Legislature(2005 - 2006)BUTROVICH 205

02/14/2006 09:00 AM JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Time Changed from 8:30 to 9:00 a.m. --
Moved CSSB 10(JUD) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
Scheduled But Not Heard
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                       February 14, 2006                                                                                        
                           9:34 a.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Ralph Seekins, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Charlie Huggins, Vice Chair                                                                                             
Senator Hollis French                                                                                                           
Senator Gretchen Guess                                                                                                          
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                         
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 10                                                                                                              
"An  Act relating  to liability  for destruction  of property  by                                                               
unemancipated minors; and providing for an effective date."                                                                     
     MOVED CSSB 10(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                        
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 41(FIN)                                                                                                   
"An  Act relating  to  minimum periods  of  imprisonment for  the                                                               
crime  of  assault in  the  fourth  degree committed  against  an                                                               
employee of  an elementary, junior  high, or secondary  school or                                                               
certain contractors of  school districts who were  engaged in the                                                               
performance of school duties at the time of the assault."                                                                       
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 107(FIN)                                                                                                  
"An  Act  relating  to  unlawful   obstruction  or  hindrance  of                                                               
hunting,  fishing, trapping,  or  viewing of  fish  or game;  and                                                               
amending Rule 82, Alaska Rules  of Civil Procedure, and Rule 508,                                                               
Alaska Rules of Appellate Procedure."                                                                                           
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
HOUSE BILL NO. 269                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to contribution  actions relating to the release                                                               
of a hazardous substance; and providing for an effective date."                                                                 
     SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                                                                    
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: SB 10                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: PARENTAL LIABILITY FOR CHILD'S DAMAGE                                                                              
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) GUESS, DYSON                                                                                             
01/11/05       (S)       PREFILE RELEASED 12/30/04                                                                              
01/11/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/11/05       (S)       HES, JUD                                                                                               
01/19/05       (H)       HES AT 1:30 PM SENATE FINANCE 532                                                                      
01/19/05       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
01/19/05       (S)       MINUTE(HES)                                                                                            
01/26/05       (S)       HES AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
01/26/05       (S)       -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                                 
04/04/05       (S)       HES AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
04/04/05       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
04/04/05       (S)       MINUTE(HES)                                                                                            
04/06/05       (S)       HES AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
04/06/05       (S)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
04/11/05       (S)       HES AT 1:45 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
04/11/05       (S)       Moved CSSB 10(HES) Out of Committee                                                                    
04/11/05       (S)       MINUTE(HES)                                                                                            
04/12/05       (S)       HES RPT CS FORTHCOMING 2DP 3NR                                                                         
04/12/05       (S)       DP: DYSON, OLSON                                                                                       
04/12/05       (S)       NR: WILKEN, ELTON, GREEN                                                                               
04/13/05       (S)       HES CS RECEIVED NEW TITLE                                                                              
01/19/06       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
01/19/06       (S)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
01/24/06       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
01/24/06       (S)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
01/25/06       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
01/25/06       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
01/25/06       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/01/06       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/01/06       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/01/06       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/08/06       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/08/06       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/08/06       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/09/06       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/09/06       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/09/06       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/14/06       (S)       JUD AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
BILL: HB 41                                                                                                                   
SHORT TITLE: ASSAULT ON SCHOOL EMPLOYEES/BUS DRIVERS                                                                            
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) LYNN, MCGUIRE                                                                                     
01/10/05       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 12/30/04                                                                              
01/10/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/10/05       (H)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
01/19/05       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
01/19/05       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
01/19/05       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
01/26/05       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
01/26/05       (H)       -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                                 
02/02/05       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
02/02/05       (H)       <Bill Hearing Postponed to Fri. 2/4/05>                                                                
02/04/05       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
02/04/05       (H)       -- Rescheduled from Wed. 2/2/05 --                                                                     
02/07/05       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
02/07/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 41(JUD) Out of Committee                                                                    
02/07/05       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/09/05       (H)       JUD RPT CS(JUD) 2DP 4NR                                                                                
02/09/05       (H)       DP: ANDERSON, MCGUIRE;                                                                                 
02/09/05       (H)       NR: GRUENBERG, GARA, COGHILL, DAHLSTROM                                                                
03/30/05       (H)       FIN AT 1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
03/30/05       (H)       <Bill Hearing Postponed>                                                                               
04/04/05       (H)       FIN AT 1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
04/04/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 41(FIN) Out of Committee                                                                    
04/04/05       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
04/06/05       (H)       FIN RPT CS(FIN) NT 2DP 6NR 1AM                                                                         
04/06/05       (H)       DP: WEYHRAUCH, FOSTER;                                                                                 
04/06/05       (H)       NR: HOLM, STOLTZE, MOSES, KELLY, MEYER,                                                                
04/06/05       (H)       AM: HAWKER                                                                                             
04/13/05       (H)       ENGROSSED                                                                                              
04/14/05       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
04/14/05       (H)       VERSION: CSHB 41(FIN)                                                                                  
04/15/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/15/05       (S)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
01/31/06       (S)       JUD AT 9:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
01/31/06       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
01/31/06       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/08/06       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/08/06       (S)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
02/14/06       (S)       JUD AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
BILL: HB 107                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: INTERFERENCE WITH FISH & GAME ACTIVITIES                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) RAMRAS                                                                                            
01/24/05       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/24/05       (H)       RES, JUD                                                                                               
02/02/05       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
02/02/05       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/02/05       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
02/09/05       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
02/09/05       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/09/05       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
02/16/05       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                                                                             
02/16/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 107(RES) Out of Committee                                                                   
02/16/05       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
02/18/05       (H)       RES RPT CS(RES) NT 3DP 1DNP 4NR                                                                        
02/18/05       (H)       DP: OLSON, ELKINS, RAMRAS;                                                                             
02/18/05       (H)       DNP: SEATON;                                                                                           
02/18/05       (H)       NR: GATTO, LEDOUX, CRAWFORD, KAPSNER                                                                   
02/18/05       (H)       FIN REFERRAL ADDED AFTER JUD                                                                           
03/02/05       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
03/02/05       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/02/05       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/04/05       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
03/04/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 107(JUD) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/04/05       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/07/05       (H)       JUD RPT CS(JUD) NT 3DP 3NR                                                                             
03/07/05       (H)       DP: GRUENBERG, ANDERSON, MCGUIRE;                                                                      
03/07/05       (H)       NR: DAHLSTROM, COGHILL, GARA                                                                           
03/15/05       (H)       FIN AT 1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
03/15/05       (H)       Moved CSHB 107(FIN) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/15/05       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
03/16/05       (H)       FIN RPT CS(FIN) NT 2DP 6NR                                                                             
03/16/05       (H)       DP: HAWKER, STOLTZE;                                                                                   
03/16/05       (H)       NR: WEYHRAUCH, CROFT, MOSES, KELLY,                                                                    
                        MEYER, CHENAULT                                                                                         
05/08/05       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
05/08/05       (H)       VERSION: CSHB 107(FIN)                                                                                 
05/09/05       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
05/09/05       (S)       RES, JUD                                                                                               
01/23/06       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
01/23/06       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
01/23/06       (S)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
01/30/06       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
01/30/06       (S)       Moved   SCS   CSHB   107(RES)   Out   of                                                               
01/30/06       (S)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
02/01/06       (S)       RES RPT SCS  3DP 4NR         SAME TITLE                                                                
02/01/06       (S)       DP: WAGONER, DYSON, STEVENS B                                                                          
02/01/06       (S)       NR: ELTON, KOOKESH, SEEKINS, STEDMAN                                                                   
02/09/06       (S)       JUD AT 8:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/09/06       (S)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
02/14/06       (S)       JUD AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
Senator Gretchen Guess                                                                                                          
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of SB 10                                                                                         
Anne Carpeneti, Assistant Attorney General                                                                                      
Department of Law                                                                                                               
PO Box 110300                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0300                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Commented on HB 41                                                                                       
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of HB 41                                                                                         
John Alcantra, Political Organizer                                                                                              
Government Relations                                                                                                            
NEA Alaska                                                                                                                      
4100 Spenard Road                                                                                                               
Anchorage, AK 99517                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 41                                                                            
Jim Pound, Legislative Aide                                                                                                     
Representative Jay Ramras office                                                                                                
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced HB 107 for the sponsor                                                                        
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
CHAIR  RALPH   SEEKINS  called  the  Senate   Judiciary  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to  order at 9:34:10 AM.  Present were Senators                                                             
Hollis French,  Charlie Huggins, Gretchen Guess,  and Chair Ralph                                                               
          SB 10-PARENTAL LIABILITY FOR CHILD'S DAMAGE                                                                       
CHAIR RALPH SEEKINS announced SB 10 to be up for consideration.                                                                 
9:34:22 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GRETCHEN GUESS, bill sponsor, moved CSSB 10 version \K                                                                  
as the working document before the committee. Hearing no                                                                        
objections, the motion carried.                                                                                                 
CHAIR SEEKINS noted no one was signed up to testify on the                                                                      
current version of the bill and so he closed public testimony.                                                                  
SENATOR  HOLLIS  FRENCH moved  CSSB  10(JUD)  version \K  out  of                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations  and attached  fiscal                                                               
notes. Hearing no objections, the motion carried.                                                                               
Chair Seekins announced a brief recess at 9:36:07 AM.                                                                         
      CSHB 41(FIN)-ASSAULT ON SCHOOL EMPLOYEES/BUS DRIVERS                                                                  
9:43:55 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  RALPH  SEEKINS  announced  CSHB   41(FIN)  to  be  up  for                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  BOB LYNN,  bill sponsor,  introduced himself  for                                                               
the record.                                                                                                                     
CHAIR SEEKINS said:                                                                                                             
     I have  some concern about establishing  in statute for                                                                    
     the  first  time that  I  can  find  a mitigator  on  a                                                                    
     misdemeanor.  I understand,  Representative Lynn,  that                                                                    
     was added in the  House Judiciary [Standing] Committee,                                                                    
     is that correct?                                                                                                           
Representative Lynn said:                                                                                                       
     I think so. I'm not sure.                                                                                                  
CHAIR  SEEKINS   asked  Anne  Carpeneti  whether   that  was  her                                                               
ANNE  CARPENETI, Assistant  Attorney General,  Department of  Law                                                               
(DOL), said that was her recollection.                                                                                          
CHAIR SEEKINS said:                                                                                                             
      My concern is that we just don't have mitigators in                                                                       
MS. CARPENETI advised  the committee that she  looked through the                                                               
minutes and  saw an  amendment that  was added  by Representative                                                               
[Bruce] Weyhrauch.  She was not  certain whether it was  added in                                                               
the House  Judiciary Standing Committee  or whether it  was added                                                               
on the House Floor.                                                                                                             
9:45:58 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR CHARLIE HUGGINS moved Amendment  1. Page 2, line 5, after                                                               
the final  "the"; eliminate  the language through  line 8  at the                                                               
first semicolon. Hearing no objection, Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                 
SENATOR HOLLIS FRENCH  moved Amendment 2. Page 2,  line 5; reduce                                                               
the term of imprisonment down to 30 days.                                                                                       
CHAIR SEEKINS objected.                                                                                                         
SENATOR  FRENCH explained  the reasoning.  Amendment 1  has taken                                                               
out the mitigator, which did need  to come out. He speculated the                                                               
reason the  mitigator went in  was because some of  the committee                                                               
members  on  the  House  side were  concerned  about  a  possible                                                               
punitive effect in  the case of a "de minimus"  assault, which is                                                               
an assault that  just barely qualifies under  the statutory terms                                                               
of an assault  that occurred on school grounds.  He insisted that                                                               
a  60-day term  of imprisonment  was a  long stretch  of time  in                                                               
jail. This  is the same  term in prison  that a person  would get                                                               
for a third DUI conviction.                                                                                                     
9:49:45 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  FRENCH summarized  by  comparing  the generally  minimal                                                               
assaults  that  occur on  school  grounds  to those  that  happen                                                               
against  police   officers.  He  suggested  there   should  be  a                                                               
difference in penalty due to  the striking difference between the                                                               
two assaults, comparatively speaking.                                                                                           
SENATOR GRETCHEN  GUESS asked Senator French  whether the minimum                                                               
penalty  would  be 30  days  and  if  it  were a  more  egregious                                                               
assault, more time could be given.                                                                                              
SENATOR FRENCH advised  the law would allow a judge  to impose up                                                               
to a  year in jail. He  reminded the committee that  sometimes it                                                               
is not  the assault that determines  the sentence so much  as the                                                               
SENATOR  GUESS   asked  the  current   minimum  for   an  assault                                                               
SENATOR FRENCH replied there is currently no statutory minimum.                                                                 
9:51:28 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  GUESS  asked  Representative Lynn  whether  the  minimum                                                               
proposed by HB 41 would be  60 days for any assault that occurred                                                               
on school  grounds, even if it  were unrelated to a  school event                                                               
and did not include a school employee.                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN  said  originally  the  bill  specified  the                                                               
school employee.  The committee  substitute changed  the language                                                               
to  "school  grounds."  He  suggested  the  committee  could  add                                                               
specified hours.                                                                                                                
SENATOR GUESS spoke in favor of  Amendment 2. She said the intent                                                               
of HB 41 was  good but given the breadth of  the bill she worried                                                               
that  something  the committee  did  not  intend  for to  have  a                                                               
penalty of 60 days, in fact, would.                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  responded he would  support a penalty  of up                                                               
to a year  in prison. He asked committee members  to maintain the                                                               
60-day minimum penalty.                                                                                                         
9:53:34 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS asked  Ms. Carpeneti to advise the  committee on AS                                                               
9:55:27 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. CARPENETI read the statute:                                                                                                 
Sec. 11.41.230.  Assault in the fourth degree.                                                                                  
     (a) A person commits the crime of assault in the fourth                                                                    
degree if                                                                                                                       
     (1) that person recklessly causes physical injury to                                                                       
another person;                                                                                                                 
     (2) with criminal negligence that person causes physical                                                                   
injury to another person by means of a dangerous instrument;                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS noted under the  statute, a casual shoving incident                                                               
would not qualify.                                                                                                              
MS. CARPENETI said the term  "serious physical injury" is broadly                                                               
defined in Alaska statutes.                                                                                                     
CHAIR  SEEKINS asked  Ms.  Carpeneti her  experience  of how  the                                                               
courts have interpreted physical injury.                                                                                        
MS. CARPENETI said very broadly.                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS asked  whether a person who  slapped another person                                                               
on school grounds could go to jail for 60 days.                                                                                 
MS. CARPENETI responded under HB 41, yes.                                                                                       
9:57:07 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGGINS asked  whether a  student over  18 years  of age                                                               
would be subject to the penalties under the bill.                                                                               
MS. CARPENETI said as the bill is currently drafted, yes.                                                                       
CHAIR  SEEKINS  agreed  with  Senator   French  that  people  who                                                               
interfere  with  policeman,  paramedics, and  firefighters  doing                                                               
their jobs  are also interfering  with a bigger mission  and they                                                               
should be penalized more strictly.                                                                                              
9:58:38 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  retorted that he is  a retired schoolteacher                                                               
but has also been a policeman.                                                                                                  
Roll call proved Amendment 2  failed 2-2 with Senators French and                                                               
Guess voting  yea and  Senator Huggins  and Chair  Seekins voting                                                               
CHAIR SEEKINS asked  committee members whether the  intent was to                                                               
remove incidents that have nothing to do with school activities.                                                                
10:00:22 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR GUESS asked for a definition of school activity.                                                                        
CHAIR  SEEKINS   speculated  the  intent  was   to  cover  school                                                               
employees while  on the way  to and  from the school  grounds and                                                               
while on the school grounds.                                                                                                    
SENATOR GUESS read the definition  of school grounds as listed in                                                               
statute  as  "a  building,  structure,  athletic  playing  field,                                                               
playground,  parking  area  or land  contained  within  the  real                                                               
property  boundary  line  of  a   public  or  private  preschool,                                                               
elementary school, or secondary school."                                                                                        
10:02:23 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEEKINS assumed  it was anything that  was school property.                                                               
He  said  conceptually  speaking  someone  could  work  with  the                                                               
drafter and eliminate activities that  might take place that have                                                               
no connection to a school activity.                                                                                             
SENATOR  GUESS asked  whether the  idea was  protection for  when                                                               
students were around.                                                                                                           
CHAIR  SEEKINS  said it  could  be  a parent-teacher  association                                                               
(PTA) meeting also.                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  said they are  now known as PTSA  or parent,                                                               
teacher, student association and  generally students are at those                                                               
10:04:00 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR FRENCH  said the  thrust is  to impose  special penalties                                                               
for assaults taking  place on school grounds.  What the committee                                                               
hasn't  flushed out  is when  that happens.  A fight  that occurs                                                               
between  two adults  in the  middle of  the night  should not  be                                                               
considered under  the bill. He  suggested there be  some limiting                                                               
factor to say the assault would  have to take place during normal                                                               
business hours or during a school sponsored function.                                                                           
CHAIR SEEKINS  proposed a conceptual  amendment to  encompass the                                                               
discussion and  exclude an assault  that is not connected  with a                                                               
school activity.                                                                                                                
SENATOR  HUGGINS   moved  Amendment   3.  Exclude   assaults  not                                                               
connected   with  school   activities.  Hearing   no  objections,                                                               
Amendment 3 was adopted.                                                                                                        
10:05:29 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  SEEKINS advised  Representative  Lynn  that the  committee                                                               
liked the  bill. He suggested that  staff clean it up  and return                                                               
the following scheduled hearing.                                                                                                
10:08:01 AM                                                                                                                   
JOHN  ALCANTRA, government  relations,  NEA  Alaska testified  in                                                               
support of the bill. Formerly  he ran the 911-dispatch center for                                                               
the Kenai  Peninsula Borough and  said that first  responders are                                                               
advised  of  much  information   before  reaching  the  scene  of                                                               
incident. Schoolteachers do not have that advantage, he noted.                                                                  
10:10:43 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  SEEKINS  closed  public  testimony   and  held  HB  41  in                                                               
CHAIR SEEKINS announced a brief recess at 10:11:13 AM.                                                                        
              HB 107-HUNTING/FISHING INTERFERENCE                                                                           
10:11:48 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  RALPH  SEEKINS  announced  CSHB  107(FIN)  to  be  up  for                                                               
JIM  POUND,  Legislative  Aide   to  Representative  Jay  Ramras,                                                               
introduced the  bill for the  sponsor. He informed  the committee                                                               
they would be  hearing SCS CSHB 107(RES). Currently  a person who                                                               
purposefully  interrupts another  person  from hunting,  fishing,                                                               
trapping, or  viewing wildlife  in Alaska can  be charged  with a                                                               
crime but the  courts are not permitted to grant  damages for the                                                               
actual  attorney fees.  The  bill would  correct  that error  and                                                               
would send a message to those  who attempt to prevent people from                                                               
earning a living off of the wilderness of Alaska.                                                                               
MR. POUND urged the committee to  support the bill and offered to                                                               
answer questions.                                                                                                               
10:13:29 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  GRETCHEN GUESS  asked  Mr. Pound  for  some examples  in                                                               
relation to page 2, lines 4-5.                                                                                                  
MR. POUND informed the committee  that it is existing language in                                                               
the statutes.                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  SEEKINS stated  AS 11.81.900(a)(1)  defines intention.  He                                                               
read from the statute.                                                                                                          
     (1) a person acts "intentionally" with respect to a result                                                                 
          described  by a  provision of  law defining  an offense                                                               
          when the person's conscious objective  is to cause that                                                               
          result; when intentionally  causing a particular result                                                               
          is an  element of an  offense, that intent need  not be                                                               
          the person's only objective;                                                                                          
He said this  refers to a person  intentionally, not accidentally                                                               
doing the act.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR GUESS  posed the situation  of combat fishing.  She asked                                                               
whether it  was the intent of  the bill to charge  someone with a                                                               
crime if  they step  in front  of a  person in  order to  catch a                                                               
MR.  POUND  said  no.  The  intent  is  to  prevent  people  from                                                               
intentionally   interrupting  the   viewing   opportunity  of   a                                                               
photographer or the hunting opportunity of a hunter.                                                                            
10:16:22 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  SEEKINS noted  some  examples  of the  intent  would be  a                                                               
person stealing traps or destroying a viewing platform.                                                                         
SENATOR CHARLIE HUGGINS said he  has heard of organized groups of                                                               
people  with loud  speakers and  bells  interrupting others  from                                                               
lawfully viewing or hunting wildlife.  He asked Mr. Pound whether                                                               
that often occurs in Alaska.                                                                                                    
MR. POUND could not cite a case of that happening.                                                                              
SENATOR   HUGGINS  opined   about   anti-war  demonstrations   in                                                               
10:18:27 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  SEEKINS  mentioned that  trappers  who  place their  traps                                                               
closer  to  urban  areas frequently  find  their  traps  rendered                                                               
ineffective by  others. Under HB 107  it would be a  violation of                                                               
law, he stated.                                                                                                                 
MR. POUND  corrected him  and said that  was already  against the                                                               
law. HB 107  adds language to current statute  for recouping full                                                               
attorney fees and reasonable associated costs.                                                                                  
10:19:14 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  FRENCH  asked  whether there  were  other  instances  in                                                               
Alaska law that allow for full recovery of attorney fees.                                                                       
MR.  POUND  said  eminent  domain allows  for  full  recovery  of                                                               
reasonable fees.                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH countered in the normal  course of law it would be                                                               
an exception.                                                                                                                   
MR. POUND agreed.                                                                                                               
SENATOR FRENCH  asked Mr.  Pound whether  he was  concerned about                                                               
encouraging   people  to   sue   one   another  over   incidental                                                               
disturbances of wildlife.                                                                                                       
MR. POUND  said the  issues would grow  as the  state experiences                                                               
population  growth.  The  bill  is  an  opportunity  to  nip  the                                                               
behavior in the bud.                                                                                                            
10:20:45 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEEKINS  clarified the bill addresses  specific intentional                                                               
acts and does not refer to the incidental.                                                                                      
SENATOR FRENCH asked whether one  combat fisherman who stepped in                                                               
front of another fisherman to land  a salmon on the Russian River                                                               
would be intentionally interfering with that other fisherman.                                                                   
MR. POUND  said he did not  believe that the bill  would be taken                                                               
to that extreme.                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH begged to differ.                                                                                                
10:22:25 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR  FRENCH said  there are  instances that  are trivial  and                                                               
should  never  go  forward  as   lawsuits  but  they  do.  Combat                                                               
fisherman  do purposefully  and  intentionally step  in front  of                                                               
others  to  land  their  fish.  He  expressed  concern  that  the                                                               
allowance  of  full  attorney fees  and  reasonable  costs  would                                                               
encourage people to file trivial lawsuits.                                                                                      
MR. POUND  advised the committee of  a case in Fairbanks  where a                                                               
superior court  judge awarded Eugene Johnson  punitive damages on                                                               
his claim that  another individual broke state law  by freeing an                                                               
injured wolf  in a  trap line. The  decision awarded  Mr. Johnson                                                               
close to $200,000.                                                                                                              
10:24:15 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEEKINS  said he was  familiar with  the case. A  member of                                                               
Friends of  Animals clipped off a  snare and allowed the  wolf to                                                               
escape. It was a deliberate intervention in a legal activity.                                                                   
SENATOR  GUESS  observed that  Alaskans  take  combat fishing  to                                                               
another level.  She added  that a  commercial fisherman  moving a                                                               
boat into  another fisherman's area  could initiate a  lawsuit as                                                               
well. She  wondered whether the bill  would open up that  type of                                                               
MR. POUND responded the bill  is referring to language already in                                                               
existing  statute. There  is not  a  trend of  that happening  in                                                               
commercial or sport fishing. HB  107 intends to change court rule                                                               
and allow the judge to give  full restitution when the case comes                                                               
to civil court.                                                                                                                 
10:25:58 AM                                                                                                                   
SENATOR GUESS  countered page 2 line  4 does not speak  about the                                                               
court. It adds a paragraph relating to the intentional act.                                                                     
MR. POUND said  he would interpret "physically  interfering" as a                                                               
person actually  doing something  physical. He speculated  that a                                                               
fisherman  cutting off  another  fishing boat  would not  qualify                                                               
under a definition of "physical."                                                                                               
SENATOR GUESS asked to get a clarification from legal.                                                                          
SENATOR HUGGINS expressed support for the bill.                                                                                 
10:28:33 AM                                                                                                                   
MR. POUND  noted the definition  of "physical" is  "pertaining to                                                               
the   body  as   distinguished  from   the  mind"   according  to                                                               
Ballentines Dictionary.                                                                                                         
SENATOR FRENCH  said the committee  understands that HB 107  is a                                                               
good idea but Senator Guess brings  up a good point. He expressed                                                               
interest  in hearing  an  opinion from  the  United Fisherman  of                                                               
Alaska and from the legislative  legal department before the bill                                                               
leaves committee.                                                                                                               
10:31:20 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEEKINS  also expressed an  interest in hearing  an opinion                                                               
from the legislative legal department.                                                                                          
SENATOR GUESS  spoke for the  record that she supports  the bill.                                                               
She maintained that she had concerns over some of the wording.                                                                  
CHAIR SEEKINS held HB 107 in committee.                                                                                         
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Seekins adjourned the meeting at 10:33:38 AM.                                                                           

Document Name Date/Time Subjects