Legislature(1997 - 1998)

04/22/1998 03:50 PM RES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
              SENATE RESOURCES COMMITTEE                                       
                    April 22, 1998                                             
                      3:50 p.m.                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                
Senator Rick Halford, Chairman                                                 
Senator Lyda Green, Vice Chairman                                              
Senator Loren Leman                                                            
Senator Bert Sharp                                                             
Senator Georgianna Lincoln                                                     
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                 
Senator Robin Taylor                                                           
Senator John Torgerson                                                         
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                             
SENATE BILL NO. 252                                                            
"An Act relating to paternity establishment and child support;                 
relating to the crimes of criminal nonsupport and aiding the                   
nonpayment of child support; and amending Rule 37(b)(2)(D), Alaska             
Rules of Civil Procedure; and providing for an effective date."                
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 204(RES)                                                 
"An Act revising the procedures and authority of the Alaska                    
Commercial Fisheries Entry Commission, the Board of Fisheries, and             
the Department of Fish and Game to establish a moratorium on                   
participants or vessels, or both, participating in certain                     
fisheries; and providing for an effective date."                               
     - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                 
PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                               
SB 252 - See HESS minutes dated 3/2/98, 3/4/98 and 3/20/98.                    
HB 204 - No previous action to record.                                         
WITNESS REGISTER                                                               
Ms. Juli Lucky, Staff to Senator Halford                                       
State Capitol                                                                  
Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Reviewed draft CSSB 252(RES)                            
Ms. Barbara Miklos, Director                                                   
Child Support Enforcement Division                                             
Department of Revenue                                                          
550 W. 7th Ave., Suite 310                                                     
Anchorage, AK 99501                                                            
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Offered information on CSSB 252(RES)                    
Dan Branch, Assistant Attorney General                                         
Human Services Section                                                         
Department of Law                                                              
100 Cushman St., Suite 400                                                     
Fairbanks, AK 99701-4679                                                       
  POSITION STATEMENT: Presented sectional analysis on CSSB
Darrell Watson, Operations Manager                                             
Child Support Enforcement Division                                             
Department of Revenue                                                          
550 W. 7th Ave., Suite 310                                                     
Anchorage, AK 99501                                                            
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Responded to questions on CSSB 252(RES)                 
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                               
TAPE 98-33, SIDE A                                                             
Number 001                                                                     
        SB 252 - PATERNITY/CHILD SUPPORT/NONSUPPORT CRIMES                     
CHAIRMAN HALFORD called the Senate Resources Committee meeting to              
order at 3:50 p.m., and noted the presence of Senators Lincoln,                
Leman, Green and Halford.                                                      
CHAIRMAN HALFORD  brought SB 252 before the committee, and                     
explained the reason the Resources Committee is looking at the bill            
is because it relates to licenses that apply to resource issues.               
He said the legislation had a major rewrite in the 1997 legislative            
session, and virtually everything that was in last year's bill is              
in the present version.  He noted there was a draft committee                  
substitute that was not complete, and he asked Ms. Lucky to speak              
to the committee substitute.                                                   
JULI LUCKY, staff to Senator Halford, directed attention to CSSB
252(RES), version "F."  The first change in the committee                      
substitute is that all references to sport fishing and hunting                 
licenses have been removed.  The reasoning behind this is that the             
federal law requirement is revocation of occupational and                      
recreational or sport licenses, and Alaska hunting and fishing                 
licenses are required for subsistence hunting and fishing, and it              
was felt that subsistence was neither recreational or occupational.            
In Section 2, paragraph (3) adds a court determination for contempt            
revocation of occupational licensing and driver's licensing.                   
CHAIRMAN HALFORD  pointed out that this was an administrative                  
action in the previous bill.                                                   
Ms. Lucky said Sections 3 through 7 is a proposed amendment from               
the Alaska Court System relating to keeping social security numbers            
private in pubic court documents.  She explained there are certain             
court documents relating to marriage and divorce and family that               
are open to the public, and by  making this amendment, the social              
security numbers will no longer be on those papers.                            
In Section 14, subsection (g), it exempts employers who have fewer             
than five employees.  She said there was a lot of concern about the            
employer reporting requirements being onerous to small businesses              
that may not be aware of the requirements, as well as those having             
temporary employees or very few employees.                                     
Sections 21 through 33 relate to a topic  brought up in last year's            
legislation, which is a best efforts provision, and relates to                 
people who are making an effort to comply with their child support             
arrears or orders.  This amendment came from the department and                
through other private concerns.                                                
CHAIRMAN HALFORD asked if this provision is protected by                       
confidentiality, and MS. LUCKY acknowledged that it is.                        
MS. LUCKY further explained that Sections 21 through 26 refer to               
occupational licensing, and Sections 27 through 33 refer to                    
driver's licensing.  She said the subpoenas and warrants language              
is being taken out, and it leaves substantial noncompliance as the             
criteria for license revocation.                                               
MS. LUCKY said the remainder of the bill is the HESS version of SB
CHAIRMAN HALFORD summarized that basically the categories addressed            
in the  Resources CS  are: the court system, small employers,                  
license revocation and requiring court action versus administrative            
action, and omission of references to sport fishing and hunting                
CHAIRMAN HALFORD invited Barbara Miklos and Dan Branch to the table            
to go through the bill section by section.                                     
BARBARA MIKLOS, Director, Child Support Enforcement Division,                  
Department of Revenue, said the legislation was introduced this                
year because the provisions were required by the Welfare Reform                
legislation passed by Congress in 1996.  Much of the work was done             
last year in SB 154, but, as far as the federal government was                 
concerned, SB 154 was in effect and it met many of the requirements            
of Welfare Reform but not all of them.                                         
MS. MIKLOS said when this year's legislation was introduced, it was            
the intent that every single provision be something that was                   
exactly required the Welfare Reform legislation, but in hearings on            
SB 252 in the Senate Health, Education and Social Services                     
Committee, it was found that there were some provisions that                   
weren't necessary and they were deleted.  She said the resulting               
HESS CS was their best estimation of what is exactly required by               
the federal government.                                                        
MS. MIKLOS pointed out that the federal Welfare Reform legislation             
requires all employers to report.  She checked with the feds on                
this earlier in the morning and they reiterated that it must be all            
employers.  She also inquired if hunting and fishing could be                  
viewed as something other than recreational, and was told again                
that was not true and needed to be in the legislation.                         
Number 255                                                                     
DAN BRANCH, Assistant Attorney General, Human Services Section,                
Department of Law, explained that Section 2 amends the civil                   
contempt statute to allow a court, if it finds somebody in contempt            
of court, to suspend or revoke for a period of one year a driver's             
license or an occupational license, if relevant.  That is only if              
the person is a natural person; the contempt is one under AS                   
09.50.010(4)-10); and the court, sitting without a jury, finds by              
a preponderance of evidence that the contempt relates to failure to            
pay money in connection with child support or failure to comply                
with a subpoena or warrant relating to paternity or child support.             
He said, as he understands this and the sections dealing with AS               
25.27.244 and 246, that it is the intent of the drafters of this               
working draft to basically remove from a more formal driver's                  
license and occupational license system that was in place as a                 
result of SB 154 the provisions from those sections that would                 
allow a driver's license to be revoked and move them to the civil              
contempt section.                                                              
CHAIRMAN HALFORD asked if it is required to have that done                     
administratively within the agency, or can it go through the civil             
process.  MR. BRANCH replied that he thinks it can.  He added that             
after SB 154 was passed, the federal government indicated that the             
state had some flexibility in regards to how it implements this                
standard.  He noted the HESS CS would have provided the same                   
treatment for fish and game licenses.                                          
CHAIRMAN HALFORD pointed out that there are some hunting and                   
fishing licenses that are obviously recreational licenses, but                 
there are also some, equally required by state law, that are                   
required to be able to subsistence hunt or fish that are neither               
recreational or occupational.                                                  
MR. BRANCH said after passage of SB 154, Congress made some                    
technical amendments to these mandates, and one of the amendments              
they did add was language to the license suspension statute that               
included the word "sporting"  licenses.  It states that Alaska must            
have procedures in law under which the state has and uses in                   
appropriate cases authority to withhold and suspend or restrict the            
use of driver's licenses, professional and occupational licenses,              
and recreation and sporting licenses of individuals owing overdue              
support or failing, after receiving adequate notice, to comply with            
subpoenas or warrants relating to paternity or child support                   
proceedings.  He said the argument can no longer be made to the                
federal government that sport fishing or hunting in Alaska is not              
a recreational activity because, clearly, by its terms, it is a                
sporting activity.                                                             
CHAIRMAN HALFORD said the problem is that to harvest for                       
subsistence requires a hunting or fishing license, and that hunting            
license or fishing license says sport fishing or sport hunting,                
which is referring more to methods and means rather than the                   
MR. BRANCH asked Chairman Halford that  if it is possible to draft             
a piece of legislation that would affect sporting licenses but not             
personal use or subsistence activities, would he consider an                   
amendment to the draft committee substitute that would allow                   
something that would meet federal mandates and still take care of              
his concerns.  CHAIRMAN HALFORD repled that he would, but the way              
the system works is it requires a sport license to engage in                   
subsistence; it's not just personal use and it's not just a low                
income subsistence license.  If you don't meet the income guideline            
and do qualify, whether it is rural or all state, it still requires            
a hunting license or a fishing license to engage in the activity.              
MR. BRANCH said he understands his concerns and will try to come up            
with some language that won't interfere with personal use and                  
Number 377                                                                     
MR. BRANCH said Sections 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 are all new amendments              
that were put forth by the Court System to make it easier for them             
to honor the federal requirement that social security numbers be               
kept confidential.  SB 154 required that social security numbers be            
provided in the pleadings and domestic relations cases and                     
paternity cases, etc.  It would be costly to seal all these records            
or retract the social securities numbers, so it would require that             
these numbers be in otherwise public documents and that they be                
placed in a separate file  which would be made available to the                
Child Support Division in Alaska and other states.                             
CHAIRMAN HALFORD asked if the Administration has a problem with                
this provision.  MR. BRANCH suggested they would like to see a                 
provision that insures that CSED has the right to get those numbers            
from the Court System, and he has drafted some proposed language.              
SENATOR LINCOLN noted that Section 38 contains language that states            
that the department shall provide a social security number to CSED,            
and she questioned if this is contradicting what is attempting to              
be done in Sections 3 through 7.  MR. BRANCH pointed out that                  
Section 37 and 38 relate to driver's license.                                  
Continuing with his sectional overview, MR. BRANCH directed                    
attention to Sections 8 and 9, and he explained that both of them              
are proposed amendments to the Uniform Interstate Family Support               
Act, which is an Act that enhances the ability of states to have               
their orders enforced in another state, and to ensure that child               
support can be collected from people when they leave Alaska.  After            
passage of SB 154, the federal government issued an action                     
transmittal stating there had to be a verbatim version of the                  
federal act, and the changes  in the two sections will provide a as            
close as possible verbatim version.                                            
Sections 10 and 11 make amendments to allow another state agency to            
request high-volume automated administrative enforcement of their              
child support orders.  Section 11 also adds a subsection which is              
designed to clarify which law an Alaskan employer should follow                
when it receives a withholding order from another child support                
Section 12 is a technical amendment to AS 25.27.062(e) so that                 
income withholding orders may be served on non-employers who                   
provide the child support obligor with earnings as defined in AS               
TAPE 98-33, SIDE B                                                             
Number 585                                                                     
Because there were numerous questions on Section 12, DARRELL                   
WATSON, Operations Manager, Child Support Enforcement Division in              
Anchorage explained the process of withholding orders.                         
CHAIRMAN HALFORD commented that he would like to see that section              
constituted in some way that it doesn't stop the agency from using             
first-class mail, but the first-class mail is not what constitutes             
legal notice for purpose of assessing penalties.                               
Number 496                                                                     
CHAIRMAN HALFORD asked if CSED uses withholding orders for people              
that are paid up, or do they only use the withholding order for                
people who are behind in their payments.  MS. MIKLOS explained they            
use withholding orders for everyone, which is something the federal            
government changed about three or four years ago just to make it               
very routine that the money is withheld.  MR. BRANCH added that                
there is an option that the court can provide that there will not              
be immediate income withholding, but the parties have to establish             
that certain facts exist, and the provisions state that once the               
person slips into arrears, then the withholding order kicks in.                
Continuing his overview, MR. BRANCH said Section 13 is the section             
that will amend the medical support order provisions.  It provides             
that if the child support agency receives notice that a child                  
support obligor has changed or will be changing employment and                 
under that new employment is eligible for family health coverage,              
the agency will then send the employer a medical support order.                
Section 14 is the employer new hire information section, and MR.               
BRANCH said it was his opinion that this working draft would place             
the state out of compliance with federal requirements because it               
would not apply to an employer who has fewer than five employees.              
CHAIRMAN HALFORD said he thinks that federal requirement is going              
to be a real problem for the small employers because it reaches the            
entire bureaucracy at the lowest level of one single employee, and             
will be a disincentive for hiring any of these people.                         
SENATOR LEMAN agreed with Chairman Halford's concern, saying he                
thinks it is something that will drive people to contract work.                
MR. BRANCH explained Section 15 would allow CSED to go to court and            
ask for a hearing where a person who received a child support                  
subpoena of this state or another state failed to comply with the              
CHAIRMAN HALFORD questioned if this was a federal provision.  MR.              
BRANCH answered that it is a way to meet a federal provision which             
requires a provision for enforcing the child support subpoenas of              
other states.  He pointed out that there would have to be a finding            
that a person had notice of subpoena and they had the opportunity              
and the ability to comply with it.                                             
CHAIRMAN HALFORD said he had concern with the terminology "compel              
obedience" in that section.  MR. BRANCH said he didn't think there             
would be a problem with changing that wording to "failure to                   
MR. BRANCH said Section 16 would clarify that, in the course of an             
administrative action to establish paternity, the department could             
enter a default of order of paternity if the punitive father, or               
the person who is thought to be the father, fails to appear and                
comply with a paternity testing order or fails to respond to a                 
paternity testing order.                                                       
CHAIRMAN HALFORD thought the 20-day period in which to respond to              
the paternity testing order was too short a period of time, and he             
suggested changing it to 30 days.  MS. MIKLOS said there are some              
federal time frames and there are places in statute that this may              
be spoken to, but she would look into the possibility of changing              
MR. BRANCH said Section 17 allows CSED to ask the court to find                
that somebody is in contempt for failing to follow a genetic                   
testing order issued by this state or the tribunal of another                  
state.  He noted this is also a federal requirement.                           
TAPE 98-34, SIDE A                                                             
Continuing his overview, MR. BRANCH said Sections 18, 19 and 20 are            
all sections which would change the lien law to bring the state                
into compliance with federal requirements.  Section 18 would allow             
the assertion of a lien if an arrearage occurs.  Section 19 would              
provide that a lien arising in another state would be given full               
faith and credit in this state, and it would be asserted in the                
same way that a lien in Alaska would be asserted against property              
of a child support obligor.                                                    
Sections 21 through 33 are all sections that were added to this                
working draft by committee staff, and they are designed to remove              
from the process created by AS 25.27.244 and AS 25.27.246 people               
who have their names on a list because they didn't comply with a               
child support subpoena or a paternity subpoena.                                
Section 34 would amend AS 25.27.250, the income withholding                    
statute, to provide that income withholding could begin if there is            
an income withholding order issued by the court providing for                  
immediate income withholding, or if there is an arrears on a child             
support order, or if it has gone past 30 days after the issuance of            
an administrative support order or a paternity decision.                       
Sections 35 and 36 provide definitions.                                        
Section 37 requires that the social security of an applicant for a             
motor vehicle license be provided on the application, but it does              
not mean that it has to be on the license itself.                              
Section 38 would provide the Department of Administration to                   
provide social security numbers that are in the motor vehicle                  
records to child support agencies.                                             
Section 39 would repeal the sunset of SB 154.                                  
Section 40 is an applicability section which would clarify that AS             
25.27.075, the employer hire provisions, only affect the hiring,               
rehiring, or return to work that occurs after the effective date of            
the Act.                                                                       
CHAIRMAN HALFORD referenced Section 35 and asked what a support                
order issued by a tribunal includes.  He wondered if such an order             
could be from an outside tribal entity on a reservation, as well as            
if there are any interactions between this and the Indian Child                
Welfare Act.                                                                   
MR. BRANCH said Alaska's version of the Uniform Interstate Family              
Support Act (UIFSA) does not define states as including Indian                 
tribes, so if a tribal court entity issued a child support order               
and they sought to have it enforced, it could not be enforced under            
the terms of  UIFSA.                                                           
MS. MIKLOS said she thinks this is something that needs to be                  
looked into because Welfare Reform has provisions for tribes to                
take over child support enforcement.  It is her understanding that             
there are tribes in Oregon and Washington that are already doing               
child support enforcement, so she thinks this is an important                  
question.  She added that CSED is working with the Department of               
Health and Social services and the Alaska tribes, however, so far              
no one in Alaska has expressed interest in taking over child                   
support enforcement.                                                           
There being no further testimony on SB 252, CHAIRMAN HALFORD                   
adjourned the meeting at 5:45 p.m.                                             

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