Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

03/22/2005 08:30 AM JUDICIARY


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ SB 70 CRIMES INVOLVING CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
= SJR 10 SUPPORT FEDERAL MARRIAGE AMENDMENT
Moved SJR 10 Out of Committee
= SB 67 CLAIMS AGAINST HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS
Heard & Held
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 22, 2005                                                                                         
                           8:34 a.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Ralph Seekins, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Charlie Huggins, Vice Chair                                                                                             
Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                         
Senator Hollis French                                                                                                           
Senator Gretchen Guess                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 10                                                                                                  
Supporting the federal marriage amendment.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     MOVED SJR 10 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 67                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to claims for personal injury or wrongful death                                                                
against health care providers; and providing for an effective                                                                   
date."                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 70                                                                                                              
"An Act  relating to controlled  substances regarding  the crimes                                                               
of  manslaughter,  endangering  the   welfare  of  a  child,  and                                                               
misconduct involving  a controlled  substance; and  providing for                                                               
an effective date."                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SJR 10                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: SUPPORT FEDERAL MARRIAGE AMENDMENT                                                                                 
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) DYSON                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
02/28/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/28/05       (S)       JUD                                                                                                    
03/09/05       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/09/05       (S)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
03/17/05       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/17/05       (S)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 67                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: CLAIMS AGAINST HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS                                                                               
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) SEEKINS                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
01/21/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/21/05       (S)       L&C, JUD                                                                                               
02/08/05       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
02/08/05       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/08/05       (S)       MINUTE (L&C)                                                                                           
03/01/05       (S)       L&C AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
03/01/05       (S)       Moved SB 67 Out of Committee                                                                           
03/01/05       (S)       MINUTE (L&C)                                                                                           
03/02/05       (S)       L&C RPT 3DP 1DNP                                                                                       
03/02/05       (S)       DP: BUNDE, SEEKINS, STEVENS B                                                                          
03/02/05       (S)       DNP: ELLIS                                                                                             
03/08/05       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/08/05       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/08/05       (S)       MINUTE (JUD)                                                                                           
03/17/05       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/17/05       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/17/05       (S)       MINUTE (JUD)                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 70                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: CRIMES INVOLVING CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
01/21/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/21/05       (S)       HES, JUD                                                                                               
02/23/05       (S)       HES AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/23/05       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/23/05       (S)       MINUTE (HES)                                                                                           
02/25/05       (S)       HES AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/25/05       (S)       Moved CSSB 70(HES) Out of Committee                                                                    
02/25/05       (S)       MINUTE (HES)                                                                                           
02/28/05       (S)       HES RPT CS 1DP 2NR NEW TITLE                                                                           
02/28/05       (S)       DP: DYSON                                                                                              
02/28/05       (S)       NR: GREEN, ELTON                                                                                       
02/28/05       (S)       FIN REFERRAL ADDED AFTER JUD                                                                           
03/22/05       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Senator Fred Dyson                                                                                                              
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of SJR 10                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Michael MacLeod-Ball, Director                                                                                              
Alaska Civil Liberties Union (AkCLU)                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition of SJR 10                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Ward Murdes, Attorney                                                                                                       
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition of SB 67                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Margaret Luey                                                                                                               
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition of SB 67                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Richard Luey                                                                                                                
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition of SB 67                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Brian Slocum, Administrator                                                                                                 
Tanana Valley Clinic                                                                                                            
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 67                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Jim Jordan, Executive Director                                                                                              
Alaska State Medical Association                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 67                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Dean Guaneli, Chief Assistant Attorney General                                                                              
Criminal Division                                                                                                               
Department of Law                                                                                                               
PO Box 110300                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0300                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced SB 70                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  RALPH   SEEKINS  called  the  Senate   Judiciary  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to  order at 8:34:27 AM.  Present were Senators                                                             
Hollis French,  Charlie Huggins, Gretchen Guess,  and Chair Ralph                                                               
Seekins.                                                                                                                        
           SJR 10-SUPPORT FEDERAL MARRIAGE AMENDMENT                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:35:09 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRED DYSON  introduced SJR 10. Since 1998  44 states have                                                               
amended their  constitution to better define  marriage as between                                                               
one  man and  one  woman. Courts  in  Massachusetts, Vermont  and                                                               
California   have  made   decisions  casting   doubts  upon   the                                                               
constitutionality   of  those   laws.   Marriages  performed   in                                                               
Massachusetts  between  same  sex couple  cause  difficulty  with                                                               
other  states due  to  the  differences in  states  laws. The  US                                                               
Congress supports the Federal Defense  of Marriage Act and Alaska                                                               
would show support by passing SJR 10.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:39:24 AM                                                                                                                    
Senator Gene Therriault joined the committee.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HOLLIS  FRENCH  expressed preference  for  letting  each                                                               
state decide its own laws.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  DYSON expressed  preference for  consistency across  the                                                               
nation.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:41:35 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEEKINS  asked  Senator Dyson  whether  the  Massachusetts                                                               
decision was done by the courts or by the people.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DYSON responded the courts.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR CHARLIE HUGGINS shared Senator Dyson's perspective.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:44:14 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  FRENCH  asked Senator  Dyson  whether  he would  support                                                               
adding  an  exception  to  the   Full  Faith  and  Credit  Clause                                                               
identifying that Alaska  does not want to be put  in the position                                                               
of honoring another states laws on marriage.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DYSON said it would not have the same urgency as SJR 10.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS expressed support for Senator French's suggestion.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:45:51 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. MICHAEL MACLEOD-BALL, director,  Alaska Civil Liberties Union                                                               
(AkCLU)  testified in  opposition to  the resolution.  He said  a                                                               
couple  married in  another jurisdiction  subjects themselves  to                                                               
Alaska's law when  moving to Alaska. There is  nothing that would                                                               
require Alaska  courts or companies  to acknowledge  the validity                                                               
of the marriage.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:47:34 AM                                                                                                                    
The AkCLU supports  the full extension of marriage  rights to all                                                               
couples. The author  of the Federal Defense of  Marriage Act, Mr.                                                               
Bob Barr, opposes this type of legislation due to states rights.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:49:19 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. MACLEOD BALL quoted Mr. Barr's testimony to the US Congress:                                                                
     By  moving   what  has   traditionally  been   a  state                                                                    
     prerogative,  local  marriage   laws,  to  the  federal                                                                    
     government it's  in direct violation of  the principals                                                                    
     of federalism.  In treating the  US Constitution  as an                                                                    
     appropriate place  to impose publicly  contested social                                                                    
     policies  it would  cheapen  the  sacrosanct nature  of                                                                    
     that document  opening the door  to future  meddling by                                                                    
     liberals  and conservatives.  Third, it  is unnecessary                                                                    
     as  long as  the  Federal Defense  of  Marriage Act  is                                                                    
     enforced.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:50:39 AM                                                                                                                    
Conservative  representatives have  expressed  concern about  the                                                               
federal preemption  of the state  having the ability to  make its                                                               
own  decisions. Most  people are  against discrimination.  SJR 10                                                               
has  the  potential to  take  away  rights  of partners  such  as                                                               
hospital rights, pension rights, and inheritance rights.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:51:53 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR THERRIAULT asked Mr. Macleod  Ball how Wyoming dealt with                                                               
the Full Faith and Credit Clause issue.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. MACLEOD-BALL did not know.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT speculated they chose to ignore it.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MACLEOD  BALL  quoted  Senator   John  Haynes  from  Wyoming                                                               
testimony to the US Congress.                                                                                                   
     "State  courts have  over 200  years  of experience  in                                                                    
     deciding  which  out  of   state  marriages  they  will                                                                    
     recognize."                                                                                                                
What he is  talking about is an area reserved  for the states and                                                               
the federal government has traditionally stayed out of it.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
8:53:39 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS  said in this case  the people of Alaska  have said                                                               
marriage should be between one man and one woman.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MACLEOD-BALL said  the issue  is whether  the people  of the                                                               
United  States should  make  decisions for  the  people in  every                                                               
state.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS said often courts  make decisions that are contrary                                                               
to what the people would do if they were asked.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
8:58:54 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  THERRIAULT  agreed the  beginning  of  the civil  rights                                                               
movement would not  have garnered majority support  if the people                                                               
of the US were polled.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MACLEOD  BALL  asserted  an   Alaska  court  might  have  to                                                               
interpret Massachusetts's  case law  in the event  of a  same sex                                                               
marriage  ending in  divorce. However,  courts  have always  been                                                               
burdened with  those types of  decisions. Alaska still  would not                                                               
have to recognize the marriage.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:01:23 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  MACLEOD  BALL  took  the   position  that  SJR  10  was  not                                                               
necessary.  The Federal  Defense of  Marriage Act  is already  in                                                               
place.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:02:59 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  FRENCH asked  Mr. Macleod  Ball what  is in  the Federal                                                               
Defense  of Marriage  Act that  works against  the idea  of civil                                                               
unions.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MACLEOD BALL  said there  was no  short answer.  The AkCLU's                                                               
concern  is the  federal amendment  would change  the benefit  of                                                               
civil unions.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:04:37 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS closed public testimony.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HUGGINS   moved  SJR  10  from   committee.  Hearing  no                                                               
objections the motion carried.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
           SB 67-CLAIMS AGAINST HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:06:02 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS announced SB 67 to be up for consideration.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WARD  MURDES, attorney,  divided  his  testimony into  three                                                               
concepts:  responsibility,  trust,  and value.  Whenever  a  bill                                                               
lowers  a  person's responsibility  it  invites  the same  social                                                               
aspects.  No one  can prove  the insurance  companies will  lower                                                               
premiums in response  to the bill. SB 67 would  punish people who                                                               
are severely harmed.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:10:35 AM                                                                                                                    
The state  should trust the  juries and  the judges to  apply the                                                               
law. The  insurance company attorneys consistently  demand a jury                                                               
trial  because juries  are notoriously  cheap.  The $250,000  cap                                                               
would  negatively  affect the  most  horribly  injured. There  is                                                               
currently  no  indication  that  the  insurance  companies  would                                                               
decrease their  rates as  a result  of SB  67. Doctors  should be                                                               
held  accountable  for every  dollar  of  damage they  cause.  He                                                               
opposed SB 67 in total.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:13:38 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked Mr.  Murdes to  talk about  the current                                                               
system, which has a $400,000  cap, and the workability of getting                                                               
around the cap.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. MURDES  said in 17 years  of medical malpractice work  he has                                                               
never  had a  verdict  for personal  injury non-economic  damages                                                               
exceeding  $250,000. Alaskan  jurors overall  simply don't  award                                                               
big money. Getting around the cap is a non-issue.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  THERRIAULT said  the  next case  might  receive the  big                                                               
money judgment.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MURDES asserted  that  Alaskan jurors  are  not inclined  to                                                               
award damages against doctors. He  urged the committee to do some                                                               
research into  the perceived crisis  and he volunteered  his time                                                               
to do an analysis for the committee.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:17:27 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked Mr. Murdes  his suggestion  on allowing                                                               
an upper limit.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MURDES  said  the jury  addresses  the  compensatory  damage                                                               
limit. Gross negligence  is not defined very well  in Alaska law.                                                               
Sometimes doctors  don't do  what they  are paid  to do  and they                                                               
should be held accountable.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:19:20 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. MARGARET LUEY  testified in opposition to SB  67. Her husband                                                               
experienced permanent  damage due  to medical negligence.  At the                                                               
time he  was 49  and in excellent  health. He  was intellectually                                                               
gifted and a  valued employee of British Petroleum  as a computer                                                               
scientist  and  lead  auditor.   He  enjoyed  fishing,  canoeing,                                                               
camping, hiking, gardening, and woodwork.  Now there is not a day                                                               
that passes  that Richard does  not struggle.  It is a  labor for                                                               
him to  communicate and express  ideas. He  is now stared  at and                                                               
treated as  mentally defective. Non-economic losses  and pain and                                                               
suffering are  terms that are  cavalierly tossed  around. Richard                                                               
suffers from  a loss of self-esteem  and a loss of  his education                                                               
due to a brain injury.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:23:24 AM                                                                                                                    
When his  injury occurred  they had just  purchased a  dream home                                                               
and a new  car. In an instant that all  vanished. Today they face                                                               
a mountain  of debt.  The legal battle  for accountability  was a                                                               
steep uphill  fight for five years  and they never did  get a day                                                               
in  court.  Every  attorney  stopped  helping  them  due  to  the                                                               
extraordinarily high  cost of expert medical  testimony estimated                                                               
to be  $150,000. Doctors  are reluctant  to testify  against each                                                               
other and juries tend to presume all doctors are truthful.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
9:25:51 AM                                                                                                                    
This  belief requires  a  higher  level of  evidence  to prove  a                                                               
doctor has  been careless. She  urged the committee to  quash the                                                               
bill.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:27:41 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. RICHARD LUEY testified against SB 67.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:28:53 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. BRIAN SLOCUM, administrator,  Tanana Valley Clinic, testified                                                               
in support  of SB 67. He  said the bill would  bring badly needed                                                               
physicians into  Alaska. There is  a growing shortage  of doctors                                                               
in Alaska's interior. A 2003  American Medical Association review                                                               
found that between 1965-2002  non-federal physicians increased at                                                               
a rate of 213% while the US population only grew about 51%.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:30:50 AM                                                                                                                    
The  data  suggests  the  problem of  physician  shortages  is  a                                                               
localized  problem.  A  recent  editorial  in  Modern  Healthcare                                                               
predicts a shortage of up to 200,000 doctors by 2020.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:32:40 AM                                                                                                                    
This shortage  computes that approximately 465  patients will not                                                               
be seen daily by the year 2008.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:36:01 AM                                                                                                                    
Medical  malpractice  insurance  costs new  doctors  $250,000  in                                                               
Alaska,  which  causes  them to  decide  to  practice  elsewhere.                                                               
Passing SB 67 will curb a healthcare collapse.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:37:03 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  FRENCH  asked  Mr.  Slocum what  role  the  Division  of                                                               
Insurance  played in  approving  the  recent medical  malpractice                                                               
premium increase.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. SLOCUM said he didn't know.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH asked for a  link between medical malpractice caps                                                               
and doctor availability.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:38:46 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. SLOCUM said he did not have specific information on that.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS asked Mr. Slocum  to comment whether the clinic has                                                               
had an arbitration case go to a review panel.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. SLOCUM  said they  did have  a case  that was  settled before                                                               
trial.   Typically   attorneys   make  the   decision   regarding                                                               
arbitration and review panels.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:41:08 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GUESS asked  whether he had any information  to show that                                                               
the two existing  insurance companies wouldn't leave if  a cap is                                                               
put in place.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. SLOCUM had no proof of that.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
9:43:10 AM                                                                                                                    
MR.  JIM   JORDAN,  executive  director,  Alaska   State  Medical                                                               
Association, testified in  support of SB 67. The  six states that                                                               
have fewer  doctors per capita  than Alaska are  Idaho, Oklahoma,                                                               
Mississippi,  Nevada,  Wyoming  and  Iowa.  One  reason  why  the                                                               
Medical Indemnity Corporation of  Alaska (MICA) disappeared is it                                                               
was  an  effective  victim  of  it's  own  success.  It  produced                                                               
positive  gains  and  the  Internal   Revenue  Service  taxed  it                                                               
federally. There  was concern that  same theory would  be applied                                                               
to other state organizations i.e. the Permanent Fund.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:50:21 AM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Jordan disagreed with concern  expressed that if the cap were                                                               
established at $250,000 it would  impact the ability of people to                                                               
go  to court.  Two  of  the three  insurance  companies who  left                                                               
Alaska do  business in Idaho  with a  premium rate of  48 percent                                                               
lower.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:54:59 AM                                                                                                                    
An OBGYN working in Nome could  no longer afford the premiums and                                                               
had to quit doing certain medical procedures.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:55:54 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  THERRIAULT  asked  Mr.   Jordan  to  speak  of  punitive                                                               
damages.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. JORDAN said AS 09.17.020 explains that.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS  asked whether Mr. Jordan  knew of case law  on how                                                               
future economics work for children.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JORDAN  knew  of  no  case law.  The  Alaska  State  Medical                                                               
Association's  attorney does  medical malpractice  awards and  he                                                               
indicated it  is very  unusual for the  plaintiff and  defense to                                                               
differ  on  the  value  of future  economic  earnings,  including                                                               
children.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:57:45 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GUESS asked  Mr. Jordan  whether the  Legislature should                                                               
attempt  to  increase  the  Washington,  Alaska,  Montana,  Idaho                                                               
(WAMI) program in order to address the shortage of physicians.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:59:24 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. JORDAN agreed expansion of the WAMI program would help.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
10:00:54 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR FRENCH  advised Mr.  Jordan much  of the  information the                                                               
Legislature has  received on  SB 67 does  not confirm  that rates                                                               
would change as a  result of passage of the bill.  He asked for a                                                               
response.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  JORDAN said  all other  things remaining  equal rates  would                                                               
decrease. However, other impacts will cause the rates to rise.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  closed public  testimony.  He  held the  bill  in                                                               
committee.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:15:32 AM < Recess > 10:15:52 AM                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
          SB 70-CRIMES INVOLVING CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:15:52 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEEKINS announced SB 70 to be up for consideration.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. DEAN  GUANELI, chief  assistant attorney  general, Department                                                               
of  Law (DOL)  explained SB  70 is  commonly referred  to as  the                                                               
governor's methamphetamine bill.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
10:16:50 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  SEEKINS clarified  the committee  was considering  Version                                                               
\G.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GUANELI detailed  Section  1 addresses  all  forms of  drugs                                                               
manufactured or sold in Alaska. If  a person were to make or sell                                                               
these drugs and  someone dies as a result of  direct ingestion it                                                               
would be  a manslaughter charge.  Section 2 creates a  defense in                                                               
the case of drugs stolen out of a secure area.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:19:51 AM                                                                                                                   
Sections  3, 4,  and 5  are  provisions that  directly relate  to                                                               
methamphetamine (meth)  manufacturing. The manufacturing  of meth                                                               
is  a dangerous  activity using  flammable, explosive,  and toxic                                                               
materials.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:22:03 AM                                                                                                                   
Section 6 addresses a specific  type of meth commonly called meth                                                               
oil.  Section 7  makes anabolic  steroids a  controlled substance                                                               
under the Alaska criminal code.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:27:53 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR THERRIAULT noted there was  no definition of ingestion in                                                               
Alaska statutes.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. GUANELI  said it  was the  intent that  ingestion would  be a                                                               
broader term than in the mouth.  The intent is to cover all forms                                                               
of  use. SB70  is intended  to get  to the  manufacturers of  the                                                               
drugs.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:30:43 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR THERRIAULT  speculated there was a  possible problem with                                                               
using the words "result of use."                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. GUANELI explained in the  situation where someone unknowingly                                                               
takes  a  controlled  substance they  wouldn't  be  charged  with                                                               
using.  Deliberate  or accidental  use  would  be an  appropriate                                                               
amendment.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
10:31:44 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR FRENCH  noted sometimes addicts  inject each  other. That                                                               
denotes  voluntary action.  He asked  whether that  situation was                                                               
addressed in the bill.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  GUANELI said  it  was intended  since  the person  injecting                                                               
controls the dosage.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
10:34:17 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR HUGGINS  read the manufacturing  of meth has  a poisonous                                                               
effect on the building. He asked about the net effect of that.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. GUANELI  answered potentially  there is  an effect  on future                                                               
residents  but it  depends on  how contaminated  the site  is. He                                                               
indicated  the   Alaska  State  Troopers  would   have  expansive                                                               
testimony regarding that topic.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:36:24 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  GUESS referred  Senator Huggins  to another  bill, which                                                               
addresses meth lab clean up.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:38:04 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEEKINS  held SB  70 in committee.  There being  no further                                                               
business to come  before the committee, he  adjourned the meeting                                                               
at 10:38:44 AM.                                                                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects