Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

01/26/2005 08:30 AM JUDICIARY


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08:37:52 AM Start
08:38:30 AM Department of Law Overview
08:56:59 AM SB65
09:52:05 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Continuation of Overview if Necessary TELECONFERENCED
*+ SB 65 OFFENSES BY MINORS/AGAINST TEACHERS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                        January 26, 2005                                                                                        
                           8:37 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Ralph Seekins, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Charlie Huggins, Vice Chair                                                                                             
Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                         
Senator Hollis French                                                                                                           
Senator Gretchen Guess (via teleconference)                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                              
None                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Department of Law Overview                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 65                                                                                                              
"An Act  relating to certain  weapons offenses  involving minors;                                                               
to  aggravating  factors  in   sentencing  for  certain  offenses                                                               
committed  against  a  school  employee;  and  providing  for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                              
BILL: SB  65                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: OFFENSES BY MINORS/AGAINST TEACHERS                                                                                
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
01/19/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/19/05       (S)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
01/26/05       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                              
Ms. Susan Parkes, Deputy Attorney General                                                                                       
Department of Law (DOL)                                                                                                         
310 K Street, Ste 507                                                                                                           
Anchorage, AK 99501                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Delivered DOL overview.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Anne Carpeneti, Assistant Attorney General                                                                                  
Department of Law                                                                                                               
PO Box 110300                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0300                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 65                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Patty Ware, Director                                                                                                        
Division of Juvenile Justice                                                                                                    
Department of Health & Social Services                                                                                          
PO Box 110635                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99801-0635                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 65                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Carol Comeau, Superintendent                                                                                                
Anchorage School District                                                                                                       
PO Box 196614                                                                                                                   
Anchorage, AK 99519                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 65                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Sgt. Gil Davis, Sergeant                                                                                                        
Anchorage Police Department                                                                                                     
4501 S. Bragaw St.                                                                                                              
Anchorage, AK 99508                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 65                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Randy Ruaro, Assistant Attorney General                                                                                     
Department of Law                                                                                                               
PO Box 110300                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0300                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 65                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Bruce Johnson                                                                                                               
Association of Alaska School Boards                                                                                             
        th                                                                                                                      
1111 W 9 St                                                                                                                     
Juneau, AK 99801                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 65                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  RALPH   SEEKINS  called  the  Senate   Judiciary  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to order at 8:37:52  AM.  He announced that the                                                             
committee would hear part of a  review from the Department of Law                                                               
and advised that David Marquez was present.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:38:30 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
                  ^Department of Law Overview                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. DAVID  MARQUEZ, Chief Assistant Attorney  General, Department                                                               
Of Law, thanked the committee  for the opportunity to provide the                                                               
overview.   He noted that  both attorney general Greg  Renkes and                                                               
deputy attorney  general Scott  Nordstrand were  unavailable, but                                                               
he would  start the  overview and  complete it  at a  later time.                                                               
Alaska Statutes  44.23.020 sets  forth the  duties and  powers of                                                               
the  DOL. Its  mission  is  to provide  legal  services to  state                                                               
government  and to  prosecute crime.  The  department is  divided                                                               
into   three   main   sections:    The   Civil,   Criminal,   and                                                               
Administrative Divisions.  The handouts to the  committee include                                                               
a  top-level organization  chart,  a 15-page  budget report,  and                                                               
DOLs  2004 accomplishments.  He instructed  the committee  to its                                                               
website which includes the latest annual report.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:41:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SUSAN  PARKES,   Deputy  Attorney  General,   Criminal  Division,                                                               
provided an overview  on how the criminal  division is organized,                                                               
and its main functions.  She  stated that Alaska has a unique DOL                                                               
system in Alaska in  that the AG is appointed, as  well as all of                                                               
the  district attorneys.  This system  provides more  consistency                                                               
within  the  criminal  justice  system and  also  gives  her  the                                                               
ability to shift  resources as needs arise  since everybody works                                                               
for her and  the Governor. The criminal  division's main function                                                               
is all adult criminal prosecution  throughout the state. In a few                                                               
areas, municipal prosecutors handle  a few misdemeanor cases, but                                                               
state prosecutors handle the bulk.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:42:56 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
She  advised that  last  year  one change  in  DOL  was that  the                                                               
criminal  division became  solely  responsible  for all  juvenile                                                               
delinquency   prosecutions  as   well.  There   are  13   offices                                                               
statewide,   including  four   solo  attorney   offices:  Barrow,                                                               
Dillingham,  Kotzebue,  and  Sitka.  The  largest  office  is  in                                                               
Anchorage with  approximately 30 lawyers. Overall  the department                                                               
has  approximately 95  prosecutors  and about  25 victim  witness                                                               
paralegals. Witness paralegals play a  key role in the division's                                                               
mission. They  provide trial support  to attorneys and  carry the                                                               
main responsibility of fulfilling  victims' rights. They are very                                                               
important to the mission.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:44:39 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Last  year  DOL   was  given  an  increase   of  nine  prosecutor                                                               
positions;  three  were  federally funded,  six  through  general                                                               
funds. This gave DOL the opportunity  to do a better job handling                                                               
and  processing  cases.  The   caseload  continues  to  increase,                                                               
especially with  felonies, sexual  assault, sexual abuse,  a very                                                               
high  incidence in  violent crime.  In  2002 they  had 6,100  new                                                               
felony referrals  throughout the state. Last  year that increased                                                               
to 6,900. Misdemeanor  referrals went up as well,  from 22,000 in                                                               
2002 to 22,700 the next year.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
8:46:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  PARKES reported  that upcoming  challenges are  handling the                                                               
caseload,  especially  with  the  recent  Blakely  decision.  She                                                               
appreciates the legislative effort of SB 56.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
Another  challenge is  recruitment.  Since the  beginning of  the                                                               
current fiscal year, they've hired  16 new prosecutors throughout                                                               
the state but are still down due to continuing turnover.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:47:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
They  are losing  experienced prosecutors  mainly  in remote  and                                                               
rural areas where it is hard  to find qualified attorneys who are                                                               
willing to take their families to  those areas and be part of the                                                               
community and prosecute.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
This  year DOL  has asked  for 2  new paralegal  positions, which                                                               
will add support to the new attorney positions.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. PARKES then offered to answer any questions.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:48:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS addressed the comment  made by Ms. Parkes regarding                                                               
staffing in rural areas and asked her to elaborate.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS.  PARKES  elaborated   that  it  is  a   tough  lifestyle  for                                                               
prosecutors to go to very  small communities, especially the solo                                                               
offices  where they  would be  the only  prosecutor in  the town.                                                               
They  may be  single. It's  a very  isolating position  to be  in                                                               
since  the prosecutor  can  be the  focus of  the  town and  very                                                               
unpopular, with no support system.  Housing can also be an issue.                                                               
If the  spouse has a  different career,  it can be  difficult for                                                               
them  to find  job opportunities.  Those with  children may  find                                                               
limited school  activities.   Such issues  limit DOLs  ability to                                                               
get experienced prosecutors, which it needs in the solo offices.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:50:06 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS  stated his admiration  for Ms. Parkes  and added                                                               
that she represents the DOL very well.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:50:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  agreed with  Senator Huggins  and added  that the                                                               
salaries in DOL are not  competitive, especially in civil law. He                                                               
stated that if the salary  disparities are not addressed it gives                                                               
them less of  a chance to attract good people.  He asked if there                                                               
was anything in the current budget proposal to address that.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
8:51:44 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  PARKES said  no and  that remains  an issue.  Law school  is                                                               
getting more expensive  and people coming out of  law school have                                                               
large debt,  which makes it  more difficult  for them to  go into                                                               
public service.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:52:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
In jest, CHAIR  SEEKINS reminded the committee that his  son is a                                                               
prosecutor who would like a raise.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. PARKES  responded that  she would  be happy  to give  all her                                                               
employees a  raise. They are  hard working, dedicated  people who                                                               
work very long hours mostly out  of a sense of public service and                                                               
not to get rich.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:52:58 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  agreed that they  work long hours. He  agreed that                                                               
pay is  an issue  and validated  her earlier  statement regarding                                                               
problems hiring  prosecutors in remote  areas. He added  that the                                                               
court  system  has  the  same problem,  and  although  they  have                                                               
limited resources, they  try to keep a local venue.  He asked her                                                               
for  a comment  regarding a  total challenge  in the  DOL in  the                                                               
criminal division.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
8:54:40 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. PARKES answered that it is  a challenge for the whole system.                                                               
The  Department   of  Health  and  Social   Services  (DHSS)  has                                                               
difficulty  getting   juvenile  probation  officers   and  social                                                               
workers.  The  result  is  that  the  system  is  always  working                                                               
understaffed,  which exacerbates  the problem.  Rural communities                                                               
suffer  some of  the worst  social problems  including alcoholism                                                               
and  sexual offense.  The areas  of greatest  need have  the most                                                               
trouble getting qualified people.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
8:55:58 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS thanked her for trying to fill that need.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  offered to work  on the  problem on the  DOL sub-                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:56:25 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS announced  they completed the criminal  law side of                                                               
the DOL review and thanked the participants.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
           SB 65-OFFENSES BY MINORS/AGAINST TEACHERS                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:56:59 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANNE CARPENETI,  Department of Law, Criminal  Division, presented                                                               
SB 65. The  bill addresses violence in the schools.  She stated a                                                               
2003 survey revealed  that 13% of Anchorage  students were afraid                                                               
in  school. The  bill  intends  to address  this  by adopting  an                                                               
aggravating  factor in  sentencing  for school-related  assaults.                                                               
The second concern is gun-related  crimes by juveniles.  The bill                                                               
includes  another  section,  which addresses  that  problem.  The                                                               
first is  an aggravating factor,  which applies at  sentencing in                                                               
felony  sentences  to crimes  against  a  person.   These  crimes                                                               
include homicide,  assault, kidnapping, sexual  offenses, robbery                                                               
and related matters. The proposed  aggravating factor would allow                                                               
a judge  to increase the sentence  for a person who  is convicted                                                               
of  an offense  prohibited  under Alaska  Statute  11.41, if  the                                                               
person  directed the  crime against  a school  employee while  on                                                               
school grounds, or at a school sponsored event.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:59:36 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CARPENETI  continued,  "Although aggravating  factors  apply                                                               
specifically   to  felony   offenses,  it   is  a   statement  of                                                               
legislative concern  about particular  behavior that we  are free                                                               
to, and we  often do, argue at misdemeanor  sentences." She added                                                               
that it  sends a message  to both  juveniles and adults  that the                                                               
legislature takes violence in schools seriously.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
In  the   second  regard  for  gun-related   crimes,  minors  are                                                               
prosecuted  in  the juvenile  justice  system.  For very  serious                                                               
crimes,  16 &  17 year  olds  are automatically  waived to  adult                                                               
court. Crimes include murder, manslaughter,  assault in the first                                                               
degree, first-degree  sexual assault, first-degree  sexual abuse,                                                               
and  arson in  the first  degree. The  bill, in  section 4,  adds                                                               
misconduct  involving weapons  to those  automatically waived  to                                                               
adult court.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. CARPENETI continued:                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Misconduct involving  weapons in the first  degree is a                                                                    
     Class  A felony.  It prohibits  the following  conduct:                                                                    
     Using a gun during a  drug crime and drive-by shootings                                                                    
     under   circumstances   manifesting   substantial   and                                                                    
     unjustifiable  risk of  harm  to  persons or  property.                                                                    
     Misconduct involving weapons in  the second degree is a                                                                    
     Class  B felony.  It prohibits  the following  conduct:                                                                    
     Possession of  a gun  during a  drug crime  and second,                                                                    
     after having been  convicted of a felony,  either as an                                                                    
     adult or  adjudicated for what  would be a felony  as a                                                                    
     juvenile,  possessing  a  concealed  weapon  on  school                                                                    
     grounds.  Misconduct involving  weapons  in the  second                                                                    
     degree  also prohibits  shooting  a gun  at a  building                                                                    
     where there  is likely to  be a person in  the building                                                                    
     or in a dwelling.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:01:23 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. CARPENETI said  that after talking to  police and prosecutors                                                               
they are  very concerned  about the amount  of this  conduct, and                                                               
they support the waiver.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:02:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CARPENETI  advised  that  Carol  Comeau,  superintendent  of                                                               
schools  for  Anchorage, and  Sgt.  Gil  Davis, Anchorage  Police                                                               
Department, are both on line waiting  to testify in support of SB                                                               
65.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH asked  how many juveniles are committing  the A or                                                               
B felony gun crime while on school grounds statewide.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CARPENETI answered  that the  Division  of Juvenile  Justice                                                               
will answer those questions. They  don't have the figures because                                                               
they don't prosecute them.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:03:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS   asked  Ms.  Carpeneti  to   clarify  an  earlier                                                               
statement regarding possession of a weapon on school grounds.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. CARPENETI:                                                                                                                  
     It's  a  class  B  felony, which  makes  it  misconduct                                                                    
     involving weapons in  the 2nd degree. For  a person who                                                                    
     has already been  convicted of a felony,  or a juvenile                                                                    
     who has been  adjudicated for a crime, that  would be a                                                                    
     felony  to   possess  a  concealed  weapon   on  school                                                                    
     grounds. And  that would  be one  of the  offenses that                                                                    
     under this bill would  be automatically waived to adult                                                                    
     court for a 16 or 17-year old person.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:04:10 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS asked if the  age group of offenders was creeping                                                               
lower toward 14 year olds.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. CARPENETI said that the  behavior creep was already there. In                                                               
terms of automatic  waiver, the DOL and DHSS are  firm that under                                                               
16 is not  appropriate for automatic waiver. It  is available for                                                               
discretionary waiver.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:06:00 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
GIL DAVIS, Sergeant  in charge of Robbery  and Assault, Anchorage                                                               
Police Department, advised he was  notified about SB 65 yesterday                                                               
and  doesn't have  detailed testimony  ready. He  said there  are                                                               
hellacious numbers  of shootings  in Anchorage. He  reported that                                                               
last Friday a  17-year old fired a gun through  the door into the                                                               
Dimond  Mall. His  friend had  a  pistol with  the serial  number                                                               
ground  off. Patrol  officers report  that almost  every juvenile                                                               
car has  a stolen  gun in  it. He said  that prosecutions  in the                                                               
adult system,  a class  A felony, result  in probation  which, in                                                               
his opinion is  much more effective in  controlling the offenders                                                               
than the juvenile system.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:08:30 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SGT. DAVIS  added that having  an adult weapons felony  on record                                                               
enhances the  further prosecutions. He  said that SB  65 provides                                                               
them  an added  tool to  deal with  the juveniles  in regards  to                                                               
Project Safe Neighborhoods.  Juveniles  are not prosecuted at the                                                               
A and B level, they are  staying in the juvenile system, and they                                                               
are  not  getting  the  attention they  need.  He  cited  several                                                               
instances where  the police officers  go to  shootings constantly                                                               
but they can't prosecute.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:10:55 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SGT. DAVIS  said he would  like to find a  way to not  have young                                                               
people driving around late at night  with loaded guns in the car.                                                               
He said if  children were going to commit big  boy acts then they                                                               
should have to go to big boy jail.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Senator Therriault arrived.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH asked how many of these cases exist per year.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SGT. DAVIS said he did a search  and came up with 11 per year but                                                               
he wasn't confident that was a  true number since it was just his                                                               
personal  search  and he  didn't  do  a  thorough search  of  the                                                               
database.  He  added  that juvenile  justice  would  have  better                                                               
statistics.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH asked if these crimes happened on school grounds.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SGT. DAVIS replied  they were crimes that involved 16  and 17 yr.                                                               
olds that involved a weapon.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:12:49 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CAROL COMEAU, Superintendent,  Anchorage School District, offered                                                               
her strong  support for  SB 65. She  reported that  the Anchorage                                                               
School  District  has been  working  closely  with the  Anchorage                                                               
Police  Department  to  increase  student safety,  and  has  been                                                               
working   with  US   Attorney  Tim   Burgess   on  Project   Safe                                                               
Neighborhood. Further, they have  made great strides in educating                                                               
students to  report dangerous behavior  to ensure safety.  She is                                                               
also seeing  the spillover effect  - when the juveniles  get back                                                               
out into the community, it spills into the schools.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:14:15 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
She reported that they have not  had many firearms on campuses in                                                               
the last few years because  they have aggressively gone after it.                                                               
The  second  reason  she  supports  the bill  is  in  Section  3,                                                               
however, she  would prefer expansion  of the language.  In number                                                               
31 it  says, "While on  school grounds  or at a  school sponsored                                                               
event..." they would  like to include all  school employees while                                                               
performing in  their jobs,  or something  like that  because they                                                               
have people  assaulting school bus drivers,  administrators, etc.                                                               
They have had to install  silent alarms in many buildings because                                                               
of it.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:15:51 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CARPENETI  clarified  that  in  relation  to  the  automatic                                                               
waiver,  bad  activity  occurs  not only  in  schools,  but  also                                                               
elsewhere in the community.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked Ms.  Carpeneti why  they would  say it  is a                                                               
worse crime if  it's committed on school  grounds than elsewhere,                                                               
in terms of the aggravating factor.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. CARPENETI  replied that right  now we protect  police through                                                               
mandatory sentences,  because they have a  particularly dangerous                                                               
job. School  employees have  a job  that requires  them to  be on                                                               
school grounds  teaching and protecting children.  She recognized                                                               
that it  was a policy  call for  the committee to  decide whether                                                               
they  deserve  more  protection.  She   believes  it  is  a  good                                                               
legislative statement.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:18:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH  commented  that  aggravators allow  a  judge  to                                                               
increase a sentence but it isn't a mandate.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. CARPENETI agreed.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH explained  that he  is struggling  with the  same                                                               
question on another bill regarding  mandatory sentencing. He said                                                               
he thinks  the core conduct of  assaulting a teacher in  front of                                                               
other  kids for  no  reason  is wrong.  But  if  it's a  landlord                                                               
dispute  with a  custodian in  the  parking lot,  and an  assault                                                               
ensues, then that's not really what  they meant when the bill was                                                               
written. He added that he is more  inclined to be in favor of the                                                               
aggravator.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:19:35 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS asked  if  now  the aggravator  would  have to  be                                                               
decided by a jury if SB 65 passes.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. CARPENETI replied only for felonies.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  expanded on the  issue of aggravators and  used an                                                               
example of mall employees who work  in the center of violence. He                                                               
asked  the question  if they  also deserve  extra protection.  He                                                               
stated it is a legitimate concern, but how far do we go?                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. CARPENETI agreed there were  other concerns, but the DOL came                                                               
down on  the side  of teachers because  of serious  problems with                                                               
violence in school.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:21:08 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  asked Ms.  Comeau  what  does  the data  show  of                                                               
violence  in  the  schools,  other  than  the  survey  previously                                                               
introduced.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. COMEAU  asked the  committee for  some written  questions and                                                               
advised she will get the data to the committee in a few days.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:22:07 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked Ms.  Carpeneti if  there is  any reason                                                               
for  the name  of bill,  "The School  Violence Protection  Act of                                                               
2005."   He  stated that  there is  other legislation  protecting                                                               
kids in schools, and this bill doesn't encapsulate all of them.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CARPENETI  answered that  the  drafted  bill  is a  work  in                                                               
progress and  that some  think it does  include other  school and                                                               
non-school related  violence. However, she agrees  that the title                                                               
may no longer apply.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT asked if there  is anything in the intent that                                                               
shouldn't  just  be  covered  in  a letter  of  intent  from  the                                                               
committee. He  added that the  previously discussed  survey might                                                               
not be accurate. He  added that a lot of what  is in the six-page                                                               
bill shouldn't  be put into  the statute; therefore he  prefers a                                                               
letter of intent.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS affirmed  that  it  has been  the  policy of  this                                                               
committee to not  include special titles or  findings and intent,                                                               
but to cover it with a letter of intent.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. CARPENETI  noted that the  findings and intent section  is in                                                               
uncodified law so it doesn't go into the statute book anyway.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:25:17 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS asked for the definition of a school employee.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CARPENETI answered  there is  no definition.  School grounds                                                               
and  school-sponsored events  are terms  that are  used in  other                                                               
sections of our statute but are  not defined either and are not a                                                               
problem in terms of court  interpretation. The intent tends to be                                                               
broad and Ms. Comeau wants  to cover bus drivers, custodians, and                                                               
administrative staff. She offered to write definitions of these.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:27:16 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS asked  if the term 'school employee'  had been used                                                               
and continued that  she didn't know if a school  bus driver was a                                                               
school employee or a district employee.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. CARPENETI answered that they need to make that more clear.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS replied  that in Fairbanks, a school  bus driver is                                                               
an employee of a contractor.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. COMEAU  interrupted to say  that wasn't necessarily  true. In                                                               
Anchorage they have district school  bus drivers who are employed                                                               
by ASD and they also have contractors.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked if it  was her  intent to cover  only school                                                               
district employees.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. COMEAU  answered it is  their intent  to cover anyone  who is                                                               
engaged in  performing their duties.  If somebody  assaults them,                                                               
they should be covered.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:28:19 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS asked about volunteers.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS. COMEAU replied it was a gray  area but she would push hard to                                                               
cover anyone  assaulted while  working at  the school.  The focus                                                               
right  now  is school  employees  who  are performing  their  job                                                               
functions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  identified that there are  also food delivery                                                               
people, parents,  and volunteers,  people who may  not be  in the                                                               
classroom instructing. He  stated the need to be  clear about who                                                               
the bill applies to.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH informed  them that he volunteers at  West High at                                                               
the Eagle's Cache  Canteen selling food. He asked  for clarity on                                                               
the Youth  Risk Behavior Survey and  wants to know if  it applies                                                               
to Anchorage schools only.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:30:48 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  said he  is prone  to look  more favorably  on the                                                               
bill if the definition of the  people who are covered is expanded                                                               
beyond the narrow scope school employees.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. CARPENETI  agreed they do  need a  definition due to  all the                                                               
variables.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:31:51 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
RANDY RUARO, Assistant attorney  general with the legislation and                                                               
regulation section DOL, testified  that the survey was statewide.                                                               
It included 42 public high schools in 19 districts.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS commented about the uncodified title.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:33:04 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
PATTY WARE,  Director, Division of Juvenile  Justice, DHSS, added                                                               
she has  worked closely with  DOL on  this bill. She  advised she                                                               
talked about the  numbers in the juvenile system.  Section 4 will                                                               
expand the offenses to the adult  system if the offender is 16 or                                                               
older.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Based  on data  from  two fiscal  years, FY  03-04,  they had  40                                                               
referrals come  in to the  division that covered  both misconduct                                                               
involving weapons in  the first degree and in  the second degree.                                                               
Of those  40, kids that  were 16 or  older at the  time committed                                                               
26. Under SB  65, 13 additional juveniles would be  waived per yr                                                               
into the adult  system. These were serious offenses  and they are                                                               
looking to reduce violence in the schools and community.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:34:54 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
She said  in terms of the  details about how many  were on school                                                               
grounds,  there are  concerns about  both issues  of violence  on                                                               
school grounds and non-school grounds.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
The  majority  of  misconduct  involving  weapons  in  the  first                                                               
degree, most  of those  are not  on school  grounds. In  terms of                                                               
misconduct involving weapons in the  second degree, most of those                                                               
were  on school  grounds. Those  were kids  who had  already been                                                               
adjudicated for a prior felony.  The other most common, was eight                                                               
referrals on discharging a firearm  at a dwelling. She offered to                                                               
answer questions.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
9:36:09 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS announced a 5-minute recess.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:43:18 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS came back on record.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
BRUCE JOHNSON,  Association of Alaska  School Boards,  stated the                                                               
board  adopted a  2002 resolution  that was  revised in  November                                                               
that deals  with assault on  school employees. He added  that the                                                               
definition is more  of a holistic look  concerning people working                                                               
with  young people.  He urged  a broad  definition to  cover many                                                               
people.  He   spoke  of  rural  districts   and  identified  many                                                               
challenges  in  the  communities  with  assault  and  threats  of                                                               
physical violence  against school  employees. He offered  to help                                                               
fashion the wording on the bill.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:44:51 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HUGGINS asked  what is  the  organizational position  on                                                               
violence that starts at school but ends outside school grounds.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOHNSON  admitted   it  is  a  difficult   issue,  and  such                                                               
situations occur.  If an  incident carried  over from  the school                                                               
and started  because of your  role at  the school, he  would hope                                                               
that would be covered.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:46:02 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  said  he  wants  this to  be  a  school  violence                                                               
protection act. He recognized that  the survey says 11 percent of                                                               
high school students are afraid in  schools but he sees no survey                                                               
of school district  employees, if they have  been threatened. But                                                               
if  we pass  this  law,  it's a  greater  offense  to assault  an                                                               
employee than  a student. He advised  they work on SB  65 if they                                                               
want to  address the  issue of concealed  weapons, or  threats at                                                               
school. He would  like to put all involved on  an equal level. He                                                               
said he would prefer to look  at a broader spectrum and asked Mr.                                                               
Johnson if his organization was opposed to that.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JOHNSON  replied no  and  assured  he  would work  with  the                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:48:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH asked  a question regarding carrying  a weapon and                                                               
asked for a definition of the phrase.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. RUARO admitted  that he can't answer the  question and agreed                                                               
with  Senator  French that  there  are  instances of  carrying  a                                                               
weapon legally.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  said we have  a good reduction in  illegal weapon                                                               
carrying between 1995 and 2003 and asked if anyone knew why.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. RUARO answered that he can't  answer that but his guess is it                                                               
is due to  increased funding, posting peace  officers at schools,                                                               
and other efforts.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:50:33 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  said he  doesn't want  to see  an adult  come onto                                                               
school grounds  to pick up a  child, and, with a  legal concealed                                                               
weapon in the car, get arrested.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:52:05 AM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS asked  for  further questions.  He  said he  would                                                               
prefer to look at the spectrum of  people and come up with a more                                                               
acceptable group.  He offered  to carry the  bill over  and asked                                                               
for objections.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GUESS asked  to also  define school  grounds, especially                                                               
buses.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS stated support of CHAIR SEEKINS.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  announced  he  will   carry  the  bill  over  and                                                               
adjourned the committee meeting.                                                                                                

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