Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

04/12/2005 08:00 AM JUDICIARY


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Time Change --
+= SB 20 OFFENSES AGAINST UNBORN CHILDREN TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
= SB 128 BOROUGH INCORPORATION
Moved SB 128 Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         April 12, 2005                                                                                         
                           8:48 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 BILL NO. 20                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to offenses against unborn children."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 128                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to consideration by the Local Boundary                                                                         
Commission of a requested borough incorporation."                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     MOVED SB 128 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 20                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: OFFENSES AGAINST UNBORN CHILDREN                                                                                   
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) DYSON                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
01/11/05       (S)       PREFILE RELEASED 12/30/04                                                                              
01/11/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/11/05       (S)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
03/01/05       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
03/01/05       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/01/05       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/15/05       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
03/15/05       (S)       Moved CSSB 20(STA) Out of Committee                                                                    
03/15/05       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/16/05       (S)       STA RPT CS 1NR 4AM SAME TITLE                                                                          
03/16/05       (S)       AM: THERRIAULT, ELTON, WAGONER, HUGGINS                                                                
03/16/05       (S)       NR: DAVIS                                                                                              
03/16/05       (S)       FIN REFERRAL ADDED AFTER JUD                                                                           
03/31/05       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/31/05       (S)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
04/04/05       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
04/04/05       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/04/05       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
04/12/05       (H)       JUD AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 128                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: BOROUGH INCORPORATION                                                                                              
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) THERRIAULT                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
03/03/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/03/05       (S)       CRA, JUD                                                                                               
03/21/05       (S)       CRA AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
03/21/05       (S)       Moved SB 128 Out of Committee                                                                          
03/21/05       (S)       MINUTE(CRA)                                                                                            
03/22/05       (S)       CRA RPT 3DP 1NR                                                                                        
03/22/05       (S)       DP: STEVENS G, WAGONER, KOOKESH                                                                        
03/22/05       (S)       NR: STEDMAN                                                                                            
04/06/05       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
04/06/05       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/06/05       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
04/07/05       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
04/07/05       (S)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
04/08/05       (H)       JUD AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
04/08/05       (S)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Senator Fred Dyson                                                                                                              
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsored SB 20                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
Mr. Wes Keller                                                                                                                  
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 20                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Anne Carpeneti                                                                                                              
Department of Law                                                                                                               
PO Box 110300                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0300                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on SB 20                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Caren Robinson, Lobbyist                                                                                                    
Alaska Women's Lobby                                                                                                            
PO Box 33702                                                                                                                    
Juneau, AK 99803                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition of SB 20                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Robin Smith                                                                                                                 
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition of SB 20                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Meghan Gaughan                                                                                                              
PO Box 1765                                                                                                                     
Bethel, AK 99559                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition of SB 20                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Michelle Dewitt                                                                                                             
PO Box 2847                                                                                                                     
Bethel, AK 99559                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition of SB 20                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Brenda Stanfill                                                                                                             
Fairbanks, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition of SB 20                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Janel Hafner, Attorney                                                                                                      
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition of SB 20                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Kate Bourkhart, Attorney                                                                                                    
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition of SB 20                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Cathy Girard                                                                                                                
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified for Ms. Sherry Goll in opposition                                                              
of SB 20                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Tessa Beedle                                                                                                                
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 20                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Maddie Nolan                                                                                                                
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 20                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  RALPH   SEEKINS  called  the  Senate   Judiciary  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to  order at 8:48:41 AM.  Present were Senators                                                             
Hollis French,  Charlie Huggins, Gene Therriault,  Gretchen Guess                                                               
and Chair Ralph Seekins.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Chair Seekins  announced the committee would  continue hearing SB                                                               
20.                                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
             SB 20-OFFENSES AGAINST UNBORN CHILDREN                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
8:49:02 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  FRED  DYSON continued  his  introduction  of SB  20.  He                                                               
presented a  committee substitute (CS),  which he referred  to as                                                               
Version \C. He  said the issue in the previous  meeting, when can                                                               
a  mother be  charged,  is  solved by  changing  the standard  to                                                               
"recklessly." Under  criminal law, a person  acts recklessly when                                                               
they are  aware of and  consciously disregard a  substantial risk                                                               
where  the  result  would  be  a  gross  deviation  from  what  a                                                               
reasonable person would do.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
8:51:31 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. WES KELLER,  staff to Senator Dyson, explained  what has been                                                               
added is "reckless means by a dangerous instrument."                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
8:52:36 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS asked  Senator Dyson for a  definition of dangerous                                                               
instrument.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.  KELLER explained  it  is  defined in  AS  11.81.900 as  "any                                                               
deadly weapon or anything that,  under the circumstances in which                                                               
it is  used, attempted to be  used, or threatened to  be used, is                                                               
capable of causing death or serious physical injury."                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS asked whether that could include fist or feet.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. KELLER said according to the Department of Law (DOL), yes.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
8:53:58 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR DYSON  explained Page 4  narrows the meaning  of physical                                                               
injury.  Line  7  adds  the  complication  of  birth  weight  for                                                               
premature births.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  inquired on  the  conversion  of 2,500  grams  to                                                               
pounds.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS commented 2,500 grams was approximately 5 pounds.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DYSON further explained Page 4;  lines 9-15 of the CS add                                                               
"controlled  substance", "addicted  infant", and  "clear case  of                                                               
fetal alcohol syndrome" (FAS). Since  the CS was drafted, the DOL                                                               
suggested adding a definition of FAS.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
8:56:01 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  THERRIAULT  asked for  clarification  on  who would  get                                                               
charged in the case of FAS.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DYSON responded  the woman would get charged.  He said it                                                               
was  a policy  decision  to  not totally  excuse  the mother  for                                                               
reckless actions taken against the unborn child.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
8:57:37 AM                                                                                                                    
MR. KELLER pointed  out a drafting error in the  CS. Page 4; line                                                               
6 should  be the word  "additionally" after the  word "includes",                                                               
which expands  the definition of "serious  physical injury." Page                                                               
4 line 15 delete the word "and" and insert the word "or".                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
8:59:45 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  FRENCH said  he  does  not see  a  causation element  in                                                               
subsection 1, lines 7-8.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS commented  there were many things  that would cause                                                               
a child to be born under 2,500 grams.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
9:02:02 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS noted the problem could easily be corrected.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH expressed he needs to  know from a doctor the acts                                                               
that might produce a premature birth.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. KELLER stated the causal part is in the term "recklessly."                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS noted  there could  be many  natural causes  for a                                                               
premature birth not induced by reckless acts.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
9:04:24 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GUESS noted  Page  4  line 7  seems  out  of place.  She                                                               
inquired as to why it was included.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DYSON  responded the definition  of a premature  child is                                                               
modified in a multiple  birth. He wanted to make sure  if it is a                                                               
multiple birth situation that someone doesn't get charged.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS disputed the definition of premature.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:06:11 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS voiced his support  of the concept that someone who                                                               
causes a miscarriage by a reckless act should not walk free.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:07:46 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR THERRIAULT asked Senator Dyson  whether SB 20 would apply                                                               
to a woman who puts herself into a questionable situation.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  DYSON  responded  it  would have  to  be  knowingly  and                                                               
recklessly.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  GUESS  said  reckless   is  "aware  of  and  consciously                                                               
disregards a  substantial and unjustifiable  risk". She  said the                                                               
district  attorney would  decide and  it wouldn't  necessarily be                                                               
clear whether or not a situation was reckless.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:09:06 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GUESS stated  with the language in SB 20,  a person could                                                               
easily  prosecute  a  woman  for  not adhering  to  bed  rest  by                                                               
claiming she demonstrated reckless behavior.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS   said  Senator  Guess  would   have  demonstrated                                                               
reckless behavior  if she had gone  on a roller coaster  when she                                                               
was ordered bed rest by her doctor.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS agreed and said that  would also be true if she was                                                               
up  an hour  more  than ordered  during the  day.  She noted  the                                                               
sponsor  probably does  not intend  to criminalize  all premature                                                               
births, but the law can be interpreted that way.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  DYSON  said   that  is  why  the   DOL  added  dangerous                                                               
instrument.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
9:10:45 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS reviewed the proposed changes with the committee.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH suggested taking the words "purposeful act" out.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS concurred.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Chair Seekins announced a short recess at 9:13:31 AM.                                                                         
Chair Seekins reconvened the meeting at 9:22:57 AM.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS voiced his primary concern  lies on page 4 lines 5-                                                               
8 where the topic for discussion  is huge. He shared his personal                                                               
experience with  his first son  who was  born one ounce  over the                                                               
proposed  2,500  grams  limit.  He said  the  state  should  hold                                                               
someone accountable  for substance abuse regardless  of the birth                                                               
weight.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
9:24:16 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  DYSON said  adding the  multiple birth  section protects                                                               
the mother  from being charged.  He agreed  the 37 weeks  and the                                                               
birth  weight issue  needs more  research.  He expressed  concern                                                               
that FAS is clear medically,  but fetal alcohol effects (FAE) are                                                               
not.                                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:26:04 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGGINS  moved  to  adopt  Version  \C  as  the  working                                                               
document.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR DYSON stated  it would be helpful to  make the conceptual                                                               
amendments that were mentioned earlier.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR   GUESS  moved   conceptual  amendment   1.  Hearing   no                                                               
objections, the motion carried.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:28:42 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GUESS  asked the committee  members to consider  the case                                                               
in  multiple  births  where  there  are  selection  choices.  The                                                               
current language  of SB 20  would allow for penalizing  women who                                                               
choose not  to have a child  who has been determined  in utero to                                                               
have cerebral palsy.  This could happen more  often as technology                                                               
moves forward.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Chair Seekins called Ms. Anne Carpeneti to answer questions.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:32:04 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH  asked Ms.  Carpeneti to  explain sentencing  of a                                                               
drunk driver who kills a woman who is 2 weeks pregnant.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Ms.  ANNE  CARPENETI  cited, AS  12.55.127  requires  consecutive                                                               
terms. Currently,  murder 2  is a mandatory  minimum of  20 years                                                               
for a child and 10 years for an adult.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:35:44 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GUESS asked  Ms. Carpeneti  if SB  20 becomes  law would                                                               
there be remedy in civil court.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.CARPENETI  hesitated   to  advise   the  committee   on  civil                                                               
liability. She stated  an act that is a crime  generally could be                                                               
a basis for civil liability.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:37:33 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. BRENDA STANFILL testified she shared  SB 20 with 28 women who                                                               
all  expressed  concern  that  there  are  a  lot  of  unintended                                                               
consequences. In our society we  often hear, "Why does she stay?"                                                               
Very seldom do  we hear, "Why does he continue  beating her?" The                                                               
committee  should not  pass  a bill  that  allows prosecutors  to                                                               
prosecute  women who  they  perceive  as choosing  to  live in  a                                                               
domestic violence situation.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:39:49 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. STANFILL  wondered whether doctors  would have to  report all                                                               
miscarriages and stillborn deaths, and  whether there would be an                                                               
investigation. She  asked about women  who will not  seek medical                                                               
care  for fear  of being  charged of  a crime,  and of  those who                                                               
cannot access prenatal care. She  suggested the committee explore                                                               
using sentencing aggravators instead of passing SB 20.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
9:41:09 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. MEGAN GUYHAN  testified in opposition of SB 20  and stated it                                                               
completely bypasses  the primary  victim. If society  would focus                                                               
on keeping the  woman safe it would also keep  the fetus safe. In                                                               
abusive  situations,  many women  are  hesitant  to seek  medical                                                               
attention if they feel the  abuser will be charged with homicide.                                                               
Perpetrators will  prevent women  from seeking  medical attention                                                               
knowing  they could  be prosecuted.  She said  Alaska's rates  of                                                               
assault on women are far too high.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
9:43:02 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. MICHELE  DEWITT echoed the  comments of  previous testifiers.                                                               
She  expressed concern  with  the words,  "means  of a  dangerous                                                               
instrument" and  the discussion by  the committee of what  may or                                                               
may not be  prosecuted. She claimed there is a  lot of discretion                                                               
by prosecutors and  if SB 20 were to pass  it would be impossible                                                               
to know  what will  and will  not be prosecuted.  SB 20  does not                                                               
address the crime of violence against women.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:45:12 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. JANELE HAFNER  testified the creation of  a separate criminal                                                               
offense  regarding violence  against  women is  redundant. SB  20                                                               
introduces legally  unsound principles.  It rests  on legislative                                                               
adoption of  medically inaccurate and misleading  terminology and                                                               
ultimately places Alaska on a  collision course with basic tenets                                                               
of Alaska Constitutional Law. SB  20 does not decrease the number                                                               
of pregnant  women being  assaulted. Statutory  aggravators serve                                                               
as a far more appropriate  remedy in punishing violent acts. They                                                               
serve as a better utilization  of state resources. They alleviate                                                               
the  problems   with  prosecutorial  discretion  and   the  proof                                                               
problems written in  SB 20. She suggested  the committee increase                                                               
domestic  violence  spending  across  the  board,  offer  greater                                                               
access to prenatal care and  improve and expand women's access to                                                               
educational, social and health programs.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
9:47:13 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGGINS  asked Ms. Hafner to  elaborate on constitutional                                                               
collision.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS.  HAFNER stated  many constitutional  and legal  problems that                                                               
are addressed in  SB 20 are not raised  until legally challenged.                                                               
She said she believes SB 20  is subject to a legal challenge. She                                                               
asserted she  is speaking on  behalf of herself and  not speaking                                                               
on behalf  of the DOL.  The U.S. Supreme  court has ruled  that a                                                               
woman has  a right  to terminate pregnancy  and the  state cannot                                                               
interfere.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Hafner said:                                                                                                                
     The    state    creates    legal    personhood    while                                                                    
     simultaneously  stating it's  homicide and  assault for                                                                    
     an  individual  to  perpetrate  acts,  which  cut  that                                                                    
     short. It  seems somewhat unbelievable  to me  that you                                                                    
     can  then  exempt  a  woman,   who  undergoes  a  legal                                                                    
     abortion.  You're  essentially   allowing  a  woman  to                                                                    
     consent to  murder or to  consent to an assault  on her                                                                    
     fetus,  which  conflicts  with   the  very  idea  of  a                                                                    
     protected  choice under  the constitution.  So I  think                                                                    
     that's fairly problematic.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
9:49:25 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS:                                                                                                                  
     I don't agree with that  concept. I think this bill has                                                                    
     protected  a woman's  so called  constitutional rights,                                                                    
     but it doesn't allow anyone else to kill that child.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  HAFNER respectfully  disagreed and  stated SB  20 creates  a                                                               
legal  conundrum.   The  safest,  easiest,  and   most  effective                                                               
approach is  to commit resources to  statutory aggravators, which                                                               
don't carry the same legal threats.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS asked  Ms. Hafner whether she  is concerned about                                                               
newly born children affected by drugs and alcohol.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. HAFNER  answered yes. She said  she is not supportive  of any                                                               
provisions  in  SB 20  that  serve  as  punitive measures  for  a                                                               
pregnant woman.  It is more  appropriate to remedy  and alleviate                                                               
the underlying  causes rather than  to punish pregnant  women for                                                               
their conduct.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR HUGGINS asked  Ms. Hafner whether she  was advocating for                                                               
no  accountability for  the mother  in the  case of  FAS or  drug                                                               
addiction at birth.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
9:51:14 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  HAFNER responded  from a  social  standpoint, resources  are                                                               
better spent remedying the problem  than punishing behavior after                                                               
it exists.  She said if we  are all generally concerned  with the                                                               
prevalence of  FAS across  the state,  we can  agree on  a common                                                               
approach, which  is targeting it  before the  circumstances which                                                               
give rise to a woman's drinking exists.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  commented Ms.  Hafner had a  good point.  He said                                                               
there might be legal accountability short of punitive measures.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS commented he has  no tolerance for violence against                                                               
anyone born  or unborn. He  voiced his  feelings that FAS  is the                                                               
result of abuse and that someone should be held accountable.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
9:54:05 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  KATE BERKHART  testified the  intent  of SB  20 is  laudable                                                               
although  she  does  not  support it.  She  agreed  with  Senator                                                               
Seekins  statements  regarding  holding people  accountable.  She                                                               
                                                                th                                                              
stated  a violent  crime against  a woman  is assault  in the  4                                                                
degree,  which is  a misdemeanor  but a  violent crime  against a                                                               
pregnant woman  would be a  felony. SB  20 says the  pregnancy is                                                               
more  important than  the woman  who is  pregnant. She  suggested                                                               
Alaska would be better served by using sentencing aggravators.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
9:58:28 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. ROBIN SMITH  testified in opposition to SB  20. She expressed                                                               
concerned with the concept of  reckless behavior. Alcoholism is a                                                               
disease. Pregnant alcoholics  may not be able to  make the choice                                                               
to act  appropriately while carrying.  There is a  proven genetic                                                               
predisposition  to  alcoholism. Young  women  who  are afraid  of                                                               
being prosecuted would not seek prenatal care.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
10:00:57 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.  SMITH added  if  SB 20  becomes law  she  might encourage  a                                                               
drinking  pregnant woman  to  have  an abortion  so  as to  avoid                                                               
prosecution.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
10:02:39 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR HUGGINS asked Ms. Smith for her idea of a solution.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. SMITH stated  she does not understand why  the Legislature is                                                               
cutting  programs   from  the  budget  that   assist  women.  She                                                               
suggested the state work on prevention.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
10:05:00 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. SMITH pondered whether the numbers have really changed.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS commented to the  committee members there is a wait                                                               
list  in Anchorage  for alcoholic  treatment for  pregnant women.                                                               
She expressed this should be  a priority. Senator Dyson testified                                                               
it is currently  unknown how and when alcohol begins  to affect a                                                               
fetus.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
10:09:20 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.   CAREN  ROBINSON,   Alaska  Women's   Lobby,  testified   in                                                               
opposition to  SB 20 stating  the focus  must be shifted  back to                                                               
the women. The focus should be  on dangers to the pregnant woman.                                                               
There  is a  simple  way  to accomplish  extra  protection for  a                                                               
pregnant  woman  and that  is  with  sentencing aggravators.  She                                                               
asked the  committee to make  sure they understand each  level of                                                               
SB 20.  On behalf of the  network and agency programs  across the                                                               
state,  she  offered  to  brief  the  Senate  Judiciary  Standing                                                               
Committee on the programs they are working on in Alaska.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
10:13:42 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. ROBINSON responded  to Senator Huggins' comment  that a fetus                                                               
can't defend  itself. She said sometimes  it is hard for  a woman                                                               
to defend herself.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:15:31 AM                                                                                                                   
MS. TESSA BEETLE testified in support of SB 20.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. MATTIE NOLAN testified in support of SB 20.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
10:18:06 AM                                                                                                                   
MS.  KATHY  GIRARD  testified  on  the  behalf  of  Sherry  Goll,                                                               
principal  of   Pacific  Solutions,   and  read  her   letter  of                                                               
opposition. Her letter reiterated previous testimony.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
10:20:59 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEEKINS  announced the  end of  public testimony.  He asked                                                               
Ms.  Carpeneti whether  the state  would have  to prove  reckless                                                               
behavior and use  of a dangerous instrument in the  case of a low                                                               
birth rate.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.CARPENETI responded the most recent  draft on page 3 lines 22-                                                               
23 do not require a dangerous instrument.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
10:25:41 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEEKINS announced SB 20 would be held over.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH  offered an  amendment  for  the members  of  the                                                               
committee to consider.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                  SB 128-BOROUGH INCORPORATION                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
10:26:20 AM                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  announced SB  128 to be  up for  consideration. He                                                               
asked  Senator  Therriault  if  he had  any  new  information  to                                                               
contribute.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT expressed  the view that the bill  is fine the                                                               
way it notwithstanding the numerous warring legal opinions.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS asked for a motion.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  moved SB 128  from committee  with individual                                                               
recommendations  and  the  one  zero   fiscal  note.  Hearing  no                                                               
objections, it was so moved.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Seekins adjourned the meeting at 10:27:34 AM.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                

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