Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/28/1995 03:35 PM Senate STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
               SENATE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE                                
                         March 28, 1995                                        
                           3:35 p.m.                                           
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
 Senator Bert Sharp, Chairman                                                  
 Senator Randy Phillips, Vice-Chairman                                         
 Senator Loren Leman                                                           
 Senator Jim Duncan                                                            
 Senator Dave Donley                                                           
    COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                         
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 4(STA)(title am)                                        
 "An Act allowing, for the purposes of permanent fund dividend                 
 eligibility, an individual to accompany, as the spouse or minor or            
 disabled dependent, another eligible resident who is absent for               
 vocational, professional, or other specific education for which a             
 comparable program is not reasonably available in the state, for              
 secondary or postsecondary education, for military service, for               
 medical treatment, for service in the Congress or in the Peace                
 Corps, or for other reasons that the commissioner of revenue may              
 establish by regulation; requiring, for the purposes of permanent             
 fund dividend eligibility, an individual who is not physically                
 present in the state to maintain and demonstrate at all times an              
 intent to return to the state to remain permanently;  relating to             
 the eligibility for 1992, 1993, and 1994 permanent fund dividends             
 of certain spouses and dependents of eligible applicants; relating            
 to appeal periods for certain 1994 permanent fund dividends; and              
 providing for an effective date."                                             
 SENATE BILL NO. 110                                                           
 "An Act relating to administrative adjudication under the                     
 Administrative Procedure Act."                                                
 SENATE BILL NO. 135                                                           
 "An Act relating to permanent fund dividend program notice                    
 requirements, to the ineligibility for dividends of individuals               
 convicted of felonies or incarcerated for misdemeanors, and to the            
 determination of the number and identity of certain ineligible                
 individuals; and providing for an effective date."                            
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 74(FIN)                                                 
 "An Act relating to the assault of children by adults."                       
 SENATE BILL NO. 120                                                           
 "An Act relating to the operation of state veterans' home                     
 facilities; and providing for an effective date."                             
 CS FOR HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 22(STA)                                     
 Relating to the maritime boundary between Alaska and the former               
 Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.                                          
 CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 42 (STA) am                                             
 "An Act relating to absentee voting, to electronic transmission of            
 absentee ballot applications, and to delivery of ballots to                   
 absentee ballot applicants by electronic transmission, and enacting           
 a definition of the term 'state election' for purposes of absentee            
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
 HB 4 - See State Affairs minutes dated 3/21/95.                               
 SB 110 - See State Affairs minutes dated 3/21/95.                             
 SB 135 - No previous senate committee action.                                 
 HB 74 - No previous senate committee action.                                  
 SB 120 - No previous senate committee action.                                 
 HJR 22 - No previous senate committee action.                                 
 HB 42 - No previous senate committee action.                                  
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
 Teresa Williams, Assistant Attorney General                                   
 Commercial Section, Civil Division, Department of Law                         
 1031 W. 4th Ave., Ste. 200, Anchorage AK 99501-1994¶269-5100                  
   POSITION STATEMENT: representing prime sponsor of SB 110                    
 Senator Steve Frank, Co-Chairman, Senate Finance Committee                    
 State Capitol, Juneau, Alaska, 99801-1182¶465-3753                            
   POSITION STATEMENT: prime sponsor of SB 135                                 
 David Skidmore, Aide to Senator Frank                                         
 State Capitol, Juneau, Alaska, 99801-1182¶465-3753                            
   POSITION STATEMENT: prime sponsor of SB 135                                 
 Tom Williams, Aide to Senator Frank                                           
 State Capitol, Juneau, Alaska, 99801-1182¶465-3753                            
   POSITION STATEMENT: prime sponsor of SB 135                                 
 Michael McGee, Chief, PFD Operations                                          
 Permanent Fund Dividend Division, Department of Revenue                       
 P.O. Box 110460, Juneau, AK 99811-0460¶465-2622                               
   POSITION STATEMENT: opposed to SB 135                                       
 Representative Con Bunde                                                      
 State Capitol, Juneau, Alaska, 99801-1182¶465-4843                            
   POSITION STATEMENT: prime sponsor of HB 74                                  
 Patty Swenson, Aide to Representative Bunde                                   
 State Capitol, Juneau, Alaska, 99801-1182¶465-4843                            
   POSITION STATEMENT: prime sponsor of HB 74                                  
 Senator John Torgerson                                                        
 State Capitol, Juneau, Alaska, 99801-1182¶465-2828                            
   POSITION STATEMENT: prime sponsor of SB 120                                 
 Jeff Morrison, Legislative Liaison                                            
 Department of Military & Veterans' Affairs                                    
 P.O. Box 110900, Juneau, AK 99811-0900¶465-4730                               
   POSITION STATEMENT: testified on SB 120                                     
 James L. Kohn, Deputy Director                                                
 Pioneers' Homes Central Office/Advisory Board                                 
 Div. of Senior  Services, Department of Administration                        
 P.O. Box 110211, Juneau, AK 99811-0211¶465-4400                               
   POSITION STATEMENT: opposes to SB 120                                       
 Dave W. Williams, Director                                                    
 Div. of Medical Assistance, Dept. of Health & Social Services                 
 P.O. Box 110660, Juneau, AK 99811-0660¶465-3355                               
   POSITION STATEMENT: testified on SB 120                                     
 Joe Ryan, Aide to Representative Vezey                                        
 State Capitol, Juneau, Alaska, 99801-1182¶465-3727                            
   POSITION STATEMENT: prime sponsor of HJR 22                                 
 Thomas Anderson, Aide to Representative Martin                                
 State Capitol, Juneau, Alaska, 99801-1182¶465-3783                            
   POSITION STATEMENT: prime sponsor of HB 42                                  
 Rupe Andrews                                                                  
 League of Women Voters of Alaska                                              
 9416 Long Run Drive, Juneau, AK 99801¶789-7422                                
   POSITION STATEMENT: testified on HB 42                                      
 Gaye Vaughan, Clerk                                                           
 Kenai Peninsula Borough                                                       
 144 N. Binkley, Soldotna, AK 99669¶262-8608                                   
   POSITION STATEMENT: supports HB 42                                          
 Dave Koivuniemi, Acting Director                                              
 Division of Elections                                                         
 P.O. Box 110017, Juneau, AK 99811-0017¶465-4611                               
   POSITION STATEMENT: testified on HB 42                                      
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
 TAPE 95-13, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
 SSTA - 3/28/95                                                                
          HB   4 PERMANENT FUND DIVIDEND ELIGIBILITY                         
 CHAIRMAN SHARP calls the Senate State Affairs Committee to order at           
 3:35 p.m. and brings up HB 4 as the first order of business before            
 the committee.  The chairman states the bill was heard previously,            
 and notes information requested from the Permanent Fund Dividend              
 Division has been received.  The information received shows a                 
 breakdown of categories and numbers of people out of state who                
 receive dividends.  The chairman asks if anyone wishes to comment             
 on the bill.                                                                  
 Number 025                                                                    
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS makes a motion to discharge HB 4 from the              
 Senate State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations.               
 Number 030                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN SHARP, hearing no objection, orders HB 4 released from               
 committee with individual recommendations.                                    
 SSTA - 3/28/95                                                                
             SB 110 ADMINISTRATIVE ADJUDICATIONS                             
 SENATOR SHARP brings up SB 110 as the next order of business before           
 the Senate State Affairs Committee.                                           
 Number 043                                                                    
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS makes a motion to adopt the State Affairs              
 Committee substitute for SB 110.                                              
 Number 051                                                                    
 SENATOR DONLEY introduces and explains a proposed amendment to SB
 110 (9-GS0006\A.1, Bannister, 3/24/95).  The amendment would                  
 increase the public notice required before regulations can be                 
 adopted.  Senator Donley informs the committee that the                       
 administration is opposed to this amendment.                                  
 Number 110                                                                    
 SENATOR DONLEY makes a motion to adopt Amendment #1 to SB 110.                
 Number 115                                                                    
 SENATOR LEMAN expresses concern that the amendment does not apply             
 to regulations necessary to meet federal requirements.  We need to            
 fight back and not allow the federal government to over-run us.               
 CHAIRMAN SHARP asks Ms. Williams if she would like to testify on              
 the amendment.                                                                
 Number 135                                                                    
 TERESA WILLIAMS, Assistant Attorney General, testifying from                  
 Anchorage, thinks the amendment would increase the cost of the                
 regulatory process because of additional advertising and additional           
 board and commission meetings.  She states the original intent of             
 SB 110 was as a cost-saving measure, while the amendment would                
 increase state costs.  Ms. Williams also thinks the amendment would           
 complicate the regulatory process enough so that beneficial changes           
 to proposed regulations will not be made.  For that reason, she               
 thinks it might adversely affect public input.                                
 MS. WILLIAMS also thinks departments would not be able to adopt               
 regulations in a timely manner for seasonal conditions, such as a             
 construction season or a timber season.  She asks what would happen           
 if a regulation is thrown out by a court.  In an instance where               
 fees are involved, would there then be no fees?                             
 Number 200                                                                    
 MS. WILLIAMS believes the power to challenge regulations will be              
 immense, if amendment #1 is adopted.  She thinks it will lead to              
 more litigation.  Environmental groups often use every tool in the            
 book to stop something.                                                       
 Number 215                                                                    
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asks Ms. Williams if the administration will           
 be supporting the amendment if the issues she raised are addressed.           
 Number 220                                                                    
 MS. WILLIAMS thinks there are some good things to the amendment,              
 but there would have to be a fiscal note with it, and she does not            
 think the legislature would add the funds.                                    
 Number 232                                                                    
 SENATOR DONLEY asserts that the seasonal example given by Ms.                 
 Williams as a potential problem should not be a concern, because              
 regulations could be adopted under the emergency regulations                  
 process.  And Ms. Williams' concern with increased litigation could           
 not even occur, so long as departments comply with the law.  For              
 court cases, the court may grant relief appropriate under the                 
 circumstances.  So if a court had a problem with a regulation, they           
 wouldn't necessarily have to strike down the whole regulation.                
 Number 250                                                                    
 SENATOR LEMAN asks Senator Donley if, under Section 2, subsection             
 (c), if it would be appropriate to add language to the end of the             
 subsection stating, "or a portion of a regulation", or similar                
 language to clarify that a whole regulation need not be thrown out.           
 SENATOR DONLEY responds he would totally support such an amendment            
 to amendment #1.  He suggests, on page 2, line 9, that the                    
 amendment read, "...including the invalidation or partial                    
 invalidation of the regulation...."                                          
 SENATOR LEMAN does not care how the amendment is made, just that              
 the intent be clear.                                                          
 SENATOR DONLEY thinks the intent is: if there is an area of any               
 regulation that is not impacted by the change with which the court            
 is concerned, that the unaffected portion of the regulation still             
 remain in effect.                                                             
 SENATOR LEMAN is not sure how the amendment to amendment #1 should            
 be worded, so he moves the conceptual amendment to amendment #1.              
 CHAIRMAN SHARP, hearing no objection, states the conceptual                   
 amendment to amendment #1 has been adopted.                                   
 CHAIRMAN SHARP notes he does not see language in amendment #1                 
 stating there must be a hearing, just language specifying                     
 additional time for public comment.                                           
 SENATOR DONLEY responds the language specifies, "...there is a                
 notice and opportunity for public comment."  He thinks this is the            
 exact language used in legislation that was worked on three years             
 ago.  His understanding is that language would require a public             
 hearing procedure.                                                            
 SENATOR LEMAN asks if that would be a 30 day requirement.                     
 SENATOR DONLEY thinks it would be a 30 day.                                   
 SENATOR LEMAN asks if there would be any way to require a truncated           
 second public comment period.  Or would a new process have to be              
 Number 290                                                                    
 SENATOR DONLEY replies a new process would have to be established.            
 He thinks this language would just require one additional hearing.            
 CHAIRMAN SHARP asks if there are any more comments on amendment #1            
 to SB 110.                                                                    
 SENATOR DONLEY asks the committee to consider, to bring things into           
 perspective, that all the administration has to do to adopt                   
 regulations, which are just as powerful as law, is hold one                   
 hearing.  Amendment #1 would require an additional hearing if                 
 proposed regulations are changed after the first hearing.                     
 Number 300                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN SHARP asks if there is objection to adopting amendment #1            
 to SB 110.  Hearing no objection, the chairman states amendment #1            
 has been adopted.                                                             
 Number 305                                                                    
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS makes a motion to discharge SB 110 from the            
 Senate State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations.               
 CHAIRMAN SHARP, hearing no objection, orders SB 110 released from             
 committee with individual recommendations.                                    
 SSTA - 3/28/95                                                                
              SB 135 PFD NOTICES AND ELIGIBILITY                             
 SENATOR SHARP brings up SB 135 as the next order of business before           
 the Senate State Affairs Committee and calls the first witness.               
 Number 313                                                                    
 SENATOR STEVE FRANK, Co-Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee,             
 prime sponsor of SB 135, states SB 135 is a subject that passed the           
 senate last year.  SB 135 would require persons incarcerated or               
 convicted of a third misdemeanor to contribute their permanent fund           
 dividends, on the theory that those persons should incur at least             
 some part of the costs imposed on the system through their illegal            
 behavior.  It provides the state a way to fund some of the programs           
 in the Department of Corrections.  It would also allow legislative            
 discretion for utilization of the money for other agencies,                   
 including the Department of Public Safety and the Department of               
 Number 334                                                                    
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asks if there are any word changes from last           
 year's version.                                                               
 DAVID SKIDMORE, Aide to Senator Frank, responds that the portion of           
 SB 135 that references the Department of Revenue is slightly                  
 different.  Permanent fund dividends forfeited under SB 135 will              
 not be used to satisfy child support obligations; it is thought               
 that would be unconstitutional, under the constitutional                      
 requirement that public funds not be used for private purpose.                
 Another change was in the effective date.  Only offenses from the             
 effective date of January 1, 1996 will be counted.                            
 SENATOR DUNCAN is not sure he understands the entire impact of SB
 135.  He asks if this is being considered as a source of funding              
 for the Department of Corrections in the FY 96 operating budget.              
 If SB 135 does not pass, will it impact funding for the Department            
 of Corrections?                                                               
 Number 365                                                                    
 SENATOR FRANK does not think whether SB 135 passes or not would               
 have any affect on the Department of Corrections budget.  The                 
 budget proposal assumes this money will be available.  But he does            
 not think 2.7 million dollars in general funds will be taken out of           
 the budget if SB 135 does not pass.                                           
 SENATOR DUNCAN asks if he understands correctly that SB 135 would             
 allow 2.7 million dollars of permanent fund earnings to go to the             
 Department of Corrections, and if SB 135 didn't pass, then that               
 funding source will have to be replaced by general funds.                     
 SENATOR FRANK replies that is correct.                                        
 Number 388                                                                    
 SENATOR DUNCAN says he is not in favor of giving convicted felons             
 a permanent fund dividend, but he wants to know what the impact               
 will be on the Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED) and other            
 recipients of garnished dividends.                                            
 SENATOR FRANK thinks there may be some reduction in garnishment of            
 dividends for child support obligations.  They tried to work around           
 that, but they felt as though the number of people affected by that           
 would be small.                                                               
 Number 405                                                                    
 MR. SKIDMORE thinks about 300 of the approximately 2,050                      
 individuals would have child support obligations that would be                
 affected.  That does not take into account families on AFDC.                  
 Number 415                                                                    
 SENATOR DUNCAN comments he is concerned with impact on child                  
 support, victim restitution, treatment programs, and payment of               
 fines and judgements.                                                         
 SENATOR FRANK acknowledges there may be some impact on child                  
 support, but it would only affect those folks who weren't on AFDC.            
 It is hard to tell how many people would be affected, but since it            
 is probably such a small number of people, would we be willing to             
 keep paying dividends to persons convicted of three or more                   
 misdemeanors, just so that small group won't be affected?  If we              
 didn't have AFDC as a back-up mechanism, then there would be more             
 reason to be concerned about those people losing an obligor's                 
 [Senator Duncan asked a question, which was not picked up by the              
 recording equipment.]                                                         
 SENATOR FRANK answers maybe.                                                  
 SENATOR DONLEY asks Senator Frank to clarify that currently, only             
 people incarcerated for felonies don't receive their dividends.               
 SENATOR FRANK responds that is correct.                                       
 SENATOR DONLEY asks if SB 135 would continue to deny dividends                
 after a felon has been released from prison.                                  
 MR. SKIDMORE responds SB 135 would not deny dividends to released             
 SENATOR DONLEY asks if SB 135 would deny dividends to felons for              
 the first year following their release from prison.                           
 MR. SKIDMORE thinks it would do that.                                         
 SENATOR DONLEY doesn't understand that language in the bill.                  
 Number 458                                                                    
 MR. SKIDMORE replies that the structure of the existing statute was           
 followed in drafting the legislation.  Also taken into                        
 consideration was the qualifying period for permanent fund                    
 SENATOR DONLEY asks what happens if a person is convicted of a                
 felony, but does not go to prison.  Would a felon lose his or her             
 dividend for the rest of their life?                                          
 MR. SKIDMORE responds that would not be the case.  Under SB 135               
 they would just lose their dividend for the following dividend                
 SENATOR DONLEY notes the same thing would apply to persons                    
 convicted of a third misdemeanor, but not imprisoned.                         
 MR. SKIDMORE confirms that is the case.  In regards to court fines,           
 for which dividends are currently being garnished, those fines                
 would not be extinguished, it would simply be pushed back one year.           
 Number 484                                                                    
 SENATOR DONLEY is willing to work on SB 135 in the Finance                    
 Committee, but he really thinks the bill should be stronger.                  
 SENATOR FRANK thinks they're trying to strike a balance between               
 what would be constitutional and what would be supportable by a               
 majority of legislators.  He acknowledges that for some folks, it             
 probably would be fair to take their dividends away for the rest of           
 their lives.                                                                  
 Number 490                                                                    
 SENATOR DUNCAN asks if Senator Frank concurs with his statement               
 about double-dipping into the permanent fund earnings, and that it            
 will impact everyone's dividend.                                              
 SENATOR FRANK responds SB 135 will not impact everyone's dividend,            
 only the incarcerated folks.                                                  
 SENATOR DUNCAN reasserts that if SB 135 is a double-dip in the                
 permanent fund earnings, then it will affect dividends.                       
 SENATOR FRANK replies if that is what Senator Duncan implied, he              
 was not agreeing with that.  Senator Frank asks Mr. Skidmore to               
 explain why two-years worth of dividends are being picked up to               
 accelerate the collection.  That is what Senator Frank meant by               
 SENATOR DUNCAN concurs with that.  It does authorize the                      
 legislature to take over 2 million dollars out of the permanent               
 fund earnings, which really hasn't been collected as dividends from           
 the felons or repeat misdemeanants.                                           
 SENATOR FRANK states the dividends won't go to the felon or repeat            
 misdemeanants; that's the deal.                                               
 SENATOR DUNCAN points out that the money is in the corrections                
 budget for FY 96; it is not coming from those dividends, it is                
 coming from the permanent fund earnings.  So it really is double-             
 dipping in the permanent fund earnings.  So Senator Duncan thinks             
 SB 135 will affect the amount of the dividend.                                
 SENATOR FRANK insists that is not the case.  He asks Mr. Williams             
 to discuss that point.                                                        
 TOM WILLIAMS, Aide to Senator Frank, states, "the individual was              
 incarcerated in calendar year 1993.  Therefor they were ineligible            
 for the 1994 dividend.  The department calculates the amount that             
 would have been paid for the 1994 dividend, reports it to the                 
 legislature, and the legislature then appropriates it for fiscal              
 year 1996.  In essence, there is a year's lag in appropriating                
 those funds to the Department of Corrections and the Department of            
 Public Safety, because they were actually dividends that were not             
 paid in fiscal year 1995.  What SB 135 would do, it would double up           
 in one sense by moving when the dividends are paid and                        
 corresponding them to when they are denied."                                  
 Number 522                                                                    
 SENATOR DUNCAN continues his assertion that the first year it would           
 seem to be that the money would be taken out of the permanent fund            
 earnings account.  It will impact the dividends.  He states he is             
 not convinced that dividends will not be reduced.  He wants to know           
 if there will be an impact on dividends, and if that will be                  
 reported on dividend check stubs.  Senator Duncan does not know if            
 he would oppose SB 135 on that point.                                         
 Number 531                                                                    
 SENATOR FRANK does not think dividends would be affected by SB 135.           
 SENATOR DUNCAN agrees with that, with the exception of the first              
 year after the legislation becomes law.  He agrees with everything            
 Senator Frank has said, with the exception of the first year, when            
 he believes there will be an extra 2.8 million dollars taken from             
 the permanent fund earnings.  Perhaps he is mistaken, but that is             
 his perception.  Senator Duncan asks if there is anyone from the              
 Permanent Fund Dividend Division to clarify whether or not his                
 concern is valid.                                                             
 MIKE MCGEE, Chief, Permanent Fund Dividend Operations, Permanent              
 Fund Dividend Division, Department of Revenue, states the governor            
 strongly opposes SB 135 for the very reason discussed today: the              
 double-dipping nature of the first year the bill is law.  Even if             
 that provision is eliminated, the governor would still oppose SB
 135, because he does not want to see a reduction in the monies                
 available to those people and state agencies with attachments on              
 dividends of people affected by the bill.  The administration does            
 see a reduction of 2.7 or 2.8 million in the permanent fund                   
 earnings, because that money will be paid twice.                              
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS comments sometimes the legislature just                
 doesn't agree with the governor.                                              
 Number 549                                                                    
 SENATOR DONLEY wonders how much the dividends will be impacted.               
 [There is general estimation and consensus that the amount will be            
 about $4 or $5 per dividend, and that it will probably not be                 
 reportable on the dividend check stubs.]                                      
 SENATOR DUNCAN thinks people should know if part of their dividend            
 monies are being used for departmental operations.                            
 SENATOR LEMAN makes a motion to discharge SB 135 from the Senate              
 State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations.                      
 Number 567                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN SHARP, hearing no objection, orders SB 135 released from             
 committee with individual recommendations.                                    
 SSTA - 3/28/95                                                                
             HB  74 ASSAULT BY ADULTS ON CHILDREN                          
 SENATOR SHARP brings up HB 74 as the next order of business before            
 the Senate State Affairs Committee and calls the first witness.               
 TAPE 95-13, SIDE B                                                            
 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE, prime sponsor of HB 74, relays                      
 information contained in the sponsor substitute to the committee.             
 Representative Bunde states there is a lot of public support behind           
 HB 74.                                                                        
 Number 555                                                                    
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS commented he has had one phone call on HB
 74, and that call was in opposition to HB 74.  Senator Phillips               
 asks where the case is right now.                                             
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE responds the case is in the process of going             
 to trial.  Prosecutors are having to be "encouraged" to take the              
 case to trial; they were going to plea bargain.                               
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asks what the maximum penalty would be.                
 PATTY SWENSON, Aide to Representative Bunde, replies the maximum              
 penalty would be one year incarceration and a $5,000 fine.                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE adds he has not heard of any instance in which           
 first time misdemeanants have been required to serve prison time.             
 There is usually a suspended sentence.                                        
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS refers to the old saying which basically               
 states law shouldn't be made because of one case.  He also asked              
 how HB 74 would affect a property owner's right to protect his or             
 her property.                                                                 
 Number 535                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE replies, out of the hundreds, if not over one            
 thousand responses he has received, Senator Phillips is only about            
 the fourth person to assert that HB 74 might affect a property                
 owner's right to protect their property.  Will a property owner be            
 charged with a felony for protecting his or her property?                     
 Representative Bunde stresses that prosecutorial discretion will              
 protect the property owner.  First, the kid threatening the                   
 property or the property owner will have to convince a prosecutor             
 that he was attacked, and was not the cause of the attack.  He                
 understands the concern, but does not see it as a problem.                    
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS reiterates the only call he has received on            
 HB 74 was in opposition to the bill, for the previously mentioned             
 scenario.  We are referring to one case; unless there are a number            
 of cases in which this problem is occurring, he hates to pass a law           
 because of one case.                                                          
 SENATOR DONLEY thinks, in regards to Senator Phillips' concern that           
 law not be made because of one case, that there are probably a lot            
 of cases in which HB 74 would apply, which have simply not been as            
 visible as the one case which was the impetus behind the bill.                
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asks Senator Donley if he thinks HB 74 would           
 affect the rights of property owners to protect their property.               
 Number 515                                                                    
 SENATOR DONLEY responds that any steps a property owner takes to              
 defend his or her property would not be made any more legal or                
 illegal by HB 74.  It just changes the potential maximum penalty.             
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS is worried that if a property owner                    
 physically escorts a trespasser from his or her property, they will           
 be charged with a felony.                                                     
 SENATOR DONLEY replies a property owner is, and would still be                
 allowed, to use reasonable force to protect his or her property.              
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asks if a property owner could use a                   
 SENATOR DONLEY responds that is not reasonable force; that is                 
 deadly force.  HB 74 will not affect whether the property owner's           
 defense is legal or not.                                                      
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asks what if the trespasser is destroying              
 SENATOR DONLEY replies HB 74 will not affect the parameters of what           
 property owners can and cannot do to defend their property.                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE adds that, under existing statute, reasonable            
 force may be used to defend one's property.  In some cases,                   
 reasonable force could be pretty aggressive; in other cases,                  
 depending on the situation, a property owner's response could be              
 considered assault.  Representative Bunde understands Senator                 
 Phillips' concern.  HB 74 will not change the restrictions by which           
 a property owner is constrained in defending his or her property or           
 life.  The only change would be, if there was a charge brought                
 against a property owner, and if the prosecutor was convinced that            
 it was a really egregious case, the property owner could be charged           
 with a felony instead of a class A misdemeanor.  We all know that             
 in practical application, a first time conviction receiving the               
 maximum penalty allowed for a class A misdemeanor is more severe              
 than the minimum penalty for a felony.  There is public outcry that           
 this tool be available to prosecutors, if necessary.                          
 [Representative Bunde show the committee approximately 500                    
 signatures on petitions in favor of HB 74, and informs the                    
 committee he has more in his office.]                                         
 Number 480                                                                    
 SENATOR DONLEY states he is concerned with the use of deadly force,           
 because he thinks there is too much constraint put on property                
 owners, in that one is supposed to allow one's self to be                     
 endangered before protecting one's self.  He did look into that as            
 Judiciary Chairman several years ago, and satisfied himself that              
 Alaska Statutes are pretty good on that subject.  Deadly force is             
 allowable when one is physically threatened.  Other reasonable                
 force is allowed to protect one's property.  To go beyond that, to            
 allow property owners to shoot people because they are carrying off           
 a bird bath--I don't know if you would want to do that.                       
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS thinks the question needs to be asked.                 
 Secondly, should law be made on one publicized case?                          
 SENATOR DONLEY agrees with that, but he thinks that whole area of             
 law should be revisited and that there should be stronger assault             
 laws.  It is a shame it has to be driven by the event that was the            
 impetus for HB 74.  He thinks there is a problem with assault being           
 taken to lightly by the justice system.  Judges, police, and                  
 prosecutors become desensitized to assault with all the murders,              
 rapes, and kidnappings with which they have to deal.                          
 SENATOR LEMAN makes a motion to discharge HB 74 from the Senate               
 State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations.                      
 CHAIRMAN SHARP, hearing no objection, orders HB 74 be released from           
 committee with individual recommendations.                                    
 SSTA - 3/28/95                                                                
            SB 120 STATE VETERANS' HOME FACILITIES                           
 SENATOR SHARP brings up SB 120 as the next order of business before           
 the Senate State Affairs Committee and calls the first witness.               
 Number 451                                                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON relays information contained in the sponsor                 
 statement for SB 120 to the committee.  Senator Torgerson expresses           
 surprise at the amount of the fiscal note, and asserts SB 120 will            
 have no fiscal impact on the State of Alaska.                                 
 Number 423                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN SHARP asks Senator Torgerson to confirm that SB 120 will             
 simply modify existing law to state veteran's facilities would not            
 just be housing facilities, but would also have nursing care.                 
 SENATOR TORGERSON responds that is the intent.                                
 CHAIRMAN SHARP asks if he is correct in his belief that there are             
 currently no veteran's homes in the state, and that SB 120 does               
 nothing but set up enabling legislation.                                      
 SENATOR TORGERSON replies that is his understanding.                          
 Number 408                                                                    
 JEFF MORRISON, Legislative Liaison, Department of Military &                  
 Veterans' Affairs, states one of the department's duties is to                
 advise the legislature what we believe veterans would want.  He               
 thinks it would be safe to say veterans would support SB 120.                 
 Number 392                                                                    
 JIM KOHN, Deputy Director, Division of Senior Services, Department            
 of Administration, states the change made by SB 120 would not be              
 just a technical amendment to an existing law, which makes the                
 existing law operational.  The state law will remain, even with               
 passage of SB 120, incompatible with the federal veterans' program            
 requirements.  The present statute requires that the veterans'                
 homes be operated without state subsidy.  Nothing in SB 120 changes           
 that.  The Veterans' Administration (VA) requires that a state                
 receiving a construction grant for construction of a state                    
 veterans' home provide assurance that the state will be responsible           
 for the operating costs of that facility.  When the VA contributes            
 65% of the construction costs, and the state contributes 35%, the             
 agreement up front is that the state will provide assurance they              
 will foot the future operating costs, as well as maintaining the              
 MR. KOHN states that replacing the term "domiciliary care" with the           
 term "nursing care" has only one effect: it increases the daily               
 rate paid by the VA from approximately $10.83 to $25.35 for                   
 eligible veterans.  Since the cost of a nursing home bed in Alaska            
 is approximately $250 per day, a resident without state subsidy               
 would be responsible for the difference.  On a yearly basis, the VA           
 would pay approximately $10,000 of these costs, while the resident            
 would be required to pay approximately $80,000.  Understandably,              
 few residents would be able to pay the costs involved.  Yet it                
 would be required by the agreement with the VA that 75% of all                
 residents in a nursing home be eligible veterans, which means that            
 their income would have to be lower than the appropriate maximum              
 allowed.  That puts them in the position of being unable to pay for           
 their care.                                                                   
 MR. KOHN reminds the committee that in Alaska there is a VA                   
 community nursing home program right now.  Under this program, the            
 federal government is obligated to pay the total costs of the care          
 of veterans placed in community nursing homes by the VA.  We need             
 to realize, that if a veterans' home is opened, the state will be             
 exchanging federal money for state obligations.  In addition,                 
 though he understands that veterans' organizations would like to              
 see a veterans' home, he is not sure that individual veterans would           
 be favorably impressed when faced with the bill.  At present,                 
 veterans can enter nursing care homes in their own communities, and           
 continue to have their families nearby.   If a centralized                    
 veterans' home is created, people will have to move to that central           
 location to get any subsidy.                                                  
 Number 310                                                                    
 MR. KOHN explains that the large fiscal note is to make disclosure            
 of costs, rather than following the actual law.  The fiscal note              
 does not follow the law, because under the law, it is not possible            
 to even construct the home, or make the deal with the VA.  The                
 fiscal note is based on the costs associated with building a home             
 similar to the Juneau Pioneer Home, with staff similar to the                 
 Juneau Pioneer Home.                                                          
 Number 332                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN SHARP asks Mr. Kohn if the veterans' homes in the rest of            
 the country all operate with only $25 a day from the federal                  
 MR. KOHN replies that is correct.                                             
 CHAIRMAN SHARP asks if that has always been the case.  He thought             
 the federal government paid nearly all the costs associated with              
 veterans' homes.                                                              
 MR. KOHN responds that since there is no veterans' home in Alaska,            
 the VA does pay the full cost of the care of eligible veterans                
 placed in a community nursing home.  Eligibility is based upon                
 total income and assets.  The VA also requires that 75% of the                
 residents in a veterans' home be of that eligible income status.              
 There is therefore the possibility that the costs to other veterans           
 ineligible for subsidy residing in the home will be increased, in             
 order to offset the loss caused by those unable to pay.                       
 Number 298                                                                    
 DAVE WILLIAMS, Director, Division of Medical Assistance, Department           
 of Health & Social Services, states the division has followed the             
 development of home care for many years, and SB 120 seems to take             
 things in the opposite direction.  The division is also aware that            
 many nursing home beds are pending construction.  A home care                 
 system is being set up in this state, and money will all come from            
 the same direction.  If money is put into facilities, it will be              
 harder to develop a home care system.  Also, when an eligible                 
 veteran comes out of a hospital and placed in a nursing home, that            
 veteran will have 90 days of benefits in the nursing home.  If care           
 goes beyond that, and a veteran is eligible for medicaid, then                
 medicaid pays the bill.  In a state veterans' home, the home would            
 be eligible as a medicaid provider.  The Department of Health &               
 Social Services has no position on SB 120, but the state will be              
 liable for 50% of the cost of care, under the medicaid program.               
 Number 268                                                                    
 SENATOR LEMAN asks Mr. Williams to explain his statement that the             
 money will come from the same direction.                                      
 MR. WILLIAMS responds there is a limited amount of money available            
 for long-term care.  If that money is spent on nursing home care,             
 he assumes it will be more difficult to fund a home-care system.              
 Number 235                                                                    
 SENATOR TORGERSON reasserts that SB 120 does not build any                    
 facilities or appropriate any money.  It will give veterans in the            
 state the opportunity to build a nursing home.                                
 Number 220                                                                    
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS makes a motion to discharge SB 120 from the            
 Senate State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations.               
 CHAIRMAN SHARP, hearing no objection, orders SB 120 released from             
 committee with individual recommendations.                                    
 SSTA - 3/28/95                                                                
            HJR 22 ALASKA/RUSSIA MARITIME BOUNDARY                           
 SENATOR SHARP brings up HJR 22 as the next order of business before           
 the Senate State Affairs Committee and calls the first witness.               
 Number 210                                                                    
 JOE RYAN, Aide to Representative Vezey, prime sponsor of HJR 22,              
 relays information contained in the sponsor statement to the                  
 Number 180                                                                    
 SENATOR LEMAN makes a motion to discharge HJR 22 from the Senate              
 State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations.                      
 CHAIRMAN SHARP, hearing no objection, orders HJR 22 released from             
 committee with individual recommendations.                                    
 SSTA - 3/28/95                                                                
             HB  42 ABSENTEE VOTING & USE OF FAX                             
 SENATOR SHARP brings up HB 42 as the next order of business before            
 the Senate State Affairs Committee and calls the first witness.               
 Number 177                                                                    
 TOM ANDERSON, Aide to Representative Martin, informs the committee            
 that HB 42 is very similar to HB 49 from the previous legislature.            
 The bill allows for the electronic transmission of absentee                   
 ballots.  There are some very minor differences between the two               
 bills: some cost saving measures for the Division of Elections, and           
 an extension of the secrecy waiver statement.  Mr. Anderson states            
 the major concern with the bill in the past has been the waiver of            
 secrecy.  Legislative Legal Services and the Attorney General's               
 Office have both written letters of support for HB 49, stating that           
 the right and ability to vote is a more significant concern than              
 the right to vote in secret.  Mr. Anderson states the subject has             
 had support from disabled groups, the military, and AFN, among                
 Number 115                                                                    
 RUPE ANDREWS, League of Women Voters in Alaska, states the league             
 does not specifically support or oppose HB 42.  However, the league           
 agrees with the overall intent to improve the efficiency of voting.           
 Mr. Andrews states the two concerns he has with the bill are: the             
 constitutionality of the bill in regards to the potential for                 
 coercion and secrecy, and the implementation of the bill.  He sees            
 equipment failure, lack of equipment, and 24 hour monitoring by               
 staff as potential problems in implementation.                                
 Number 090                                                                    
 SENATOR LEMAN asks how electronic transmission could enhance the              
 opportunity for coercion any more than current standard absentee              
 ballots could.  He doesn't know how electronic transmission changes           
 MR. ANDREWS is not sure either, but thinks that somewhere along the           
 transmission line, there could be a problem with coercion.  He also           
 questions whether the press could obtain copies of ballots cast in            
 this manner under the freedom of information act, since a secrecy             
 waiver will be signed by the voter giving up the right to secrecy.            
 SENATOR LEMAN thinks it would be a stretch to consider these type             
 of ballots information available to the public.  It would certainly           
 not be his intent that these ballots be considered public                     
 MR. ANDERSON adds that has never been a point of contention.                  
 GAYE VAUGHAN, Clerk, Kenai Peninsula Borough, states she is                   
 testifying as clerk, and not on behalf of the assembly.  She states           
 the Kenai Peninsula Borough did adopt a variation of HB 42 over a             
 year ago for municipal elections.  Many people took advantage of              
 the program.  However, the program did not allow the fax of the               
 voted ballot.  Ms. Vaughan supports HB 42, and sees it as an                  
 assistance in increasing voter turnout.                                       
 Number 027                                                                    
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS states he has a natural fear of cheating,              
 and asks Ms. Vaughan if there has been any attempted fraud relating           
 to faxing ballots.                                                            
 MS. VAUGHAN responds this is Alaska, this isn't Chicago.  She                 
 states she has been a municipal clerk for almost 18 years.  She has           
 caught people who have voted twice: people who didn't understand              
 that you can't go to every polling place, or that you can't vote              
 two weeks ahead of time and the day of the election.  Ms. Vaughan             
 does not see fraud as a problem at this time.  She supports HB 42.            
 TAPE 95-14, SIDE A                                                            
 CHAIRMAN SHARP comments he had several complaints regarding                   
 absentee ballots during the last election.  The complaints were               
 that people had applied for absentee ballots, but never received              
 them.  HB 42 would help solve that problem.                                   
 Number 024                                                                    
 MS. VAUGHAN adds that a lot of people think the elections are                 
 always held in November, which isn't the case; so absentee voting             
 by fax really helps in municipal elections, because all of a sudden           
 someone gets a reminder that there is an election coming up, and              
 can apply for a ballot with shorter notice.                                   
 Number 040                                                                    
 DAVE KOIVUNIEMI, Acting Director, Division of Elections, states the           
 division is taking a neutral stance on HB 42.                                 
 CHAIRMAN SHARP thinks the biggest thing is to be able to receive an           
 absentee ballot from the division by fax.  If an individual doesn't           
 want to lose the secrecy, then they can always mail the ballot back           
 to the division.  It doesn't need to be faxed both ways.                      
 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asks Mr. Koivuniemi what the concerns of the           
 division are regarding HB 42.                                                 
 Number 061                                                                    
 MR. KOIVUNIEMI replies the biggest concerns are technical, and                
 relate to implementation.  How often will the division have to try            
 to fax the ballot, if transmission keeps failing?  His personal               
 opinion is that the state has some of the most liberal absentee               
 methods of voting in the country.  But it is mainly questions                 
 regarding implementation, rather than any philosophical problem.              
 The division already accepts applications for absentee ballots by             
 Number 095                                                                    
 SENATOR LEMAN makes a motion to discharge HB 42 from the Senate               
 State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations.                      
 CHAIRMAN SHARP, hearing no objection, orders HB 42 released from              
 committee with individual recommendations.                                    
 Number 106                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN SHARP adjourns the Senate State Affairs Committee meeting            
 at 5:15 p.m.                                                                  

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