Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/22/1996 09:00 AM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                   SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE                                  
                         March 22, 1996                                        
                           9:00 a.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                                                           
                                                                               
 CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 188(HES)                                               
 "An Act relating to reports of suspected child abuse or neglect,              
 and requiring that, as part of the investigation of the reports of            
 suspected child abuse or neglect, all official interviews with                
 children who are alleged to have been abused or neglected be                  
 recorded."                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 257                                                           
 "An Act relating to the taking of game or fish for public safety              
 purposes."                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 261                                                           
 "An Act relating to the release of employment security records;               
 relating to an injunction or an employer's security for delinquent            
 unemployment insurance contributions; extending time periods for              
 redeterminations and appeals for unemployment insurance; relating             
 to the overpayment or the redetermination of unemployment insurance           
 benefits; relating to availability for work, seeking work, and the            
 calculation of wages for unemployment insurance purposes; relating            
 to voluntary federal tax withholding from unemployment insurance              
 benefits; relating to the binding effect of unemployment                      
 compensation decisions; relating to the definition of `waiting                
 week' for employment security purposes; and providing for an                  
 effective date."                                                              
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 268                                                           
 "An Act relating to release before trial in cases involving                   
 controlled substances."                                                       
                                                                               
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 370(JUD)                                                
 "An Act relating to the provision of legal services at public                 
 expense."                                                                     
                                                                               
                                                                               
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
 SB 188 - See Health, Education & Social Services minutes dated                
          2/9/96 and 2/28/96.                                                  
                                                                               
 SB 257 - See Resources minutes dated 2/19/96.                                 
                                                                               
 SB 261 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 2/13/96, 2/22/96,               
          and 3/7/96.                                                          
                                                                               
 SB 268 - See Judiciary minutes dated 3/13/96.                                 
                                                                               
 HB 370 - See Judiciary minutes dated 3/13/96 and 3/20/96.                     
                                                                               
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
                                                                               
 Representative Brian Porter                                                   
 Alaska State Capitol                                                          
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
  POSITION STATEMENT: Co-sponsor of HB 370                                     
                                                                               
 Senator Fred Zharoff                                                          
 Alaska State Capitol                                                          
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of SB 257                                       
                                                                               
 Richard Graham                                                                
 Division of Fish and Wildlife Protection                                      
 Alaska Department of Public Safety                                            
 5700 E. Tudor Rd.                                                             
 Anchorage, AK  99507-1225                                                     
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports SB 257                                         
                                                                               
 Diane Worley                                                                  
 Division of Family and Youth Services                                         
 Department of Health and Social Services                                      
 P.O. Box 110630                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99811-0630                                                    
  POSITION STATEMENT:    Opposed to SB 188                                     
                                                                               
 Frank Smith                                                                   
 Barrow, Alaska                                                                
  POSITION STATEMENT:    Opposed to SB 188                                     
                                                                               
 Naomi Hudson                                                                  
 Kenai, Alaska                                                                 
  POSITION STATEMENT:    Supports SB 188                                       
                                                                               
 Carmen Lowry, Executive Director                                              
 Tundra Women's Coalition                                                      
 P.O. Box 1926                                                                 
 Bethel, Alaska 99559                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:    Opposed to SB 188                                     
                                                                               
 Connie Tromble                                                                
 Tundra Women's Coalition                                                      
 P.O. Box 1926                                                                 
 Bethel, Alaska  99559                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Discussed concerns with SB 188                         
                                                                               
 Miriam Sharp                                                                  
 Bethel, Alaska                                                                
  POSITION STATEMENT:    Opposed to SB 188                                     
                                                                               
 Megan Sullivan                                                                
 Bethel, Alaska                                                                
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Expressed concerns about SB 188                         
                                                                               
 Walter Gauthier                                                               
 Guardians of Family Rights                                                    
 P.O. Box 2246                                                                 
 Homer, Alaska 99603                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:    Supports SB 188                                       
                                                                               
 Harry Niehaus                                                                 
 Guardians of Family Rights                                                    
 P.O. Box 55455                                                                
 North Pole, Alaska  99705                                                     
  POSITION STATEMENT:    Supports SB 188                                       
                                                                               
 Jodi Delaney                                                                  
 3200 Kris Kringle Dr.                                                         
 North Pole, Alaska                                                            
  POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 188                                          
                                                                               
 Scott Calder                                                                  
 7.5 Mile Farmers Loop                                                         
 Fairbanks, AK                                                                 
  POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 188                                          
                                                                               
 Cam Carlson                                                                   
 P.O. Box 80234                                                                
 Fairbanks, AK  99708                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 188                                          
                                                                               
 Dick Neeley                                                                   
 Fairbanks, Alaska                                                             
  POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 188                                          
                                                                               
 Nick Targonski                                                                
 Kenai, Alaska                                                                 
  POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 188                                          
                                                                               
 Laurie Huigenan                                                               
 Executive Director                                                            
 Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Abuse                          
 130 Seward #501                                                               
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT: Opposed to SB 188                                        
                                                                               
 Angela Salerno                                                                
 National Association of Social Workers                                        
 563-4502                                                                      
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Opposed to SB 188                                       
                                                                               
 Steve Gruenstein                                                              
 Guardians for Family Rights                                                   
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports SB 188                                         
                                                                               
 Dwight Perkins                                                                
 Department of Labor                                                           
 P.O. Box 21149                                                                
 Juneau, Alaska  99802-1149                                                    
  POSITION STATEMENT: Supports SB 261                                          
                                                                               
 Senator Loren Leman                                                           
 Alaska State Capitol                                                          
 Juneau, Alaska  99801-1182                                                    
  POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 268                                        
                                                                               
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
                                                                               
 TAPE 96-25, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
                                                                               
  CHAIRMAN ROBIN TAYLOR  called the Judiciary Committee meeting to             
 order at 9:06 a.m.  Present were Senators Green and Adams.                    
       HB 370 LEGAL SERVICES PROVIDED AT PUBLIC EXPENSE                       
                                                                              
 REPRESENTATIVE BRIAN PORTER, co-sponsor of HB 370, informed                   
 committee members that he was not opposed to any changes made in              
 the Senate Judiciary CS for HB 370.                                           
                                                                               
 SENATOR ADAMS asked for comments on the proposed committee                    
 substitute from the Department of Law.                                        
                                                                               
 No representative was available from the Department of Law, however           
 REPRESENTATIVE PORTER stated he had spoken with Dean Guaneli who              
 had no problem with the amendment.                                            
                                                                               
 The committee held the measure until further testimony could be               
 taken.                                                                        
         SB 257 TAKING FISH OR GAME FOR PUBLIC SAFETY                         
                                                                              
 SENATOR FRED ZHAROFF, sponsor of SB 257, explained the measure                
 relates to the taking of fish and game for public safety purposes             
 and stems from a community concern about problematic bears.  The              
 Board of Game has authority to address the situation but could face           
 litigation or charges by doing so.  SB 257 gives the Commissioner             
 of the Fish and Game the ability to authorize the taking of fish              
 and game for public safety reasons, and gives the Board of Game the           
 authority to adopt regulations regarding issues of public safety              
 that relate to game. This bill will allow the board to work with              
 the public and department to establish criteria and mechanisms to             
 deal with legitimate threats to public safety.  Questions arose in            
 the Senate Resources Committee about liability problems associated            
 with the involvement of VPSOs.  Someone in each community, possibly           
 a VPSO, should be knowledgeable about the mechanism in place, and             
 should contact the appropriate person or agency to carry out the              
 procedures.  If necessary, the Board could make recommendations for           
 training for those involved.  This is a problem the local residents           
 should be able to address without making the state liable.                    
                                                                               
 Number 084                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked whether the department is concerned that it              
 may be held liable if a VPSO attempts to get rid of a problem bear.           
 SENATOR ZHAROFF replied yes, because the VPSO might not be properly           
 trained.  The main concern was whether VPSOs should have the                  
 authority to carry weapons.                                                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR thought the bill allows the department to continue             
 doing things it has done for over 30 years without the authority,             
 and is long overdue.  No one should object to permitting a fish and           
 game biologist to actively, rather than passively, manage the                 
 resource.  SB 257 provides a tool to be used for effective                    
 management purposes.                                                          
                                                                               
 SENATOR ZHAROFF agreed that was the intent.  When he approached the           
 Board of Game to find out how it could resolve the local situation,           
 it found it did not have the authority to take the additional step.           
 This legislation allows it to do that.                                        
                                                                               
 Number 116                                                                    
                                                                               
 RICHARD GRAHAM, with the Alaska Division of Fish and Wildlife                 
 Protection, testified in support of SB 257.  He shared Senator                
 Zharoff's concern about who, specifically, would be permitted and             
 responsible for taking the nuisance animals in the various                    
 locations around the state.  The Alaska State Troopers were                   
 concerned about the VPSOs, but that problem has been resolved.                
                                                                               
 There being no further testimony, SENATOR GREEN moved SB 257 from             
 committee with individual recommendations.  There being no                    
 objection, the motion carried.                                                
 SENATOR MILLER arrived at 9:14 a.m.                                           
          SB 188 VIDEOTAPE INTERVIEW OF ABUSED MINOR                          
                                                                              
 SENATOR MILLER, co-sponsor of the measure, discussed the thorough             
 review given to the bill by the Senate HES committee, and the                 
 changes made by that committee.  Testimony has been heard on both             
 sides of the issue on investigating suspected child abuse cases.              
 The original bill required mandatory videotaping: the HES committee           
 substitute provides for mandatory audiotaping, and where practical,           
 the use of videotaping, during interviews.  The taped interview               
 will provide a record for the agency to use when pursuing a case,             
 and to determine whether a case has merit.  Currently the success             
 rate for prosecutions of child abuse in court is only 30 to 40                
 percent.                                                                      
                                                                               
 SENATOR ADAMS noted the fiscal note for SB 188 projected a cost of            
 $4 million and asked if a new fiscal note has been prepared for               
 CSSB 188(HES).                                                                
                                                                               
 SENATOR MILLER did not know if the new fiscal notes were completed.           
                                                                               
 Number 205                                                                    
                                                                               
 DIANE WORLEY, Director of the Division of Family and Youth                    
 Services, addressed the changes made in CSSB 188(HES).  DHSS                  
 continues to oppose the bill on the mandatory nature of the                   
 audiotaping, as well as the fact that if an interview cannot be               
 audiotaped, the investigation must cease (page 2, line 24).  That             
 requirement will present serious problems to field workers because            
 if equipment fails or is unavailable and the investigation must               
 stop, the child may be placed in additional danger.  DHSS believes            
 this measure will place an undue burden on those involved in an               
 investigation, since investigations are often coordinated efforts             
 between Alaska State Troopers, social workers, and school staff,              
 and often require travel to remote locations.  DHSS is not opposed            
 to the concept of using audiotapes, and is working toward                     
 increasing the availability of such equipment to staff, as well as            
 transcription.  DHSS also believes videotaping is appropriate in              
 certain cases and will continue to videotape when available and               
 appropriate and does not interfere with an ongoing investigation.             
                                                                               
 SENATOR ADAMS asked Ms. Worley to comment on the changes made in              
 CSSB 188(HES).  MS. WORLEY responded the major change is the                  
 requirement of mandatory audiotaping with the use of videotaping              
 encouraged when possible, rather than mandatory videotaping.                  
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR questioned how the legislature could be assured that           
 if a provision was added to allow the department to proceed with an           
 investigation if no taping was available, the department would                
 audiotape at least 90 percent of all interviews.  He did not                  
 believe the purchase of tape recorders to be a large fiscal                   
 expenditure.                                                                  
                                                                               
 MS. WORLEY admitted the only assurance she could offer is her word,           
 as this is an area she is committed to.  She believed the taping is           
 only one small aspect of problems with child abuse prosecutions.              
 New staff need a longer orientation period with training in good              
 interview techniques.   A poor interview on tape is of no more                
 assistance than a written interview.  Her goal is to set up and               
 implement a comprehensive plan of action to improve the abilities             
 of social workers, the process, and consistency statewide.                    
 Additionally, the tape storage and transcription procedures need to           
 be designed.  DFYS is moving in that direction at this time.                  
                                                                               
 Number 310                                                                    
                                                                               
 FRANK SMITH, testifying from Barrow as a private citizen, believed            
 the original bill would have been a nightmare to implement.  As a             
 field worker in Anchorage, he had 42 cases in one month.  To carry            
 equipment around and put it in people's faces would have entailed             
 considerable logistical problems. He believed audiotaping preserves           
 the rights of the persons involved in the investigation, and                  
 protects the worker who is sometimes subject to outrageous                    
 allegations by the person interviewed when called to account for              
 abuse or neglect of children.  He agreed with Ms. Worley's comments           
 and expressed concern about the fiscal note since the Division's              
 budget is already strained.                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 344                                                                    
                                                                               
 NAOMI HUDSON, representing Guardians of Family Rights, stated there           
 are a lot of problems when interviews are not recorded because of             
 false allegations, interviewers asking leading questions, and                 
 interviewers misinterpreting or fabricating responses.  Videotaping           
 protects the child, parent, and interviewer since no one could deny           
 what was said, and could be used to determine which cases are                 
 legitimate.  Parents need to have control, and social workers need            
 to work with parents.  DFYS has a large caseload; several of the              
 cases are not as serious as DFYS purports, and taping could save              
 money.  The Alaska State Troopers audiotape all interviews.                   
                                                                               
 Number 388                                                                    
                                                                               
 CARMEN LOWRY testified in opposition to CSSB 188(HES) because of              
 the mandatory nature of taping.  The overall goals of DFYS need to            
 be prioritized and should stress the needs of the child who is the            
 alleged abuse victim.  Although audiotaping is a useful tool, it is           
 dangerous to require that all interviews be audiotaped.                       
                                                                               
 CONNIE TRUMBLE, testifying from Bethel, felt the bill has merit but           
 expressed concern about the requirement to tape an interview within           
 72 hours of disclosure in remote areas.  Weather problems and a               
 lack of trained staff sometimes prevent an investigation from                 
 proceeding for three weeks.  Trained workers are not located in               
 each village.                                                                 
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asked Ms. Trumble for suggestions.                             
                                                                               
 Number 427                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. TRUMBLE suggested training more people in rural Alaska, such as           
 VPSOs and Head Start staff, or other people trained in working with           
 children, to tape the interview.                                              
                                                                               
 MARIAN SHARP, testifying from Bethel, strongly opposed CSSB                   
 188(HES), because an investigation must stop if DFYS does not                 
 follow-up on a report within 72 hours; an unrealistic goal on the             
 Delta.  The local DFYS office receives over 200 calls per week and            
 will be unable to follow-up on all calls within 72 hours.  That               
 requirement may leave many victims unheard, and many perpetrators             
 will remain free.  The court system is set up to protect the rights           
 of the accused, and very often revictimizes  innocent children.               
 This should not extend to the investigative process as well.                  
 Attention should be turned to better training for investigators,              
 not to revictimizing the children.  CSSB 188(HES) originated from             
 a group of people who are not worried about the rights of the                 
 children.                                                                     
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR clarified the 72 hour requirement is in existing law           
 and should be complied with today.  MS. SHARP asked if the                    
 investigation must stop if the interview is not conducted within 72           
 hours.  SENATOR TAYLOR responded no.  MS. SHARP stated her                    
 understanding is that CSSB 188(HES) would require the investigation           
 to stop.  SENATOR TAYLOR noted existing law requires a written                
 report be provided within 72 hours.  MS. SHARP believed a phone               
 report is more likely to occur in that time frame.                            
                                                                               
 Number 464                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR stated he has not seen the department show any                 
 sincere desire over the last 15 years to use technological                    
 equipment to provide a permanent record that could later be                   
 reviewed. In case after case, interviewers destroy their own notes,           
 after they have typed up what they believe to be the best record of           
 the interview, and relying on their recollections or notations.               
 The typed records are then lost, which requires an investigation to           
 rely on the interviewer's recollection.  He noted, as a co-sponsor            
 of the legislation, he took umbrage at the remark that he is not              
 concerned about the welfare of children or families, or about the             
 slipshod manner in which interviews and investigations are being              
 done.  In most instances, these cases are criminal matters, and               
 investigators do not even begin to follow any of the procedures               
 used by the most crudely trained law enforcement officer.  As a               
 consequence, 60 percent of the cases are dismissed because the                
 interviewing process was sloppy, thereby endangering more children.           
                                                                               
 MS. SHARP responded if the problem is with investigative procedure,           
 the investigators should be held accountable.  There is no reason             
 to believe that by mandating audiotaping of interviews, the tapes             
 will not be lost.  She questioned what systems are used by police             
 officers that make their investigations trustworthy, as those                 
 procedures should be applied to social workers.  The focus should             
 be put on those procedures rather than on something that will                 
 require a lot of technical assistance and places more trauma on the           
 child.                                                                        
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR repeated he did not believe tape recorders were                
 complicated or expensive.                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 500                                                                    
                                                                               
 MEGAN SULLIVAN, representing the Tundra Womens' Coalition in                  
 Bethel, testified in opposition to the mandatory nature of the                
 audiotaping.  In traveling to villages to work with teachers and              
 health aides on training for reporting child abuse and neglect, a             
 concern often expressed in those communities is that DFYS does not            
 arrive in the village within 72 hours of when a report has been               
 made, which can further endanger a child.  DFYS employees have been           
 trying to work with local village family service workers, through             
 ICWA and Traditional Councils, so that someone in the village is              
 available to work with the child.  She agreed those workers should            
 be trained to do the audiotaping, since DFYS currently makes                  
 telephone contact within 72 hours.  She expressed concern that                
 according to AS 47.17 the purpose of DFYS is to protect children,             
 but if an interview cannot occur within 72 hours, that purpose will           
 be unfulfilled.                                                               
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR referred to page 2, line 27, to explain the existing           
 72 hour requirement.  Once DFYS receives a telephone call regarding           
 suspected abuse, staff must file a written report of the                      
 investigation within 72 hours, with the Department of Law for                 
 review.  DFYS is not required to fly to the village within 72                 
 hours, only to file a written report with the Department of Law.              
                                                                               
 MS. SULLIVAN asked if there would be a time requirement for when              
 the interview was audiotaped.  SENATOR TAYLOR answered if CSSB                
 188(HES) passes, the interview can only be conducted if it is tape            
 recorded.  It is hoped DFYS will conduct the interview promptly.              
                                                                               
 MS. SULLIVAN pointed out DFYS does not travel to rural villages to            
 investigate every report.  She assumed if CSSB 188(HES) passes, it            
 will be required to which will necessitate additional personnel and           
 finances.                                                                     
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR said that if DFYS is not doing so now, it must be              
 prioritizing cases.  CSSB 188(HES) only requires that when those              
 interviews are conducted, they be audiotaped with a cheap tape                
 recorder and cassette tape.  He repeated the 72 hour requirement              
 applies to the written report filed with the Department of Law for            
 review.                                                                       
                                                                               
 WALTER GAUTHIER, testifying from Homer as a member of Guardians for           
 Family Rights, asserted that a parent accused of child abuse must             
 face court-appointed special advocates, the guardian ad litem,                
 assistant attorney generals, case workers, psychologists and                  
 counselors, DFYS staff, and advocates of womens shelters, therefore           
 the idea that the court system rules favor the accused is a total             
 fallacy.  In 1994, DFYS spent $24 million for foster care, $27                
 million for residential childcare, and another $20+ million for               
 another type of foster care.  This system is fueled by foster care,           
 and once an allegation is made, places the child in foster care no            
 matter what.  Meanwhile the family of the child is bankrupted and             
 emotionally destroyed by the process, while 20 government employees           
 try to prove that someone is abusive.  Over 50 percent of                     
 accusations are found by DFYS to be unsubstantiated, of the                   
 remaining 50 percent, the abuser is accused of vague concepts such            
 as psychological and emotional abuse.  Teenagers use the abuse                
 accusation to get out of a home where rules and standards of                  
 behavior are imposed.  The foster homes merely warehouse children.            
 His organization does not advocate child abuse in any way, shape,             
 or form but only 20 percent of DFYS' cases are for actual physical            
 abuse.  The remainder is caseload generation for the abuse industry           
 to generate government grants.                                                
                                                                               
 TAPE 96-27, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 580                                                                    
                                                                               
 HARRY NIEHAUS, a member of Guardians of Family Rights, believed               
 interviews should be videotaped just in case problems arise.  DFYS'           
 reputation has been questionable, and its policies have not been              
 consistent since 1984.  Notes are not nearly as accurate as a tape,           
 and tapes will lead to more convictions of a guilty party, and save           
 money in the end.  Taping will lead to less false allegations and             
 court time, and will help to protect children from the real                   
 perpetrators.                                                                 
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR responded his purpose in introducing the legislation           
 is to make prosecutions more effective.  He discussed the analogy             
 of the use of technology, such as breathalizer tests and                      
 videotapes, which has resulted in a higher rate of conviction for             
 DWIs, especially the use of videotapes.  CSSB 188(HES) encourages             
 DFYS to use a hammer to obtain good techniques for criminal                   
 investigations.  He believes the bill will enhance the state's                
 ability to convict the bad actors, and will prevent unnecessary               
 interference in other's lives.                                                
                                                                               
 Number 550                                                                    
 JODI DELANEY, testifying from North Pole, stated she originally               
 contributed to the creation of this bill as it is the one step that           
 can be taken to cut back the amount of money spent on false                   
 allegations that are so detrimental to a family.  Such an                     
 allegation has destroyed her family, and she is still awaiting the            
 result of a grievance she filed in September of 1994.  There has              
 been no accountability on the part of those who did the                       
 investigation; many are no longer in the same positions.  Many                
 communities are using videorecording for interviews around the                
 country with success.                                                         
                                                                               
 SCOTT CALDER, stated he filed a child abuse report on his son's               
 behalf to the school counselor and received no support from the               
 school.  The son has been locked in a building for seven months and           
 had drug experiments performed on him and he has been to court 25             
 times.  He agreed with Mr. Gauthier that investigators attack the             
 family in a feeding frenzy style to perpetuate a system driven by             
 foster care.  He estimated the State of Alaska has spent                      
 approximately $1 million dollars systematically abusing his son.              
 In response to Director Worley's comment that DFYS cannot change              
 overnight, Mr. Calder noted DFYS destroys families overnight.  He             
 believes the needs of DFYS are only of concern in how it serves the           
 needs of the people of Alaska.  He felt the 72 hour requirement to            
 be reasonable.                                                                
                                                                               
 Number 469                                                                    
                                                                               
 CAM CARLSON testified in strong support of SB 188.  She cautioned             
 that current trends and legislation are interpreted to mean every             
 child with a scratch or bruise needs to be reported by teachers as            
 suspected child abuse victims.  A previous Interior director of               
 DFYS stated, when interviewed, that children should have freedom of           
 movement to go wherever they please after age 8.  Taping interviews           
 will protect children and the family unit.                                    
                                                                               
 DICK NEELEY testified from Fairbanks on his personal experience               
 when Alaska State Troopers interviewed his children as suspected              
 child abuse victims.  The children were interrogated by the Alaska            
 State Troopers until they were brainwashed and the tape recorder              
 was turned off repeatedly.  No charges were ever filed against him.           
                                                                               
 NICK TARGANSKI testified from Kenai in support of SB 188.  He has             
 had problems with DFYS divisions in Kenai and Anchorage losing                
 paperwork.  He does not believe budget constraints are the cause of           
 DFYS' problems.                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 390                                                                    
                                                                               
 LAURIE HUGONIN, Executive Director of the Alaska Network on                   
 Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, discussed the need to monitor           
 interviewers, but the more important need to listen to children and           
 take necessary steps to ensure their safety.  Previous testimony              
 was case specific and focussed on agency accountability for harming           
 adults, rather than the best interests of children.  There are                
 instances where the system fails families, but instances exist                
 where children were failed.  Taping will not solve interviewing               
 problems, particularly if investigations will not be conducted if             
 equipment is not available.  She questioned who will have access to           
 the tapes if the allegations are unfounded, and noted that some               
 children are not verbal.  She suggested intensive training and                
 adequate financial resources be provided to improve overall case              
 management.  Regarding accountability of interviewers, the training           
 requirements and qualifications of investigators need to be                   
 reviewed.  She commented on interviewing problems specific to                 
 children.                                                                     
                                                                               
 ANGELA SALERNO, representing the National Association of Social               
 Workers, testified in opposition of the measure and recommended               
 better training of investigators and that professionals be hired.             
                                                                               
 STEVE GRUENSTEIN, representing Guardians for Family Rights, stated            
 interviewers interrogate and question children to elicit certain              
 responses.  He read excerpts from the Alaskan Senate Family Review            
 Task Force Report (July 1990-1991) to demonstrate that a system of            
 checks and balances needs to be imposed on DFYS.  He supported                
 video and/or audiotaping as it can be especially useful in custody            
 cases.                                                                        
                                                                               
 SENATOR ADAMS informed committee members according to Dean Guaneli,           
 the Department of Law has taken a neutral position on SB 188.  He             
 stated he would object to a motion to pass the bill from committee            
 because the public defenders in his district oppose this bill.                
 Number 261                                                                    
                                                                               
               SB 261 UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION                               
                                                                              
 DWIGHT PERKINS, Special Assistant to the Commissioner of the                  
 Department of Labor, stated SB 261 makes six changes to the                   
 Employment Security Act: federal income tax withholding;                      
 confidentiality of records; contributions and collections; benefit            
 overpayments; finality of determinations and appeals; and minor               
 technical amendments.  He summarized a sectional analysis provided            
 to committee members.                                                         
                                                                               
 SENATOR ADAMS  moved SB 261 out of committee with individual                  
 recommendations.  SENATOR TAYLOR objected to ask why the deadline             
 for filing and paying various amounts was increased from 15 to 30             
 days.                                                                         
                                                                               
 MR. PERKINS stated that section benefits the claimant as it gives             
 the claimant an extra 15 days in the appeal process.                          
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR removed his objection and the bill moved from                  
 committee with individual recommendations.                                    
 The committee took an at ease from 10:35 a.m. to 10:41 a.m.                   
                                                                               
 TAPE 96-26, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
       HB 370 LEGAL SERVICES PROVIDED AT PUBLIC EXPENSE                       
                                                                              
 SENATOR MILLER moved adoption of SCSCS HB 370(JUD).  SENATOR ADAMS            
 objected.  The motion carried with Senators Green, Miller, and                
 Taylor voting "yea," and Senator Adams voting "nay."                          
                                                                               
 SENATOR MILLER moved SCSCSHB 370(JUD) 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."                                                   
          SB 188 VIDEOTAPE INTERVIEW OF ABUSED MINOR                          
                                                                               
 SENATOR MILLER moved CSSB 188(HES) from committee with individual            
 recommendations.  SENATOR ADAMS objected.  The motion carried with            
 Senators Taylor, Green, and Miller voting "yea," and Senator Adams            
 voting "nay."                                                                 
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR noted there is still an opportunity in the next                
 committee of referral to provide for some variance to incorporate             
 some extenuating circumstances so that if, in fact, equipment was             
 not available, and reasonable efforts had been made to acquire that           
 equipment, an interview could still go forward, but any subsequent            
 interviews would have to be audiotaped.                                       
                                                                               
 SENATOR MILLER felt making an accommodation for equipment                     
 breakdowns to be a worthwhile goal, and agreed that subsequent                
 interviews would have to be recorded.                                         
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR stated his intent is to continue to work on the                
 legislation in the Finance Committee.                                         
 Number 056                                                                    
           SB 268 PRETRIAL RELEASE FOR DRUG OFFENSES                          
                                                                              
 SENATOR LEMAN, sponsor of SB 268, reviewed changes made in the                
 proposed committee substitute (version F).  The changes made were             
 suggested by the Department of Law for clarification purposes.  On            
 page 1, lines 7-9, the citations for AS 04 and AS 11 refer to                 
 violations with alcoholic beverages, controlled substances and                
 imitation controlled substances and is catch-all language suggested           
 by the Department of Law.  Additionally, the committee substitute             
 allows that the violator be required to submit to a search, and               
 prohibits the violator from possessing a firearm.  New section 2              
 adds language on lines 8-9, "...shall consider the conditions                 
 specified in AS 12.30.020..." which is consistent with language for           
 release before trial in cases involving alcoholic beverages or                
 controlled substances for domestic violence and stalking.  It helps           
 to clarify the intent of existing law.                                        
                                                                               
 SENATOR MILLER moved to adopt CSSB 268 (version F) in lieu of the             
 original bill, for purposes of discussion.  SENATOR ADAMS objected,           
 because it may limit the court system to specific bail                        
 requirements.                                                                 
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN explained the bill does not limit the court system;             
 it states the court may impose conditions as it believes are                  
 necessary.                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ADAMS asked what is broken that is being fixed by this                
 legislation.                                                                  
 SENATOR LEMAN replied the legislation unifies a policy the                    
 Department of Law wants to have.  The Municipality of Anchorage has           
 found that this policy is not applied across the board.                       
                                                                               
 Number 131                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR GREEN questioned how the bail conditions will stop                    
 violators from reoffending.                                                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN responded it probably will not keep violators from              
 reoffending, but will enable police officers to apprehend those               
 people more quickly if they return to the same area to do business.           
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR stated he shares the concern that by listing bail              
 conditions a judge will feel he/she has accomplished the intent of            
 the law by following the list, and may overlook a request made by             
 an investigating officer or a district attorney.                              
                                                                               
 SENATOR LEMAN did not disagree with that concern but repeated that            
 item 13 on page 3 provides that the violator not engage in any                
 conduct the court considers reasonably necessary to protect others,           
 which allows the judge to craft bail conditions appropriate for               
 that person.                                                                  
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR adjourned the meeting at 11:00 a.m.                            
                                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects