Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/30/2001 04:49 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                     ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                   
                    SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE                                                                                
                          April 30, 2001                                                                                        
                             4:49 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 SPONSOR SUBSTITUTE FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 16(CRA)                                                                            
"An Act  relating to cities  incorporated under  state law  that are                                                            
home rule communities; and providing for an effective date."                                                                    
     MOVED SCS CSHB 16(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 169                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to the  nonapplicability of the delinquency laws to                                                            
certain minors  accused of certain  crimes against persons  directed                                                            
at certain victims."                                                                                                            
     MOVED SB 169 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 204                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to wildfires and other natural disasters."                                                                     
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 230                                                                                                              
"An Act relating  to wage and hour protections for  employees of the                                                            
Alaska Railroad  Corporation; and providing for an  effective date."                                                            
     MOVED HB 230 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
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."                                                                                                                          
     MOVED SCS CSHB 193(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
HB 16 - See Community and Regional Affairs minutes dated 4/4/01.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Robert Buttcane, Legislative & Administrative Liaison                                                                       
Division of Juvenile Justice                                                                                                    
Department  of Health &                                                                                                         
  Social Services                                                                                                               
PO Box 110601                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK   99801-0601                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 169                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Hans Neidig                                                                                                                 
Staff to Senator  Green                                                                                                         
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK   99801-1182                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced SB 204                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Joe Balash                                                                                                                  
Staff to Senator Therriault                                                                                                     
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK   99801-1182                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 193                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Avrum Gross                                                                                                                 
424 North Franklin                                                                                                              
Juneau, AK  99801                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 193                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Coghill                                                                                                         
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK   99801-1182                                                                                                         
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 193                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Janet Kowalski, Director                                                                                                    
Division of Elections                                                                                                           
Office of the Lieutenant Governor                                                                                               
PO Box 110017                                                                                                                   
Juneau, Alaska 99811-0017                                                                                                       
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 193                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 01-26, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 001                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN ROBIN TAYLOR called the Senate Judiciary Committee meeting                                                           
to  order  at 4:49  p.m.    Senator  Donley,  Senator  Cowdery,  and                                                            
Chairman  Taylor were present.   Senator Ellis  arrived at  4:53 and                                                            
Senator Therriault  arrived at 4:54.  Chairman Taylor  announced the                                                            
first order of business would be HB 16.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                    HB 16-HOME RULE COMMUNITIES                                                                             
                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                              
SENATOR  DONLEY  moved the  L  version of  the  Judiciary  Committee                                                            
substitute out  of committee with individual recommendations.  There                                                            
were no objections and it was so ordered.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
          SB 169-HATE CRIMES: AUTOMATIC WAIVER OF MINORS                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DONLEY  noted this was legislation sponsored  by himself and                                                            
co-sponsored by  Chairman Taylor. SB 169 amends AS  47.12.030(a) "to                                                            
include  a crime  that  is a  felony or  Class A  misdemeanor  crime                                                            
against  a person  directed at  a victim  because  of that  person's                                                            
race, sex, color, creed,  physical or mental disability, ancestry or                                                            
national  origin." The  addition would  require a  minor accused  of                                                            
such a hate crime to be tried as an adult.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR   thanked  Senator   Donley  for  introducing   the                                                            
legislation and called Mr. Buttcane forward to testify.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  ROBERT  BUTTCANE,  Department   of  Health  &  Social  Services                                                            
Division of  Juvenile Justice, testified  that the department  would                                                            
like  the  committee   to  consider  use  of  the  dual   sentencing                                                            
provisions  in the  delinquency  statute for  crimes  of bias.  This                                                            
would allow such  cases to be prosecuted in the adult  court. If the                                                            
juvenile  was  convicted   they  would  be  referred   back  to  the                                                            
delinquency  system under a delinquency  disposition order.  If they                                                            
completed  the delinquency  disposition  order,  the  case would  be                                                            
closed.  It  they failed  to  complete  that  order, they  could  be                                                            
returned  to  court  and  the  pronounced  sentence  could  then  be                                                            
imposed.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Research  indicates that  waiver of  juveniles is  not an  effective                                                            
response  and that is  why the  Division of  Juvenile Justice  would                                                            
like  the committee  to  consider  this option.  Juveniles  who  are                                                            
handled in  the adult system are eight  times more likely  to commit                                                            
suicide, five  times more likely to be sexually assaulted,  and when                                                            
they  are released  they tend  to offend  more quickly  and be  more                                                            
predatory  in  nature  than  those who  are  processed  through  the                                                            
delinquency  system. This is particularly  so if misdemeanor  crimes                                                            
are  included in  the  automatic waiver.  In  addition, individuals                                                             
sentenced  for low  level  felonies  and misdemeanors  would  endure                                                            
fewer  sanctions  than  they would  if  they  were in  the  juvenile                                                            
system.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Finally,  crime bias legislation  not including  the class  category                                                            
dealing  with the  perceived  or actual  sexual orientation  of  the                                                            
victim would be incomplete.  For these reasons, the department would                                                            
like the committee to amend the bill.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked Senator Donley to comment.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 329                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DONLEY questioned  the credibility of comparing the juvenile                                                            
system with the adult system.  Additionally, he said the language in                                                            
the bill is the  same as that currently used by the  courts and that                                                            
language should be adhered to.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
He then asked  Mr. Buttcane whether there was any  difference in the                                                            
public accountability  or openness  of the criminal justice  process                                                            
between the dual sentencing  provision and automatic waiver to adult                                                            
court.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR. BUTTCANE did  not believe so. Both the automatic  waiver and the                                                            
dual sentencing provisions would be open to the public.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR called  for additional  testimony  and received  no                                                            
response. He asked for the pleasure of the committee.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  DONLEY   moved  SB  169  from  committee  with   individual                                                            
recommendations.  There  being  no  objections,  SB 169  moved  from                                                            
committee with individual recommendations.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SB 204                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
              SB 204-WILDFIRES AND NATURAL DISASTERS                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HANS NEIDIG, aide  to Senator Lyda Green, testified  that SB 204 was                                                            
introduced  to address the concerns  of private property  owners and                                                            
residents during the emergency  management of wildfires and disaster                                                            
areas.  Language would  be  placed in  statute that  more  equitably                                                            
balances the  rights of private property  owners and residents  with                                                            
the demands  of emergency  personal  to protect  life and  property.                                                            
Property  owners may choose  not to evacuate  an area or to  enter a                                                            
threatened  area,  at their  own risk,  so long  as  entry does  not                                                            
interfere with  emergency personal. Emergency personal  are exempted                                                            
from liability if a property  owner or resident is injured or killed                                                            
after choosing  not to evacuate or choosing to reenter  a threatened                                                            
area.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  called for additional  testimony. He noted  letters                                                            
in the  bill file  from  interested citizens  who  had testified  at                                                            
previous  meetings. All indicated  a desire  to see the legislation                                                             
move forward.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
He stated  that the legislation  reflects  current regulates  in the                                                            
affected areas.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. NEIDIG, said guidelines  have been developed and the legislative                                                            
language is tied to those guidelines.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR observed  that it was his understanding that work on                                                            
the legislation would be ongoing during the interim.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Number 649                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELLIS  asked what  would  happen  to children  of  property                                                            
owners and  residents who elect not  to evacuate an area  threatened                                                            
by wildfire. We  wondered whether there would be a  duty to evacuate                                                            
children.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. NEIDIG said the legislation  provides that only adults may elect                                                            
to remain  in their homes  during times  of evacuation. Regulations                                                             
would  specifically address  the concerns  for children  and or  the                                                            
disabled and therefore need not be addressed in the legislation.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR  stated that it was his understanding  that, at some                                                            
point, the level of threat might result in mandatory evacuation.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  NEIDIG responded  that  the guidelines  outline  the levels  of                                                            
evacuation from directive to order of evacuation.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR asked whether children would be evacuated.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. NEIDIG responded that presumably they would.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS remarked  that this is a complex issue that needs more                                                            
work.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR replied  that the sponsor had indicated that leaving                                                            
the bill in  the Judiciary Committee  might be advantageous  if more                                                            
hearings were needed during the interim.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SB  204 was  held  in committee  to  be addressed  during  the  next                                                            
session.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
            HB 230-RAILROAD EMPLOYEE SALARIES AND WAGES                                                                     
                                                                                                                              
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR advised that  this legislation  is identical  to SB
170 that was moved  from committee but had not yet  been read on the                                                            
floor.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
He called  for testimony  on HB 230  and received  no response.   He                                                            
noted   that  there   had   been  testimony   in   person  and   via                                                            
teleconference  from railroad  employees representing  the union  as                                                            
well as the sponsor.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
He asked for the pleasure of the committee.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELLIS   moved  HB  230  from   committee  with   individual                                                            
recommendations.  There  being  no  objection,  HB  230  moved  from                                                            
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
             HB 193-MODIFIED BLANKET PRIMARY ELECTION                                                                       
                                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                              
SENATOR THERRIAULT  moved adoption of the Kurtz S  4/30/01 committee                                                            
substitute  for  HB  193  as  a  working  document.   There  was  no                                                            
objection.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELLIS asked  whether Senator  Therriault's  issue with  the                                                            
legislation was access to the ballot by petition.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT responded  that on the date that party candidates                                                            
had to make  their decision, people  that want access to  the ballot                                                            
through  the petition  process would  also have to  fill out  a form                                                            
with the Division  of Election and  would then be given a  signature                                                            
booklet.  They  would  then  have  until   the  primary  to  collect                                                            
signatures,  turn them  in and  be placed  on the  general  election                                                            
ballot. They  would be required  to adhere  to all APOC filings  for                                                            
collecting  and  disbursing  money  for  running  a  campaign  while                                                            
collecting the  signatures. This would keep the reporting  standards                                                            
the same for everyone.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Number 1104                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOE  BALASH, staff  to Senator  Therriault,  testified that  the                                                            
amendment  adopted by committee  was incorporated  into the  Finance                                                            
Committee  substitute.  He then  pointed out  that  wording was  not                                                            
changed  on  page  3  of  CSHB  193(FIN),  line  17-20  to  make  it                                                            
consistent with the changed  wording of the statute allowing parties                                                            
to have a single ballot unless they wanted to open it up.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
He then restated Senator Terriault's testimony.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Number 1258                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. AVRUM  GROSS  testified that,  at the  request  of Lt.  Governor                                                            
Ulmer, he chaired  a task force that worked to draft  legislation to                                                            
respond to  the Supreme Court case  Democratic Party v. Jones.  They                                                            
ruled that the blanket  primary in California was illegal because it                                                            
did not  allow parties to  limit individuals  who could select  that                                                            
parties' candidates.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Prior to  the ruling, Alaska  had a blanket  primary system.  Due to                                                            
the ruling,  provisions had to be  made so that parties could  limit                                                            
who could vote to select its candidates in a primary.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
The resultant  draft  legislation was  as close  to existing  law as                                                            
possible.   Voters  would  get a  ballot with  all  the offices  and                                                            
candidates listed unless  a particular party decided to limit access                                                            
to its candidates to only  those voters registered as independent or                                                            
members of  their party. In that case,  independents and  members of                                                            
the party choosing to limit  would get a blanket primary ballot with                                                            
all candidates listed while  voters from other parties would receive                                                            
a ballot  listing  all candidates  except  the candidates  from  the                                                            
limiting party.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
This legislation  was drafted to encourage voters  to participate in                                                            
primaries  and  because  Alaska  has  always  had  open  or  blanket                                                            
primaries,  never closed  primaries. The more  primaries are  closed                                                            
the less participation there is.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
HB 193 is unlike  the legislation drafted by the task  force because                                                            
it adopts a closed primary  for the first time in the history of the                                                            
state.  It allows  parties to  tell voters  who  can participate  in                                                            
selecting  its candidates and  to dictate that  voters who  vote for                                                            
its candidates may not  vote in any other primary at all. This gives                                                            
the parties  a power  never held  before because  it would  prohibit                                                            
voters from voting in primaries  other than the party for which they                                                            
are  registered even  if they  are  allowed to  do so.  This is  not                                                            
required by the Supreme  Court decision and it limits people who can                                                            
participate in primaries.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR  asked  whether  the  legislation  drafted  in  Mr.                                                            
Grosses committee  allowed an individual  to vote for more  than one                                                            
time during the same primary.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. GROSS said each voter  got just one vote but they could vote for                                                            
a democratic candidate  for governor and a republican  candidate for                                                            
lt. governor unless  a party had limited access to  their ballot. If                                                            
republicans  were the  only  party that  limited  their ballot  then                                                            
independents  and registered republicans  could vote for  candidates                                                            
from all  parties  but voters registered  with  other parties  could                                                            
vote for all candidates except those on the republican platform.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Number 1709                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR observed  that in  1992 or 1994,  Jack Coghill  was                                                            
told that.  if he closed  the republican  party ballot, republicans                                                             
would be  able vote in  that ballot and  also the democratic  ballot                                                            
since the  democrats  had left their  ballot open.  This would  give                                                            
them two votes.  He thought Mr. Gross was advocating  this position.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. GROSS  said that was  not the case and  he proceeded to  explain                                                            
his position again.  Each voter gets just one vote  for each office.                                                            
A party can limit  the people who can vote for their  candidates but                                                            
they can  not limit  a persons right  to vote  for other  candidates                                                            
beyond that party if the  voter elects to do so. "Republicans do not                                                            
have to vote  for republicans if they  don't want to. They  can vote                                                            
for  democrats  if  they  want  to  but  democrats  can't  vote  for                                                            
republicans if republicans don't want them to."                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR  responded  that  it  would  follow  that  all  the                                                            
republicans and  independents could exercise their  right to vote on                                                            
the  republican ballot  then  vote for  democratic  candidates on  a                                                            
different ballot.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. GROSS said this could  all be done on one ballot and each person                                                            
could  only  vote once.  Individuals  would  get  different  ballots                                                            
depending  on their party  preference and whether  or not the  party                                                            
elected to  limit their primary to  those voters registered  to that                                                            
party. HB 193  will require independents to pick a  party. They will                                                            
have to vote  a straight republican  or straight democratic  ticket.                                                            
They can't  move back and forth and  participate in one primary  for                                                            
governor  and  another  primary  for  lt.  governor.  This  is  what                                                            
independents want  and he could not see the purpose  of denying them                                                            
that right.  He could understand republicans  not wanting  democrats                                                            
or independents voting  in a republican primary but if they did want                                                            
independents  voting  in the  republican  primary,  what  difference                                                            
would  it make  if  they voted  for  state  senate in  a  democratic                                                            
primary.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR  thought that  could  easily be  set  up but  would                                                            
probably  not be acceptable  to  democrats. His  preference is  that                                                            
every  independent and  every republican  gets two  ballots so  they                                                            
could vote for republican candidates and also democratic ones.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. GROSS said  that under this bill, if a republican  asked for the                                                            
republican ballot  he would be prohibited from participating  in the                                                            
democratic primary whether the democrats wanted him to or not.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR said he understood that.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GROSS thanked  the  committee  for hearing  his  testimony.  He                                                            
continued  to  question why  independents  should  be  cut off  from                                                            
participating  in a blanket primary. He'd heard no  support for that                                                            
position.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT asked  Mr. Gross for his opinion on what had been                                                            
added to the bill.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. GROSS replied  that wasn't his focus but it sounded  reasonable.                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT expressed  his appreciation to the task force and                                                            
agreed that they had returned  recommendations that were as close to                                                            
original statute  as possible. This was appropriate  since they were                                                            
not asked to make  a policy call and is what the legislature  is now                                                            
doing.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GROSS  stated  he  came  to testify  because  of  the  way  the                                                            
legislation has developed not simply because it was changed.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Number 2067                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL testified  that this is a personal  priority                                                            
even  though  the  task  force  put  forward   the  bill  using  the                                                            
parameters set by Lt. Governor Ulmer.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
He  then read  from  page 14  of  Democratic  Party v.  Jones  which                                                            
provides him with the logic behind HB 193.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN TAYLOR called  a recess at 5:31 p.m. and called the meeting                                                            
back to order at 5:35 p.m.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  THERRIAULT  asked  that the  Director  of the  Division  of                                                            
Elections  come forward to  comment on the  new section of  the bill                                                            
not considered by the House. (NEW TAPE)                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 01-27, SIDE A                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
JANET KOWALSKE,  Director of the Division of Elections,  stated that                                                            
her staff  had worked  with Senator  Therriault's  staff as well  as                                                            
APOC  and  the  Department  of  Law  and  determined  there  are  no                                                            
technical problems with the bill.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR  called  for  further  testimony  and  received  no                                                            
response. He asked for the pleasure of the committee.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT moved  the Senate Judiciary version of HB 193 and                                                            
accompanying   fiscal   note   from   committee    with   individual                                                            
recommendations.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS objected.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIRMAN  TAYLOR called  for a roll  call vote.  The measure  passed                                                            
with Chairman Taylor and  Senators Cowdery and Therriault voting yea                                                            
and Senator  Ellis voting  nay. The bill  moved from committee  with                                                            
individual recommendations.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
The meeting was adjourned at 5:37 p.m.                                                                                          

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