Legislature(2011 - 2012)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/21/2011 01:30 PM JUDICIARY


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ SB 7 FELONS' RIGHT TO VOTE OR BE JURORS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ SB 98 BIOMETRIC INFORMATION FOR ID TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
= SB 30 RETURN OF SEIZED PROPERTY
Moved CSSB 30(JUD) Out of Committee
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 21, 2011                                                                                         
                           1:30 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hollis French, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Bill Wielechowski, Vice Chair                                                                                           
Senator Joe Paskvan                                                                                                             
Senator Lesil McGuire                                                                                                           
Senator John Coghill                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
All members present                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                              
SENATE BILL NO. 30                                                                                                              
"An Act providing for the release of certain property in the                                                                    
custody of a law enforcement agency to the owner under certain                                                                  
conditions."                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     - MOVED CSSB 30(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 98                                                                                                              
"An Act relating to biometric information."                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 7                                                                                                               
"An Act relating to the civil rights of felons."                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB  30                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: RETURN OF SEIZED PROPERTY                                                                                          
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) DYSON                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
01/19/11       (S)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/7/11                                                                                
01/19/11       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/19/11       (S)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
02/03/11       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/03/11       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/03/11       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
02/17/11       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/17/11       (S)       Moved CSSB  30(STA) Out of Committee                                                                   
02/17/11       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
02/21/11       (S)       STA RPT CS  4DP 1NR    NEW TITLE                                                                       
02/21/11       (S)       DP: KOOKESH, PASKVAN, MEYER, GIESSEL                                                                   
02/21/11       (S)       NR: WIELECHOWSKI                                                                                       
02/28/11       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
02/28/11       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/28/11       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/18/11       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
03/18/11       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/18/11       (S)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB  98                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: BIOMETRIC INFORMATION FOR ID                                                                                       
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) WIELECHOWSKI                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
03/11/11       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/11/11       (S)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
03/15/11       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/15/11       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/15/11       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/17/11       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/17/11       (S)       Moved CSSB  98(STA) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/17/11       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/18/11       (S)       STA RPT CS  4DP    SAME TITLE                                                                          
03/18/11       (S)       DP:   WIELECHOWSKI,    GIESSEL,   MEYER,                                                               
                         PASKVAN                                                                                                
03/21/11       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB   7                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: FELONS' RIGHT TO VOTE OR BE JURORS                                                                                 
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) DAVIS                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
01/19/11       (S)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/7/11                                                                                
01/19/11       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/19/11       (S)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
02/03/11       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/03/11       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/03/11       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/08/11       (S)       STA AT 9:00 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/08/11       (S)       Moved SB   7 Out of Committee                                                                          
03/08/11       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/09/11       (S)       STA RPT  1DNP 4NR                                                                                      
03/09/11       (S)       DNP: GIESSEL                                                                                           
03/09/11       (S)       NR: WIELECHOWSKI, KOOKESH, PASKVAN,                                                                    
                         MEYER                                                                                                  
03/09/11       (S)       FIN REFERRAL ADDED AFTER JUD                                                                           
03/10/11       (S)       STA AT 9:30 AM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
03/10/11       (S)       <Bill    Hearing   Canceled/Moved    Out                                                               
                         3/8/11>                                                                                                
03/10/11       (S)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
03/21/11       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL CAUFIELD, Staff to Senator Wielechowski                                                                                 
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information related to SB 98 on                                                                 
behalf of the sponsor.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MICHAEL LESMEIER                                                                                                                
State Farm Insurance                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Expressed concern about what SB 98 would                                                                 
prevent.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
HORST POEPPERL, Chief Executive Officer                                                                                         
Borealis Broadband Inc.                                                                                                         
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in strong support for SB 98.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
TIMOTHY PEARSON, Executive Coach                                                                                                
Pearson Consulting                                                                                                              
Anchorage, AK,                                                                                                                  
POSITION STATEMENT:  Stated support for SB 98.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
JASON GIAIMO, Co-chair                                                                                                          
Citizens for Privacy in Alaska and                                                                                              
President                                                                                                                       
Net Gain Business Consultants of Alaska                                                                                         
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 98.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
TOM OBERMEYER, Staff to Senator Davis                                                                                           
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced SB 7 on behalf of the sponsor.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:30:58 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HOLLIS   FRENCH  called  the  Senate   Judiciary  Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting  to  order  at  1:30  p.m.  Senators  Coghill,                                                               
Paskvan, Wielechowski,  and French  were present  at the  call to                                                               
order.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                SB  30-RETURN OF SEIZED PROPERTY                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH  announced the  consideration of  SB 30  and removed                                                               
his objection to  the adoption of the  committee substitute (CS),                                                               
which was pending  from the previous hearing.  Finding no further                                                               
questions or amendments, he asked the will of the committee.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:32:07 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  moved to  report CS for  SB 30,  version D,                                                               
from  committee  with  individual  recommendations  and  attached                                                               
indeterminate fiscal note.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH announced that without  objection CSSB 30(JUD) moved                                                               
from the Senate Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
At ease from 1:32 p.m. to 1:33 p.m.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
              SB  98-BIOMETRIC INFORMATION FOR ID                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
1:33:32 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR FRENCH announced the consideration  of SB 98 and noted that                                                               
the committee  was hearing the  version that came from  the State                                                               
Affairs Committee.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  said he introduced  the bill last  year but                                                               
time ran  out before it made  it through both bodies.  He decided                                                               
to reintroduce  the bill  when concerns  were again  raised about                                                               
how  biometric  information  is  collected  and  used.  The  bill                                                               
basically does two things. First,  AS 18.14.010 which is found on                                                               
page  1,  lines 5-9,  says  a  person  may not  retain,  analyze,                                                               
disclose, or  distribute someone's biometric  information without                                                               
first obtaining the informed consent  of that individual. Second,                                                               
the language on  page 1, lines 10-15, says that  an individual is                                                               
not required to  provide their biometric data for  the purpose of                                                               
identification if  they provide either  a passport or  some other                                                               
form of identification  card. The Alaska Constitution  has a very                                                               
good  privacy provision  and  this bill  seeks  to continue  that                                                               
protection now  and in  the future.  Alaskans don't  want private                                                               
information  about  themselves  like iris  scans,  hand  geometry                                                               
recognition,  and retinal  scans  floating around  and this  bill                                                               
seeks to provide that protection.  He said his staff member would                                                               
answer questions or walk through the bill.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:36:19 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL  CAUFIELD,  Staff  to  Senator  Wielechowski,  introduced                                                               
himself and offered to proceed at the chair's direction.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH  asked if  the bill interferes  with the  ability of                                                               
the  Department of  Corrections (DOC),  the Department  of Public                                                               
Safety  (DPS), or  the Department  of Law  (DOL), to  fingerprint                                                               
criminals  and   retain  those  fingerprints  to   analyze  in  a                                                               
database.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  CAUFIELD  replied  the  bill  provides  exemptions  for  law                                                               
enforcement  purposes including  identification of  perpetrators,                                                               
investigation   of   crimes,   identification   of   missing   or                                                               
unidentified  persons,   or  identification  of   human  remains.                                                               
Exemptions   are   also   provided    for   the   Department   of                                                               
Administration  for presenting  drivers licenses  and any  facial                                                               
images as  well as any  biometric information when  authorized by                                                               
state or federal  law. While the Department of  Health and Social                                                               
Services  (DHSS)  hasn't endorsed  the  bill,  it has  no  stated                                                               
objection.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:38:06 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COGHILL asked  if the  Health Insurance  Portability and                                                               
Accountability  Act (HIPAA)  requirements are  covered under  the                                                               
federal exemption.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. CAUFIELD replied anything that's  written in state or federal                                                               
statute is exempted from this law.  He added that the bill may be                                                               
amended to expand  the exemptions to address  DOL's concern about                                                               
having private rights of action brought against them.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COGHILL questioned  how the  revocation provision  would                                                               
mesh with  the electronic signature laws  that accommodate people                                                               
who are physically unable to sign for themselves.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. CAUFIELD replied  the bill specifically states  that a person                                                               
can consent  to have their  fingerprints used  for identification                                                               
purposes.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
1:40:41 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MCGUIRE joined the committee.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  FRENCH asked  if the  bill  would stop  store owners  from                                                               
capturing images of their customers when on the premises.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. CAUFIELD  replied the bill  still allows the use  of security                                                               
cameras  to keep  people  from shoplifting  and  there's also  an                                                               
exemption  for circumstances  like grandma  taking pictures  at a                                                               
family picnic.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH  asked which aspect  of the definition  of biometric                                                               
system allows store owners to continue to run closed video.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR.   CAUFIELD   directed   attention   to   Sec.18.14.090(3)(D),                                                               
"comparing  the  biometric  data  extracted  under  (B)  of  this                                                               
paragraph with biometric  data stored for the  individual for use                                                               
in future  recognition of the  individual;" and said that  to run                                                               
afoul  of the  statute  the  store owner  would  need  to make  a                                                               
comparison with a  past picture in order to  monitor the person's                                                               
whereabouts. He added  that DOL has said  that facial recognition                                                               
is when  you use a  machine to  identify the person.  The packets                                                               
contain  a   report  from  the  Electronic   Frontier  Foundation                                                               
indicating that facial  recognition scans were used  at the Tampa                                                               
Bay Super Bowl just before 9/11.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH  reviewed the  report and asked  if this  bill would                                                               
prohibit that  sort of police  or private security  activity from                                                               
taking place in the state of Alaska.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. CAUFIELD answered yes.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
1:44:10 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL LESMEIER,  State Farm Insurance, expressed  concern about                                                               
what SB 98  would prevent. For example, a  private building owner                                                               
couldn't  use   biometric  information  for   building  security,                                                               
computer  security,  and  a  variety   of  other  ways  that  the                                                               
information  potentially can  be used  or  could be  used in  the                                                               
future. State Farm  doesn't use this information in  Alaska but a                                                               
company that wanted  to would need to have  two separate security                                                               
systems, one  for the people who  gave consent and the  other for                                                               
those who did not give consent.  Our judgment is that's not good,                                                               
he  stated.  Perhaps there  are  situations  where this  sort  of                                                               
information is being  captured and misused, but  State Farm isn't                                                               
aware of  any and wonders  about the  wisdom of taking  this kind                                                               
tool off the table.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH  asked if State  Farm gathers  biometric information                                                               
as part of its insurance work.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. LESMEIER answered no, but  he believes it's used for security                                                               
purposes in one building at the home office in Illinois.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH expressed surprise that  building security is a core                                                               
concern of State Farm.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  LESMEIER responded  that building  security is  a legitimate                                                               
concern of  anybody in  private or  public business,  both during                                                               
and after  hours. In  particular, it's a  concern for  anyone who                                                               
handles confidential  information. We may have  other concerns as                                                               
we study the  bill further, but we would urge  caution when there                                                               
doesn't appear to be an immediate need, he stated.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:48:07 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR PASKVAN referenced the  exemption under Sec.18.14.060 (1)                                                               
on page 2, line 18, and  wondered if that exemption would satisfy                                                               
State Farm's concerns  to gather biometric data  for internal law                                                               
enforcement  purposes. What  the bill  intends to  stop is  State                                                               
Farm or any other company from  extracting that data and using it                                                               
to target their own customers or others.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. LESMEIER  said this bill  would prevent companies  from using                                                               
this  information   to  protect  buildings,   computers,  medical                                                               
information,  and financial  information  and that's  not a  good                                                               
idea.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH  posed a hypothetical  situation of an  employer who                                                               
requires  his  employees  to  consent to  a  thumbprint  scan  to                                                               
password protect company  computer files. He said  he didn't know                                                               
if that  would run  afoul of Sec.18.14.050  and create  a private                                                               
right of action,  but he believes that collecting  and using that                                                               
information  for a  private business  purpose  is different  than                                                               
someone  who collects  and  then uses  the  information from  the                                                               
public at large. He opined  that collecting biometric information                                                               
for  the  purpose  of  building  security  would  be  problematic                                                               
because it  affects people who are  not employed by the  owner of                                                               
the building.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  LESMEIER  said his  understanding  of  the  bill is  that  a                                                               
potential employee  would have to  consent to the thumb  scan and                                                               
it  couldn't be  a  condition of  employment  because that  would                                                               
create a private  cause for action. He added  that he appreciates                                                               
the committee's  concern about secondary use  of the information,                                                               
but the bill goes way beyond that.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:54:06 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI said  he reads  the  bill differently.  The                                                               
purpose  of the  bill is  to protect  an individual's  privacy by                                                               
limiting  the secondary  transmission  and use  of this  personal                                                               
information. He offered to work  with the drafter to clarify that                                                               
because biometric information does have certain values.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH referenced  point three on the  sponsor's fact sheet                                                               
that  indicates that  the  bill is  aimed  at organizations  that                                                               
collect  and  sell  biometric  data   to  third  parties  without                                                               
consent. The  fourth point states  that biometric data  is useful                                                               
in fields like medicine and security  and the bill doesn't aim to                                                               
stop that use, but it has to be with consent.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:56:25 PM                                                                                                                    
HORST  POEPPERL,  Chief  Executive  Officer,  Borealis  Broadband                                                               
Inc.,  Anchorage, AK  stated  strong support  for  SB 98  because                                                               
people  today face  an onslaught  of organizations  determined to                                                               
extract  every  piece  of  personal  information  possible.  This                                                               
situation  is  out  of  hand,  and  is  becoming  more  and  more                                                               
dangerous for  the average citizen.  Companies buy and  sell this                                                               
data, and it can also be lost  or stolen. The best defense is not                                                               
giving up the information in the first place.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
The best protection  is to not allow the data  to be collected in                                                               
the  first place.  The  idea  that a  nation  is  more secure  by                                                               
collecting private information is Orwellian  at best. In fact, we                                                               
need to reverse the data mining that already exists, he stated.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:00:51 PM                                                                                                                    
TIMOTHY PEARSON, Executive  Coach, Pearson Consulting, Anchorage,                                                               
AK, stated  support for SB 98.  He pointed out that  Section 1.22                                                               
of the Alaska State Constitution  clearly recognizes the right of                                                               
the people to  privacy without infringement, and  states that the                                                               
Legislature  shall implement  this section.  We need  to look  at                                                               
what that  means and  how to apply  it in a  digital era  but the                                                               
reasons  undergirding that  constitutional  right are  unchanging                                                               
and significant, he  stated. This bill will help  correct some of                                                               
the current  imbalance given the  fact that the power  of private                                                               
sector databases  has significantly altered the  balance of power                                                               
between the state and the individual.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
He suggested the committee review  the book "Identity Crisis: How                                                               
Identification is  Overused and Misunderstood" by  Jim Harper and                                                               
an   article  entitled   "Big   Brothers   Little  Helpers:   How                                                               
Choicepoint and  Other Commercial Data Brokers  Collect, Process,                                                               
and  Package  Your  Data  for   Law  Enforcement"  by  Chris  Jay                                                               
Hoofnagle.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. PEARSON said  he would also note that you  can't always trust                                                               
the people at  the top of an organization  regarding the security                                                               
of personal data; that is  where most security breaches occur. He                                                               
cited information from a WikiLeaks  document in which the head of                                                               
TSA offered  U.S. citizen  fingerprint databases  to the  head of                                                               
the  Egyptian   secret  police  in  exchange   for  the  Egyptian                                                               
government  sharing fingerprints  of  extremists that  it had  on                                                               
file.  Trusting that  law enforcement  agencies will  handle such                                                               
information securely  has been breached such  that the safeguards                                                               
provided by  Section 1.22 of  the Alaska constitution  deserve to                                                               
be strengthened, he concluded.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:08:12 PM                                                                                                                    
JASON  GIAIMO,  Co-chair, Citizens  for  Privacy  in Alaska,  and                                                               
President, Net  Gain Business  Consultants of  Alaska, Anchorage,                                                               
AK, said he  doesn't believe that SB 98 would  affect anybody who                                                               
puts up a surveillance camera in  their shop unless they also use                                                               
facial  recognition software.  Actually,  he  said, the  question                                                               
boils down to  whether Alaskans should be compelled  to submit to                                                               
fingerprinting  that will  be stored  in a  private database.  He                                                               
thinks the  answer is no because  it will get lost.  The State of                                                               
Alaska knows this.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Data  mining and  biometrics collection  is big  business; it  is                                                               
estimated  that industry  revenues  will exceed  $7.5 billion  in                                                               
2012  alone. Corporate  revenues  from  fingerprints, iris,  vein                                                               
scanning and  facial recognition  and surveillance make  up about                                                               
49 percent of  that total. The Superintendent of  the Los Angeles                                                               
unified school  district is considering  mandatory fingerprinting                                                               
of  all  low  income  school  children or  they  will  be  denied                                                               
subsidized  lunches. A  city  in  Arizona is  trying  to pass  an                                                               
ordinance  requiring  fingerprint ID  to  receive  medicine at  a                                                               
local pharmacy.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. GIAIMO said  his involvement started in 2008 when  he went to                                                               
take the  last two  parts of  the CPA exam  in Anchorage.  He was                                                               
told that policy  had changed and his  fingerprints were required                                                               
as  proof of  identification;  a passport,  driver's license,  or                                                               
birth certificate  was no  longer sufficient as  ID to  enter the                                                               
exam room.  He refused, which was  very hard, but he  felt it was                                                               
important to retain his integrity.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
Because he is  also a certified internal auditor, he  was able to                                                               
follow  the  money  trail.  He  learned  that  a  company  called                                                               
Prometric  Corporation   receives  a   fee  for   collecting  the                                                               
fingerprints, and  they sell  the data  to an  international data                                                               
mining  company  called ChoicePoint.  This  company  is owned  by                                                               
LexisNexis who  received the largest  fine in the history  of the                                                               
Federal Trade  Commission for violating consumer  privacy rights,                                                               
federal  laws,  and  for  making  false  statements  about  their                                                               
privacy  policies.  These  companies  are  all  about  maximizing                                                               
profits  for  shareholders  and  their goal  is  to  profit  from                                                               
Alaskans' loss  of privacy. View  what they say in  that context,                                                               
he cautioned.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:15:15 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR FRENCH announced he would hold SB 98 in committee.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
           SB   7-FELONS' RIGHT TO VOTE OR BE JURORS                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:15:31 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR FRENCH announced the consideration of SB 7.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:15:43 PM                                                                                                                    
TOM OBERMEYER, Staff to Senator  Davis, sponsor of SB 7, informed                                                               
the committee that currently the  right to vote remains suspended                                                               
from the date of a felony  conviction to the date of release from                                                               
all provisions  of the sentence, including  probation and parole.                                                               
Harsher  sentencing laws  have allowed  the prison  population to                                                               
balloon, while rehabilitative programs  have been reduced to near                                                               
nonexistence. Section  1.12 of  the Alaska  Constitution requires                                                               
that criminal  administration shall be based  upon the philosophy                                                               
of reformation. He stated that  in 2009 more than 10,000 Alaskans                                                               
were ineligible  to vote  pursuant to  this provision.  In Alaska                                                               
the prison  population increased  from 800  prisoners in  1984 to                                                               
over 5,000  prisoners in 2008,  an increase of over  600 percent.                                                               
Of those  incarcerated in Alaska,  48 percent were  Caucasian and                                                               
52 percent were minorities.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. OBERMEYER  said that felons  face discrimination as  they try                                                               
to reenter  society. Restoring the  right to vote is  critical to                                                               
successful  reentry  into  society  after  incarceration  and  is                                                               
consistent with the modern ideal  of universal suffrage. He added                                                               
that  SB  7  would  limit disenfranchisement  to  those  actually                                                               
incarcerated,  and  would give  felons  the  right to  vote  upon                                                               
release.  Felon  disenfranchisement  standards rest  on  outdated                                                               
practices, and  former U.S. Supreme  Court Justice  Marshall said                                                               
it  is doubtful  that any  state could  demonstrate a  compelling                                                               
interest in denying felons the right to vote.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
2:24:15 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR PASKVAN asked if he had  followed up on the idea posed in                                                               
the previous committee  of returning voting rights  only to those                                                               
people who had successfully completed probation.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. OBERMEYER responded  that he would check on it,  but it's not                                                               
an issue he'd dealt with in the past.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH asked if he'd  read or seen anything indicating that                                                               
giving felons the right to vote upon release reduces recidivism.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:26:19 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. OBERMEYER  answered yes; information  in the packet  from the                                                               
2004-2005 Columbia Human Rights  Law Review indicates a bivariate                                                               
relationship   between   voting   and   subsequent   arrest   and                                                               
incarceration. The  percentage of  voters and non-voters  in 1996                                                               
were  compared to  arrests and  incarcerations in  1997-2000. The                                                               
contrasts  showed statistically  significant differences  between                                                               
those who  participated in  the 1996 election  and those  who did                                                               
not participate.  Giving felons the  right to vote  will arguably                                                               
help to stem recidivism, he stated.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
He noted  that the  bill picked up  a finance  committee referral                                                               
after  it   was  reported  from   the  previous   committee.  The                                                               
Department  of   Corrections  (DOC)   now  indicates   that  this                                                               
legislation  will  create  a significant  increase  in  workload,                                                               
specifically in  the Division of  Probation and Parole. It  is no                                                               
longer  seen  as a  simple  issue  of transferring  data  between                                                               
divisions.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
2:29:55 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR FRENCH  asked if someone  who was charged with  a probation                                                               
violation could exercise the right  to vote while in jail pending                                                               
adjudication.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. OBERMEYER said  he sees no reason that that  they should lose                                                               
that privilege until they are convicted and reenter prison.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  FRENCH  pointed  out that  the  presumption  of  innocence                                                               
doesn't quite attach when it's a probation revocation.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COGHILL  said it  would be interesting  to hear  from DOC                                                               
about  the numbers  of parole  and  probation violations  because                                                               
this could create quite a paper trail.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:32:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR FRENCH  asked if  the Department  of Corrections  (DOC) had                                                               
taken a position on the bill.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. OBERMEYER said  he didn't know, but the  fiscal note reflects                                                               
the concern that there would be more work.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH  noted that  an audience  member indicated  that the                                                               
department has  taken no  position on the  bill. He  announced he                                                               
would hold SB 7.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. OBERMEYER  said this bill  has been introduced  several times                                                               
before and in  that time many states have made  changes in voting                                                               
arrangements for released prisoners.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH  said he respects  Senator Davis's  persistence; she                                                               
obviously feels strongly about the issue.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:33:41 PM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair French adjourned the meeting at 2:33 p.m.                                                                                 

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