Legislature(2007 - 2008)BELTZ 211

03/12/2008 01:30 PM JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved CSSB 164(JUD) Out of Committee
Moved HB 165 Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 12, 2008                                                                                         
                           1:41 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                              
Senator Hollis French, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Lesil McGuire                                                                                                           
Senator Bill Wielechowski                                                                                                       
Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                         
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Charlie Huggins, Vice Chair                                                                                             
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 165                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to providing field accommodations for big game                                                                 
     MOVED HB 165 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
SENATE BILL NO. 164                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to disclosures required for the sale of a used                                                                 
motor vehicle, including a trailer, by a motor vehicle dealer."                                                                 
     MOVED CSSB 164(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
SENATE BILL NO. 264                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to partial-birth abortions."                                                                                   
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
HOUSE BILL NO. 268                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to damaging a vehicle on public land by                                                                        
starting a fire or causing an explosion."                                                                                       
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB 165                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: BIG GAME GUIDES AND TRANSPORTERS                                                                                   
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) LEDOUX                                                                                            
02/28/07       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/28/07       (H)       RES                                                                                                    
03/12/07       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/12/07       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/12/07       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
03/19/07       (H)       RES AT 1:00 PM BARNES 124                                                                              
03/19/07       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
03/19/07       (H)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
03/21/07       (H)       RES RPT 8DP 1NR                                                                                        
03/21/07       (H)       DP: WILSON, ROSES, GUTTENBERG, EDGMON,                                                                 
                         KOHRING, SEATON, GATTO, JOHNSON                                                                        
03/21/07       (H)       NR: KAWASAKI                                                                                           
05/01/07       (H)       RETURNED TO RLS COMMITTEE                                                                              
05/05/07       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
05/05/07       (H)       VERSION: HB 165                                                                                        
05/07/07       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
05/07/07       (S)       RES, JUD                                                                                               
05/09/07       (S)       RES AT 4:00 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
05/09/07       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
05/09/07       (S)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
02/18/08       (S)       RES AT 3:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/18/08       (S)       Moved HB 165 Out of Committee                                                                          
02/18/08       (S)       MINUTE(RES)                                                                                            
02/19/08       (S)       RES RPT  7DP                                                                                           
02/19/08       (S)       DP: HUGGINS, GREEN, MCGUIRE, STEVENS,                                                                  
                         WIELECHOWSKI, WAGONER, STEDMAN                                                                         
03/03/08       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
03/03/08       (S)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
03/10/08       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
03/10/08       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/10/08       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
BILL: SB 164                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: USED MOTOR VEHICLE SALES                                                                                           
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) MCGUIRE                                                                                                  
04/27/07       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/27/07       (S)       TRA, JUD                                                                                               
02/12/08       (H)       TRA AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 17                                                                              
02/12/08       (S)       Moved SB 164 Out of Committee                                                                          
02/12/08       (S)       MINUTE(TRA)                                                                                            
02/15/08       (S)       TRA RPT 3DP 1NR                                                                                        
02/15/08       (S)       DP: KOOKESH, WILKEN, OLSON                                                                             
02/15/08       (S)       NR: WIELECHOWSKI                                                                                       
02/29/08       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
02/29/08       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/29/08       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
BILL: SB 264                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTION                                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) OLSON                                                                                                    
02/11/08       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/11/08       (S)       JUD                                                                                                    
03/12/08       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
BILL: HB 268                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: MOTOR VEHICLE ARSON ON PUBLIC LAND                                                                                 
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) STOLTZE                                                                                           
01/04/08       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/4/08                                                                                
01/15/08       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/15/08       (H)       JUD                                                                                                    
02/06/08       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
02/06/08       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
02/06/08       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/08/08       (H)       JUD RPT 1DP 4NR 1AM                                                                                    
02/08/08       (H)       DP: RAMRAS                                                                                             
02/08/08       (H)       NR: DOOGAN, COGHILL, DAHLSTROM, SAMUELS                                                                
02/08/08       (H)       AM: HOLMES                                                                                             
02/21/08       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
02/21/08       (H)       VERSION: HB 268                                                                                        
02/25/08       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/25/08       (S)       JUD                                                                                                    
03/12/08       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
TREVOR FULTON, staff                                                                                                            
  to Senator McGuire                                                                                                            
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Explained the provisions in the committee                                                                
substitute for SB 164 on behalf of the sponsor.                                                                                 
SENATOR DONNY OLSON                                                                                                             
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of SB 264.                                                                                       
DR. JAN WHITEFIELD, Obstetrician Gynecologist                                                                                   
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified that he does pregnancy                                                                         
terminations and he objects to SB 264.                                                                                          
JEAN MISCHEL, Attorney                                                                                                          
Legislative Legal and Research Services Division                                                                                
Legislative Affairs Agency                                                                                                      
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Responded to questions and offered                                                                       
perspective on SB 264 as the drafter.                                                                                           
CLOVER SIMON, CEO                                                                                                               
Planned Parenthood of Alaska                                                                                                    
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Spoke in opposition to SB 264.                                                                           
ROBYN HENRY, Representing Herself                                                                                               
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered a personal perspective on the issue                                                              
of woman's health risk as it relates to SB 264.                                                                                 
DONNA STARK, Representing Herself                                                                                               
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in opposition to SB 264.                                                                       
IRENE BECKER, Director                                                                                                          
Pregnancy Care Center                                                                                                           
Home, AK                                                                                                                        
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified that SB 264 will seal up                                                                       
loopholes created by Roe v. Wade.                                                                                               
BEN MULLIGAN, staff                                                                                                             
  to Representative Bill Stoltze                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced HB 268 on behalf of the sponsor.                                                              
DAVID TYLER, State Fire Marshal                                                                                                 
Division of Fire & Life Safety                                                                                                  
Department of Public Safety                                                                                                     
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Spoke in support of HB 268.                                                                              
BRIT LIVELY, Butte resident                                                                                                     
stated support for HB 268.                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 268.                                                                          
MARTY QUASS, Representing Himself                                                                                               
MatSu Borough Resident said he                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in strong support of HB 268.                                                                   
RODNEY DIAL, Lieutenant                                                                                                         
Alaska State Troopers                                                                                                           
Department of Public Safety                                                                                                     
Ketchikan, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Spoke in support of HB 268.                                                                              
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
CHAIR  HOLLIS   FRENCH  called  the  Senate   Judiciary  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting to order at 1:41:01  PM. Present at the call to                                                             
order   were  Senators   French,  Wielechowski,   Therriault  and                                                               
            HB 165-BIG GAME GUIDES AND TRANSPORTERS                                                                         
1:41:19 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  FRENCH announced  the consideration  of HB  165. He  noted                                                               
that during the hearing on  Monday the sponsor presented the bill                                                               
and  public  testimony  was  taken.   Finding  no  questions,  he                                                               
solicited a motion.                                                                                                             
1:41:59 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI motioned  to report  HB 165  from committee                                                               
with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note(s).                                                                    
CHAIR FRENCH  announced that  without objection  HB 165  is moved                                                               
from the Senate Judiciary Committee.                                                                                            
                SB 164-USED MOTOR VEHICLE SALES                                                                             
CHAIR FRENCH announced the consideration of SB 164.                                                                             
1:42:18 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR McGUIRE  moved to adopt  committee substitute (CS)  to SB                                                               
164, labeled 25-LS0867\E, Bannister, as the working document.                                                                   
CHAIR FRENCH objected for discussion purposes.                                                                                  
1:43:03 PM                                                                                                                    
TREVOR FULTON,  staff to Senator  McGuire, explained that  the CS                                                               
excludes current  litigation related to used  motor vehicle sales                                                               
by dealers from the retroactive application of the bill.                                                                        
CHAIR FRENCH added  that he understands that the  idea behind the                                                               
new provision  is to allow  any pending  case to continue  to its                                                               
conclusion without  affecting the  rights of the  individuals now                                                               
in court, but to preclude any future court action.                                                                              
MR. FULTON agreed that is the intent.                                                                                           
SENATOR McGUIRE clarified  that the original bill  did not intend                                                               
to capture  existing litigation and  this further  clarifies that                                                               
CHAIR FRENCH  asked if  she's aware of  any consumer  advocacy or                                                               
other group that opposes the bill.                                                                                              
SENATOR McGUIRE  replied she's heard  no opposition.  She relayed                                                               
that  when  the original  legislation  passed  she supported  the                                                               
underlying concept, but it went  too far. We've been working with                                                               
Ed  Sniffen [consumer  protection  section of  the Department  of                                                               
Law] on that, she added.                                                                                                        
CHAIR FRENCH, finding  no further questions or  debate, asked for                                                               
a motion.                                                                                                                       
1:45:26 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR McGUIRE motioned  to report CSSB 164  from committee with                                                               
individual recommendations and attached zero fiscal note(s).                                                                    
CHAIR FRENCH  announced that without  objection CSSB  164(JUD) is                                                               
moved from the Senate Judiciary Committee.                                                                                      
At ease from 1:45:43 PM to 1:46:51 PM                                                                                       
                 SB 264-PARTIAL-BIRTH ABORTION                                                                              
1:46:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  FRENCH  announced the  consideration  of  SB 264,  an  Act                                                               
relating  to  partial-birth  abortion. He  recognized  the  prime                                                               
sponsor and highlighted that the  subject is difficult to discuss                                                               
and debate,  but in  this system of  democracy it's  crucial that                                                               
these  things are  debated in  public. Clearly  there are  strong                                                               
feelings on both  sides of this matter and everyone  will have an                                                               
opportunity  to  speak  with  as   much  passion  as  they  like.                                                               
Nevertheless,  everyone is  expected to  comport themselves  in a                                                               
way that's respectful to each point of view.                                                                                    
1:48:44 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR OLSON, sponsor  of SB 264, echoed  the Chair's sentiments                                                               
about   respecting  differing   opinions.   He  paraphrased   the                                                               
following sponsor statement:                                                                                                    
     Since   the  Supreme   Court  of   the  United   States                                                                    
     determined  that states,  not  the federal  government,                                                                    
     should control certain  medical procedures within their                                                                    
     state boundaries, abortions have  been legal in Alaska.                                                                    
     Despite  strong controversies  on  the abortion  issue,                                                                    
     there is one  practice that many people  agree needs to                                                                    
     stop. Partial-birth or late term  abortion is a process                                                                    
     that few people support.                                                                                                   
     Senate Bill 264  will end this practice  in Alaska. The                                                                    
     procedure  is  well described  by  its  name, with  the                                                                    
     child being partially born  and then terminated. Alaska                                                                    
     is one of  only 14 states that has  not restricted this                                                                    
     practice.  Recently, Congress  passed legislation  with                                                                    
     broad bi-partisan support to ban it nationwide.                                                                            
     Senate  Bill 264  will bring  State of  Alaska statutes                                                                    
     more in line with federal law.                                                                                             
CHAIR FRENCH observed that the  sponsor is uniquely positioned to                                                               
speak  on the  issue given  his background  in both  medicine and                                                               
law. As  he read the  Gonzales decision [Gonzales v.  Carhart] he                                                               
became aware that the mother's  health exception was not added in                                                               
this bill, although  it has been added to many  abortion bans. He                                                               
asked  the sponsor  to articulate  his view  about the  degree of                                                               
medical  uncertainty  with  respect  to  whether  an  intact  D&E                                                               
(dilation  and evacuation)  is less  risky to  the health  of the                                                               
mother than a standard D&E.                                                                                                     
SENATOR OLSON asked  if he was talking about a  D&C (dilation and                                                               
curettage), he was not familiar with the term D&E.                                                                              
CHAIR FRENCH apologized if he had written it down incorrectly.                                                                  
SENATOR  OLSON  explained  that dilatation  and  curettage  is  a                                                               
medical procedure that's done by  physicians and other healthcare                                                               
providers. Essentially, the cervix  is dilated with an instrument                                                               
and what's inside the uterus is  evacuated. He asked the Chair to                                                               
pose his specific question in relation to the Carhart case.                                                                     
1:52:11 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR FRENCH  relayed that  he was reading  from the  Gonzales v.                                                               
Carhart decision,  which has  a fairly  lengthy description  of a                                                               
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  added that on  page 4  it says that  D&E is                                                               
dilation and evacuation.                                                                                                        
CHAIR FRENCH continued  to say that the  Gonzales decision points                                                               
out that there are two ways  to perform a D&E-the standard method                                                               
and the intact method. The intact  method is discussed in SB 264.                                                               
The standard D&E  is different in that it involves  more than one                                                               
pass  and the  removal of  pieces from  the uterus.  Some medical                                                               
experts  feel  that  several passes  involves  greater  risk  for                                                               
abrasion, cuts, and infection than  the intact D&E. He noted that                                                               
over the years the U.S.  Supreme Court has consistently said that                                                               
the health of  the mother must be considered when  looking at any                                                               
abortion ban. With that in  mind, he questioned whether this bill                                                               
shouldn't contain that exception.                                                                                               
SENATOR  OLSON clarified  that he's  been to  medical school  and                                                               
he's a physician  so he can speak from that  standpoint, and he's                                                               
been to  law school, but he  isn't a lawyer. With  respect to the                                                               
health of the mother he stated the following:                                                                                   
     When you have  a mother that comes on in  with a number                                                                    
     of  children and  she's starting  to  bleed out-as  has                                                                    
     been  the case  in  some of  the  situations that  I've                                                                    
     seen-and her hematocrit starts to  run low, you need to                                                                    
     do  something  in  order  to   save  that  mother.  And                                                                    
     whatever means  are necessary to go  ahead and evacuate                                                                    
     or stop  the bleeding is  what I consider  the standard                                                                    
     of medical  care out there.  And that's  the obligation                                                                    
     that I  think a  practitioner has  to the  patient that                                                                    
     comes  through the  doors of  whatever institution  you                                                                    
     happen to be working at,  whether it's a private clinic                                                                    
     or a  hospital. As far  as going  out and taking  out a                                                                    
     late-term conceptus that's there  [and] that may or may                                                                    
     not be viable, I think  that's where people start to go                                                                    
     ahead and raise questions  as to whether that…should be                                                                    
     allowed.  And  I  think   that's  where  the  emotional                                                                    
     argument comes in-at that point.                                                                                           
     1:54:41 PM                                                                                                               
     …  [dilation] of  the  cervix is  one  of those  things                                                                    
     that's  fairly uncomfortable  especially  if it's  done                                                                    
     without     anesthesia      or     any      kind     of                                                                    
     analgesic…medication.    The…[dilation]…looks    fairly                                                                    
     uncomfortable...and  then  you  go   in  there  with  a                                                                    
     curette or a  curettage or in your case  you brought up                                                                    
     the  idea  of  using  a   pair  of  forceps.  …  You're                                                                    
     introducing  a  foreign object  into  the  cavity of  a                                                                    
     human  being and  whenever you  do  anything like  that                                                                    
     you're  at  risk  for abrasions,  you're  at  risk  for                                                                    
     infections,  you're  at  risk  for a  number  of  other                                                                    
     things.  One  of the  things  I  have seen  most  often                                                                    
     though actually  is perforation of the  uterus. I think                                                                    
     that's  one of  the things  that is  very difficult  to                                                                    
     evaluate.  I know  there  have been  a  fair number  of                                                                    
     complications  with that  in the  practice  when I  was                                                                    
     practicing fulltime. We  want to try and  avoid that at                                                                    
     all costs.  But as  far as evacuating  something that's                                                                    
     intact,  you're  still  dealing   with  the  idea  that                                                                    
     you're…essentially abrading the  placenta away from the                                                                    
     lining  of the  uterus. Obviously  there's going  to be                                                                    
     some  bleeding with  that,  and  there's other  medical                                                                    
     risks  that you  may be  putting the  mother's life  in                                                                    
     more  danger  than  she  was if  she  was  to  actually                                                                    
     continue on with the pregnancy.                                                                                            
     I want  to make it  clear that pregnancy  in itself…has                                                                    
     its  own  medical  risks.  …   Many  women  before  the                                                                    
     practice of  medicine became more complicated  and more                                                                    
     developed than  it is in  the Western society.  And you                                                                    
     can see this in Third  World countries, people that are                                                                    
     pregnant many times do die…giving childbirth.                                                                              
1:57:10 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR THERRIAULT asked the sponsor if he believes the                                                                         
suggested   language    would   survive   the    expected   state                                                               
constitutional challenge.                                                                                                       
CHAIR FRENCH deferred the question, awaiting the arrival of the                                                                 
drafter, and opened public testimony.                                                                                           
1:59:41 PM                                                                                                                    
DR. JAN WHITEFIELD, Obstetrician Gynecologist practicing in                                                                     
Anchorage, said he does pregnancy terminations and he objects to                                                                
SB 264. He stated the following:                                                                                                
     As  you and  your honored  colleagues have  spoken, you                                                                    
     have  used the  term late  term abortion  and the  term                                                                    
     D&E. Now  the bill that I  have in front of  me, Senate                                                                    
     Bill  264, describes  what  a "partial-birth"  abortion                                                                    
     means, and  it goes through an  actual description. And                                                                    
     if one  puts on  the hat  of a person  who thinks  of a                                                                    
     "D&E or partial-birth abortion,"  each of you will have                                                                    
     an image  in your  mind as to  what that  means-what it                                                                    
     means to  bring a  fetus through  a mother's  vagina to                                                                    
     where the  fetus dies-acts that  may be  performed. And                                                                    
     you would have some sort of image of that.                                                                                 
     Now  the person  who practices  those first  and second                                                                    
     trimester abortions-I have to  look at this legislation                                                                    
     and  think  about  this  generally   in  terms  of  the                                                                    
     description and  then specifically  what it means  as a                                                                    
     practitioner. And  in addition I  took this bill  to my                                                                    
     colleagues-I  have…five  other colleagues  who  perform                                                                    
     abortions in  my office.  And we  all went  through the                                                                    
     bill and there's nothing in  this bill that talks about                                                                    
     how far  along a  pregnancy would  be before  this bill                                                                    
     would be  applied. This  doesn't say  this is  a second                                                                    
     trimester  definition; this  doesn't  say  it's a  late                                                                    
     second  trimester definition.  In fact,  the definition                                                                    
     where  in  pregnancy  that this  would  be  applied  is                                                                    
     completely void. It's not stated whatsoever.                                                                               
     When I do a first  trimester pregnancy termination, one                                                                    
     of the things I will do  is dilate the cervix and put a                                                                    
     vacuum  suction  tube  through   the  cervix  into  the                                                                    
     uterus. At the  time that I do that if  a woman has had                                                                    
     a number  of children  her cervix  may actually  lie at                                                                    
     the  opening  of  her  vagina. And  when  I  apply  the                                                                    
     suction to empty the patient's  uterus out at a 12-week                                                                    
     pregnancy  or an  11-week pregnancy,  sometimes I  will                                                                    
     see  the feet  of the  fetus come  up the  suction tube                                                                    
     when  the  abortion  is  being  done.  When  the  fetus                                                                    
     entered  the suction  tube it  was alive,  and when  it                                                                    
     comes out  at the end  of the suction  tube, obviously,                                                                    
     it's not alive.                                                                                                            
     The problem  is that  in this  particular law  which is                                                                    
     being proposed, it doesn't  exclude that particular act                                                                    
     as being  included under the  definition of  a partial-                                                                    
     birth abortion. In this particular  case, what would be                                                                    
     done is  I would be  bringing the fetus into  a suction                                                                    
     tube and I  would see, in this case, that  the feet are                                                                    
     coming  out first.  It would  be a  breach presentation                                                                    
     and  the fetus  may  be  essentially almost  completely                                                                    
     outside the  woman's body before it  actually dies. And                                                                    
     that's, of course,  limited to women who have  a lot of                                                                    
     relaxation of  their vagina and  cervix and  the cervix                                                                    
     is present at the opening of the vagina.                                                                                   
     2:01:49 PM                                                                                                               
     So this bill has  unintended consequences. The way it's                                                                    
     written,  if I  do  the standard  vacuum suction  first                                                                    
     trimester pregnancy  termination, it would  be entirely                                                                    
     possible  for somebody  to look  over my  shoulders and                                                                    
     say, "Look,  I see that  fetus's feet in  the fallopian                                                                    
     tube. It was dead when it  came out of the tube, but it                                                                    
     was  alive when  it went  into  the tube  and that  is,                                                                    
     therefore, a  partial-birth abortion." So as  I see it,                                                                    
     the  way  this  law  is  written  there  is  unintended                                                                    
     consequences and  the penalty  is not  malpractice. The                                                                    
     penalty  is two  years in  prison  if you  look at  the                                                                    
     federal   bill,   along  with   considerable   monetary                                                                    
     When I took this bill and  showed it to my partners who                                                                    
     do  first trimester  pregnancy  terminations and  said,                                                                    
     "As  you  read  this   bill,  would  this  modify  your                                                                    
     practice in terms of what  you would offer a patient in                                                                    
     terms  of  a  first trimester  pregnancy  termination?"                                                                    
     Three of the  five said yes, that they  would limit how                                                                    
     far along in the first  trimester they would go because                                                                    
     they were concerned  that the ambiguity in  the way the                                                                    
     bill was written could therefore  be applied to a first                                                                    
     trimester  termination.   As  such,   I  see   that  as                                                                    
     unintended consequences  of the  way this  was written.                                                                    
     Maybe  I'm fooling  myself. Maybe  those were  intended                                                                    
     consequences.  Maybe it  was meant  to  be chilling  to                                                                    
     people who  do pregnancy  terminations at any  point in                                                                    
2:05:21 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  FRENCH noted  that Ms.  Michelle was  available and  asked                                                               
Senator Therriault to rephrase his question.                                                                                    
SENATOR  THERRIAULT asked  if the  language suggested  in SB  264                                                               
takes   previous  litigation   into   account,  and   if  it   is                                                               
intentionally phrased  so that  it will make  a difference  or be                                                               
meaningful to the court.                                                                                                        
2:05:57 PM                                                                                                                    
JEAN MISCHEL,  Attorney, Legislative Legal and  Research Services                                                               
Division,  opined   that  from  a  legal   standpoint,  the  bill                                                               
significantly changes  the phrasing of a  definition of "partial-                                                               
birth abortion." "It tracks precisely  the Congressional Act that                                                               
was upheld  by the  U.S. Supreme Court."  In the  recent decision                                                               
the phrase, "deliberately  and intentionally" on page  2, line 6,                                                               
was significant so  it couldn't apply to  an inadvertent partial-                                                               
birth abortion if  a physician intended to perform  a regular D&C                                                               
or D&E and the fetus came  out too far. "If it weren't deliberate                                                               
and  intentional then  there  would be  no  violation under  this                                                               
Act," she said.                                                                                                                 
The  language  on  page  1,  lines 8-10,  is  modified.  The  new                                                               
subsection  (c)(1)(A)  says,   "partially  vaginally  delivers  a                                                               
living fetus for the purpose of  performing an overt act that the                                                               
person knows  will kill  the fetus;". In  the analysis  under the                                                               
Congressional  Act the  phrase  "living  fetus" was  significant.                                                               
There was concern that a delivery  might occur after the death of                                                               
the  fetus and  still  be considered  a prohibited  partial-birth                                                               
abortion. The  phrase "overt  act" was  also very  significant in                                                               
the  court analysis  so  it  doesn't apply  to  a miscarriage  or                                                               
something else  that killed the  fetus other than a  certain type                                                               
of abortion.                                                                                                                    
2:08:44 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. MISCHEL said what isn't in  the bill is any limitation on the                                                               
trimester   during  which   the  procedure   is  performed.   The                                                               
Congressional Act  applies during  or after the  second trimester                                                               
of  a pregnancy.  SB 264  arguably could  apply during  the first                                                               
trimester.  The prohibition  in  existing law  was not  modified.                                                               
"This is  just a definitional  change to track  the Congressional                                                               
standards that were upheld by  the U.S. Supreme Court. She agreed                                                               
with Dr.  Whitefield that without  any change to the  bill, there                                                               
is the potential  for enforcement for a  first trimester partial-                                                               
birth abortion. Currently that isn't  specified anywhere in state                                                               
2:10:11 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR THERRIAULT  relayed that he  wanted to have in  mind what                                                               
key phrases are meaningful to the court.                                                                                        
MS. MISCHEL explained that another  very significant change in SB                                                               
264 that mirrors the Congressional  Act is the description of how                                                               
far  the fetus  comes through  the mother's  vagina. Other  state                                                               
laws weren't clear and were  found to be unconstitutional, so the                                                               
U.S.  Supreme Court  went into  some detail  with respect  to why                                                               
this  is not  too ambiguous  to enforce,  or for  a physician  to                                                               
understand.   Anatomical   landmarks   were  given   to   clearly                                                               
distinguish a partial-birth abortion  from other abortions. There                                                               
was  testimony or  evidence that  physicians might  be wrongfully                                                               
prosecuted for  performing an  abortion that  was not  a partial-                                                               
birth  abortion   because  "the  lines  are   fuzzy  when  you're                                                               
delivering a little fetus or parts  of a fetus." The U.S. Supreme                                                               
Court case  goes into  graphic anatomical detail  as to  why this                                                               
definition does not suffer constitutional vagueness.                                                                            
2:12:36 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR OLSON  clarified that the  intent of  the bill is  not to                                                               
ban abortions.  He asked  Ms. Mischel  to address  the unintended                                                               
consequences that  Dr. Whitefield highlighted, so  that the valid                                                               
concerns of  obstetricians and  other healthcare  providers could                                                               
be allayed.                                                                                                                     
MS.  MISCHEL  reiterated that  this  bill  addresses the  federal                                                               
analysis of  the constitutionality of the  partial-birth abortion                                                               
ban. Other than  setting the trimesters, this  is consistent with                                                               
the Congressional Act.  But the Alaska State  Constitution has an                                                               
express right to privacy and  she cannot state with any certainty                                                               
that the Alaska  Supreme Court would agree with  the U.S. Supreme                                                               
Court,  that  this  isn't   constitutionally  vague  and  doesn't                                                               
otherwise infringe on an Alaska resident's right to privacy.                                                                    
2:14:38 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. MISCHEL explained that the  U.S. Supreme Court relied heavily                                                               
on the  Casey case [Casey  v. Planned Parenthood] and  the Alaska                                                               
Supreme  Court rejected  the Casey  interpretation  of a  woman's                                                               
right to  privacy in the  context of an abortion.  The likelihood                                                               
is that  someone will ask  for declaratory judgment to  hear from                                                               
the Alaska Supreme  Court, she said. Since there  is no trimester                                                               
limitation  in the  bill,  she agrees  with  Dr. Whitefield  that                                                               
performing  a partial-birth  abortion in  the first  trimester is                                                               
arguable  prohibited under  this  bill. She  reiterated that  the                                                               
definition  of  partial-birth  abortion does  provide  anatomical                                                               
landmarks  so under  this bill,  so physicians  aren't prohibited                                                               
from performing other types of  abortions. "Just an abortion that                                                               
is performed  after partially delivering  a living  fetus through                                                               
the vagina that causes the entire  fetal head to come outside the                                                               
mother's  body, or  the trunk  past the  navel if  it's a  breach                                                               
delivery."  That's  as specific  as  I  can  be with  respect  to                                                               
questions about the  practice, she said. "The intent  of the bill                                                               
and the function of the Congressional  Act that was upheld by the                                                               
U.S.  Supreme  Court  was  to proscribe  only  the  living  fetus                                                               
partial-delivery type of abortion." Although  it's being called a                                                               
partial-birth abortion, the procedure  does have a more technical                                                               
MS. MISCHEL  said, "I think  these committee hearings are  a good                                                               
opportunity for committee  members to describe and  to make clear                                                               
that the  intention of SB 264  is not to prohibit  other types of                                                               
legalized abortion in the state."                                                                                               
2:17:26 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  McGUIRE  said  she  appreciates  the  analysis  but  she                                                               
believes the sponsor is saying  he would like the trimester point                                                               
defined in  the bill. With due  respect to the idea  that someone                                                               
would  review the  committee recording  to determine  the intent,                                                               
she  said she  thinks it's  better  to have  the trimester  point                                                               
clear in  the bill  itself. She asked  whether other  states that                                                               
have passed legislation based on  the Gonzales case, have defined                                                               
the second and third trimester in their legislation.                                                                            
MS. MISCHEL  said her limited  review of other  states' responses                                                               
to the Gonzales  case is that, unlike Alaska, they  already had a                                                               
trimester limit in existing state law. She continued to say:                                                                    
     An  educated guess  is that  most  states do  expressly                                                                    
     limit  the prohibition  to second  trimester abortions,                                                                    
     as does  the Congressional Act. But  since our partial-                                                                    
     birth abortion  prohibition in current law  didn't have                                                                    
     a  trimester limit  and this  bill  just redefines  the                                                                    
     meaning or partial-birth abortion,  really to avoid the                                                                    
     vagueness  challenge, it  is a  good idea  and I  agree                                                                    
     with  you that  if the  intent of  the committee  is to                                                                    
     limit  this to  second  trimester  abortions that  that                                                                    
     should be included in this bill.                                                                                           
2:20:01 PM                                                                                                                    
CLOVER SIMON,  CEO, Planned Parenthood Alaska,  stated opposition                                                               
to SB 264. She stated the following:                                                                                            
     The language  in this bill  closely tracks  the federal                                                                    
     ban, which was just discussed,  that was upheld in 2007                                                                    
     by the U.S. Supreme  Court. However, the Alaska Supreme                                                                    
     Court has  held that the state  constitution's right to                                                                    
     privacy  is stronger  than the  federal  right, and  in                                                                    
     March  of  1998 the  Alaska  Superior  Court found  the                                                                    
     newly  enacted  statute  [AS]  18.16.050  partial-birth                                                                    
     abortion ban  in violation of the  Alaska Constitution.                                                                    
     And  I   don't  feel  that  this   change  in  language                                                                    
     adequately     addresses    why     it    was     found                                                                    
     unconstitutional. From  the conclusion in  the Superior                                                                    
     Court, "The Act is also found  to be a restriction on a                                                                    
     woman's fundamental  right to an abortion  as set forth                                                                    
     in   Valley  Hospital   by   burdening  virtually   all                                                                    
     abortions  due  to  its   vagueness  and  therefore  is                                                                    
     unconstitutional for that reason as  well. The Act is a                                                                    
     violation of  a woman's right to  privacy guaranteed by                                                                    
     the Alaska Constitution."                                                                                                  
     What continues  to trouble me  about this bill  is that                                                                    
     all procedures  covered under the federal  abortion ban                                                                    
     passed  in  2003,  which  was  upheld  by  the  federal                                                                    
     Supreme Court,  are already against the  law nationwide                                                                    
     and  obviously,   here  in  Alaska.   Currently,  these                                                                    
     procedures as described  in the bill, if  they truly do                                                                    
     apply to  second trimester abortion, are  not happening                                                                    
     here.  Secondly,   the  bill   does  not   address  the                                                                    
     protection of  the health of  a woman who  might, under                                                                    
     some  horrible  circumstance,  need medical  care  that                                                                    
     might be construed as falling under this ban.                                                                              
     The sponsor  stated that this bill  puts in definition,                                                                    
     in our  state statutes, some clarity  to partial-birth.                                                                    
     However,   there's  still-as   was  just   discussed-no                                                                    
     clarity on  when the statute  goes into effect so  I am                                                                    
     definitely opposed to this bill.                                                                                           
2:22:11 PM                                                                                                                    
ROBYN HENRY, resident of Anchorage and 15 year Alaska resident,                                                                 
offered a personal perspective on the issue of a woman's health                                                                 
risk. She read the following into the record:                                                                                   
     In  October 2003  I learned  that I  was pregnant  with                                                                    
     Marcus.  I had  been trying  to conceive  for over  two                                                                    
     years, but nothing  had prepared me for  the emotions I                                                                    
     experienced when I discovered  I was carrying new life.                                                                    
     It was my turn to  experience a miracle. Each night I'd                                                                    
     read books  about Marcus's development and  marveled at                                                                    
     the  changes in  my body.  I could  have not  been more                                                                    
     thrilled about having this child.                                                                                          
     Then in  January 2004, approximately  19 weeks  into my                                                                    
     pregnancy,  I'd  gotten  the results  of  a  test  that                                                                    
     indicated  possible   Downs  Syndrome.  After   only  a                                                                    
     moment's hesitation,  I made a commitment  to raise and                                                                    
     love my  son as he  was, unconditionally. A  blood test                                                                    
     was  done, followed  by an  ultrasound, in  preparation                                                                    
     for an  amniocentesis. But the ultrasound  revealed the                                                                    
     condition  to  be much  worse  than  Downs. Marcus  had                                                                    
     severe  cystic  hygroma  with  hydrops-a  disease  that                                                                    
     causes fluid  under the skin  and in the  fetal cavity.                                                                    
     In Marcus's case, the fluid  buildup was extensive. The                                                                    
     doctor explained  to me that  the condition  was fatal.                                                                    
     Given the extent of the  continual fluid buildup, there                                                                    
     was  no  chance that  Marcus  would  survive. The  only                                                                    
     question now  was how long  he would live  before dying                                                                    
     in my womb.                                                                                                                
     In  addition  the  doctor  explained  to  me  that  the                                                                    
     situation could  lead to  a condition  called maternal-                                                                    
     mirror  syndrome. This  is a  situation  where I  could                                                                    
     acquire a  similar fatal  condition from  Marcus, which                                                                    
     in  my case  could lead  to adult  respiratory distress                                                                    
     and  other complications.  The situation  left me  with                                                                    
     two  choices: 1)  let the  condition  take its  course,                                                                    
     have a  stillborn baby and risk  getting very seriously                                                                    
     ill myself,  or 2) safely discontinue  the pregnancy of                                                                    
     my  dying son.  While  it  was not  an  easy choice  to                                                                    
     accept,  it  was  rather straightforward.  I  chose  to                                                                    
     preserve my own life.                                                                                                      
     As  you listen  to my  personal story,  I bring  to you                                                                    
     this  challenge.  Imagine  yourself  in  my  shoes,  or                                                                    
     imagine yourself  in my doctor's  shoes. What  would it                                                                    
     be  like to  be  told, after  hearing such  devastating                                                                    
     news, that  I would be forced  to wait for my  child to                                                                    
     die,  deliver a  stillborn  baby, and  in the  process,                                                                    
     accept the possibility of becoming  fatally ill? That I                                                                    
     would  not have  access to  an existing  safe procedure                                                                    
     that  would preserve  my own  health.  Put yourself  in                                                                    
     those shoes  because those  are my shoes  and I  am the                                                                    
     face and  name of  a mother that  would be  affected by                                                                    
     this bill if you don't  include "health for the mother"                                                                    
     in this bill.                                                                                                              
     In closing…I would like to  say that I agree with those                                                                    
     of you that believe that this  bill is about life and I                                                                    
     agree with those of you  who believe this bill is about                                                                    
     choice, but  it's not about  life versus  choice. …It's                                                                    
     about choosing  existing life, which  is what I  did in                                                                    
     honor and memory of my dying  son. … I want my story to                                                                    
     bring  home the  idea that  you need  to be  very clear                                                                    
     about  the language  in the  bill,  and understand  the                                                                    
     situations like  I was in  exist out there  and they're                                                                    
     very   difficult,  and   restricting  options   can  be                                                                    
2:26:58 PM                                                                                                                    
DONNA STARK, representing herself from Anchorage, expressed                                                                     
opposition to SB 264. She continued to say:                                                                                     
     I still find  it hard to fathom that  the U.S. Congress                                                                    
     passed, United States President  signed, and the United                                                                    
     States  Supreme Court  upheld a  law  that, in  effect,                                                                    
     imposes  the death  penalty on  certain  women in  this                                                                    
     country.  To  pass a  law  interfering  with a  woman's                                                                    
     right  to  self  determination concerning  her  medical                                                                    
     care was  bad enough.  But to  not leave  any provision                                                                    
     for  exceptions for  her health,  in essence  sentences                                                                    
     certain  women  to  death.  I would  urge  you  now  to                                                                    
     reconsider the  federal law  as an  unlawful imposition                                                                    
     of the death  sentence in our state.  I especially hope                                                                    
     you would  not repeat  the mistake by  duplicating that                                                                    
     law at the state level.                                                                                                    
     Just  recently  our  state legislature  had  first-hand                                                                    
     experience with unintended  consequences of laws passed                                                                    
     for  political  expediency. In  the  rush  to show  the                                                                    
     public that it cared  about ethics after the corruption                                                                    
     scandal, the  legislature finally took action  to limit                                                                    
     campaign  contributions and  gifts. What  we all  found                                                                    
     was that these  new limits would interfere  with one of                                                                    
     your  member's ability  to receive  a lifesaving  organ                                                                    
     transplant.  Who knew  when the  law was  first crafted                                                                    
     that this situation would  arise? Fortunately, when the                                                                    
     consequences  of  your  actions  were  discovered,  you                                                                    
     voted reasonably to make an  exception that would allow                                                                    
     your  fellow  legislators  to  take  the  medical  step                                                                    
     necessary to save his life.                                                                                                
     It's very  easy to ignore unintended  consequences when                                                                    
     there is  no personal  example and the  people affected                                                                    
     are invisible.  Rather than some unknown  woman, let me                                                                    
     use the  recently revealed pregnancy of  Governor Palin                                                                    
     as  an example.  If you  don't already  know, pregnancy                                                                    
     later  in   a  woman's   life  carries  more   risk  of                                                                    
     complications. What  if Governor Palin were  faced with                                                                    
     some unforeseen crisis during the  latter months of her                                                                    
     pregnancy?  Who of  you here  would have  the right  to                                                                    
     decide that her doctors could  not save her life? Would                                                                    
     you really  limit her  physician's options  because you                                                                    
     want to score political points in the abortion debate?                                                                     
     I  also refer  to  the corruption  scandal. I'm  fairly                                                                    
     certain  that  all  of the  indicted  legislators,  the                                                                    
     indicted  chiefs  of  staff,  and  those  still  facing                                                                    
     charges  campaigned  for  their   office  on  an  anti-                                                                    
     abortion platform. I do not  believe I would entrust my                                                                    
     medical care  to any of  them, or  any of the  ones who                                                                    
     may yet be indicted.                                                                                                       
     Before  this  current  session started,  I  attended  a                                                                    
     constituent town hall meeting.  I heard testimony about                                                                    
     low income  health clinics closing,  about unaffordable                                                                    
     daycare  costs,  unaffordable   healthcare  costs,  the                                                                    
     plights  of   parents  with   incarcerated  children-in                                                                    
     essence a very  long list of human needs.  Do we really                                                                    
     need to  spend our valuable court  and police resources                                                                    
     arresting doctors  for trying  to save  their patients'                                                                    
     lives? Do we  have room in jail for them?  I was fairly                                                                    
     certain  that we  have a  shortage of  doctors in  this                                                                    
     state. Please  let the  federal government  spend their                                                                    
     resources on enforcement of this thoughtless law.                                                                          
     In  conclusion,  just a  couple  of  days ago  Governor                                                                    
     Palin  made  the comment  that  if  anyone thought  she                                                                    
     couldn't  handle being  governor and  have a  baby, why                                                                    
     that was  the thinking  of a  Neanderthal. I  could not                                                                    
     agree with her  more. Women have had a  long hard fight                                                                    
     and we have proven over and  over that we are more than                                                                    
     capable   of  determining   our  own   destinies.  This                                                                    
     legislation  is  the  exact  antithesis  of  a  woman's                                                                    
     rights.  It   is  an   exact  example   of  Neanderthal                                                                    
2:31:46 PM                                                                                                                    
IRENE BECKER, Director, Pregnancy Care  Center in Homer, said she                                                               
has served  in her  present position  for 11  years and  has been                                                               
very  involved  in  the  abortion  issue.  She  opined  that  one                                                               
positive thing  this bill  will do  is to  seal up  a lot  of the                                                               
current loopholes  that were  created by Roe  v. Wade.  When that                                                               
bill was  passed in 1973,  there were no parameters  with respect                                                               
to "who  could perform the  abortions, who  could do it,  at what                                                               
age, viability  of the fetus."  At the time  none of that  was an                                                               
issue, but  she believes that over  the years a lot  of the bills                                                               
that have come up, have  been for housekeeping and getting things                                                               
in  better  order.  Also, technology  has  advanced  to  actually                                                               
realize what happens in the womb. She continued to say:                                                                         
     Women were  told to believe  [that] at three  months or                                                                    
     so  that it  was just  a  blob and  you basically  were                                                                    
     scrapping  out…just  an  excess  of  things  that  were                                                                    
     there.   We   know  now-primarily   the   partial-birth                                                                    
     abortion is  done at  the fifth  month-the baby's  in a                                                                    
     waking and  sleeping pattern, he feels  pain, the heart                                                                    
     had started beating at 21  days. They know too that the                                                                    
     baby's in  a dream situation because  there's rapid eye                                                                    
     movement,  marrow has  turned  to  bone, strong  kicks,                                                                    
     aware  of  outside  noises.  Five-month-old  babies…can                                                                    
     live outside the womb, they  are a viable entity, and I                                                                    
     think  [in] all  of this  we're not  really considering                                                                    
     this baby. …                                                                                                               
     You  can tell  pretty much  by any  ultrasound how  far                                                                    
     along the  fetus is developed,  how long  the gestation                                                                    
     period has been. This bill  closes in the gap. It makes                                                                    
     the baby important; it brings  value to that life. With                                                                    
     a  partial-birth abortion  the baby  is turned  around,                                                                    
     taken out  feet first, a  sharp object is run  into its                                                                    
     neck, the  brains are sucked  out and then the  rest of                                                                    
     the  baby  is delivered  and  it's  a gristly,  gristly                                                                    
     practice that, as  an American and as a  human being, I                                                                    
     find extremely, extremely disturbing.  So, we as Alaska                                                                    
     need to  take a stand for  this kind of a  life, get in                                                                    
     step  with the  things  that nationwide  statistically,                                                                    
     people are very much against  this type of an abortion.                                                                    
     We need to become part of that. …                                                                                          
     Maybe I'm  here just  to speak up  for the  little ones                                                                    
     because I know that they  can live outside the womb and                                                                    
     I also  know that  there's a lot  of people  that would                                                                    
     love to have these babies.                                                                                                 
2:35:05 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR FRENCH asked the sponsor if  he'd like to respond to any of                                                               
the testimony that was heard.                                                                                                   
SENATOR  OLSON clarified  that  the  intent of  this  bill is  to                                                               
mirror the  federal law. Currently  36 states are  regulating the                                                               
procedures that are  done within their borders. Alaska  is in the                                                               
minority of  states that does  not have such regulation.  He also                                                               
clarified that  AS 18.16.050(a)  and (b)  are unaffected  by this                                                               
legislation. "All  this does  is modify  [subsection] (c)  so you                                                               
have the protection to save the  life of a mother under [existing                                                               
subsection] (a)."                                                                                                               
CHAIR FRENCH found that no one  else wished to testify. He closed                                                               
public testimony and set SB 264 aside.                                                                                          
           HB 268-MOTOR VEHICLE ARSON ON PUBLIC LAND                                                                        
2:36:50 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR FRENCH announced the consideration of HB 268.                                                                             
BEN MULLIGAN, staff  to Representative Bill Stoltze,  said HB 268                                                               
establishes  that intentionally  starting  a fire  or causing  an                                                               
explosion that  damages a motor vehicle  is a class C  felony. He                                                               
explained  that  the legislation  was  suggested  by a  community                                                               
where on average a dozen vehicles are burned each year.                                                                         
2:37:58 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked if the community would be Jim Creek.                                                                 
MR. MULLIGAN said that's correct,  but according to testimony and                                                               
discussion  before the  House Judiciary  Committee vehicle  arson                                                               
occurs in other  areas of the state as well.  The bill was vetted                                                               
through the departments  of public safety and law as  well as the                                                               
Jim Creek community.                                                                                                            
CHAIR FRENCH asked  if the bill differentiates between  a new car                                                               
and a junked vehicle.                                                                                                           
MR. MULLIGAN  replied they're  treated the  same way  because the                                                               
hazard that the arson creates is the same.                                                                                      
CHAIR  FRENCH asked  how much  of  the car  has to  burn for  the                                                               
statute  to  come into  play.  For  example,  would it  apply  to                                                               
setting a tire on fire.                                                                                                         
2:40:14 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. MULLIGAN suggested he ask  Trooper Dial, but he imagines that                                                               
it  would mean  the entire  car since  statute describes  a motor                                                               
vehicle  as  one  that's  registered by  the  Division  of  Motor                                                               
Vehicles (DMV).                                                                                                                 
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  suggested getting  a legal  opinion because                                                               
his interpretation  is different. Noting that  he's seen vehicles                                                               
that have been damaged with  bats, tire irons and shotgun blasts,                                                               
he asked why the bill is limited to intentional damage by fire.                                                                 
MR.  MULLIGAN explained  that fires  and  explosions affect  more                                                               
than  just the  vehicle. The  hazard potentially  extends to  the                                                               
public, first responders, and the habitat.                                                                                      
SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked for a  definition of motor  vehicle. He                                                               
questioned whether it would have to  have two axles, tires and be                                                               
capable of  self propulsion. Referring to  previous questions, he                                                               
said  he wasn't  sure if  the Chair  was trying  to differentiate                                                               
between a part of a car or a BMW versus a junk car.                                                                             
CHAIR FRENCH said  he has concern about making it  a felony crime                                                               
to  damage a  junked car.  For  example, kids  could face  felony                                                               
charges for  having built  a campfire  against an  already junked                                                               
car. "We  may want to think  about making certain that  there's a                                                               
certain level  of damage done to  the car." The bill  talks about                                                               
"damages" without  placing any limitation on  the significance of                                                               
the damage.                                                                                                                     
SENATOR THERRIAULT  observed that  the Chair  wants to  make sure                                                               
this   doesn't  capture   the  bonfire   that's   set  to   roast                                                               
2:42:53 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   FRENCH  acknowledged   he's  thinking   about  the   more                                                               
insignificant  instances  that  could provoke  a  felony  charge,                                                               
which is a very serious charge to face.                                                                                         
SENATOR THERRIAULT  commented that it's  strange that if  he were                                                               
to torch his own car on  public property it'd be a felony charge,                                                               
but if he were  to do the same thing on his  own property it'd be                                                               
MR. MULLIGAN clarified that the  bill was introduced to address a                                                               
problem in  the sponsor's  district that  was occurring  on state                                                               
and  municipal  land.  If  it should  be  addressed  for  private                                                               
property the sponsor could look at that.                                                                                        
SENATOR  THERRIAULT  said he  understands  the  problem the  bill                                                               
targets and he's  sympathetic, but he just wants  to make certain                                                               
this is the right approach.                                                                                                     
2:44:06 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked  if it's not already a  class C felony                                                               
to  burn  someone's  car  because  it  would  be  destruction  of                                                               
property worth more  than $500. The question was  deferred to Lt.                                                               
CHAIR FRENCH asked Mr. Mulligan if he had anything to add.                                                                      
MR. MULLIGAN  pointed out that  the bill talks  about intentional                                                               
damage  so intent  must be  proved.  For that  reason he  doesn't                                                               
believe that someone  who builds a bonfire  that accidently burns                                                               
a vehicle would be prosecuted under this bill.                                                                                  
2:45:09 PM                                                                                                                    
DAVID  TYLER,  State  Fire  Marshal,   thanked  the  sponsor  for                                                               
addressing  the   problem  of  burning  abandoned   and  derelict                                                               
vehicles. The bottom  line is that it's  hazardous to firefighter                                                               
safety, he  said. Not much thought  is given to these  fires, but                                                               
they can be  very hazardous. Front shock absorber  bumpers can go                                                               
off  like grenades  and fuel  tanks can  explode. Another  hazard                                                               
that's  created  is wild  land  fires.  None  have gotten  to  be                                                               
serious  large  fires  yet,  but  it's just  a  matter  of  time.                                                               
Abandoned  and burned  vehicles can  be  found on  the Chena  Hot                                                               
Springs Road, Steese  Highway, and the dike on  the Tanana River.                                                               
Sometimes the  vehicles are towed  out and torched as  a disposal                                                               
2:47:35 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR FRENCH asked  how often this occurs and if  the typical car                                                               
is  nice and  has been  stolen  and torched  for fun,  or an  old                                                               
beater that's torched for a different kind of fun.                                                                              
MR.  TYLER  estimated  that  fire  departments  in  the  Interior                                                               
respond  to vehicle  fires between  20 and  30 times  a year;  he                                                               
didn't have  numbers for the  entire state. The cars  are usually                                                               
older  and  abandoned. Sometimes  they're  torched  to conceal  a                                                               
2:48:23 PM                                                                                                                    
BRIT  LIVELY, Butte  resident,  stated support  for  HB 268.  She                                                               
addressed previous questions about the  kind of vehicles that are                                                               
burned, whether  there should be  an exception for  partial cars,                                                               
or  incidental burnings  from campfires.  According  to the  fire                                                               
department,  junk vehicles  are  usually towed  or  hauled in  on                                                               
trucks.  Sometimes they're  filled  with extra  tanks or  propane                                                               
bottles so  that when  they're torched  the explosion  is bigger.                                                               
But newer cars that were stolen  in Anchorage are also hauled out                                                               
and torched.  Recently a body  was discovered  in a car  that had                                                               
been  torched a  year earlier,  allegedly it  was a  drug-related                                                               
murder.  In another  instance  a  van load  of  stolen tires  was                                                               
torched in a wooded location close to her house.                                                                                
MS.   LIVELY  said   she  is   one  of   the  people   who  asked                                                               
Representative  Stoltze to  introduce this  legislation. Although                                                               
some may think  a class C felony  for burning a car  is "over the                                                               
top",  HB 268  is the  solution for  keeping the  Butte community                                                               
safe from  this ongoing  year-round problem,  she said.  Prior to                                                               
approaching   the  sponsor,   Butte  residents   consulted  state                                                               
troopers, emergency  services, the  local fire department,  and a                                                               
volunteer  legal   professional.  The  consensus  was   that  the                                                               
troopers  didn't have  the tools  to deter  this activity  in the                                                               
state even  though this has been  an ongoing problem for  over 25                                                               
years. In  the 90s the National  Guard gathered up the  wrecks in                                                               
the  Knik  River   Valley  and  Jim  Creek   area  and  dedicated                                                               
volunteers disposed of the  monstrosities. However, this activity                                                               
has been  accelerating and  it's endangering  local firefighters,                                                               
contaminating  woods and  waterways, placing  homes and  lives in                                                               
danger, and  giving the  area a  reputation that  contradicts the                                                               
values and  standards of its  residents. "In our opinion  HB 268,                                                               
making car burnings  a class C felony crime, will  not jam up the                                                               
legal system, but will serve  as a powerful deterrent for misfits                                                               
including  gang members  and car  thieves who  currently seem  to                                                               
enjoy their  dangerous and destructive  pursuits." Also,  it will                                                               
reassure residents  and public land  users that when  they report                                                               
these deeds  the authorities  will have the  tools to  arrest and                                                               
prosecute these  offenders. "HB  268 is an  easy fix  to convict,                                                               
but it is even a more easy fix to deter," she said.                                                                             
2:55:59 PM                                                                                                                    
MARTY  QUASS, resident  of the  MatSu Borough,  said he  strongly                                                               
supports HB 268.  He lives on the Knik River  and has a panoramic                                                               
view  of the  public use  area under  discussion. Over  the years                                                               
he's had  occasion to  call 911  to report  car burnings  and the                                                               
typical response has been that  resources aren't available and so                                                               
nothing can be  done. It's time to change that,  he said. One day                                                               
the woods will go up in  flames and the Butte area residents will                                                               
have a major calamity on their hands.                                                                                           
CHAIR FRENCH observed that this behavior  could be made a class A                                                               
felony crime  and it's doubtful  that it would do  anything about                                                               
the manpower shortage that troopers and police face statewide.                                                                  
2:57:50 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR FRENCH  asked Lt. Dial  why vehicle burning isn't  a felony                                                               
criminal mischief.                                                                                                              
RODNEY DIAL,  Lieutenant, Alaska  State Troopers,  explained that                                                               
it's not  a crime to damage  your own vehicle, but  it's criminal                                                               
mischief  to  damage  another  person's  property.  In  some  car                                                               
burnings it's possible to charge  criminally negligent burning as                                                               
well,  but when  someone damages  their own  vehicle on  state or                                                               
public land  there isn't  much that law  enforcement can  do. The                                                               
ability  to  take  some  enforcement action  is  one  reason  the                                                               
troopers support  HB 268. He added  that a class C  felony allows                                                               
the court to  assess a wide range of sentencing  options, from no                                                               
time at all and suspended imposition  of sentence, up to a couple                                                               
of years in prison.                                                                                                             
CHAIR FRENCH set HB 268 aside for a subsequent hearing.                                                                         
There being no further business to come before the committee,                                                                   
Chair French adjourned the meeting at 2:59:26 PM.                                                                             

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