Legislature(2001 - 2002)

04/17/2002 01:45 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                    
                   SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE                                                                                 
                         April 17, 2002                                                                                         
                            1:45 p.m.                                                                                           
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Dave Donley, Vice Chair                                                                                                 
Senator John Cowdery                                                                                                            
Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                         
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Robin Taylor, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                            
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 381                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to the crime of failure to stop at the direction                                                               
of a peace officer; and providing for an effective date."                                                                       
     MOVED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                                     
HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 30                                                                                                   
Relating to an amendment to the Constitution of the United States                                                               
prohibiting desecration of the Flag of the United States.                                                                       
     MOVED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                                     
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
HB 381 - No previous action to record.                                                                                          
HJR 30 - See State Affairs minutes dated 4/2/02.                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
Ms. Heather Nobrega                                                                                                             
Counsel to the House Judiciary Committee                                                                                        
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified for the sponsor of HB 381                                                                      
Ms. Linda Sylvester                                                                                                             
Staff to Representative Kott                                                                                                    
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented HJR 30 for the sponsor                                                                         
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 02-18, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 001                                                                                                                      
VICE-CHAIRMAN  DAVE DONLEY called  the Senate Judiciary  Committee                                                            
meeting to  order at  1:45 p.m. Senators  Therriault, Cowdery  and                                                              
Donley were present. The committee took up HB 381.                                                                              
            HB 381-FAILURE TO STOP FOR PEACE OFFICER                                                                        
MS. HEATHER  NOBREGA, counsel  to the  House Judiciary  Committee,                                                              
explained to  members that  the legislature  amended state  law in                                                              
1998 to  address the  problem of purposely  attempting to  elude a                                                              
police officer.  That amendment raised  the crime of  committing a                                                              
moving traffic violation and failing  to stop for a police officer                                                              
to a felony.  Since that time, the number of  cases involving this                                                              
crime  have  risen dramatically.  The  purpose  of  HB 381  is  to                                                              
clarify  the intent  of  the 1998  legislation.  The  law will  be                                                              
changed  to read  that when  a driver  is  driving recklessly  and                                                              
fails  to stop  at the  direction of  a peace  officer, the  crime                                                              
rises to  a felony.  For any  other driving  violation, the  crime                                                              
would be a misdemeanor.                                                                                                         
SENATOR  COWDERY asked  who would  determine that  the driver  was                                                              
driving recklessly.                                                                                                             
MS. NOBREGA  said the officer  who is  trying to stop  the vehicle                                                              
would make that determination.                                                                                                  
SENATOR COWDERY moved HB 381 to the next committee of referral.                                                                 
SENATOR THERRIAULT  objected for the  purpose of one  question. He                                                              
asked  how this  issue was  brought  to Representative  Rokeberg's                                                              
MS. NOBREGA  said she did  not know who  brought this  to Chairman                                                              
Rokeberg's attention. However, a  representative of the Department                                                              
of Public  Safety testified in  the House Judiciary  Committee and                                                              
said  the current  law is  being  abused by  police officers,  for                                                              
example, who  are considering a driving  violation to be  a broken                                                              
tail  light. She  noted the  Department  of Public  Safety had  no                                                              
problems with this bill.                                                                                                        
SENATOR THERRIAULT withdrew his objection.                                                                                      
VICE-CHAIR DONLEY asked for clarification  of the statement on the                                                              
fiscal  note  that  reads,  "Failure to  stop  while  violating  a                                                              
traffic law or committing another crime will do."                                                                               
MS.  NOBREGA said  she was  not sure  what the  Department of  Law                                                              
meant. She noted the bill should  have a positive fiscal impact as                                                              
it should result in fewer felony trials.                                                                                        
SENATOR THERRIAULT asked if the bill has a further referral.                                                                    
MS. NOBREGA said it does not.                                                                                                   
VICE-CHAIR DONLEY said that without  further objection, HB 381 was                                                              
moved out of committee.                                                                                                         
                 HJR 30-DESECRATION OF U.S. FLAG                                                                            
MS. LINDA  SYLVESTER, staff to  Representative Pete  Kott, sponsor                                                              
of  HJR 30,  told  the  committee that  HJR  30 asks  Congress  to                                                              
present a constitutional  amendment to the states  that authorizes                                                              
Congress  to prohibit  the physical  desecration  of the  American                                                              
flag. The resolution  supports two measures in  Congress: one, HJR
36, is  successfully moving  through Congress.  HJR 36  passed the                                                              
House of Representatives in July,  2001 with a vote of 298 to 125.                                                              
However, it is now one of the resolutions  affectionately referred                                                              
to as  the "Daschle  50" and has  been held up  in the  Senate. In                                                              
1989, the Supreme  Court overturned the final effort  to outlaw or                                                              
restrict  desecration of  the American  flag. That  action set  in                                                              
motion  a  successful  grassroots  campaign.  No  other  issue  on                                                              
Capitol Hill  has the  endorsement of 80  percent of  the American                                                              
people, the  overwhelming majority of  the U.S. House  and Senate,                                                              
and 100  percent of state legislatures.  Every state has  passed a                                                              
resolution since  1989, including  Alaska, requesting  Congress to                                                              
initiate  a  constitutional  amendment  for  ratification  by  the                                                              
states. HJR  30 asks the U.S. Senate  to yield to the  will of the                                                              
people  and send the  proposed flag  amendment  to the states  for                                                              
There being  no further  testimony or  questions, SENATOR  COWDERY                                                              
moved  HJR  30 and  its  fiscal  note  to the  next  committee  of                                                              
VICE-CHAIR  DONLEY announced  that without  objection, the  motion                                                              
carried.  There  being no  further  business  to come  before  the                                                              
committee, he adjourned the meeting at 1:55 p.m.                                                                                

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