Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/16/1994 09:10 AM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
txt
                SENATE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE                                 
                         March 16, 1994                                        
                           9:10 a.m.                                           
                                                                               
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
                                                                               
 Senator Loren Leman, Chair                                                    
 Senator Mike Miller, Vice Chair                                               
 Senator Robin Taylor                                                          
 Senator Jim Duncan                                                            
 Senator Johnny Ellis                                                          
                                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
                                                                               
 All Members Present                                                           
                                                                               
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
                                                                               
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 61(FIN) am                                              
 "An Act relating to the offense of operating a commercial motor               
 vehicle while intoxicated and the offense of operating a motor                
 vehicle, aircraft, or watercraft while intoxicated; relating to               
 presumptions arising from the amount of alcohol in a person's                 
 breath or blood; relating to chemical testing of a person's breath;           
 and providing for an effective date."                                         
                                                                               
 HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 27                                            
 Relating to support for the National Rifle Association's gun safety           
 program for children.                                                         
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 352                                                           
 "An Act relating to the confidentiality of certain information in             
 vehicle records; and providing for an effective date."                        
                                                                               
 SENATE BILL NO. 333                                                           
 "An Act relating to disclosure of close economic associations by              
 certain state employees and to the prohibition against nepotism in            
 the executive branch of state government; and providing for an                
 effective date."                                                              
                                                                               
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
                                                                               
 HB 61 - See Transportation minutes dated 3/10/94.                             
                                                                               
 HCR 27 - No previous senate committee action.                                 
                                                                               
 SB 352 - See State Affairs minutes dated 3/14/94.                             
                                                                               
 SB 333 - No previous senate committee action.                                 
                                                                               
                                                                               
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                              
                                                                               
 Representative Jim Nordlund                                                   
 State Capitol, Juneau, AK 99801-1182¶465-4968                                 
  POSITION STATEMENT:  prime sponsor of HB 61                                  
                                                                               
 Candy Lightner                                                                
 American Beverage Institute                                                   
 Washington, D.C.¶(202)347-4978                                                
  POSITION STATEMENT:  opposed to HB 61                                        
                                                                               
 Rebecca Brown, National President                                             
 Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)                                          
 Texas¶(214)744-6233                                                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:  in favor of HB 61                                       
                                                                               
 Lynda Adams                                                                   
 Alaskans for Drug-Free Youth                                                  
 2417 Tongass Ave., Ketchikan, AK 99901¶247-2273                               
  POSITION STATEMENT:  in favor of HB 61                                       
                                                                               
 Juanita Hensley, Chief                                                        
 Driver Services                                                               
 Division of Motor Vehicles                                                    
 Department of Public Safety                                                   
 P.O. Box 20020, Juneau, AK 99802-0020¶465-4335                                
  POSITION STATEMENT:  in favor of HB 61                                       
                                                                               
 Margot Knuth, Assistant Attorney General                                      
 Criminal Division                                                             
 Department of Law                                                             
 P.O. Box 110300, Juneau, AK 99811-0300¶465-3428                               
  POSITION STATEMENT:  in favor of HB 61                                       
                                                                               
 Representative Con Bunde                                                      
 State Capitol, Juneau, AK 99801-1182¶465-3759                                 
  POSITION STATEMENT:  prime sponsor of HCR 27                                 
                                                                               
 John George                                                                   
 Alaska Outdoor Council                                                        
 9515 Moraine Way, Juneau, AK 99801¶789-0172                                   
  POSITION STATEMENT:  in favor of HCR 27                                      
                                                                               
 Bill Quinn, Secretary                                                         
 Alaska Investigators Association                                              
 2006 Crataegus Circle, Anchorage, AK 99508¶258-7400                           
  POSITION STATEMENT:  opposed to SB 352                                       
                                                                               
 H.H. "Tres" Lewis                                                             
 Private Investigator                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:  opposed to SB 352                                       
 Senator Randy Phillips                                                        
 State Capitol, Juneau, AK 99801-1182¶465-4949                                 
  POSITION STATEMENT:  prime sponsor of SB 333                                 
                                                                               
 Randy Welker, Auditor                                                         
 Legislative Audit                                                             
 P.O. Box 113300, Juneau, AK 99811-3300¶465-3830                               
  POSITION STATEMENT:  testified on SB 333                                     
                                                                               
 Mike McMullen, Manager                                                        
 System Services                                                               
 Division of Personnel/EEO                                                     
 Department of Administration                                                  
 P.O. Box 110201, Juneau, AK 99811-0201¶465-4430                               
  POSITION STATEMENT:  testified on SB 333                                     
                                                                               
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
                                                                               
 TAPE 94-17, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN calls the Senate State Affairs Committee to order at           
 9:10 a.m.                                                                     
                                                                               
 Number 012                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN brings up HB  61 (LOWER ALCOHOL LIMIT TO 0.08 FOR              
 OMVI'S) as the first order of business before the Senate State                
 Affairs Committee.  The chairman asks the prime sponsor to join the           
 committee and give a brief statement on HB 61.                                
                                                                               
 Number 022                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE JIM NORDLUND, prime sponsor of HB 61 states the bill           
 will lower the blood alcohol limit from .0.10 to 0.08.  It is                 
 commonly known as the 0.08 bill.  HB 61 is necessary because a                
 person with a blood alcohol level of 0.08 is significantly impaired           
 in their ability to operate a motor vehicle.  Many studies conclude           
 this statement in findings showing impairment in a person's                   
 reaction time, tracking, emergency response time, coordination,               
 comprehension, eye movement, and other physical responses needed to           
 safely operate a motor vehicle.  Representative Nordlund cites                
 statistics on blood alcohol levels.                                           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE NORDLUND states the main opposition to HB 61 is                
 coming from the bar and restaurant association owners in the state.           
 That ends Representative Nordlund's testimony.                                
                                                                               
 Number 095                                                                    
                                                                               
 CANDY LIGHTNER, American Beverage Institute (ABI), testifying from            
 Washington D.C. states the institute is comprised of restaurants,             
 hotels, and recreation centers.  The ABI's agenda is to research              
 public policy issues on adult beverages and to inform the                     
 membership, legislators, and the media about the facts regarding              
 these issues so that informed decisions can be made.  The ABI's               
 message to restaurant employees and the people they serve                     
 emphasizes moderation in drinking and responsibility in driving.              
                                                                               
 MS. LIGHTNER thinks the problem of drunk driving today is greatly             
 diminished from the early 1980's.  Ms. Lightner says the problem              
 now is to figure out how to treat the problem of drunk driving                
 today, versus the problem in the 1980's.  ABI suggests seeking out            
 the truly dangerous drunk drivers.  ABI agrees with an Alaska State           
 House of Representatives Task Force report on drunk driving which             
 states little has been done to address the problem of the repeat              
 drunk driver offender, the cause of most of our alcohol related               
 highway accidents.  That is why ABI opposes lowering the BAC (Blood           
 Alcohol Content) to 0.08: it does not address the problem of repeat           
 offenders.  HB 61 will not stop repeat offenders from driving while           
 intoxicated.                                                                  
                                                                               
 MS. LIGHTNER states most persons convicted of DWI have BAC's of at            
 least 0.15, and many have levels of 0.20 and higher.  These persons           
 have driven while intoxicated many times before, and many times               
 without getting caught.  Ms. Lightner cites statistics from several           
 studies.                                                                      
                                                                               
 MS. LIGHTNER states ABI has had contact with law enforcement                  
 personnel, judges, and legislators who agree with ABI's position.             
 ABI was recently successful in having 0.08 BAC eliminated from a              
 bill in the State of Washington.  That bill is called the graduated           
 penalty bill, and would penalize high BAC drivers.  Unfortunately             
 it is politically correct for politicians to support lower BAC                
 levels.                                                                       
                                                                               
 MS. LIGHTNER questions whether there is any current evidence                  
 supporting a move to 0.08 BAC as effective public policy.  Ms.                
 Lightner cites more studies to support her statement.                         
                                                                               
 MS. LIGHTNER believes the legislature should concentrate on changes           
 that will impact the problem of high BAC drivers and repeat                   
 offenders.  These individuals are the ones who have consistently              
 violated exsisting laws, and are unlikely to respond to laws that             
 merely lower the BAC limit.  She states ABI would be happy to work            
 with the legislature on real solutions and urges the legislature to           
 consider ABI's perspective.                                                   
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN thanks Ms. Lightner for her testimony and asks if              
 members have any questions.                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 204                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ELLIS asks Ms. Lightner when she changed her affiliation              
 from MADD to the liquor industry.                                             
                                                                               
 MS. LIGHTNER replies she has not been involved with MADD for eight            
 or nine years.  She does not work for ABI itself, but for Berman &            
 Co., which is a government relations firm in Washington, D.C.  She            
 currently works with a number of different clients.  ABI happens to           
 be just one of those clients, and she agrees with them on the 0.08            
 BAC issue.                                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. LIGHTNER states that many people know her daughter was killed             
 by a drunk driver, but what many people do not know is that it was            
 the driver's fifth offense.  Two days before the driver killed Ms.            
 Lightner's daughter, he was involved in a hit-and-run crash and had           
 a 0.20 BAC.  The driver blacked out at the time he killed her                 
 driver, which means he had a very high BAC.  After he was released            
 from a half-way house, he was again arrested in a drunk driving               
 crash in which he injured somebody and had a 0.20 BAC.  About a               
 year and a half ago he was again arrested for DWI in the state of             
 Wisconsin.  He had a 0.20 BAC, and he was treated as a first time             
 offender.  Ms. Lightner wants the committee to know that she comes            
 from a very personnal level of involvement on why the high BAC                
 offender should be pursued.                                                   
                                                                               
 SENATOR ELLIS asks if the lobbying firm she works for represents              
 other liquor interests.                                                       
                                                                               
 MS. LIGHTNER responds the ABI is the only client of her firm, that            
 she is aware of, which involves the restaurant industry.  Ms.                 
 Lightner states she must say she doesn't really understand what               
 difference that could possibly make, and she does not know if that            
 question is asked of other lobbyists.                                         
                                                                               
 SENATOR ELLIS states that question is not out of character for him            
 in trying to figure out what a person's motivation is in pushing or           
 opposing legislation.                                                         
                                                                               
 MS. LIGHTNER states Senator Ellis should be well aware of what                
 restaurant's motivations are, because he has heard them often                 
 enough in the past couple of months.  Ms. Lightner says she comes             
 from a safety point of view, because she is not involved in the               
 restaurant industry and does not know all their financial                     
 ramifications.  But she does know the research, has read it, is               
 aware of it, and wants to help that position.                                 
                                                                               
 Number 248                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ELLIS tells Ms. Lightner it would be an understatement to             
 say her position carries very little credibility with him, given              
 who she represents as a business deal.                                        
                                                                               
 SENATOR ELLIS asks Ms. Lightner to clarify the term "serious drunk            
 drivers", and asks if that is opposed to non-serious drunk drivers            
 or non-dangerous drunk drivers.                                               
                                                                               
 MS. LIGHTNER responds she was not using the term to connote such a            
 thing as a non-serious drunk driver, but in reference to the most             
 dangerous drunk drivers on our highways.  Ms. Lightner states she             
 will remember Senator Ellis' comment about her credibility, and she           
 hopes he treats other lobbyists the same way, letting them also               
 know that they have variable credibility with him relating to who             
 they represent.                                                               
                                                                               
 SENATOR ELLIS states he believes he is consistent in his treatment            
 of lobbyists.                                                                 
                                                                               
 MS. LIGHTNER thanks the committee for allowing her to testify.                
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN thanks Ms. Lightner for her testimony.                         
                                                                               
 Number 260                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR says some people have a tendency to determine a                
 human being's credibility based upon their occupation.  Senator               
 Taylor remembers when people used to do that based on race.  He               
 finds that basis as offensive as Senator Ellis' comments this                 
 morning.  Senator Taylor says he often disagree with people, but              
 does not find it necessary to impugn their personal integrity based           
 upon their occupation.  He is upset to hear that kind of comment,             
 and thinks it demeans the other legislators at the table.  He                 
 thanks Ms. Lightner for her testimony and acknowledges her personal           
 tragedy.  He does not believe Ms. Lightner has "sold out" by                  
 representing ABI.                                                             
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN hearing no further questions of Ms. Lightner, calls            
 the next witness.                                                             
                                                                               
 Number 284                                                                    
                                                                               
 REBECCA BROWN, National President, Mothers Against Drunk Driving              
 (MADD) wants to underscore how important it is to lower the                   
 allowable BAC to 0.08.  MADD has supported a BAC level of 0.08 for            
 more than ten years.  Ms. Brown cites various reports and                     
 statistics.  (A good part of Ms. Brown's testimony is not                     
 understandable due either to teleconference or taping problems.)              
                                                                               
 Number 380                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR states it was difficult to understand much of Ms.              
 Brown's testimony, and asks if she can submit it to the committee             
 in writing.                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. BROWN responds she will fax it to the committee today.                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asks Ms. Brown to define ALR.                                  
 MS. BROWN replies ALR is the acronym for Administrative License               
 Revocation.  Ms. Brown explains the circumstances under which ALR             
 is used.                                                                      
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR states he believes ALR has been used for some time             
 in Alaska, but it was not clear in Ms. Brown's testimony what ALR             
 stood for.  He asks Ms. Brown if she has had an opportunity to                
 review Alaska's Statutes on drunk driving.                                    
                                                                               
 MS. BROWN replies that she personally has not, but someone with               
 MADD has done so.                                                             
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR urges Ms. Brown to review Alaska's Statutes, and               
 says he believes they are some of the toughest statutes in the                
 nation relating to drunk driving.  He says he is having a hard time           
 understanding how going from 0.10 to 0.08 BAC will have a                     
 significant effect on drunk drivers in Alaska.  Of course we                  
 haven't gotten to zero yet, and that is what we would all like to             
 achieve.  Senator Taylor wants Ms. Brown to read Alaska's Statutes            
 so she can see if there is anything else she would like to suggest            
 that might have even a greater impact than shifting from 0.10 to              
 0.08.  He is willing to address the problem, but does not want to             
 get caught up in tokenism.                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. BROWN says MADD believes drunk driving is a big picture, and it           
 takes many, many counter measures to combat; 0.08 is very                     
 significant part of the big picture.  It is not the whole picture,            
 and there are many other areas.                                               
                                                                               
 SENATOR ELLIS wants it noted that there is a written statement from           
 MADD in the bill packets entitled, "Responses to Editorial Comments           
 from Candy Lightner."  He recommends people read it.                          
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN thanks Ms. Brown and calls the next witness.                   
                                                                               
 Number 425                                                                    
                                                                               
 LYNDA ADAMS, with Alaskans for Drug-Free Youth, and Governor's                
 Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, and Ketchikan Mayor's            
 Task Force on Substance Abuse, testifying from Ketchikan points out           
 that the legislature will soon receive copies of the new state plan           
 from the Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse.  That plan contains           
 as one of its' goals, reducing the adverse health and social                  
 consequences resulting from consumption of alcohol.  Part of that             
 goal entails lowering the allowable BAC from 0.10 to 0.08 for                 
 drivers 21 years of age or older.  Ms. Adams states that lowering             
 the BAC to 0.08 is also supported by Healthy People 2000 and                  
 Healthy Alaskans 2000.  Ms. Adams cites statistics relating to BAC            
 levels.                                                                       
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN thanks Ms. Adams for her testimony.  The chairman              
 states he would like to deal with HB 61 today, but if testimony               
 continues for a long period of time, the committee will lose a                
 quorum and not be able to move the bill out of committee.  The                
 Chairman asks Ms. Hensley from the Division of Motor Vehicles if              
 she would like to testify.                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 479                                                                    
                                                                               
 JUANITA HENSLEY, Chief, Driver Services, Division of Motor Vehicles           
 (DMV), Department of Public Safety (DPS) states about a year and a            
 half ago, the Alaska Supreme Court rendered a decision stating                
 Alaska courts could not use convictions in states with 0.08 BAC               
 laws as prior convictions in Alaska.  They must be treated as a               
 first time offender, even if their BAC was 0.30 for the prior                 
 offense.  As a consequence, as long as Alaska remains at a 0.10               
 BAC, prior convictions from any of the 0.08 BAC states, cannot be             
 used as prior conviction in court in Alaska.  DPS strongly supports           
 HB 61.  Federal 410 grants to the state for alcohol education and             
 enforcement will be cut off if Alaska does not pass a 0.08 BAC law,           
 we will lose that money.  HB 61 will also address the problem Ms.             
 Lightner had regarding the man who killed her daughter being                  
 prosecuted as a first-time offender in Wisconsin.                             
                                                                               
 Number 505                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks Ms. Hensley if there is something the                     
 legislature can do to take prior offenses in 0.08 states into                 
 account during sentencing.                                                    
                                                                               
 MS. HENSLEY states she may refer that question to Ms. Knuth.                  
 However, the Alaska Supreme Court did find that Alaska's law was              
 not substantially similar to the laws of those states with 0.08 BAC           
 laws.                                                                         
                                                                               
 Number 512                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asks what happens when a state decides it wants to             
 lower its' BAC level to 0.06 or 0.05.  Would that then cause a                
 reaction across the U.S.; would every state then have to reduce to            
 that level to have a similar law?                                             
                                                                               
 MS. HENSLEY responds she believes that would be the case.  DMV is             
 not saying a person cannot go out and drink.  All we are saying is,           
 if you drink, be responsible and don't get behind the wheel of a              
 car.  Alaska has a 60% alcohol related fatality rate.  That is well           
 above the national average.                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 524                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asks Ms. Hensley if she knows of any studies showing           
 0.08 is preferable to 0.05 or any other BAC level.  How was 0.08              
 arrived at.                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. HENSLEY replies studies done have shown that the more one                 
 drinks, the higher the chances are of having a fatal crash.  Ms.              
 Hensley says she believes the committee has charts showing                    
 information from studies in their bill packets.                               
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asks if, in the future, we will improve things by              
 passing a 0.07 law; the year after that we'll go to 0.06.  He has             
 seen the process occur over the past ten years, and wants to know             
 if the legislature shouldn't consider the evidence for passing a              
 law stipulating a 0.06 BAC, or any other level.  Why should we stop           
 at 0.08?  Why not go all the way down to 0.05?                                
                                                                               
 MS. HENSLEY states commercial drivers have a BAC limit of 0.04.               
 Ms. Hensley believes that in the interest of public safety, all               
 drivers should have a BAC limit of 0.04.  Any time a life is lost             
 because of a drunk driveris terrible.  Of course morals cannot be             
 legislated, but we would certainly hope people are not getting                
 behind the wheel of a motor vehicle at even a 0.04 BAC.  Ms.                  
 Hensley states she agrees with Senator Taylor and thinks the                  
 allowable BAC level should be even lower than 0.08.                           
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR says he appreciates Ms. Hensley's comment.                     
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN says he does not agree with Ms. Hensley that morals            
 cannot be legislated.  The chairman asserts that every time a law             
 is passed, the legislature is establishing some level of morality.            
 People cannot be forced to act as we do, but we are establishing              
 some level of moral behavior.  The chairman thanks Ms. Hensley for            
 her testimony.  The chairman calls Ms. Knuth to testify.                      
                                                                               
 MARGOT KNUTH, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division,                  
 Department of Law states Ms. Hensley was correct in her statement             
 regarding the Alaska Supreme Court decision from about a year and             
 a half ago, saying, " a conviction from a 0.08 state is not                   
 substantially similar to Alaska's DWI offense."  It does not matter           
 what the person's BAC level was in that prior offense.  The person            
 could have a 0.20 BAC, but if they were from a 0.08 state, the                
 elements are not substantially similar; we cannot count it for                
 purposes of our aggravated sentencing structure for DWI.  That is             
 offensive.  Ms. Knuth says she felt Ms. Lightner's pain when                  
 hearing of Ms. Lightner's daughter's killer being treated as a                
 first time offender.  The answer from the Alaska Supreme Court was            
 for the legislature to go to 0.08 BAC.  The only other thing we do            
 is to have judges look at the reality of the situation and have               
 them impose and aggravated sentence, at the judges disrcretion.               
 However, that does not happen state-wide.  We would then be relying           
 on the judges perception of the situation.                                    
                                                                               
 MS. KNUTH would like to note that Alaska Supreme Court has decided            
 the margin of error on the intoximeter is at 0.01.  What this means           
 is technically, Alaska is at a 0.11 state.  If HB 61 is enacted,              
 Alaska will not be a 0.08 state, but will be a 0.09 state.  For               
 that reason, this legislation has become even more important to the           
 Department of Public Safety and the Department of Law.  It is                 
 possible to try to address that margin of error, but it would be              
 easier to adopt the 0.08 level being adopted nation-wide.  As there           
 has been a consistency in the 0.04 BAC for commercial drivers,                
 there has also been a consistency in 0.08 for the rest of the                 
 population.  She understands Senator Taylor's question, "Why 0.08",           
 and is not sure what the answer is.  She is sure it is the one                
 number states are turning to.                                                 
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks if the 0.01 margin of error on the intoximeter            
 will cause the supreme court to not take into account convictions             
 in other states.                                                              
                                                                               
 MS. KNUTH replies she would like to think they would not go that              
 far.                                                                          
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR says it is no real shock to him...                             
                                                                               
 TAPE 94-17, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 593                                                                    
                                                                               
 ...when the new intoximeter came out, we (the judges) were very               
 carefully instructed that there was a margin of error to the                  
 intoximeter, and the benefit of the doubt was always to go to the             
 defendant.  The fact that the supreme court has now stated that               
 that is the case, does not change the calibration on one single               
 machine, and does not change the manner in which defendants are               
 prosecuted or convicted.                                                      
                                                                               
 MS. KNUTH states it does not change the calibration of the machine,           
 but it does change the manner of convicting people.  The courts               
 said not only is there the inherent "fudge-factor" that the machine           
 gave to the benefit of the defendant, but the state has to give               
 them a 0.01 benefit.  The state cannot prosecuted someone under the           
 0.10 BAC presumptive level if their BAC is less than 0.11.                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR says he watched prosecutions take place, he believes           
 they are still taking place, in which a defendant's BAC was well              
 under 0.10.                                                                   
                                                                               
 MS. KNUTH states that is on the basis of conduct.                             
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR states he does not think HB 61 will be a major hoop            
 in the process of prosecuting DWI's, with the evidence the state              
 currently has available to use.  He asks if the state is allowed to           
 use a previous conviction in a 0.08 state, if the conviction                  
 occured before the state changed from 0.10 to 0.08.                           
                                                                               
 MS. KNUTH responds she would have to look into that question.                 
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asks if there is a way to draft the legislation that           
 would allow the state to retroactively pick up those convictions.             
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks Senator Taylor if he could look at that                   
 question and deal with it when it gets to the Senate Judiciary                
 Committee.                                                                    
                                                                               
 Number 561                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR ELLIS makes a motion to discharge HB 61 from the Senate               
 State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations.                      
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN, hearing no objection, orders HB 61 released from              
 committee with individual recommendations.                                    
 Number 552                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN brings up HCR 27 (SUPPORT NRA GUN SAFETY PROGRAM) as           
 the next order of business before the committee.  The chairman                
 calls the prime sponsor to testify.                                           
                                                                               
 Number 550                                                                    
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE, prime sponsor of HCR 27 states HCR 27               
 would ask the schools to address the growing problem of the high              
 incidence of young people involved in gun accidents.  The materials           
 provided in the gun safety program would be provided at no cost to            
 public schools by the NRA (National Rifle Association).  The                  
 program does not advocate gun ownership or teach the use of guns,             
 but is aimed at protecting very young children.  Representative               
 Bunde equates the program in HCR 27 with the "stop, drop, and roll"           
 fire safety mantra.  The catch-phrase for the gun safety program              
 being "If you see a gun, leave the area, tell an adult."  The fact            
 that the program is sponsored by the NRA is a red flag for some               
 people, but it really does not advocate any of the NRA's                      
 philosophical positions about firearms.                                       
                                                                               
 Number 520                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN thanks Representative Bundy for making a tape of the           
 program available, but the committee is running short on time, so             
 he asks members to watch it on their own time if they wish to do              
 so.  The chairman asks if there is any discussion among committee             
 members and if there is anyone in the audience who wishes to                  
 testify on HCR 27.  Hearing none, he asks Representative Bunde if             
 there has been any opposition voiced to the resolution.                       
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE states he has not.  He says it is an                     
 encouragement to schools to have this education, and is certainly             
 not a mandate.                                                                
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks Mr. George if he would like to testify.                   
                                                                               
 Number 512                                                                    
                                                                               
 JOHN GEORGE, Alaska Outdoor Council states the council supports the           
 concept of training kids to be gunsafe.  He would like to have a              
 copy of the tape Representative Bunde has, because his wife is a              
 first grade teacher.                                                          
                                                                               
 SENATOR ELLIS asks if the resolution is necessary, if there is                
 anything stopping this training from occurring now.                           
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE responds it is just an encouragement.                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR comments as the world becomes a more dangerous                 
 place, the incidence of gun accidents will probably increase.  He             
 suggests gun safety should be mandated, as opposed to merely                  
 recommending it.                                                              
                                                                               
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE says using the least draconian method is the             
 first step.  If we find we need a more assertive expression of our            
 will, then perhaps we can do that in the future.  The only                    
 resistance Representative Bunde says could possible exist, is the             
 fear that perhaps something is  being advocated from the NRA, which           
 is not an uncontroversial organization.                                       
                                                                               
 Number 488                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR MILLER makes a motion to discharge HCR 27 from the Senate             
 State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations.                      
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN, hearing no objection, orders HCR 27 released from             
 committee with individual recommendations.                                    
 Number 482                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN brings up SB 352 (CONFIDENTIALITY OF MOTOR VEHICLE             
 RECORDS) as the next order of business before the committee and               
 calls Mr. Quinn to testify.                                                   
                                                                               
 Number 467                                                                    
                                                                               
 BILL QUINN, Alaska Investigators Association, testifying from                 
 Anchorage states the association represents 80 or so investigators            
 statewide.  Many of the members are small business persons who                
 regularly utilize public records.  He says the association opposes            
 SB 352 as it is currently written.  He says the associations                  
 members have not misused or abused information procured from the              
 State of Alaska public records.  There is no reason to prohibit or            
 restrict the access of that information by the associations                   
 members.                                                                      
                                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 442                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks Mr. Quinn if he has had a chance to look at the           
 draft committee substitute, which may address some of his concerns.           
                                                                               
 MR. QUINN replies he has not seen the draft cs.                               
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN says the committee will send him a copy.                       
                                                                               
 Number 435                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR makes a motion to adopt the committee substitute for           
 SB 352.                                                                       
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN, hearing no objection, states CSSB 352(STA) has been           
 adopted in lieu of the original bill.  The chairman calls the next            
 witness.                                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 428                                                                    
                                                                               
 TRES LEWIS, Private Investigator recognizes the impetus behind the            
 bill, but says if it isn't broken, don't fix it.  The impetus to              
 restrict that information was that some crimes were committed using           
 information from DMV.  Mr. Lewis says the telephone book, the Polk            
 Directory, the Hill-Donley, voter registration, documents from the            
 assesor's office, city documents, and public utility records are              
 all public records.  However, we live in a very mobile society, and           
 one of the best source for locating someone is DMV's records.  He             
 suggests not having access to those records will cause delays                 
 within the court system, for example, the process of service for              
 summons and complaints.  He cannot imagine a process server in                
 Alaska not having access to DMV records.  Anything that delays                
 getting information from DMV, say if he has to write a letter,                
 slows down the process.  He requests information from DMV                     
 approximately 2,000 times per year.  Multiply that by about 100               
 private investigators and process servers in the state, DMV is                
 looking at several hundred thousand inquiries a year.  How many               
 people will have to be employed to process those inquiries at DMV?            
                                                                               
 The information service Mr. Lewis uses keeps track of every inquiry           
 he makes by license plate number.  Every time one makes information           
 requests directly from DMV, that person has to stand in line, sign            
 a form, they take your driver's license number down, and pay a two            
 dollar fee.  Mr. Lewis estimates every tow truck company, bank, and           
 title company uses these services.                                            
                                                                               
 Number 385                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks Mr. Lewis if he would look at the committee               
 substitute to see if his concerns have been addressed.  If not, he            
 can work with the committee to address those concerns.  SB 352 will           
 be held over in committee to continue work.                                   
 Number 375                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN brings up SB 333 (DISCLOSURE OF EXEC.BR. CLOSE                 
 ASSOCIATIONS) as the next item of business before the committee and           
 calls Senator Phillips to testify.                                            
                                                                               
 Number 370                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS, Chairman, Legislative Budget & Audit                  
 Committee (LB&A) states SB 333 is the result of an audit by LB&A.             
 SB 333 would apply the same rules for disclosure the legislature              
 conforms to on the executive branch of government.  Randy Welker,             
 the Legislative Auditor, can fill in the details of the bill.                 
                                                                               
 Number 365                                                                    
                                                                               
 RANDY WELKER, Legislative Auditor states an audit of the Division             
 of Fish & Wildlife Protection within the Department of Public                 
 Safety (DPS) was performed last year.  One of the primary concerns            
 contained in that audit was the absence of any requirement in the             
 executive branch ethics act for people who have the ability to                
 exersize significant discretion in taking or withholding action,              
 that there is no requirement that they notify anyone of the                   
 economic association they may have with people under their                    
 infuence.  This became a particularly keen concern when looking at            
 the Division of Fish & Wildlife Protection Officers.                          
 Coincidentally, by the use of public information, we were able to             
 find out that there were Fish & Wildlife Protection Officers whose            
 spouses had commercial fishing licenses, and who were owners of               
 commercial fishing vessels.  LB&A was able to determine that there            
 were enough property transactions occurring between the regulated             
 profession and the Fish & Wildlife Troopers to cause concern.                 
                                                                               
 MR. WELKER states it is not just Fish & Wildlife Protection                   
 Officers LB&A is concerned with.  There is nothing now to require             
 an Oil & Gas Auditor in the Department of Revenue (DOR) to disclose           
 to their supervisors that they hold significant stock in an oil               
 company.  There is no requirement that a Banking Examiner in the              
 Department of Commerce & Economic Development (DCED) disclose                 
 significant holdings of stock in a bank.  There is no requirement             
 that an investigator in Occupational Licensing disclose a                     
 relationship with a doctor or a lawyer.  What SB 333 does is                  
 require that economic disclosure.  It does not attempt to prohibit            
 it, just require disclosure of that association and reporting to              
 that employees immediate supervisor.                                          
                                                                               
 Number 336                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR asks why one would not want to prohibit close                  
 economic relationships such as those mentioned above.                         
                                                                               
 MR. WELKER responds it might be good to prohibit some close                   
 economic associations, and the legislature has in certain                     
 instances.  But those relationships can be varied, and a blanket              
 prohibition might not be good.                                                
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR says he will give another example.  A full time                
 Alcoholic Beverage Control Board Inspector owns two liquor                    
 licenses.                                                                     
                                                                               
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS says that should be disclosed.                         
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR questions if the inspector should even hold that               
 position, not simply disclose that fact.                                      
                                                                               
 MR. WELKER says SB 333 tries to address that situation, not through           
 prohibition, but through disclosure.  That disclosure would give              
 that person's supervisor the responsibility to ensure that person             
 is not in a position where they could take or withhold action that            
 would have an effect on that association.  The bill also provides             
 for the supervisor to direct the divestiture or removal by the                
 officer of that financial interest.  There are options available.             
 To what extent a person can be told what they can and cannot do,              
 concerns Mr. Welker.  At the least, SB 333 would be a first attempt           
 at making public awareness of that association.  Disclosure is the            
 first step.  If, after disclosure, there are significant additional           
 concerns, perhaps we should revisit the subject and legislate some            
 prohibitions.                                                                 
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR states his frustration relates to being alerted last           
 year to the fact that a Department of Fish & Game Biologist in                
 Ketchikan owned a piece of property on the Unik River.  Someone               
 noticed helicopters flying in large quantities of wood to that                
 property.  Apparently, it was being paid for through the Department           
 of Fish & Game.  The Ombudsman's Office reported to Senator Taylor            
 that there was nothing that could be done about the situation,                
 because apparently it does not violate any rules, laws, or                    
 regulations.                                                                  
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR claims that, during the administration of Governor             
 Sheffield, one had to pay people off to get an Electrical                     
 Administrator's License in Alaska.  There was taped evidence                  
 brought into court showing if a person was not the right friend of            
 Ike and the IBEW (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers),           
 you did not get a license.  He believes the executive branch has              
 much greater opportunity for graft and corruption, than ever would            
 occur in the legislative halls.                                               
                                                                               
 Number 258                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS states he would not have a problem with an             
 amendment if Senator Taylor cares to amend SB 333.  He does not               
 have a problem with having disclosure and prohibition.                      
 Number 252                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN says SB 333 goes next to the Senate Judiciary                  
 Committee, and perhaps that committee can handle a possible                   
 amendment.  Recalling the ethics law and the new conflict of                  
 interest statement, the chairman thinks this subject has a tendency           
 to develop a life of its own.  He does not want to make it too                
 tough for people who do have other legitimate business interests to           
 participate in state government.                                              
                                                                               
 Number 220                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS says Senator Taylor does have a good point.            
 There is far more opportunity for persons in the executive branch             
 than for persons in the legislative branch to abuse the public                
 trust.  The main thing Senator Phillips would like to see is public           
 disclosure of close economic associations.                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN asks if anyone in the public wishes to testify on SB
 333.  The chairman calls Mr. McMullen from the Department of                  
 Administration.                                                               
                                                                               
 Number 205                                                                    
                                                                               
 MIKE MCMULLEN, Manager, System Services, Division of Personnel,               
 Department of Administration states the department has no problem             
 with the general concept of SB 333.  The department would like to             
 defend the fiscl note.  SB 333 would give the department additional           
 work, so the department is asking for funds to cover that                     
 additional work.                                                              
                                                                               
 MR. MCMULLEN says all eleven of the state's employees' bargaining             
 units will find grievance with the nepotism portion of SB 333.                
 There will be arbitration costs involved with that grievance, and             
 those are included in the fiscal note.                                        
                                                                               
 Number 171                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN says he does have several questions regarding the              
 fiscal note, and agrees the Finance Committee would be a better               
 place to get into details.  Is 3,120$ per day the cost for just an            
 arbitrator?                                                                   
                                                                               
 MR. MCMULLEN says 3,120$ is the average cost per hearing day, not             
 for just the arbitrator.                                                      
                                                                               
 Number 145                                                                    
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR ask if Senator Phillips would also like to have the            
 executive branch of government participate in the open meetings               
 act.                                                                          
                                                                               
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS says he likes that idea.                               
                                                                               
 SENATOR TAYLOR makes a motion to discharge SB 333 from the Senate             
 State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations.                      
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN, hearing no objection, orders SB 333 released from             
 committee with individual recommendations.                                    
 Number 135                                                                    
                                                                               
 CHAIRMAN LEMAN adjourns the Senate State Affairs Committee meeting            
 at 10:30 a.m.                                                                 
                                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects