Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/27/2001 01:48 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                     ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                   
                    SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE                                                                                
                          April 27, 2001                                                                                        
                             1:48 p.m.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Robin Taylor, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Dave Donley, Vice Chair                                                                                                 
Senator John Cowdery                                                                                                            
Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                         
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All Members Present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                              
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 170(L&C)                                                                                                 
"An Act relating  to wage and hour protections for  employees of the                                                            
Alaska Railroad  Corporation; and providing for an  effective date."                                                            
     MOVED CSSB 170 (L&C) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 177                                                                                                             
"An Act relating  to driving while  intoxicated and to presumptions                                                             
arising from  the amount of alcohol  in a person's breath  or blood;                                                            
and providing for an effective date."                                                                                           
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 66(L&C)                                                                                                  
"An Act relating  to the authorizations for certain  state financial                                                            
institutions   of  certain  powers  and  limitations;   relating  to                                                            
confidential   records  of  depositors  and  customers   of  certain                                                            
financial institutions;  relating to the Alaska Banking Code, Mutual                                                            
Savings Bank  Act, Alaska Small Loans  Act, and Alaska Credit  Union                                                            
Act; amending  Rule 45, Alaska  Rules of  Civil Procedure,  Rules 17                                                            
and 37, Alaska Rules of  Criminal Procedure, and Rule 24, Alaska Bar                                                            
Rules; and providing for an effective date."                                                                                    
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 193(FIN)                                                                                                  
"An Act relating  to the primary election  and to the nomination  of                                                            
candidates for the general  election; and providing for an effective                                                            
date."                                                                                                                          
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 172(FIN) am                                                                                               
"An Act relating to therapeutic courts for offenders and to the                                                                 
authorized number of superior court judges."                                                                                    
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SB 170 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 4/12/01.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SB 66 - See Labor and Commerce minutes dated 2/20/01, 3/15/01,                                                                  
          3/29/01 and 4/3/01.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
HB 193 - No previous action to consider.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HB 172 - No previous action to consider.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Representative Lisa Murkowski                                                                                                   
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of HB 230.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Kevin Bergsrud                                                                                                              
State Legislative Director                                                                                                      
United Transportation Union                                                                                                     
No address furnished                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported SB 170.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Steve Cain                                                                                                                  
6121 DeArmoun Road, #A                                                                                                          
Anchorage, Alaska 99516                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported SB 170.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Loretta Brown                                                                                                               
Staff to Senator Ward                                                                                                           
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced SB 177.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Loren Jones                                                                                                                 
Department of Health &                                                                                                          
  Social Services                                                                                                               
PO Box 110601                                                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska 99801-0601                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported SB 177.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Al Near                                                                                                                     
PO Box 80847                                                                                                                    
Fairbanks, Alaska 99708                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported SB 177.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Christi Rowinski                                                                                                            
Friends of Tom                                                                                                                  
2358 Pruitt Lane                                                                                                                
Fairbanks, Alaska 99709                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported SB 177.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Blaire McCune, Deputy Director                                                                                              
Alaska Public Defender Agency                                                                                                   
900 West 5th, #200                                                                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska 99501                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Opposed to SB 177.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Terry Elder, Director                                                                                                       
Division of Banking, Securities & Corporations                                                                                  
Department of Community & Economic Development                                                                                  
PO Box 110807                                                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska 99811-0807                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 66                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Jerry Reinwand                                                                                                              
Alaska Peddler                                                                                                                  
No address furnished                                                                                                            
Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported SB 66.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Joe Schierhorn, Sr. Vice President                                                                                          
Northrim Bank                                                                                                                   
PO Box 241489                                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported SB 66.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Sarah Felix, Assistant Attorney General                                                                                     
Department of Law                                                                                                               
PO Box 110300                                                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska 99811-0300                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 193.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative John Coghill                                                                                                     
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 193.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Gail Fenumiai, Election Program Specialist                                                                                  
Division of Elections                                                                                                           
Office of the Lieutenant Governor                                                                                               
PO Box 110017                                                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska 99811-0017                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 193.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative Brian Porter                                                                                                     
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of HB 172.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Janet McCabe                                                                                                                
Partners for Downtown Progress                                                                                                  
1326 K Street                                                                                                                   
Anchorage, Alaska 99501                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 172.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Dean Guaneli, Chief Asst. Attorney General                                                                                  
Criminal Division                                                                                                               
Department of Law                                                                                                               
PO Box 110300                                                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska 99811-0300                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supported HB 172.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Tom Wright                                                                                                                  
Staff to Representative Porter                                                                                                  
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 172.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 01-24, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 001                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROBIN TAYLOR called  the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting                                                          
to  order at  1:48 p.m.    Senator Ellis,  Senator  Therriault,  and                                                            
Chairman Taylor were present.   Senator Cowdery arrived at 2:13 p.m.                                                            
and Senator Donley  arrived at 4:00 p.m.  Chairman  Taylor announced                                                            
the first order of business would be SB 170.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
            SB 170-RAILROAD EMPLOYEE SALARIES AND WAGES                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR announced SB 170 to be up for consideration.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LISA MURKOWSKI,  sponsor of  SB 170, explained  that                                                            
the bill  clarifies that  Alaska Railroad  employees are subject  to                                                            
the Alaska  Wage and Hour  Act. There is  an exemption, however,  in                                                            
that United  Transportation Union  (UTU) members can opt  out of the                                                            
Wage  and Hour  Act  if they  do so  in  mutual agreement  with  the                                                            
railroad  and the collective  bargaining unit.  She said that  might                                                            
raise concerns  about whether  or not this  leaves employees  of UTU                                                            
open to problems  with the Wage and  Hour Act but "They are  covered                                                            
under the federal Hours of Service Act."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT asked  if SB 170 is the Senate version of HB 230.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE MURKOWSKI responded that is correct.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said the  House version hadn't been noticed yet, but                                                            
he would  waive it  on Monday, since  the committee  was hearing  it                                                            
today. He then took public testimony.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KEVIN  BERGSRUD,  State  Legislative  Director  of  the  United                                                            
Transportation  Union,  and a locomotive  engineer  with the  Alaska                                                            
Railroad Corporation, stated support for SB 170.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. STEVE  CAIN, Anchorage,  said he was  a 20-year Alaska  Railroad                                                            
employee and locomotive  engineer and is currently  representing UGU                                                            
at the negotiating  table.  He has  been working with the  gentlemen                                                            
whose retirement would be helped by this bill. Mr. Cain stated:                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     They are  all 25 plus year employees.   They were federal                                                                  
     employees  who opted  to stay with the  railroad and  thus                                                                 
     were left  in the Civil Service  Retirement system (CSR).                                                                  
     Their basic  day is not an eight-hour day and  that in the                                                                 
     current  situation,  only the  earnings from  those  first                                                                 
     eight  hours  are  being  considered  for  figuring  their                                                                 
     retirement. That's why we need this legislation.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  moved to pass CSSB 170(L&C) from  committee with                                                            
individual recommendations  and attached fiscal notes. There were no                                                            
objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
         SB 177-DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED:BAC LEVEL/FINES                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR announced SB 177 to be up for consideration.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. LORETTA  BROWN, staff to Senator  Ward, said that SB  177 lowers                                                            
the blood alcohol  content from .10  to .08 and increases  fines for                                                            
first time offenders.  It also goes one step further  and lowers the                                                            
legal  limit of  blood alcohol  content to  .04 for  those with  one                                                            
prior  driving   under  the  influence   (DUI)  conviction.   Anyone                                                            
convicted  of  a  second  offense  will  lose  his  or  her  driving                                                            
privileges  for  life and  be subject  to  higher fines.  Ms.  Brown                                                            
stated,  "There  is no  second  chance.  This  is basically  a  zero                                                            
tolerance  law for  convicted drunk  drivers making  it illegal  for                                                            
them to drink at all after one conviction."                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. BROWN  said that  federal penalties  are  being strengthened  in                                                            
2004 if the state does not lower the blood alcohol level to .08.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 620                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS  said that .08 legislation  has been around  for years                                                            
but no public  hearing was granted.  He asked if there  was a reason                                                            
it was being brought forward now.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. BROWN replied  that some of Senator Ward's constituents  came to                                                            
him who  had a  loved one  hurt or  killed by  a first-time  alcohol                                                            
offender.  In  addition,   he  thought  the  timing   to  pass  this                                                            
legislation  might be good since the  federal legislation  was being                                                            
worked on, too.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS said he appreciated the change of heart.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. LOREN JONES,  Department of Health  and Social Services,  stated                                                            
support for SB 177 and  said he would answer questions on the fiscal                                                            
note.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked what the  administration's position  is on                                                            
the lifetime revocation of driving privileges.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. JONES replied that he couldn't tell him.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 820                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. AL  NEAR, Fairbanks,  stated support for  SB 177. He thought  it                                                            
was a  step in the  right direction.  He especially  likes the  part                                                            
about the repeat  offender, because  those are the people  who cause                                                            
the fatalities.  He  said that  in 1999,  Alaska led  the nation  in                                                            
highway accidents  in which alcohol  was a factor. Forty  out of the                                                            
76  fatal  accidents  for  that  year  involved  alcohol,  about  53                                                            
percent.  It wasn't much  better in the year  before that.  In 1998,                                                            
people with blood alcohol  concentrations above .08 were involved in                                                            
2,750 auto crashes  in which 29 people died and 1,600  were injured.                                                            
In accidents involving  drivers with an alcohol content of less than                                                            
.08, there were only 100  crashes killing 2 people and injuring 100.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR.  NEAR said  he  has found  that  a person,  male  or female,  of                                                            
average weight could have  three to four drinks per hour before they                                                            
reach  the .08  level. He  thought that  social  drinkers would  not                                                            
drink that much.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  said Mr. Near's testimony was  on the .08 level,                                                            
which he didn't have a  problem with. He expressed concern about the                                                            
lower level  of .04 for  those operating a  piece of equipment  that                                                            
requires a chauffeur drivers  license (CDL). A second offender would                                                            
lose his or her license  for life if he or she was pulled over for a                                                            
tail light being  out and the officer smelled alcohol  and gave them                                                            
a breathalyzer  test. He asked what the justification  was for that.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. NEAR replied  that it is actually  written in the statutes  that                                                            
commercial  drivers are considered  to be impaired in their  driving                                                            
if they have a  blood alcohol content of .04.  He  asked, "How could                                                            
it be then,  that you and I can drive  with a blood alcohol  content                                                            
of .08, or as  it stands right now .10, and be safe?  How can we not                                                            
have some impairment  ourselves? ...  We are indeed impaired  at .04                                                            
and even lower than that."                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. NEAR said  that one important  thing to remember is that  repeat                                                            
offenders cause 80 percent of the deaths.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT responded:                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Mr. Chairman, I'm not sure  it's equal protection or what,                                                                 
     but you could  have somebody that stops and plays  pool or                                                                 
     whatever  after work and drives  home every day at .044  -                                                                 
     Every day  he drives home that way. But somebody  that had                                                                 
     a conviction - language  in section 8 talks about previous                                                                 
     offenses  - you could  have somebody  that had a previous                                                                  
     offense  - 10  years ago  - and  they drive  home and  get                                                                 
     pulled over for a tail light  or something and blow a .041                                                                 
     tomorrow  and  they lose  their license  for  the rest  of                                                                 
     their  life.  I  don't  know how  that  gets  applied  and                                                                 
     reviewed by the courts…                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
He asked for something  that could be sensibly enforced  and applied                                                            
across our society.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. NEAR  asked Senator Therriault  what he  thought about  a second                                                            
offense  and  an  .08  level  as  a  justification  for  a  lifetime                                                            
revocation.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  THERRIAULT  replied  that he  thought  that was  much  more                                                            
defensible,  but he  thought Mr.  Near's testimony  sounded like  he                                                            
wanted the general DUI law to be down at .08.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
Number 1444                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CHRISTI  ROWENSKI,  representing   Friends  of  Tom,  said  the                                                            
committee  needs to  think about  what  it means  when the  National                                                            
Highway  Transportation Safety  Administration  statistics say  that                                                            
reduction to .08  has the potential of saving hundreds  of lives and                                                            
reducing  thousands   of  serious   injuries  on  the  highways   if                                                            
implemented  by  all  states.  She said  that  drunk  driving  laws,                                                            
sustained public  education, information  efforts, and vigorous  and                                                            
consistent enforcement  can save a whole lot of lives. She said they                                                            
get  asked if  an experienced  drinker  gets  as impaired,  but  she                                                            
assured them  that experienced drinkers  are significantly  impaired                                                            
at .08.  She said  that people are  impaired in  regard to  critical                                                            
driving tasks,  such as divided attention,  complex reaction  times,                                                            
steering and lane changing.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. BLAIR MCCUNE, Alaska  Public Defender Agency, said his agency is                                                            
mainly  concerned  with  the permanent  loss  of  license  provision                                                            
because people  can be rehabilitated  through alcohol treatment.  He                                                            
said:                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Permanent  loss of  license would  go against  people  who                                                                 
     were  insured  and licensed  to be  driving  on the  road.                                                                 
     License  revocations -  now people have  hope, go through                                                                  
     treatment,  demonstrate   sobriety,  they  can  get  their                                                                 
     license back. At that point  they have to get special risk                                                                 
     insurance.  Having people insured  rather than people  who                                                                 
     just give up hope and drive  anyway is preferable. I don't                                                                 
     think the deterrent effect,  although I'm sure it would do                                                                 
     some,  would be  strong  enough to  justify  not having  a                                                                 
     chance  to  get  your  license  back  if you  demonstrate                                                                  
     sobriety and go through  the programs that the Division of                                                                 
     Motor  Vehicles feels  are appropriate.  That is our  main                                                                 
     concern with the bill.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR asked  how long he  had been  involved in  criminal                                                            
litigation in the state.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. MCCUNE replied that  he has been a public defender for 20 years.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  asked if he personally tried DUI  cases during that                                                            
time.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. MCCUNE said he did.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked for how long.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. MCCUNE  replied that  most of  the DUI cases  were in  Fairbanks                                                            
some time ago.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR asked,  during his  experience with  DUIs, at  what                                                            
level of intoxication  he normally found that the  arresting officer                                                            
had probable cause to pull someone off the road.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. MCCUNE  replied  that most  of his cases  had to  do with  blood                                                            
alcohol levels  quite a bit over .10.  "The police would  take video                                                            
tapes of those  people. As people  got higher levels, impairment  on                                                            
the video would  become very obvious."  He said he  wasn't qualified                                                            
to talk  about probable  cause because  most of  his experience  had                                                            
been with high blood alcohol levels.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR  said  he  asked  because  the  committee  has  had                                                            
hearings  on  the  .08  level  in the  past  and  all  officers  who                                                            
testified  indicated that  they would not  pull over one  additional                                                            
person  in  the state  if  we  went to  .08  because  the  objective                                                            
symptoms  necessary   to  justify  pulling  someone   over  are  not                                                            
exhibited  until a driver  is in the .10 category.  That is  why the                                                            
fiscal notes for .08 have been very small.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR assured the  committee that  they would pass  a .08                                                            
bill  out this  year,  primarily  because  of the  National  Highway                                                            
Transportation Safety Act,  which would withhold millions of dollars                                                            
in the future  from the State of Alaska for highways  if Alaska does                                                            
not adopt  this standard.  He said he did  not want to preclude  the                                                            
House bill which  had other remedies and would hold  the bill to see                                                            
what other amendments are submitted.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
                   SB  66-FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR announced SB 66 to be up for consideration.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. TERRY  ELDER, director  of the Division  of Banking,  Securities                                                            
and Corporations,  noted that HB 106,  the companion bill  to SB 66,                                                            
just  passed out  of the  House Labor  and Commerce  Committee.   He                                                            
hoped it would  be scheduled for a  floor vote shortly. He  said the                                                            
main issue surrounding  SB 66 seems to be privacy but the bill makes                                                            
other changes that are non-controversial. He explained:                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Right now, in current law  there's a requirement for banks                                                                 
     to  publish their  quarterly  statements of  condition  in                                                                 
     newspapers.  There's a  provision in  this bill that  will                                                                 
     allow  them  to also  publish that  electronically  as  an                                                                 
     alternative.  It's much  cheaper; they'll  still make  the                                                                 
     same  information   available  to  customers  on  request                                                                  
     instead of just in newspapers.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     For mutual  savings banks, right  now in current chapter,                                                                  
     the  directors,  whom  they  call  trustees,  are treated                                                                  
     different from directors  of banks in terms of arms length                                                                 
     dealing  that  they would  have  with the  mutual savings                                                                  
     banks  and in  borrowing  from  the mutual  savings  bank.                                                                 
     That's  making  it  much more  difficult  for  the mutual                                                                  
     savings  bank  to  find  people  who  are  willing  to  be                                                                 
     trustees   and   who   are  knowledgeable    in  business                                                                  
     activities.  So,  there's  provisions  in this  bill  that                                                                 
     would  essentially put  the trustees  of a mutual savings                                                                  
     bank on the same level as  the directors of the commercial                                                                 
     banks.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     There's  also currently  a requirement  for the automatic                                                                  
     teller machines  to be approved by our division.  And what                                                                 
     we're  putting in here  is a provision  that will allow  a                                                                 
     notice  filing rather  than approval  so we'll know  where                                                                 
     the services  are. We don't feel  that there's any public                                                                  
     benefit from  our making an approval of whether  or not an                                                                 
     ATM is placed on one corner versus another corner.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Also,  in the credit union chapter,  there's no provision                                                                  
     for  ATMs. So, this  includes a provision  there. It  also                                                                 
     equalizes  the legal  lending  limits in  Alaska with  the                                                                 
     federal  limits.  It,  therefore, removes  a  barrier  for                                                                 
     institutions  to decide to take  the state charter rather                                                                  
     than the national charter.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Those are  all things we think are good for the  industry.                                                                 
     It also makes  sense from a regulatory standpoint,  but of                                                                 
     course  they get overshadowed  by the big policy issue  on                                                                 
     policy.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS asked if there was language that affects the                                                                      
legislature's future ability to cap fees in any way.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. ELDER  replied no; it  only applies to  location. He added  from                                                            
the division's  standpoint,  current  law (changed  in 1994)  limits                                                            
where  staff can borrow  money.  Previously, it  said they  couldn't                                                            
borrow from  state chartered  institutions,  obviously because  they                                                            
examine  them. In 1994,  that was  changed to  any institution  that                                                            
receives a certificate of authority. Mr. Elder noted:                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     The  problem with  that is  that we currently  also  issue                                                                 
     permits  and certificates  to national  banks that branch                                                                  
     into Alaska.  So, if you had  enough branching and enough                                                                  
     purchasing  of state charter  banks, our staff would  have                                                                 
     difficulty banking anywhere  in Alaska. This also takes us                                                                 
     back  to  the original  language  that  we had  before  us                                                                 
     saying  that our staff can't  borrow from state chartered                                                                  
     institutions.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. ELDER explained further:                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Obviously,  the big issue is privacy. Everyone  knows, but                                                                 
     I'll  state it  briefly,  what the  issue is  and that  is                                                                 
     Gramm-Leach-Blighly,  a federal  law, passed and allows  -                                                                 
     the  term  is  sharing,  but it  also  covers  selling  of                                                                 
     information  with non-affiliated  third  parties which  is                                                                 
     anybody who is not an affiliate.  So, it's a lot of folks.                                                                 
     That requires them to offer  the public the ability to opt                                                                 
     out of  that kind of sharing.  We have been on record  and                                                                 
     very forcefully  so in both the Senate and the  House that                                                                 
     we don't  think opt out is sufficient.  We have opt  in in                                                                 
     the current  banking code and  we were proposing in  SB 66                                                                 
     that the opt  in be maintained. The opt in was  maintained                                                                 
     in the House Labor and Commerce  Committee, but not in the                                                                 
     Senate.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     So,  therefore,  when it  came over  here, we  sent you  a                                                                 
     letter,  Mr. Chairman, that indicated  our desire for  you                                                                 
     to delete the reference  to Gramm-Leach-Blighly that would                                                                 
     remove the opt out language  and would make it, therefore,                                                                 
     opt in.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said he had an amendment prepared to do that.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. ELDER said  that was good to hear.  He believes that  as long as                                                            
the dialogue  between his  division and industry  was about  sharing                                                            
everything in one's file  with everybody in the world, the two would                                                            
always be at each end of  the spectrum. There would be no compromise                                                            
and it would be  the legislature's call for one of  the extremes. He                                                            
thought there  was still some middle  ground but said, "We  just had                                                            
to find it."                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
He said they  met with representatives  of the banker's association                                                             
and developed  reasonable compromise  language that retains  the opt                                                            
in requirement,  generally speaking.  So, the bankers have  gone all                                                            
the way from  wanting to opt out for  everything to agreeing  to opt                                                            
in. Mr. Elder commented:                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     However,  we've included  a section (d)  in AS 06.01.028,                                                                  
     the  proposed  privacy  section,  which  allows financial                                                                  
     institutions  to share  information with  other firms  who                                                                 
     provide  their own  services.  For example,  if they  have                                                                 
     checks  printed  and statements  printed and  things  like                                                                 
     that,  they can do that and the  compromise language  that                                                                 
     we came up with allows them  to enter into joint marketing                                                                 
     agreements for financially related services.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 01-24, SIDE B                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
MR. ELDER continued:                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     Where those marketing partners  would sign an agreement to                                                                 
     also be  bound by the privacy  provision of our code,  the                                                                 
     opt  in, we view that  as a reasonable  compromise on  the                                                                 
     basis that  generally we are still at opt in.  However, we                                                                 
     also  have to  remember that  the sharing  of information                                                                  
     among  affiliates  is  not  restricted.  The  Fair Credit                                                                  
     Reporting  Act on the federal  level allows the financial                                                                  
     institution  to  share information  among  affiliates  and                                                                 
     prohibits states from restricting  that kind of sharing of                                                                 
     information  until January  1, 2004.  After that date,  in                                                                 
     fact,   states   can  adopt   more  restrictive   privacy                                                                  
     provisions covering affiliates,  but they have to pass the                                                                 
     law after  that date and specifically  reference the  Fair                                                                 
     Credit Reporting Act to do that.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. ELDER said further:                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     In the meantime  banks and other institutions  that have a                                                                 
     large  affiliate  structure   can share  the  information                                                                  
     without  restriction.  That puts  smaller  banks that  are                                                                 
     largely  but, not only state  chartered institutions  that                                                                 
     don't  have  an  affiliate  structure   at a  significant                                                                  
     competitive  disadvantage. We  don't think that's healthy                                                                  
     for  state chartered  institutions.  We don't  think  it's                                                                 
     healthy for smaller banks.  So, what we're trying to do in                                                                 
     section  (d) is  to level  the playing  field between  the                                                                 
     banks  that have the larger affiliate  structure with  the                                                                 
      banks that have the smaller or no affiliate structure.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. ELDER  explained  that this  information sharing  is limited  to                                                            
what  is  necessary  to do  these  things,  "So,  it's not  all  the                                                            
information in a file."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
It is limited  only to financial related products,  limited to joint                                                            
marketing  efforts  and to  partners  that  are willing  to  subject                                                            
themselves, even though  they don't have to otherwise, to the Alaska                                                            
Privacy Code.  Mr. Elder  noted, "With those  kinds of limitations,                                                             
it's  sufficiently  tight enough  for us  to feel  comfortable  even                                                            
though we have made it  very clear we have been and remain extremely                                                            
concerned and  supportive of more  restrictive privacy provisions."                                                             
                                                                                                                                
He  said  that the  small  neighborhood  banks  are  going  to  have                                                            
difficulty competing and  staying independent unless regulators make                                                            
some  reasonable  accommodations  for  privacy  of  information.  He                                                            
thought  it was  still  a significant  action  on  the  part of  the                                                            
legislature to  continue the higher privacy provisions  that we have                                                            
had for the  last 30 years in Alaska  and yet still make  reasonable                                                            
accommodations to smaller banks to operate.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  noted that Mr. Elder's comments were  on a proposed                                                            
amendment to SB 66.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. ELDER said  that is correct and  that he was addressing  section                                                            
(d) that was currently  in the committee substitute  before them. He                                                            
was also discussing the differences between HB 106 and SB 66.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR asked if  they used his list  of differences  as an                                                            
amendment, if the examination policy on page 2 was in the bill.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ELDER answered  that it  was not.  He said  it was  in HB  106,                                                            
though. "We discussed it  in Senate Labor and Commerce, but frankly,                                                            
I think it was an oversight."                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  asked if he was changing "depositors  of" to "other                                                            
depository institutions  in the following sections"  in item 4, page                                                            
2.                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. ELDER  said yes because  currently there  is no language  in the                                                            
credit union chapter  for ATMs. Language for that  section was taken                                                            
from the banking section.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked if  the remainder of the amendment pertains to                                                            
automatic teller machine provisions for credit unions.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. ELDER responded  that language  was taken from HB 106.  The only                                                            
thing  that was  not in  HB  106 was,  "Once you  put  in the  words                                                            
'depositors  of' which the House Labor  and Commerce Committee  did,                                                            
you can remove 'and their customers' because that's redundant."                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR   offered  Mr.  Elder's  list  of   changes  as  an                                                            
amendment. SENATOR ELLIS objected.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  said he wanted to  change page 2 (e) to  delete "in                                                            
an amount  equal  to the  actual damage"  and insert  "for" so  that                                                            
damages sought  for violation of this  section would not  be limited                                                            
to just  actual damages,  but to all damages  that may be  incurred.                                                            
There were no objections.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS  said he thought they should divide  the amendment and                                                            
that the section  that changes the  opt in section gives  him pause.                                                            
He complimented  the work  that had  gone into it,  but he was  more                                                            
comfortable with the traditional wording.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR said he  had an amendment  that deletes on  page 2,                                                            
lines 25 - 26, the reference to Gramm-Leach-Bliley.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COWDERY said  he understands  that the  large institutions                                                             
have less  need of  this than the  smaller ones  that aren't  in the                                                            
marketing or loan business.  He asked if this would allow them to be                                                            
brokers.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. ELDER  said that  is correct  as long  as it  was a financially                                                             
related service.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COWDERY asked  if  he had  a number  in his  head of  small                                                            
banks.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. ELDER replied that  the state currently has four state chartered                                                            
banks  and two state  chartered  credit unions.  The Alaska  Pacific                                                            
Bank, which  is a federal  charter, also  doesn't have an  affiliate                                                            
structure and is equally concerned.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR  asked if  there  were any  further  objections  to                                                            
adopting  amendment  1.  SENATOR  ELLIS  objected.  CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR                                                            
called  for a  roll call  vote. SENATORS  COWDERY,  THERRIAULT,  and                                                            
TAYLOR  voted  yea; SENATOR  THERRIAULT  voted  no; so  amendment  1                                                            
passed 3 to 1.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR  offered  amendment 2  and  asked Mr.  Reinwand  to                                                            
explain it.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 1620                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. JERRY REINWAND,  Alaska Peddler  Gift Shops, said he  does a lot                                                            
of business via  credit card and as time goes on,  they have noticed                                                            
more credit card usage.  A percentage of the sales, 2 to 4, pays for                                                            
the system.  He has no problem  with that,  but in Juneau and  other                                                            
places  with sales taxes  or purchase  taxes, the  banks are  taking                                                            
their  percentage out  of  the total  purchase, including  the  tax.                                                            
"This means less money in my pocket at the end of the day."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. REINWAND said it isn't  fair and once this law is passed, credit                                                            
card companies  could offer it as an incentive for  merchants to use                                                            
their cards.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COWDERY asked  how that  works in communities  that  accept                                                            
credit cards for the payment of taxes.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. REINWAND  replied that generally  the IRS tacks on a  fee of 2.5                                                            
percent to  credit card payments so,  "You're better off  to write a                                                            
check."                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said his  concern is that what's really happening in                                                            
this transaction  is that Mr. Reinwand  is not collecting  the legal                                                            
amount  of sales tax.  He thought  discounting on  the credit  cards                                                            
actually  put him in a  difficult position  of having to collect  it                                                            
and he didn't  think it would be insignificant  over a large  volume                                                            
of sales.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT asked how this would trigger competition.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. REINWAND  explained that there  is a lot of competition  between                                                            
credit  card  companies  and  they  might be  able  to  structure  a                                                            
contract  where  it's  an added  incentive.  He  hadn't  thought  it                                                            
through, but a  small business is at a real disadvantage  in dealing                                                            
with the credit card companies.  He was talking to a staff person in                                                            
Washington, D.C. when they  were hearing a bankruptcy bill and there                                                            
was total  silence on  the other  end when someone  figured  out the                                                            
total amount  of money involved nationwide.  "It's a huge  amount of                                                            
money."                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR asked  if  there were  any objections  to  adopting                                                            
amendment 2. There were no objections and it was adopted.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOE SCHIERHORN,  Sr. Vice President, Northrim  Bank, said he was                                                            
testifying  on behalf  of the Alaska  Bankers  Association as  well.                                                            
They support the  amendment and appreciate the efforts  of Mr. Elder                                                            
and  the  Division   of  Banking  in  working  with   them  on  this                                                            
compromise. "I think it's  very important to go forward with this to                                                            
insure  that  there's  a  level  playing  field  between  nationally                                                            
regulated banks  and state regulated banks for the  very reasons Mr.                                                            
Elder brought forth."                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  thanked him for his  testimony and said  they would                                                            
hold SB 66 to await the companion bill.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
             HB 193-MODIFIED BLANKET PRIMARY ELECTION                                                                       
                                                                                                                              
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR announced HB 193 to be up for consideration.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 1163                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SARAH FELIX,  Assistant  Attorney General,  said  she was  also                                                            
testifying for the Division of Elections. She explained:                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     This  bill  is  necessary  because  the  Alaska  statutes                                                                  
     currently  provide for a blanket primary in which  all the                                                                 
     voters  may vote  for any  candidate regardless  of  party                                                                 
     affiliation.  The United State  Supreme Court last summer                                                                  
     issued   a  decision   in  the  case   called  California                                                                  
     Democratic  Party  v. Jones  that  basically said  that  a                                                                 
     state could not force a  political party to participate in                                                                 
     a blanket  primary against  that partys'  will. The  court                                                                 
     found  that that violated  the first  amendment rights  of                                                                 
     free association  of the political parties. So,  the Jones                                                                 
     decision  affects all  states that had  a blanket primary                                                                  
     system  and that's California,  Washington and Alaska.  So                                                                 
     the  Alaska  statutes   need  to be  amended   because  of                                                                 
     California Democratic Party v. Jones.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     In  our state,  we did have  objections  from a political                                                                  
     party  to the blanket  primary under  the Jones case  and,                                                                 
     therefore, the State of  Alaska could not force that party                                                                 
     to  participate  in the  blanket  primary. When  we  faced                                                                 
     those  objections  last summer  at the  primary election,                                                                  
     there  was  insufficient   time  between  when  the  Jones                                                                 
     decision  was  issued on  June 26,  2000 and  the primary                                                                  
     election,  which was being held in August 2000.  There was                                                                 
     insufficient   time  during  that  brief  window  for  the                                                                 
     legislature  to enact  new primary  election legislation.                                                                  
     Obviously,  you  weren't  in  session  so  the Lieutenant                                                                  
     Governor issued  emergency regulations for conduct  of the                                                                 
     primary   election  for   that  political   party.   Those                                                                 
     regulations  have  now expired  by  operation  of law  and                                                                 
     Alaska  needs a new  set of  statutes, a  new law, on  the                                                                 
     primary election.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     In  order to  help deal with  this issue,  the Lieutenant                                                                  
     Governor  felt  that  she was  responsible  for  making  a                                                                 
     recommendation   to the  legislature  for  a  new primary                                                                  
     election law  and, therefore, she created a task  force on                                                                 
     the  primary   election.  Normally,  we  would   have  the                                                                 
     chairperson  of that task force  testifying today, former                                                                  
     Alaska Attorney General,  Av Gross, but he's out of state.                                                                 
     He  would tell you  the task force  developed legislation                                                                  
     and  that  the  Governor  presented   that  to  the  state                                                                 
     legislature.  That legislation has gone through  the House                                                                 
     and  it's different  from what the  primary election  task                                                                 
     force  proposed  and  it's before  you  now,  the Finance                                                                  
     Committee version of HB 193.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     The primary  election task force that was convened  by the                                                                 
     Lieutenant  Governor  was composed  of  former lieutenant                                                                  
     governors  and former attorneys  general and Av Gross  was                                                                 
     the chairperson  of the task force. It was a non-partisan                                                                  
     task force and viewed its  mission as coming up with a new                                                                 
     law on  the primary election  because Alaska's law was  no                                                                 
     longer valid.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     The  process  the  task  force  used  was  to  convene  an                                                                 
     informational  meeting  where they received  the laws  and                                                                 
     options  for conducting the primary  election. Then  there                                                                 
     was  another at which  public comment  was taken from  all                                                                 
     the recognized  political parties,  as well as the League                                                                  
     of  Women Voters and  other interested  parties. Finally,                                                                  
     the task  force had a third meeting  in which it prepared                                                                  
     its recommendations for the primary election.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     The task force basic principle  was to change Alaska's law                                                                 
     as little  as possible and comply  with the United States                                                                  
     Supreme  Court decision in the  Jones case. The testimony                                                                  
     they  received indicated  that the  political parties  did                                                                 
     not object to using the  premise of the blanket primary as                                                                 
     a  starting point  for the  new primary  election system.                                                                  
     However,  the  parties did  want to  retain  the right  to                                                                 
     limit participation in their party primaries.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Therefore,  the original bill started with the  premise of                                                                 
     the  blanket primary  and then the  political parties  had                                                                 
     the  option  to  limit  participation   in their  primary                                                                  
     election.  For example, the Republican Party ballot  would                                                                 
     list  all candidates  of all party  affiliation, but  only                                                                 
     members of the Republican  Party could vote for Republican                                                                 
     Party  candidates.  However,  members  of  the Republican                                                                  
     Party could  vote for candidates of other parties  so long                                                                 
     as those [indisc.].                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     The primary  election task force  believed that this  type                                                                 
     of  primary  system  was  consistent  with  Alaska's  past                                                                 
     history and the apparent  preference of Alaskan voters for                                                                 
     the blanket format.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     However,  that original  bill has changed  and there  have                                                                 
     been  a  number  of  [committee  substitutes].   They  all                                                                 
     approach  the  issue  of  the  primary   election  from  a                                                                 
     different  direction.  The [committee  substitutes]  start                                                                 
     from the premise of a closed  primary in which parties are                                                                 
     allowed  to open  up their  primaries if  they so choose.                                                                  
     There  are been two  versions of this  type of CS and  the                                                                 
     current  CS that you have before  you from House Finance,                                                                  
     while calling for closed  party primaries, starts with the                                                                 
     premise  that   nonpartisan  and  undeclared  voters   may                                                                 
     participate  in the closed  party primary  so long as  the                                                                 
     parties do not object.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     A prior CS,  I believe from House Judiciary, called  for a                                                                 
     closed  party primary  and started from  the premise  that                                                                 
     only party  members could vote  in those primaries unless                                                                  
     the  parties affirmatively  opened up  their primaries  to                                                                 
     nonpartisan   undeclared  voters.  In  either  case,   the                                                                 
     primary election task force  recommendation is essentially                                                                 
     the flip side  of those kinds of [committee substitutes].                                                                  
     However, any  of those bills will cure the problem  in the                                                                 
     Alaska  statute  caused   by  the Jones   case.  It's  the                                                                 
     legislature's policy call to make…                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked why we need to do anything in light of the                                                                
fact that the decision came down from the court, emergency                                                                      
regulations were passed, and an election was held.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. FELIX  replied that  the emergency regulations  have expired  by                                                            
operation  of law. They can  only last for  so long. "Now we  are in                                                            
the situation  of having no  regulations on  the books and a  set of                                                            
statutes  that do  not comply with  California  Democratic Party  v.                                                            
Jones."                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR asked  if  the state  could not  draft regulations                                                             
because the existing statute  would not authorize those regulations.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. FELIX  explained that  existing statutes  provide for a  blanket                                                            
primary in Alaska. He said:                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     The emergency  regulations that were adopted last  session                                                                 
     on an emergency  basis abrogated the statutes.  The Alaska                                                                 
     Supreme  Court considered  that  issue in  the O'Callahan                                                                  
     case and the  Court ruled that that was permissible  on an                                                                 
     emergency  basis  essentially  until the  legislature  was                                                                 
     able to meet  and do a legislative fix. At that  point the                                                                 
     executive branch was doing  regulations, arguably, without                                                                 
     statutory  authority. If there  was no legislation to  fix                                                                 
     the primary  and we were left  to our own devices and  had                                                                 
     to do  something, I think that  we would probably be  sued                                                                 
     no matter  what we did unless  there was some legislation                                                                  
     enacted this session regarding the primary election.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  THERRIAULT   commented  that  the  Constitution   says  the                                                            
election shall  be run as dictated  by law and that the legislature                                                             
should set the policy for the way the elections are run.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     If  we do  nothing, the  administration  will  have to  do                                                                 
     something in a proposed  regulation package. As we can see                                                                 
     by  the  piece  of  legislation  they  started  out  with,                                                                 
     there's  some difference between  what they would like  to                                                                 
     see  and what the legislature  would like  to see. So,  we                                                                 
     will  have  taken  that  policy  power  that  is  ours  by                                                                 
     Constitution,  thrown it into their lap, they  will make a                                                                 
     policy  call, be subject to suit  with no statute to  back                                                                 
     it up and  we will have basically thrown the whole  policy                                                                 
     system into the court system,  in my opinion. So, it's not                                                                 
     the advisable thing to do.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. FELIX agreed with Senator Therriault.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT asked  if it was the right of the party to have a                                                            
closed  primary unless  they choose  to let  people participate.  He                                                            
asked if there was a problem coming from that direction.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. FELIX responded that they could do it either way.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  said he had an earlier conversation  with her to                                                            
understand House  language with regard to candidates  who get on the                                                            
ballot  by petition.  She explained  because  of a  court case,  the                                                            
legislature  changed the law in 1995  to say that they all  have the                                                            
same  decision date  when they  get their  name on  the ballot.  The                                                            
House changed  the petition  candidate date  back to the day  of the                                                            
primary, which  basically undoes what  the legislature did  in 1995.                                                            
He thought  there  was some  court decision  driving Representative                                                             
Coghill's action.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. FELIX explained:                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     In  House Judiciary  the question  came up  of what to  do                                                                 
     with  the petition  candidates  under the  closed primary                                                                  
     system: Should they appear  on each of the parties' closed                                                                 
     primary ballots  or should there be a separate  ballot for                                                                 
     them? House Judiciary decided  to solve that problem, they                                                                 
     would  simply say that the petition  candidates would  not                                                                 
     appear  on the  primary  election  ballot. If  they  don't                                                                 
     appear on the primary election  ballot, then we can't hold                                                                 
     them  to the  earlier  filing date.  The reason  that  the                                                                 
     petition candidates are  held to the June 1 filing date is                                                                 
     because  they  had  to  appear  on  the primary  election                                                                  
     ballot.  That  was  taken out  of  the bill  and  now  the                                                                 
     petition (no party) candidates  only appear on the general                                                                 
     election  ballot.  So, there  is a  court case  that  says                                                                 
     under those circumstances,  the petition candidates cannot                                                                 
     be  held to the  early filing  deadline. They  have to  be                                                                 
     given  a filing deadline  no sooner than  the date of  the                                                                 
     primary election.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  said he didn't understand why  there's a problem                                                            
with everyone having the  same decision date. He said he didn't have                                                            
a way of  evaluating who  his candidate was  even though they  could                                                            
read everything about him. He thought it would make things fair.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked if there was a court case now.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. FELIX replied  that there were two Superior Court  cases; one in                                                            
1998, the Ziegler  case, and one in 1990, the Sykes  case. The Sykes                                                            
case was decided in the  Superior Court by then Judge Dana Fabe, who                                                            
is now  the Chief Justice  of the Alaska  Supreme Court. The  person                                                            
who handled it explained:                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     It  was a  case in  which  the court  made a  very strong                                                                  
     decision  that the state could  not meet a rational  basis                                                                 
     test,  a compelling  interest test;  they couldn't really                                                                  
     establish any basis for  requiring a petition candidate to                                                                 
     meet  the same filing  deadline of June  1 that the  party                                                                 
     candidates  would have  to meet, because  if the petition                                                                  
     candidate wasn't going to  be in the primary, there was no                                                                 
     reason  to require  them to file  at that  time. The  only                                                                 
     reason  for   the  June  1  date  is  because  the   party                                                                 
     candidates  are going  to be in a primary.  So, she  found                                                                 
     there was an insufficient  state interest to require that.                                                                 
     I  understand  what Senate  Therriault  is saying,  but  I                                                                 
     think  the Court  did consider  that argument  and didn't                                                                  
     find it was weighty enough.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL said:                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     I was  persuaded in House Judiciary  that if they weren't                                                                  
     going to be  on the primary ballot, then the starting  gun                                                                 
     could  effectively  go off  on the  date of  the primary.                                                                  
     Since  I  was pushing  so  hard for  the  party selection                                                                  
     process to  be the primary source of selection  under that                                                                 
     primary election,  they put themselves outside  that party                                                                 
     process and  put themselves in pretty much the  initiative                                                                 
     or signature gathering process.  At that point, I couldn't                                                                 
     make my case  any stronger for keeping the primary  closed                                                                 
     if I  had gone that  direction. The  starting gun from  my                                                                 
     point  of view was sufficient  for me to say the start  of                                                                 
     the primary. So be it…                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Number 170                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     This particular  bill - I think  it's better than what  we                                                                 
     started off  with. This forces an inclusion, though,  with                                                                 
     those voters who have disenfranchised  themselves from the                                                                 
     party  - the undeclared,  the nonpartisan  and the little                                                                  
     independents.  This particular  bill you  have before  you                                                                 
     does force  the inclusion in  the primary and if there  is                                                                 
     to  be a  closed  primary within  a  party, they  have  to                                                                 
     choose  to  exclude  people,  I  find that  fundamentally                                                                  
     wrong.  I  find  it  out  of  line  with  the  California                                                                  
     Democratic Party V. Jones.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 01-25, SIDE A                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL continued:                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     On  page 6, paragraph  2 of  the decision,  the Court  has                                                                 
     recognized  that the fist amendment  protects the freedom                                                                  
     to  join  together  in  furtherance  of common  political                                                                  
     beliefs,  which  necessarily  presupposes the  freedom  to                                                                 
     identify  the people who constitute  that association  and                                                                 
     to limit the association  to those people only. I think if                                                                 
     we force the inclusion,  we're going against the very crux                                                                 
     of this case. I implore you to make that plea…                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL had prepared some amendments. Regarding page                                                             
14, paragraph 14, he said, "If the party wants to open up the                                                                   
primary, that  should be a party decision. It should  not be a state                                                            
mandate  that they open  it. In my  view, a primary  is a  selection                                                            
process; it's not an election."                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR moved the  two-page amendment  that Representative                                                             
Coghill  prepared  as  amendment  1. He  objected  for  purposes  of                                                            
discussion.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked if  the effect of  this was to go  back to                                                            
the closed primary unless the party takes action to open it.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL answered yes.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked if  that would leave them with a status quo in                                                            
that the Democrats  have not had to open their primary  in the past.                                                            
Their party had done it already.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL agreed in that regard.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked if  there were further objections to amendment                                                            
1. There were no objections and it was adopted.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked if that  action forced the legislature  to                                                            
change the filing deadline for the petition candidates.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  replied  yes and  said,  "The  date of  the                                                            
primary election would  be the deadline for the physical delivery of                                                            
that petition for a general election."                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  THERRIAULT  asked  if  it forces  the  legislature  to  act                                                            
because of the  possibility that their names will  not appear on any                                                            
ballot   in  the   primary  and,   because  of   that,  there's   no                                                            
justification for having them file on an earlier date.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL replied that was his understanding.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT said  that if they didn't have to file before the                                                            
date of the primary,  they didn't have to file all  the APOC reports                                                            
before then.  "You have no  idea if they're  gathering money;  where                                                            
it's  coming  from;  what  they're  spending  it  on.  So  all  your                                                            
information is available to them and you get nothing back."                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL said  if you go through  the party  process,                                                            
you would be running  your election from June through  November, but                                                            
the petition  candidates would only  have to start from the  primary                                                            
date on. He  said they could ask APOC  to have them begin  reporting                                                            
as soon as they start spending money on a petition drive.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked if  Judge Fabe's decision was based on the law                                                            
that the legislature passed by Senator Sharp to clarify that.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  interjected that Senator Sharp's  law was passed                                                            
afterwards and basically fixed the problem.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  asked if this bill  somehow threw that change  out.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. FELIX  replied yes. The  bill removes  the requirement  that the                                                            
petition candidates  run in the primary.  Under the bill,  they will                                                            
only run in  the general election.  If they put petition  candidates                                                            
in the primary, there is the question of implementing.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said they would show up on everybody's ballot.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL  said that would  force a  nonpartisan  on a                                                            
partisan ballot, which  is one of the things he has been arguing not                                                            
to do.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR said he  would give them  until Monday to  work out                                                            
the differences.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MS. GAIL  FENUMIAI,  Election Program  Specialist,  commented,  "The                                                            
reason for the  change in the bill the way it exists  now is because                                                            
the no party candidates  are removed from being on a primary ballot.                                                            
In 1995,  the law was  changed to  have them  appear on the  primary                                                            
ballot. Therefore,  they had the same filing deadline  as candidates                                                            
from recognized  parties. Prior to  1995, they went straight  to the                                                            
general election  ballot and  had a filing  deadline of the  primary                                                            
election date, due to the lawsuit that was filed."                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. FENUMIAI  said she would check  on Alaska Public Office's  paper                                                            
work, but she  thought they would fall under the same  guidelines as                                                            
the candidates  do.  Petition candidates  have to  file a letter  of                                                            
intent before they can start raising money and expending funds.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  said he thought petition candidates  should have                                                            
to make their decision  on the same date everyone else does and file                                                            
the paperwork just like everybody else does.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  said, "If they have the means to  finance their own                                                            
campaign,  they don't  have to report  anything  until the day  they                                                            
file…"                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 724                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said he would hold the bill over until Monday.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
         HB 172-THERAPEUTIC COURTS/ SUPERIOR COURT JUDGES                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR announced HB 172 to be up for consideration.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PORTER, sponsor of HB 172, said the  legislature has                                                            
been  dealing  with  the  DUI  issue  for  years  and  most  of  the                                                            
progressive  enhancements to that  law have proven to be  effective.                                                            
This bill addresses the  drivers who have an addiction as opposed to                                                            
a problem with  drinking and don't  have the individual capacity  to                                                            
stop. The Anchorage community  has found that there is a small group                                                            
of multiple offenders  who are continuing to drive  and drink. "They                                                            
are killing people."                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
He explained this  program and new approaches that  are available in                                                            
the area of treatment,  especially pharmaceuticals, have anecdotally                                                            
been successful  at the district court level and should  be expanded                                                            
to the  felony DUI  situation in  Anchorage. HB  172 provides  for a                                                            
pilot project  in Anchorage  and Bethel  where it  provides for  the                                                            
involvement  of local treatment  programs and  people who deal  with                                                            
cultural diversity in our state.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR said  it appeared to  him to  take in all  criminal                                                            
offenses  that are alcohol  related with the  exception of  the most                                                            
severe felonies.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PORTER   explained  that  it  asks  that  the  court                                                            
concentrate  on DWI  offenders.  The pilot  program  provides for  a                                                            
fiscal analysis  that deals  with a certain  number of felony  DWIs.                                                            
That is the  focus now, although there  are a multitude of  criminal                                                            
offenses  that are alcohol  related,  between 70  to 80 percent.  He                                                            
would not be opposed to gradually including some of those.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR  asked  if admission  into  the  therapeutic  court                                                            
program in any way provides  for deviation from the existing minimum                                                            
mandatories that are provided under the DWI law.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   PORTER  responded   that  the  bill  provides   the                                                            
opportunity  for that to  happen, but it  doesn't require it.  "Once                                                            
the  person  is  in  the  program,  having   been  approved  by  the                                                            
prosecutor's  office, the court has  the discretion and the  idea is                                                            
from our  perspective  to hold that  sentence over  the head  of the                                                            
individual  for as long as  it takes to  be assured of satisfactory                                                             
completion of the program.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  said he believes there needs to be  some inducement                                                            
to use the  program, but if a person  is prosecuted for a  second or                                                            
third offense in Palmer,  he gets a mandatory minimum sentence, pays                                                            
the fine and  there is no prosecutorial  discretion. However,  if he                                                            
shows up in the  Anchorage court, he could get the  entire period of                                                            
imprisonment  and the amount  of fine including  the presumptive  or                                                            
mandatory   minimum  sentence  suspended   if  he  is  successfully                                                             
completing  court   ordered  treatment.  "Who  wouldn't   jump  into                                                            
treatment  if the guy  down the road  is getting  100 plus years  in                                                            
jail, suspension of his  license for three or four years and you can                                                            
get all of that suspended by going through this court?"                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PORTER said  that was the idea  of the program  - to                                                            
have  an inducement  to  get  someone  started  in the  activity  of                                                            
meaningfully trying to change that addictive behavior.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR asked, except  for the additional  cost of  support                                                            
personnel,  why  we shouldn't provide  the same level of  discretion                                                            
for every judge who is dealing with alcohol offenses.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PORTER  replied that  the program  in Anchorage  has                                                            
only been  going for about  a year and a  half, so results  are just                                                            
anecdotal.  The proof  will come six  or seven  years from now.  The                                                            
program  is labor  intensive and  requires frequent  returns by  the                                                            
defendant and prosecution as part of the treatment process.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked about equal protection.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PORTER  replied that  issue  was not  raised and  he                                                            
would ask  Mr. Guaneli about  that. He personally  thought  they had                                                            
gone as far as they could  go with personal incarcerations. There is                                                            
so much graphic  evidence that hardly  anyone responds to  a revoked                                                            
or suspended  license. He thought  that this program would  not have                                                            
100 percent success  and there would always be that  10 percent that                                                            
would never get the message in any format.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Number 1655                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked  why they couldn't  set these programs  up                                                            
everywhere  when   language  says  "to  the  extent  feasible,   the                                                            
therapeutic  court  shall  use  existing  public  agencies,  medical                                                            
treatment."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  PORTER  replied  that the  labor intensity  of  this                                                            
program is  in the state  of evolution. "To  make sure that  we have                                                            
the capacity  to do it correctly,  we are suggesting that  we should                                                            
have these two new courts…"                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked if  they were going to have two Superior Court                                                            
judges in Bethel.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE PORTER replied yes.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR said that  he doubted that  they needed it,  but it                                                            
was sad.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. JANET MCCABE, Partners  for Downtown Progress in Anchorage, said                                                            
they had  been working with  Judge Wanamaker  on the wellness  court                                                            
and strongly supported  HB 172. "Therapeutic courts are effective in                                                            
bringing about lasting  change in alcohol addicted offenders. It's a                                                            
long  difficult  process  for both  the  person  who opts  into  the                                                            
program,  the  defender,  and  it  also needs  a  lot  of  intensive                                                            
participation on the part of the judge."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
She said  that about 90  percent of their  participants have  stayed                                                            
sober and  are doing well.  She asked the  committee to consider  an                                                            
amendment.  She said  the wellness  court is at  the district  court                                                            
level and none  of the provisions  in this bill affect the  wellness                                                            
court since  it applies to  the Superior Court.  She thought  it was                                                            
important that the judge  have the ability to reduce the mandatories                                                            
if someone completes the wellness court successfully.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  asked what the difference is between  a therapeutic                                                            
court and a wellness court.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. MCCABE replied that they are basically the same.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  asked if the judge  involved in the wellness  court                                                            
in Anchorage was Judge Wanamaker.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS. MCCABE said yes.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR  asked, if  he  was doing  such  a great  job at  a                                                            
district court  level, why are they  talking about creating  two new                                                            
superior  court positions  for  what's being  done  in the  district                                                            
court today and is the model program.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. MCCABE  replied  that was  considered  long and  hard. She  said                                                            
there was a great  need in Bethel and there were a  lot of people in                                                            
Anchorage  who  are at  the  felony  level who  could  benefit.  The                                                            
wellness court doesn't touch that group of people.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  said that was only because of silly  jurisdictional                                                            
restrictions  between  superior  and district  court  as  to who  is                                                            
busted for  a felony  and who is  busted for  a misdemeanor.  He was                                                            
trying to figure out why  they were going to add to a superior court                                                            
bench in Anchorage  that was not overburdened  by any means  and not                                                            
assist  a  district   court  bench,  which  he  knows   is  terribly                                                            
overburdened  with mostly  alcohol  related offenses.  He said  they                                                            
should put two more district  court judges in Anchorage and give the                                                            
superior court the authority to help out.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. MCCABE said these projects  are intended to be demonstrations to                                                            
build up support and to really make an impact on the problem.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. BLAIR MCCUNE,  Deputy Director,  Alaska Public Defender  Agency,                                                            
said  they had  done a lot  of work  on this  bill and  that it  was                                                            
important  that it gets done  right. They  don't want the public  to                                                            
lose  confidence  in this  process.  He  said  that the  program  is                                                            
working  really well  so far.  On the  equal protection  issue,  the                                                            
program had  to start somewhere.  He didn't  think there would  be a                                                            
challenge  based  on not  having  it  in one  community  opposed  to                                                            
another.  It's like a prosecutor  might allow  a plea bargain  where                                                            
another prosecutor might not.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR said  he thought  this was an  important point  and                                                            
they aren't  talking  about a  particular prosecutor  or  discretion                                                            
that may be exercised.  They are talking about changing  the minimum                                                            
mandatory sentences  that are currently  required on every  criminal                                                            
offense with  the exception  of major felonies.  It says,  "However,                                                            
not withstanding  any other provision  of law, the entire  period of                                                            
imprisonment  or fine including a  presumptive or mandatory  minimum                                                            
sentence  may  be  suspended  if  the  defendant  has  successfully                                                             
completed court ordered treatment."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. MCCUNE  replied that  he thought the  legislature had looked  at                                                            
the carrot  and the  stick and  the type  of intensive  work that  a                                                            
criminal defendant  and participants would have to  do in making all                                                            
treatment appointments.  It would mean making considerable effort to                                                            
come to court  every day and work  with the professionals  involved.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 01-25, SIDE B                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
MR. MCCUNE  said  that the  court might  think that  burden was  the                                                            
equivalent of a mandatory minimum sentence.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR  responded  that  they  had  one  judge  who  could                                                            
exercise unlimited  discretion with the defendant  who is sitting in                                                            
one  courtroom in  Anchorage.  The very  same Superior  Court  judge                                                            
sitting out in Palmer has  absolutely no discretion and will violate                                                            
state law should he fail  to sentence to the maximum extent that law                                                            
requires. When he was practicing  25 years ago, it was very easy for                                                            
him to check to see if  offenders were showing up for their antabuse                                                            
every day or following  up with their social worker.  He didn't have                                                            
to have another $2 million  dollars to hire a judge who does nothing                                                            
but this. "I consider it a part of the job!"                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. MCCUNE  said they  are in the  type of  situation where  someone                                                            
gives a Rule  11 type of plea bargain.  This puts a lot of  pressure                                                            
on the defendant to complete this program successfully.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  asked if they could  amend the bill to provide  the                                                            
same level  of authority  and the  same criteria  for meeting  it to                                                            
both district  and superior court  judges across the state,  leaving                                                            
it optional for  that court if they wish to participate  and utilize                                                            
this form of sentencing.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. MCCUNE  replied that  he didn't  think there  would be an  equal                                                            
protection problem.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  said he agreed with  him as long as the  discretion                                                            
is  uniform among  the  judiciary.  That  one sentence  changes  the                                                            
minimum mandatory sentencing  laws on every criminal offense in this                                                            
state  with the  exception  of unclassified  felonies,  but it  only                                                            
changes  it  if  you  walk  in  the  right  courtroom   door.  "That                                                            
definitely  seems to  be different  as  far as equal  protection  is                                                            
concerned."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
He asked Mr. McCune to address the legal aspect.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. MCCUNE  responded again  that he didn't  think equal  protection                                                            
would be a problem  because of what this requires  of the individual                                                            
criminal defendant. It  is far above requirements that are placed on                                                            
other defendants.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Number 2107                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. DEAN GUANELI, Chief Assistant Attorney General, said:                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     For  those of us  in the  criminal justice  system, and  I                                                                 
     include  you in that because  of your long experience,  we                                                                 
     often  get very  jaded  about offenders  and  we see  them                                                                 
     coming  back time after  time, particularly  the ones  who                                                                 
     have  alcohol  problems. This  is  a program  that really                                                                  
     deserves to be tried out,  deserves to be used. I think it                                                                 
     can make  some inroads in what  is a real serious problem                                                                  
     in Alaska.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     What this was designed to  do was to focus on felony drunk                                                                 
     drivers.  To be a felony  drunk driver  it has to be  your                                                                 
     third  or  more  conviction   within  five  years  and  we                                                                 
     certainly have those who  are more. They are tough nuts to                                                                 
     crack. The treatment people all tell us that…                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GUANELI  explained  that this  program  involved  an  intensive                                                            
period of 18 months  of oversight by the court, the  prosecutor, the                                                            
defense  attorney, the probation  officer  and treatment  providers.                                                            
It's so  intensive that a  lot of clients  would rather go  the jail                                                            
for the  mandatory  four months  than go  through  this program.  He                                                            
thought  the  courts  would  also  consider  the way  they  look  at                                                            
treatment programs  in terms of getting credit for  time served. The                                                            
Lock and Nygren  cases (Supreme Court)  say that if you are  ordered                                                            
to  go to  a  treatment  program that  has  conditions  that  really                                                            
restrict  your liberty,  you get credit  for time  served. "It's  in                                                            
essence the equivalent  of incarceration and you get  credit against                                                            
your sentence."                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GUANELI  said  that  he  thought   the  court  would  give  the                                                            
legislature a  lot of latitude in trying out this  program for those                                                            
reasons.  He said the legislature  has broad  latitude in  analyzing                                                            
where equal  public facilities  are going to  be, particularly  on a                                                            
pilot  basis.  The court  has  pretty definitive  language  after  a                                                            
lawsuit against the Division of Health and Social Services.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR agreed with  the analogy of  treatment, but  he was                                                            
concerned  with the loss  of liberty. "There  is no higher  standard                                                            
that we look to in equal protection cases than loss of liberty."                                                                
                                                                                                                                
He knows  a family whose  son is serving two  and a half years  in a                                                            
state institution  for  DWI and they  have asked  him why he  hasn't                                                            
been placed  in a  program in that  institution  for treatment.   He                                                            
doesn't  know how  to explain  to them that  their  son has to  stay                                                            
there for two  and a half years, while a kid in Anchorage  or Bethel                                                            
can  work and  get  treatment.  One is  elective  and  the other  is                                                            
mandatory.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GUANELI said  Senator  Taylor had  a good  point,  but he  just                                                            
didn't  think the court  would say  they couldn't  start out  with a                                                            
pilot program  just because they don't have the budget  for the rest                                                            
of the state.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  said this bill would  include more than  just DWIs.                                                            
"This court can literally take anybody."                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
He wanted to know if they  were going to limit to just drunks or try                                                            
and expand  it. He wanted to know  if the legislature could  suspend                                                            
the effect  of all state  minimum mandatory  sentences just  for one                                                            
court and not be facing an equal protection problem.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  TAYLOR  wanted to  see  some parameters  where  the  person                                                            
didn't  jump in  to the  program without  some additional  help.  He                                                            
thought that other  communities might have people  who would want to                                                            
help  with this  kind of  program  and asked  if they  shouldn't  be                                                            
entitled to do it, too.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GUANELI  responded  that  Anchorage   was  chosen  because  the                                                            
treatment infrastructure  exists there. "That is why I think keeping                                                            
it in Anchorage  to begin  with for the first  six months is  a good                                                            
idea."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
He  said  further  that  the  court  finds  a relationship   between                                                            
treatment and incarceration.  To provide the incentive necessary for                                                            
defenders  to go through  the treatment program  for 18 months,  you                                                            
really have to give the  judge the latitude to design a sentence and                                                            
even throw the mandatory  minimums, to give particular offenders the                                                            
incentive  to  continue  with  these  programs.  "Throwing  out  the                                                            
mandatory minimum  or giving the judges flexibility  to do that is a                                                            
necessary  part of making  this treatment  effective. I believe  our                                                            
Supreme Court will recognize that."                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
He thought extending  that flexibility throughout  the state for all                                                            
offenses is wiping out all mandatory sentencing in Alaska.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  said that would happen  only to the extent  another                                                            
judge would be flexible  that this one "super judge" is now going to                                                            
do.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. GUANELI said  that would do away with mandatory  and presumptive                                                            
sentencing in Alaska.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  asked why he should  trust a judge who hasn't  even                                                            
been hired  yet to  do that on  all offenses  with the exception  of                                                            
unclassified felonies.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. GUANELI said he thought  the court system would probably put one                                                            
of the sitting judges there, but maybe not.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DONLEY said he  didn't know the scope was so broad. He asked                                                            
if class B felonies were crimes of violence against a person.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. GUANELI  replied that  those would be  included. "The intent  in                                                            
Anchorage is to  limit to the felony drunk driving,  but in order to                                                            
try this out  in a rural area, in  Bethel, there are not  sufficient                                                            
numbers of felony drunk  driving offenses. It was felt to broaden it                                                            
out to  allow others…Burglaries  are a common  offense and  that's a                                                            
class B felony…"                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DONLEY  asked what  the role of the  victim was in  deciding                                                            
whether or  not punishment should  be waived in favor of  treatment.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. GUANELI replied  that is a good question. The  prosecutor has to                                                            
agree for someone  to be accepted  into this program. If  there is a                                                            
strong objection  from the victim to someone not serving  time, that                                                            
would be taken into consideration.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DONLEY  asked if the sponsor considered putting  language in                                                            
statute  that the  victim should  be consulted.  He  thought it  was                                                            
important.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. GUANELI  said he thought that  was a legitimate concern,  but he                                                            
hadn't talked to the sponsor about amending it.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  said section 5, page 3, provides  that the offender                                                            
could be living in a municipality  of an area of the state without a                                                            
judge who can appoint someone  to do the job for him. If that system                                                            
was workable out of Bethel, it ought to work out of Fairbanks.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. GUANELI  said this program was  set up based on guidelines  used                                                            
in other states. It was  designed particularly for the Bethel region                                                            
to be flexible because  of the remoteness. No one knows how well the                                                            
program would work.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked if  this would help Judge Wanamaker's program.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. GUANELI said  there was language stating that  it's not intended                                                            
to bind the district court.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  said that district courts deal with  more mandatory                                                            
minimum  sentences  than anybody  else and  as a  consequence  Judge                                                            
Wanamaker  has  been making  his  program  work within  the  minimum                                                            
mandatory sentencing.  So he didn't have to offer  them an extra day                                                            
or two less in  jail to get them to come into his  program. "I think                                                            
I know how he did it. He just hung more time over their heads…"                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. TOM WRIGHT,  staff to Speaker Porter, pointed  out that language                                                            
on  page  2  says,  "Nothing  in  this  act  is  intended  to  place                                                            
additional  requirements  on  or  make  changes  to  other  existing                                                            
specialized or general state courts."                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
He said  the Judge  Wanamaker's court  was working  under a  federal                                                            
grant that  runs out  in a short  time and they  are looking  for an                                                            
appropriation  through  the  capital  budget  process  so  they  can                                                            
continue. "This  is a pilot project  and nothing more. There  may be                                                            
some  things  that  aren't going  to  work  like  the part  he  just                                                            
mentioned  about the  rural areas.  The  Senate just  passed a  bill                                                            
granting  VPSO to probation  officer  status and  this could  tie in                                                            
with that."                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. GUANELI  commented that  although the  Judge had some  anecdotal                                                            
successes,  this is designed to get  at felony drunk drivers  and he                                                            
is  generally not  handling  cases  at that  level.  "These are  the                                                            
problem  cases. These  are the  ones who  are going  to continue  to                                                            
drink and drive if something isn't done."                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  said he appreciated Representative  Porter bringing                                                            
this legislation forward.  It is the most creative thing he had seen                                                            
in a long time.  However, every agency  wants to be paid  more to go                                                            
do the  job we  think they  ought to  be doing in  the first  place,                                                            
which is concentrated more on alcohol related addiction.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. WRIGHT agreed.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR asked  if this  program could  operate without  the                                                            
requested funds.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. WRIGHT responded that he would have to ask the courts.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  asked if Judge Froelich  was receiving any  funding                                                            
in Juneau?                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. GUANELI and MR. WRIGHT said they didn't think so.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  said the words, "does  not affect the jurisdiction                                                             
of other similar  courts" intrigued him. He asked  if there were any                                                            
other specialized courts.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. GUANELI replied  that the state has a mental health  court and a                                                            
drug court that has been  funded with federal funds that's operating                                                            
in Anchorage.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DONLEY  said there  doesn't appear  to be any sunset  on the                                                            
number of Superior Court judges if this program goes away.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. WRIGHT replied  that it was his impression that  if this program                                                            
didn't work, they  would revisit that issue, but they  wouldn't have                                                            
a problem with a sunset clause.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  DONLEY  said he  was  thinking about  language  that  would                                                            
require  a specific  consultation with  victims since  theirs  was a                                                            
special circumstance of waiving mandatory sentencing.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. WRIGHT said he would discuss that with the sponsor.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR noted that  the sponsor has  been a great  advocate                                                            
for victims' rights.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR said they  would take this  up again on Monday  and                                                            
adjourned the meeting at 4:47 p.m.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects