Legislature(1999 - 2000)
03/01/2000 01:44 PM JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE March 1, 2000 1:44 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Senator Robin Taylor, Chairman Senator Rick Halford, Vice-Chairman Senator Dave Donley Senator Johnny Ellis MEMBERS ABSENT Senator John Torgerson COMMITTEE CALENDAR SENATE BILL NO. 277 "An Act relating to the elimination of the Alaska Administrative Journal and the establishment of the Alaska Online Public Notice System; amending public notice publication requirements for regulations; and providing for an effective date." -HEARD AND HELD CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 67(JUD) am "An Act relating to release of certain persons alleged to have committed certain sexual offenses." -HEARD AND HELD PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION SB 277 - No previous action. HB 67 - No previous action. WITNESS REGISTER Mr. Michael Morter Aide to Senator Parnell State Capitol Building Juneau, Alaska 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced SB 277 Mr. John Lindback Chief of Staff Office of the Lt. Governor State Capitol Building Juneau, Alaska 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 277 Ms. Janet Seitz Staff to Representative Rokeberg State Capitol Building Juneau, Alaska 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced HB 67 Ms. Pat Fox Address not provided Fairbanks, Alaska POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on HB 67 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 00-9, SIDE A Number 001 CHAIRMAN ROBIN TAYLOR called the Judiciary Committee meeting to order at 1:44 p.m. and brought up SB 277 as the first order of business. SB 277-ONLINE SYSTEM REPLACES AK ADMIN JOURNAL MR. MICHAEL MORTER, aide to Senator Parnell, read the following statement: You have before you today SB 277 which is sponsored by the Senate Finance Committee at the request of the lieutenant governor's office. By way of history, the journal was created in statute in 1983 and has served as a compilation of public notices from state agencies. These notices would include adopted regulations, agency meetings, competitive solicitations and the like. The Journal is published weekly by the lieutenant governor's office at a cost of $90.00 per year and is currently sent to 9 out-of-state subscribers (down from 125 subscribers in 1993). In June of last year, Governor Knowles initiated Administrative Order 183 that requires agencies to submit public notices to a central location on the Internet, the Online Public Notice System. Rather than searching for public notices agency by agency, the public now has the ability to go to a specific site online for this information. This legislation eliminates the requirement that the lieutenant governor publish the Alaska Administrative Journal and replaces it with the requirement that the lieutenant governor provide oversight of the Alaska Online Public Notice System. SENATOR HALFORD asked what is left for a written record. MR. MORTER responded it is his understanding the information is archived online and people can download that information from the Internet. SENATOR HALFORD asked again if there will not be a written document. MR. JOHN LINDBACK, from the Lieutenant Governor's Office, responded by saying the online journal is a compilation of public notices that are published in other places--newspapers or broadcast media. The original notice is retained with the originating agency. The online journal, like the Alaska Administrative Journal, will be a duplication of notices published elsewhere. SENATOR HALFORD commented that other than the Internet there is not one place a person can get all of the information. You can go to the originating agency for a hard copy and you can go to the lieutenant governor's office to create a hard copy. SENATOR HALFORD asked about notification to the legislative affairs agency within the old law--the bill says, "to any state employee designated by the lieutenant governor to receive requests." MR. LINDBACK responded it is his understanding that HB 37 will not make any changes in the notification process. Currently, legislative affairs places the Alaska Administrative Journal online for the lieutenant governor's office. It has been done this way for a long time and nothing has been done to change this. There is no need for legislative affairs to be responsible for this any longer. MR. LINDBACK noted that in 1983 the legislature adopted the Alaska Administrative Journal and because of public demand the Journal was eventually published online. This resulted in a drop in subscriptions for the hard copy, but complaints were received because the online journal was not searchable. This is why the Online Public Notice System was created--it is just another format with a search function. Because of the statute, there is both a published notice and online notice. SENATOR HALFORD commented the lieutenant governor's office is doing what the bill authorizes now, the only effect of this bill is to drop the printed version. MR. LINDBACK agreed. SENATOR HALFORD noted the bill should have a negative fiscal note instead of a zero fiscal note. MR. LINDBACK said the fiscal note will stay the same because one responsibility has been replaced with another. SENATOR HALFORD asked what the printed service is worth. MR. LINDBACK answered it costs $90.00 a year and there are nine subscriptions. SENATOR HALFORD responded he meant what it is worth in actual state expenditures. MR. LINDBACK answered it is not a question of expenditures but of time, and the amount of time is decreasing as the number of subscriptions decrease. SENATOR HALFORD asked if it costs the state $5,000, $3,000, $10,000--what does it cost? MR. LINDBACK said he does not know the actual cost, he will furnish the committee with these figures at a later time. SENATOR TAYLOR asked if there will be a diminishment of the number of public notices put in the press. MR. LINDBACK responded no. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked if the nine people still subscribing do not have computers. MR. LINDBACK said Allstate and the University of Iowa are two of the subscribers and it is clear they have computers. At this time, it is a statutory requirement that the journal be sent to them. SENATOR HALFORD asked where in the bill is the requirement to publish in the newspaper. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR pointed out that section 4 lists the requirement, "published in the newspaper of general circulation or trade or industry publication that the state agency prescribes." MR. LINDBACK said the requirements are sprinkled throughout the statute. SENATOR HALFORD asked for the definition of a "newspaper of general circulation." MR. LINDBACK said because this bill does not address this, he cannot answer the question. SENATOR ELLIS moved SB 277 out of committee with individual recommendations. SENATOR HALFORD objected because he would like to know the interplay between publishing notices in a newspaper and notices online. SENATOR ELLIS withdrew his motion so the answer to Senator Halford's questions can be addressed. Number 919 HB 67-BAIL HEARING FOR SEX OFFENDERS MS. JANET SEITZ, staff of Representative Rokeberg, explained that HB 67 adds conditions regarding the release of perpetrators of sexual abuse and sexual assault cases. HB 67 is similar to current law regarding stalking and domestic violence. This legislation requires a judge to consider the safety of an alleged victim and the public. It also requires that if the accused is on prescribed medication they must take that medication. HB 67 also keeps the perpetrator from residing in a place where he will be in contact with the alleged victim. And finally, the bill requires a judge to check with the victim or victim's representative to see if they want to testify or make any comments during the hearing. MS. SEITZ said HB 67 results from a case where the daughter of a constituent was victimized by a neighbor. At the arraignment the alleged perpetrator changed his plea to no contest and the bail hearing was held within 24 hours. Because of this, the victim's mother was not notified and therefore could not testify, resulting in the judge allowing bail on a very loose condition. The attorney general asked for 24 hour supervision of the perpetrator and was denied. The alleged perpetrator's apartment was in the same complex as the mother and child--he was staying with a friend but his possessions were in the apartment. The mother has asked Representative Rokeberg to do something to protect victim's rights. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked if Representative Rokeberg and his staff worked with the Department of Law (DOL) on this bill. MS. SITES responded they worked with Anne Carpeneti, DOL, and Doug Wooliver of the Alaska Court System on the language. SENATOR ELLIS commented that on page 2 line 2, the language reads: "that the person reside in a place where the person is not likely to come into contact with the alleged victim of the offense." He asked if this means a different community or a different apartment complex. MS. SITES answered that in the case she sited, the judge set a three mile limit on the perpetrator--so he would not be in the same apartment complex. This was a stipulation for this individual case. SENATOR ELLIS asked if this is a usual order for this type of case. MS. SITES responded she did not know. SENATOR ELLIS noted that line 4 on page 2 says, "if the person is on medication that the person take the medication as prescribed." He asked if this is medication prescribed by the doctor and ordered by the judge. MS. SITES responded this language is in other laws being used now. SENATOR ELLIS asked if this is medication to reduce a persons sex drive. MS. SITES responded if that is the type of drug prescribed at the time. SENATOR ELLIS asked what is the interest of this legislation with someone taking their heart medication, is the bill talking about the type of medication that effects a persons behavior. MS. SITES answered it could be a range of medications. This legislation is concerned with someone taking prescribed antidepressants or other types of medication that will help them control their behavior. Number 1255 SENATOR HALFORD said he is concerned for people who come from villages and may have a three mile limitation put on them--not allowing them to go back to their community where they have support. MS. SITES responded it is not the sponsor's intention to keep people from their support base, but the victim needs protection. If the judge decides on a two or three block limit that may be acceptable. The language of the bill says "may" impose--the three mile limit was case specific. SENATOR HALFORD wants the record to reflect that if a perpetrator is from a small community, that setting a three mile limit should only be for the most egregious case of significant danger to the victim. A person should not be restricted from going back to their support system. MS. SITES stated this is the intent of Representative Rokeberg, this bill is to make the court consider this. SENATOR HALFORD stated he does not have a problem with the court considering this. The priority is for protection of the victim, but he is concerned for someone who has not been convicted and cannot go back to their home town. Number 1376 CHAIRMAN TAYLOR commented that HB 37 may be telling people it will do more than what it actually does. A prosecuting attorney only has to try calling the victim to notify them of new status, they do not actually have to reach the victim to satisfy the requirement of this bill. MS. SITES responded that Representative Rokeberg is very concerned that the victims be notified. This bill puts the prosecutor on record, that yes he did try to reach the victim. The judge will also ask the people in the courtroom if the victim or victim's representative want to make a comment regarding the bail hearing. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR and SENATOR HALFORD commented that a senate bill on victims rights has been sitting in the House Finance Committee since last year. Number 1628 MS. PAT FOX, from Fairbanks, stated she had been raped seven years ago. It happened in a village where there was no law enforcement whatsoever. She had to move into town to get away from the situation. There were witnesses that testified at the bail hearing and were going to testify at the court hearing. The perpetrator was released on $300.00 bail and went back to the village and harassed the witnesses--there was no protection for them. He came into town a lot, which was against his bail condition of release, and it was not good enough for her to report seeing him, someone else had to report seeing him. He was eventually convicted and has just now been taken into custody. This was a first degree rape, he was allowed out on bail during the appeal, and harassed her for seven years. She was told that while he was out on bail, his bail conditions would not be enforced unless someone, other than herself, reported he had broken the law. MS. FOX stated the system is bad the way it is set up, and she is worried that this bill is too vague--it does not provide anything substantial. Right now, the only protection a rape victim has is to hide in a shelter--she could not afford to hide for seven years. MS. FOX thinks the State of Alaska does not take sexual assault seriously. If a perpetrator is allowed out on bail while he is appealing or pending a trail, releasing him to a place where there is no protection for the victim or witness should not be allowed. MS. FOX stated she was almost relieved when she heard about this bill but "there is nothing really solid about it." Number 1800 SENATOR HALFORD commented that there should be a prohibition on release after conviction pending appeal for a certain class of crime. The title of this bill reads, "An Act relating to release of certain persons alleged to have committed certain sexual offenses," this deals with the entire process--"if the bill stood under the title it would have some teeth." CHAIRMAN TAYLOR commented that in England and Australia people do not get out on appeal after a conviction. A person serves time during the appeal process and if they win they are then released-- they get no credit for time served. There is never a specious appeal except from lifers. SENATOR HALFORD stated the language,"before ordering release before or after trial, or pending appeal, of a person charged with or convicted of a crime," is different from the language in the title. The title is more restrictive than the language in the bill. CHAIRMAN TAYLOR noted that the bill will be held in committee for further research and more analysis. SENATOR HALFORD stated that when dealing with a violent act against a person, and there is a potential danger to that person, release of a perpetrator should be restricted after the conviction. With no further business to come before the committee, CHAIRMAN TAYLOR adjourned the meeting at 2:20 p.m.