Legislature(2011 - 2012)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/07/2012 01:30 PM JUDICIARY


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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ HB 80 SELF DEFENSE TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ SB 134 CHILD SUPPORT AWARDS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                         March 7, 2012                                                                                          
                           1:32 p.m.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
Senator Hollis French, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator John Coghill                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Senator Bill Wielechowski, Vice Chair                                                                                           
Senator Joe Paskvan                                                                                                             
Senator Lesil McGuire                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
HOUSE BILL NO. 80                                                                                                               
"An Act relating to self defense in any place where a person has                                                                
a right to be."                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATE BILL NO. 134                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to child support awards; and repealing Rule                                                                    
90.3, Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure."                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     - HEARD & HELD                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
BILL: HB  80                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: SELF DEFENSE                                                                                                       
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) NEUMAN, FEIGE, LYNN, COSTELLO                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
01/18/11       (H)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/14/11                                                                               
01/18/11       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/18/11       (H)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
02/09/11       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
02/09/11       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/09/11       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/11/11       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
02/11/11       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
02/11/11       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
02/14/11       (H)       JUD RPT 4DP 1DNP 1NR                                                                                   
02/14/11       (H)       DP: KELLER, THOMPSON, LYNN, GATTO                                                                      
02/14/11       (H)       DNP: HOLMES                                                                                            
02/14/11       (H)       NR: GRUENBERG                                                                                          
03/08/11       (H)       FIN AT 9:00 AM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
03/08/11       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/08/11       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
03/30/11       (H)       FIN AT 5:00 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
03/30/11       (H)       -- MEETING CANCELED --                                                                                 
04/04/11       (H)       FIN AT 6:00 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
04/04/11       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
04/04/11       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
04/05/11       (H)       FIN RPT 5DP 3NR                                                                                        
04/05/11       (H)       DP: FAIRCLOUGH, T.WILSON, COSTELLO,                                                                    
                        STOLTZE, THOMAS                                                                                         
04/05/11       (H)       NR: GUTTENBERG, JOULE, DOOGAN                                                                          
04/09/11       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
04/09/11       (H)       VERSION: HB 80                                                                                         
04/11/11       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
04/11/11       (S)       JUD, FIN                                                                                               
03/07/12       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
BILL: SB 134                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: CHILD SUPPORT AWARDS                                                                                               
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) KOOKESH                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
01/17/12       (S)       PREFILE RELEASED 1/6/12                                                                                
01/17/12       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
01/17/12       (S)       HSS, JUD                                                                                               
02/06/12       (S)       HSS AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
02/06/12       (S)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
02/06/12       (S)       MINUTE(HSS)                                                                                            
02/15/12       (S)       HSS AT 1:30 PM BUTROVICH 205                                                                           
02/15/12       (S)       Moved CSSB 134(HSS) Out of Committee                                                                   
02/15/12       (S)       MINUTE(HSS)                                                                                            
02/17/12       (S)       HSS RPT CS  2DP 2NR     NEW TITLE                                                                      
02/17/12       (S)       DP: DAVIS, EGAN                                                                                        
02/17/12       (S)       NR: MEYER, DYSON                                                                                       
02/17/12       (S)       FIN REFERRAL ADDED AFTER JUD                                                                           
03/07/12       (S)       JUD AT 1:30 PM BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
REX SHATTUCK, Staff                                                                                                             
Representative Mark Neuman                                                                                                      
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced HB 80 on behalf of the sponsor.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
ANNE CARPENETI, Assistant Attorney General                                                                                      
Criminal Division                                                                                                               
Department of Law (DOL)                                                                                                         
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Provided an overview of the current self                                                                  
defense law and answered questions related to HB 80.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
BRIAN JUDY, Senior State Liaison                                                                                                
National Rifle Association - Institute for Legislative Action                                                                   
(NRA-ILA)                                                                                                                       
Sacramento, California                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of HB 80.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
QUINLAN STEINER, Director                                                                                                       
Public Defender Agency                                                                                                          
Department of Administration (DOA)                                                                                              
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Offered information related to HB 80.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
DOROTHY SHOCKLEY, staff                                                                                                         
Senator Albert Kookesh                                                                                                          
Alaska State Legislature                                                                                                        
Juneau, AK                                                                                                                      
POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced SB 134 on behalf of the sponsor.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
DAISY STEVENS, representing herself                                                                                             
Fairbanks, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 134.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
DIXIE BANNER, representing herself                                                                                              
Wasilla, AK                                                                                                                     
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified in support of SB 134.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MICHELLE BAYLESS, representing herself                                                                                          
Copper Center, AK                                                                                                               
POSITION STATEMENT: Stated support for SB 134 if it helps kids.                                                               
                                                                                                                                
NANCY MEADE, General Counsel                                                                                                    
Alaska Court System                                                                                                             
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 134 and explained the review                                                              
process under Court Rule 90.3.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
JOHN MALLONEE, Director                                                                                                         
Child Support Services Division (CSSD)                                                                                          
Department of Revenue (DOR)                                                                                                     
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION  STATEMENT: Answered  questions about  child support  as                                                             
related to SB 134.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
STACY STEINBERG, Chief Assistant Attorney General                                                                               
Collections and Support Section                                                                                                 
Civil Division                                                                                                                  
Department of Law                                                                                                               
Anchorage, AK                                                                                                                   
POSITION STATEMENT: Provided information related to SB 134.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
1:32:41 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  HOLLIS   FRENCH  called  the  Senate   Judiciary  Standing                                                             
Committee  meeting to  order  at 1:32  p.m.  Senator Coghill  and                                                               
Chair French  were present at the  call to order. He  stated that                                                               
the committee did not have a  quorum and would not take action on                                                               
any legislation today.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
                      HB  80-SELF DEFENSE                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
1:33:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  FRENCH  announced the  consideration  of  HB 80,  "An  Act                                                               
relating to self defense in any  place where a person has a right                                                               
to be."                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:33:42 PM                                                                                                                    
REX  SHATTUCK,  staff  to Representative  Mark  Neuman,  a  prime                                                               
sponsor  of HB  80, characterized  the bill  as the  "no duty  to                                                               
retreat"  legislation.   He  explained  that  HB   80  amends  AS                                                               
11.81.335(b) by  adding a new  paragraph (5) to clarify  a person                                                               
does not  have a  duty to  retreat and  can instead  apply deadly                                                               
force  in defense  of self  if he/she  is anywhere  he/she has  a                                                               
right  to be.  He noted  that approximately  18 other  states had                                                               
already passed or were working on similar legislation.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH  noted that Lieutenant  Dial with the  Department of                                                               
Public  Safety   (DPS),  Brian  Judy  with   the  National  Rifle                                                               
Association, Quinlan Steiner with  the Public Defender Agency and                                                               
Anne Carpeneti  with the Department  of Law (DOL)  were available                                                               
to  answer  questions. He  asked  Mr.  Shattuck if  a  particular                                                               
incident in Alaska served as a catalyst for the bill.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. SHATTUCK  relayed that  a number  of constituents  and groups                                                               
expressed interest in the issue  after the question was raised in                                                               
several cases in the Lower 48.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
1:39:54 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  FRENCH  reviewed the  bill  packet  and observed  that  it                                                               
contained  an  impressive  amount   of  supporting  material  and                                                               
messages  from across  the state.  Promising  that the  committee                                                               
would conduct a detailed examination  of the self defense law, he                                                               
emphasized that the current law was  reasonable and that it was a                                                               
misconception that  the duty to  retreat means that a  person has                                                               
to  give up  in  the face  of  a criminal  attack.  He asked  Ms.                                                               
Carpeneti to  provide an overview of  the self defense law  as it                                                               
currently stands.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
1:41:18 PM                                                                                                                    
ANNE  CARPENETI,  Assistant  Attorney  General  representing  the                                                               
Criminal Division, Department of Law  (DOL), said the first thing                                                               
to understand is  that self-defense is a defense  which the state                                                               
has to disprove beyond a reasonable doubt.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  FRENCH  posed  a hypothetical  situation  to  clarify  the                                                               
meaning  of  that  statement.  A  mother  with  two  children  is                                                               
carrying groceries  to her car  and is beset  by a robber  in the                                                               
parking lot. Believing the man is  armed, she uses her own gun to                                                               
shoot  him. The  district attorney's  office has  to screen  that                                                               
case and  decide whether or  not to  accept a charge  of homicide                                                               
against the mother.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS. CARPENETI added  that the screening decision  in that example                                                               
would be not  to prosecute the woman, because in  Alaska the duty                                                               
to retreat  only applies when a  person knows that he  or she can                                                               
retreat in complete safety to him  or herself and others they are                                                               
protecting.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH summarized  that the DA would make  the decision not                                                               
to prosecute because  no crime had occurred. It was  a lawful use                                                               
of self-defense under current Alaska law.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. CARPENETI replied that is correct.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  FRENCH asked  if Senator  Coghill, for  example, would  be                                                               
authorized to  shoot and  kill the  attacker, assuming  the woman                                                               
was unarmed and he saw a gun in the attacker's hand.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CARPENETI confirmed  that  he  would not  have  the duty  to                                                               
retreat  under that  circumstance.  If he  had reasonable  belief                                                               
that  the woman  was  in  danger he  could  use  deadly force  to                                                               
protect the woman and her children.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH asked if in the  second scenario the duty to retreat                                                               
pertains to  the victim and not  so much to Senator  Coghill. The                                                               
issue is whether the victim can get away.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. CARPENETI confirmed that was correct.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  FRENCH  read the  current  law  under AS  11.81.335(b)  "A                                                               
person may not use deadly force  under this section if the person                                                               
knows  that,  with complete  personal  safety  and with  complete                                                               
safety  as to  others being  defended, the  person can  avoid the                                                               
necessity..."                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
He adjusted  the hypothetical to illustrate  that every situation                                                               
has to be analyzed. In this  instance the woman is walking to her                                                               
car and  a man gets  out of another car  that is parked  20 yards                                                               
away. The  man has a gun.  He asked what the  obligation would be                                                               
under that scenario.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. CARPENETI  agreed that ever  situation is different  and each                                                               
has  to  be  analyzed  on  its  facts.  If  Senator  Coghill  had                                                               
reasonable belief that there was  deadly danger to that woman, he                                                               
would  have the  right to  use the  defense of  third parties  in                                                               
defense of others. Under that  circumstance he would not have the                                                               
duty to retreat.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:45:26 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  SHATTUCK  agreed with  Ms.  Carpeneti  and highlighted  that                                                               
there are both objective and  subjective considerations. He noted                                                               
that Justice  Oliver Wendell Holmes  questioned how  subjective a                                                               
person needed  to be  when the  objective justification  was that                                                               
there was a gun in your face.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  FRENCH  agreed that  Justice  Oliver  Wendell Holmes  said                                                               
there  is no  duty  to retreat  under  certain circumstances.  He                                                               
said, "detached reflection cannot be  demanded in the presence of                                                               
an uplifted knife."  That is common sense and the  current law in                                                               
the state of Alaska. Senator Coghill  would not be expected to go                                                               
through  a  calculated analysis  of  the  situation. If  he  sees                                                               
someone being beset  by an armed robber, he can  kill that robber                                                               
and  the  Department of  Law  would  not  prosecute. If  he  were                                                               
prosecuted,  Senator Coghill  would go  to court  with the  legal                                                               
advantage of the  state not only having the  burden of convicting                                                               
him beyond a  reasonable doubt, but also of  disproving his self-                                                               
defense claim beyond a reasonable doubt.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH said he was going  through this in detail because of                                                               
the  seeming misperception  that people  cannot already  exercise                                                               
the right  of self-defense. That is  not the case; people  in the                                                               
state of Alaska have an absolute right to defend themselves.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
1:48:40 PM                                                                                                                    
BRIAN JUDY,  Senior State Liaison,  National Rifle  Association -                                                               
Institute   for   Legislative   Action   (NRA-ILA),   Sacramento,                                                               
California, stated strong support for  HB 80. He relayed that the                                                               
sponsor  suggested that  he  hold his  testimony  until the  next                                                               
hearing  when  the  full  committee  and  the  sponsor  could  be                                                               
present. He  offered to answer  questions as they came  up during                                                               
this hearing.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH  asked if he had  any comment about what  he'd heard                                                               
today,  and if  the  NRA had  any good  examples  of an  innocent                                                               
person being prosecuted for homicide  when a bill like this would                                                               
have prevented such a prosecution.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. JUDY confirmed that the bill  was not introduced based on any                                                               
specific  circumstance;  it  was  brought  on  the  philosophical                                                               
discussion  nationwide   on  the   issue  of  self   defense.  He                                                               
acknowledged that existing  Alaska law provides that  there is no                                                               
duty to  retreat if a  person is  justified and on  premises they                                                               
own, lease, reside, or work.  However, the NRA's position is that                                                               
if a person  is out in public  where they have a right  to be and                                                               
they  are justified,  they should  not  have to  go through  that                                                               
mental  exercise as  to  whether  or not  they  can retreat  with                                                               
complete safety.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
He urged caution  in saying there is an absolute  right to defend                                                               
oneself. The prosecutor  is going to consider  whether the person                                                               
was justified and whether the  person could retreat with complete                                                               
safety so the person in the  circumstance has to consider that as                                                               
well in deciding whether to employ deadly force.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
1:53:59 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR FRENCH asked if the NRA  had analyzed what it means to have                                                               
a right to  be in a particular place. For  example, does a person                                                               
that goes  to Disneyland or the  movies have a right  to be there                                                               
or  are  they there  as  a  guest or  at  the  permission of  the                                                               
corporate or business owner.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. JUDY  replied the NRA's analysis  would be that a  person who                                                               
is  not trespassing  and has  the legal  right to  be in  a place                                                               
would be covered  under the provisions of HB  80. He acknowledged                                                               
that private property  owners have a right  to impose limitations                                                               
on  the use  of  their  property, and  that  the limitations  are                                                               
different when  the private property  is closed to the  public as                                                               
opposed to private property that is open to the public.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH asked the public defender  if passage of HB 80 would                                                               
essentially remove the duty to retreat from Alaska law.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
1:57:05 PM                                                                                                                    
QUINLAN STEINER, Director, Public  Defender Agency, Department of                                                               
Administration  (DOA), advised  that there  would be  a remaining                                                               
duty to  retreat in situations  like trespass where a  person did                                                               
not have a legal right to be there.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH asked if  he would agree that a person  who was in a                                                               
parking lot  that was closed  to the  public for the  night would                                                               
not have a legal right to be in that parking lot.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. STEINER  responded that  if someone  were charged  under that                                                               
circumstance there would probably  be litigation about whether or                                                               
not the person had the duty to retreat.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH observed  that the first question is  whether or not                                                               
the person had a  legal right to be in the  parking lot, and once                                                               
that is resolved it would be  clear whether or not the person had                                                               
a duty to retreat.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. STEINER  responded that  in the  instance where  somebody has                                                               
used deadly force, the preliminary  question is whether or not he                                                               
or she  had that authority.  He opined  that it's in  that regard                                                               
that HB 80  may have no impact. Under the  statute the two events                                                               
are theoretically mutually exclusive. If  a person can retreat in                                                               
total  safety, he  or  she does  not have  the  authority to  use                                                               
deadly force. If a person has  the authority to use deadly force,                                                               
arguably there are  no circumstances under which he  or she could                                                               
retreat in total safety.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH asked  if the Public Defender Agency  had a position                                                               
on the bill.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. STEINER said no.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COGHILL  said he will  be looking  at the issue  from two                                                               
perspectives. One  is how the  courts will interpret  the statute                                                               
and  the other  is how  the  public will  interpret their  rights                                                               
under the statute.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  FRENCH  agreed  that  people  will look  to  the  law  for                                                               
direction and it should be as clear as possible.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:02:25 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR FRENCH announced he would hold HB 80 in committee.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                  SB 134-CHILD SUPPORT AWARDS                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:02:59 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  FRENCH announced  the  consideration of  SB  134, "An  Act                                                               
relating  to  child  support awards;  and  repealing  Rule  90.3,                                                               
Alaska Rules of Civil Procedure."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:03:19 PM                                                                                                                    
DOROTHY SHOCKLEY, staff to Senator  Kookesh, introduced SB 134 by                                                               
explaining  that  it  puts  Court Rule  90.3  into  statute,  and                                                               
changes how child support is allocated. The current percentage-                                                                 
of-income  model  that considers  just  the  income of  the  non-                                                               
custodial parent will change to  an income share model where both                                                               
parents' income  is used  to calculate  child support.  She noted                                                               
that  a section  was removed  that ordered  a grandparent  to pay                                                               
child support. Sections  dealing with the support  order form and                                                               
the commentary were also removed.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
She explained  that the bill  came about due to  frustration with                                                               
the child support  review process under Court  Rule 90.3, because                                                               
it appeared  that people did  not have a  voice. In 2008  she was                                                               
told that the best way to change  the process was to put the rule                                                               
into statute.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. SHOCKELY relayed that the  sponsor's office receives a number                                                               
of calls  from people who do  not mind paying child  support, but                                                               
feel there are  problems with the system.  This legislation seeks                                                               
to give people  a voice, be fair, and provide  for a child's best                                                               
interest.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:05:42 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COGHILL  asked  for an  expanded  discussion  about  the                                                               
income share model for determining  child support. He said he was                                                               
also  interested  in  looking at  ways  to  include  non-monetary                                                               
things in  child support orders.  For example, there should  be a                                                               
way to  place a  value on  a contribution  of hunting  or fishing                                                               
efforts.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
2:07:27 PM                                                                                                                    
DAISY  STEVENS, representing  herself,  Fairbanks,  AK, said  she                                                               
always felt  that it was unfair  for child support to  be paid by                                                               
just one parent.  She cited the cases of her  two sons and stated                                                               
full  support for  changing the  standard  for calculating  child                                                               
support to include the income of both parents.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
2:11:19 PM                                                                                                                    
DIXIE  BANNER, representing  herself, Wasilla,  AK, testified  in                                                               
support of  SB 134.  She described being  penalized in  the child                                                               
support  calculation   for  being  a  noncustodial   parent,  and                                                               
expressed pleasure at not being in the system any longer.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
2:14:38 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHELLE  BAYLESS,  representing   herself,  Copper  Center,  AK,                                                               
expressed  sympathy  with the  previous  testimony  and said  she                                                               
supports  SB  134   if  it  helps  kids.   She  discussed  single                                                               
parenthood  and that  noncustodial parents  were not  required to                                                               
share the burden.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
2:19:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  FRENCH asked  Ms. Shockley  if  she consulted  Legislative                                                               
Legal about Sections  4 and 5. Section 4 repeals  Court Rule 90.3                                                               
putting   it   in   statute,  and   Section   5   addresses   the                                                               
nonapplicability of a two-thirds vote requirement.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SHOCKLEY replied  Legislative Legal  indicated the  sections                                                               
were correct and that they  discussed the questions with both the                                                               
court and the Department of Law.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  FRENCH asked  Ms. Meade  to explain  how changes  to Court                                                               
Rule 90.3  are crafted and how  an affected member of  the public                                                               
can get his or her concerns heard.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:20:34 PM                                                                                                                    
NANCY  MEADE, General  Counsel, Alaska  Court System,  Anchorage,                                                               
AK, explained  that in compliance  with federal  regulations, the                                                               
state reviews its child support  guidelines every four years. The                                                               
Alaska  Supreme Court  appoints  an eight  member committee  that                                                               
meets  for about  18 months  prior to  the four-year  deadline to                                                               
consider  whether the  Court  Rule still  results  in fair  child                                                               
support  awards.  She  described  two  ways  for  the  public  to                                                               
comment. At the  beginning of the process the  meeting is noticed                                                               
in 32 newspapers statewide and  in every courthouse. Comments are                                                               
submitted  and  the  review  committee   reads  them  all  before                                                               
recommending any changes. At that  point the proposed changes are                                                               
noticed and  comment is again solicited  and thoroughly reviewed.                                                               
The committee then makes a  final decision about any changes. She                                                               
noted  that the  process  also provides  an  opportunity for  the                                                               
public to  testify telephonically.  In addition to  the scheduled                                                               
review, the court  rules attorney will consider  written and oral                                                               
suggestions  about   court  rule  changes  at   any  time.  Those                                                               
suggestions  go to  the standing  committee on  family rules  and                                                               
could eventually go to the Alaska Supreme Court.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:25:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  FRENCH  asked if  the  Alaska  Supreme Court  reviews  the                                                               
proposals  or  if  the  review committee  has  the  authority  to                                                               
promulgate the rule change.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE replied rule changes  absolutely must be promulgated by                                                               
the court. The review committee  prepares a report of recommended                                                               
changes  and  the rules  attorney,  acting  as the  intermediary,                                                               
presents the  report to  the five members  of the  Alaska Supreme                                                               
Court  along with  background information  that includes  all the                                                               
public comments. The court then  decides whether or not to accept                                                               
the  recommendations. She  noted that  the last  review committee                                                               
asked the court  for interim guidance as to the  idea of adopting                                                               
the income share  model, and the court's suggestion  was to stick                                                               
with  the percentage  of income  approach  and avoid  unnecessary                                                               
work.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH summarized that the  idea was dropped when the court                                                               
expressed little interest in switching to an income share model.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. MEADE added that the  request for guidance was accompanied by                                                               
a notebook  of thoughts  on the two  approaches and  the relative                                                               
fairness of  each one.  She discussed the  issue of  fairness and                                                               
that it  was a matter  of perspective unless there  was empirical                                                               
evidence that one model was more fair.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  FRENCH asked  what model  the court  uses when  custody is                                                               
shared equally between the parents.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MEADE  explained that  when  custody  is shared  50:50,  the                                                               
current  rule calls  for a  calculation of  each parent's  income                                                               
with  an offset  payment  that accounts  for  the difference.  In                                                               
cases where  a parent has  less than  30 percent custody  for one                                                               
child, the current  rule calls for that parent to  pay 20 percent                                                               
of their net income to the custodial parent.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:31:50 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  FRENCH observed  that  there appears  to  be ample  public                                                               
input.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COGHILL asked her to  elaborate on the court's discussion                                                               
and  suggestion to  stick  with the  percentage  of income  model                                                               
because of fairness.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE clarified that the  court concluded that the percentage                                                               
of income  approach resulted  in child  support awards  that were                                                               
appropriate.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
2:33:45 PM                                                                                                                    
JOHN MALLONEE, Director, Child  Support Services Division (CSSD),                                                               
Department of Revenue (DOR), offered to answer questions.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH asked how many child support orders CSSD monitors.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MALLONEE  replied  the division  was  actively  involved  in                                                               
approximately  48,000  child  support  cases, but  that  did  not                                                               
represent the  full universe because some  do not go to  CSSD for                                                               
enforcement.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH asked  why a child support order would  or would not                                                               
fall under the jurisdiction of CSSD.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. MALLONEE explained that one of  the parties can ask the court                                                               
to give the case to CSSD  for enforcement or a party can approach                                                               
CSSD directly asking  it do anything from  establish paternity to                                                               
establish a court  order to enforce a court order.  The agency is                                                               
able to do all these things administratively.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH asked if he had reviewed SB 134.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. MALLONEE  said yes, and  their calculations showed  that when                                                               
the  combined   income  is   up  to   $31,000  or   $32,000,  the                                                               
noncustodial parent  tends to  pay more under  SB 134  than under                                                               
the  current Rule  90.3. The  reverse is  true when  the combined                                                               
income  is  above $31,000  or  $32,000;  the noncustodial  parent                                                               
tends to  pay less under  SB 134 than  the current Rule  90.3. He                                                               
clarified that would not apply in every situation.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  FRENCH asked  if  he  had analyzed  what  would happen  to                                                               
current awards if SB 134 were to pass.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MALLONEE  explained that  because  it  would be  a  material                                                               
change of circumstances, CSSD estimates  that more than 20,000 of                                                               
the current orders would be subject to modification.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH asked what the workload is per month.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
2:39:26 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. MALLONEE  replied the  current staff of  14 does  about 3,000                                                               
modifications in a year.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH  asked if  the bill  would potentially  create seven                                                               
years of work.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. MALLONEE said yes; the fiscal  note asks for 24 temporary and                                                               
5 permanent  positions to accommodate  the modifications  and the                                                               
added work to get information from two parties rather than one.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH  asked if this  would affect how the  division meets                                                               
the federal guidelines for child support.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. MALLONEE  answered no; it actually  provides more opportunity                                                               
to meet the federal requirements  because each case is subject to                                                               
modification.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COGHILL  asked  how  CSSD makes  things  fair  when  the                                                               
noncustodial parent is actually the one caring for the child.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. MALLONEE explained  that the agency can change  an order that                                                               
was  established administratively,  but  cannot  make changes  to                                                               
orders produced by the court. Those  cases have to go back to the                                                               
court.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COGHILL asked how long it takes to change custody.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MALLONEE replied  it should  not take  no longer  than 30-45                                                               
days to change an administrative  order, but it takes longer than                                                               
that to get a new custody order from the court.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
2:43:46 PM                                                                                                                    
STACY  STEINBERG, Chief  Assistant Attorney  General, Collections                                                               
and  Support   Section,  Civil   Division,  Department   of  Law,                                                               
Anchorage,  AK,  said she  was  in  charge  of the  section  that                                                               
advises CSSD and represents it in any court actions.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH  asked if she had  any general comments on  the bill                                                               
or the previous testimony.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. STEINBERG discussed the three  formulas for calculating child                                                               
support  under Rule  90.3  in cases  of  primary custody,  shared                                                               
custody,  and  divided  custody.  The  primary  formula  takes  a                                                               
percentage of  the noncustodial parent's  net income.  The shared                                                               
formula is  a more  income share  approach because  both parents'                                                               
income and  the percentage of time  each parent has the  child is                                                               
considered.  The   divided  formula  is  almost   a  pure  offset                                                               
approach. It applies  when each parent has primary  custody of at                                                               
least one child.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  FRENCH asked  if  she  had any  comments  on the  relative                                                               
fairness of one system compared to the other.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. STEINBERG  said no, but  DOL did  review the bill  looking at                                                               
the  legal requirements  under federal  law to  ensure that  CSSD                                                               
continues to receive federal funds.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
2:47:31 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COGHILL   asked  if  the  formulas   easily  accommodate                                                               
changing family dynamics.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  STEINBERG  confirmed  that   administrative  orders  can  be                                                               
changed more quickly than court  orders, but that it is incumbent                                                               
on one or both parents to notify  CSSD of a change in custody and                                                               
ask for the  appropriate adjustment. If the order  is produced by                                                               
the court, one  or both parents have  to go back to  the court to                                                               
get  a change  of  custody.  As part  of  the  process the  court                                                               
matches  the support  amount to  the  custody arrangement.  Court                                                               
cases move more or less quickly depending on the situation.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COGHILL said  he assumes  that would  not change  if the                                                               
bill were to become law.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MS. STEINBERG said  that's correct; the parents  would still have                                                               
to advise  the court of  the custody  change and the  court would                                                               
have to issue a new custody  and support orders. Returning to the                                                               
fairness issue, she suggested that  it would be necessary to look                                                               
at the calculations  to see if it  was more fair to  look at both                                                               
parents' income.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
2:50:53 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR FRENCH asked if she had any  views on Sections 4 and 5. The                                                               
repeal of Rule  90.3 and the non-applicability  of the two-thirds                                                               
vote requirement.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS.  STEINBERG   replied  she  had   not  looked  at   the  issue                                                               
specifically, but  her understanding was that  those two sections                                                               
were correct.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH said he would check on that a bit more.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  COGHILL   said  he  looked   forward  to   getting  more                                                               
information   on  the   non-applicability  section   because  the                                                               
constitution   says  two-thirds   vote  is   necessary  for   the                                                               
Legislature to make changes.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  FRENCH said  he'd  focus on  that as  well.  He asked  Ms.                                                               
Shockley if she had any concluding remarks.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:51:52 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. SHOCKLEY  commented on  the 2008  review process  and relayed                                                               
her dismay that  just four or five people  attended the statewide                                                               
hearing that lasted just 30 minutes.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR COGHILL  discussed the fiscal impact,  the possibility of                                                               
putting the  Rule 90.3  in statute  without changing  the current                                                               
methodology,  and the  idea of  adding  enforcement resources  to                                                               
help people who feel they've been treated unfairly.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS.  SHOCKLEY  said the  legislation  that  was introduced  three                                                               
years  ago put  the  rule into  statute and  did  not change  the                                                               
model.  At that  time 35  states  used the  shared income  model.                                                               
Although every situation  is different, there are  cases where it                                                               
is more fair. She cited an example.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR FRENCH held SB 134 in committee.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
2:59:51 PM                                                                                                                    
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair French adjourned the meeting at 2:59 p.m.                                                                                 

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Sponsor Statement SB 134.doc SJUD 3/7/2012 1:30:00 PM
SB 134
HB 80 Sponosr Statement.pdf SJUD 3/7/2012 1:30:00 PM
HB 80
SB134 Memo from Leg Legal.pdf SHSS 2/6/2012 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/7/2012 1:30:00 PM
SB 134
SB134 11-076 Leg SB134 Research Report Child Support in other states.pdf SHSS 2/6/2012 1:30:00 PM
SJUD 3/7/2012 1:30:00 PM
SB 134