent,              
 within 12 hours.  She stated the best agency to notify about a                
 runaway is the police, rather the Department of Health and Social             
 Services, because the police station is staffed seven days per                
 week.  Regarding the affirmative defense, the meaning of "welfare             
 and imminent danger" is not defined in Title 11.  She also                    
 questioned what would be considered a "reasonable effort" in terms            
 of a person taking in a runaway child in an attempt to help, and              
 whether it is asking too much for that person to determine whether            
 there is immediate space at the Department of Health and Social               
 Services.  She asked for the opportunity to work with the sponsor             
 to tighten up the language.                                                   
 SENATOR TAYLOR announced CSSB 289 am would be scheduled on                    
 Wednesday, and asked Ms. Carpeneti to have amendments prepared.               
 Regarding SB 269 and SB 270, MS. CARPENETI stated the Department of           
 Law echoes the comments made by Ms. Worley.                                   
 SENATOR TAYLOR adjourned the meeting at 3:21 p.m.                             

Document Name Date/Time Subjects