Legislature(1997 - 1998)

04/28/1997 01:50 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                   SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE                                  
                         April 28, 1997                                        
                           1:50 p.m.                                           
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
 Senator Robin Taylor, Chair                                                   
 Senator Sean Parnell                                                          
 Senator Johnny Ellis                                                          
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
 Senator Drue Pearce, Vice-chair                                               
 Senator Mike Miller                                                           
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 115(JUD) am                                             
 "An Act making corrective amendments to the Alaska Statutes as                
 recommended by the revisor of statutes; and providing for an                  
 effective date."                                                              
  - MOVED CSHB 115(JUD) am OUT OF COMMITTEE                                    
 SENATE BILL NO. 25                                                            
 "An Act relating to authorizing the Department of Corrections to              
 provide an automated victim notification and prisoner information             
  - MOVED SB 25 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 26                                                            
 "An Act making a special appropriation for an automated victim                
 notification system; and providing for an effective date."                    
  - MOVED SB 26 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                               
 SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 29                                                
 Proposing amendments to the Constitution of the State of Alaska               
 requiring that the provisions of a bill that levy new state taxes             
 require the affirmative vote of at least two-thirds of the                    
 membership of each house of the legislature.                                  
  - HEARD AND HELD                                                             
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
 HB 115 - No previous Senate committee action.                                 
 SB 25 - See State Affairs minutes dated 4/24/97.                              
 SB 26 - No previous Senate committee action.                                  
 SJR 29 - No previous Senate committee action.                                 
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
 Pamela Finley                                                                 
 Revisor of Statutes                                                           
 Legislative Legal and Research Services                                       
 130 Seward St.                                                                
 Juneau, AK  99801-2105                                                        
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of CSHB 115(JUD) am                
 Bruce Richards                                                                
 Special Assistant                                                             
 Department of Corrections                                                     
 240 Main St.                                                                  
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Offered comments on SB 25                              
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
 TAPE 97-32, SIDE A                                                            
                  HB 115 1997 REVISOR'S BILL                                 
  CHAIRMAN ROBIN TAYLOR  called the Judiciary Committee meeting to             
 order at 1:50 p.m. and announced the presence of Senators Parnell             
 and Ellis.  The first matter before the committee was CSHB
  PAMELA FINLEY , Revisor of Statutes for the Legal Services and             
 Research Agency, testified that HB 115 is a housekeeping measure              
 that does not contain anything she did not ask for or agree to.               
 The only two sections of much interest are Sections 9 and 11.                 
 Section 9 prevents any argument that the State has waived its 11th            
 Amendment immunity in federal court.  Section 11 puts a missing               
 "not" back in the Uniform Probate Code.  Section 11 is also made              
 retroactive to the date of the probate amendments which was last              
  SENATOR PARNELL  asked about Section 29 regarding the motor vehicle          
 registration fees.   MS. FINLEY  said the only change is the                  
 registration versus license fees and that no changes were made on             
 the House side.                                                               
  SENATOR PARNELL  asked if Section 31, pertaining to program                  
 receipts, has been changed in the other bill as well.   MS. FINLEY            
 answered there is another bill that deals with this same section.             
 She is hoping that HB 115 will pass and the other will come on top            
 of it, in terms of time.  If that does not happen, she would give             
 way to the other one which makes a more substantive change.                   
  SENATOR PARNELL  asked Ms. Finley to explain Section 33.   MS. FINLEY        
 said that several years ago a lot of the investment decisions were            
 tied to the standards of AS 14.25.180 which covers teachers'                  
 retirement.  Because the other retirement systems were cross-                 
 referenced to that statute, they would all be treated the same.               
 The Attorney General expressed concern that the use of the term               
 "for investments under" could be interpreted to refer to the                  
 teachers' retirement system only when the intent was to have all              
 retirement systems governed by AS 14.25.180 be covered under the              
 definition of "fiduciary."  Section 33 clarifies that the                     
 definition of "fiduciary" applies to the other retirement systems.            
  SENATOR PARNELL  moved CSHB 115(JUD) from committee with individual          
 Number 079                                                                    
  SENATOR ELLIS , sponsor of SB 25, explained the measure would                
 provide for a state-of-the-art computer and phone message system              
 within the Department of Corrections to update the victim                     
 notification system.  SB 25 will fulfill some of the promise of the           
 constitutional amendment for victims' rights.  The proper and                 
 timely notification of victims of violent crime is a problem in               
 Alaska.  About 600 Alaskans call corrections institutions daily               
 asking for information about the status of inmates.  SB 25 will               
 provide a system that will notify a victim within 10 minutes of a             
 change of status of an inmate, and will allow for a two-way                   
 confidential exchange of information.  Ethel Barenz, prosecutors,             
 and others have testified in support of this legislation during               
 previous committee hearings.  Other statewide support exists, from            
 organizations such as the Peace Officers' Association and Victims             
 for Justice.  The Department of Corrections has whittled down the             
 fiscal note from $250,000 to $150,000.                                        
  SENATOR PARNELL  suggested changing the word "may" to "shall" on             
 page 1, line 6, to ensure that the money is spent on this system.             
  SENATOR ELLIS  said he was not opposed to that change but asked a            
 representative from the Department of Corrections to address the              
 Number 152                                                                    
  CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  noted the change would also be necessary on page 2,         
 line 10.                                                                      
  BRUCE RICHARDS , Special Assistant to the Commissioner of the                
 Department of Corrections, testified that he did not believe DOC              
 would be opposed to that change.                                              
  SENATOR PARNELL  noted an additional change could be made on page 1,         
 line 8, and he commented those changes might define the scope of              
 the system and impact the fiscal note.                                        
  MR. RICHARDS  thought the change on page 1, line 8 would firm up the         
 fiscal note because the project consists of two parts: the first is           
 the actual notification call that is generated by the computer; the           
 other will enable a person to call to check on the status of an               
 inmate.  The second part will actually generate revenue because it            
 works similar to a 900 number.  The suggested language changes on             
 page 1, line 8 and page 2, line 10 would require the installation             
 of that part of the system which the Department would favor.                  
  SENATOR PARNELL  moved the change the word "may" to "shall" on page          
 1, line 8, and page 2, line 10. There being no objection, the                 
 amendment was adopted.                                                        
  CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  noted for the record that Ms. Ethel Barenz paid him         
 a visit to express support for SB 25.                                         
  SENATOR ELLIS  moved SB 25 out of committee with individual                  
 recommendations.  There being no objection, the motion carried.               
           SB  26 APPROP: VICTIM NOTIFICATION SYSTEM                          
  SENATOR ELLIS , sponsor of SB 26, explained the measure is a                 
 companion appropriation bill to SB 25 however in the last committee           
 of referral a $150,000 fiscal note was attached to SB 25.  He felt            
 the fiscal note to be preferable but suggested passing SB 26 to               
 allow the Finance Committee to decide how to deal with the fiscal             
 impact.   CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  suggested letting the Finance Committee            
 review both.                                                                  
  SENATOR ELLIS  moved SB 26 from committee with individual                    
 recommendations.  There being no objection, the motion carried.               
  CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  thanked Senator Ellis for bringing this matter to           
 the Legislature's attention because without it, the constitutional            
 amendment is fairly hollow.                                                   
         SJR 29 CONST AM: SUPERMAJORITY FOR TAX LEVIES                        
  CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  announced it is not his intent to move this bill            
 from committee at this time, but rather to allow for testimony from           
 the public.  He explained his purpose for introducing this                    
 legislation is to provide the voters the ability to ratify a                  
 constitutional amendment that would require a two-thirds vote of              
 the Legislature before any new state tax could be imposed.                    
 There being no one to testify,  CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  adjourned the                
 meeting at 2:05 p.m.                                                          

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