Legislature(1995 - 1996)
02/13/1996 03:35 PM STA
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE February 13, 1996 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 SENATE BILL NO. 217 "An Act relating to eligibility for the longevity bonus; and providing for an effective date." SENATE BILL NO. 221 "An Act naming Mountain View Road in Gustavus." SENATE BILL NO. 266 "An Act relating to the Creamer's Field Goose Classic." SENATE BILL NO. 177 "An Act relating to permits to carry concealed handguns." PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION SB 217 - See State Affairs minutes dated 2/1/96. SB 221 - No previous senate committee action. SB 266 - No previous senate committee action. SB 177 - See Joint Senate/House State Affairs minutes dated 10/5/95 and 1/23/96. WITNESS REGISTER Connie Sipe, Director Division of Senior Services Department of Administration 3601 C St., Ste. 380, Anchorage, AK 99503-5984¶(907)563-5654 POSITION STATEMENT: representing Governor-prime sponsor SB 217 Alison Elgee, Deputy Commissioner Department of Administration P.O. Box 110200, Juneau, AK 99811-0200¶(907)465-2200 POSITION STATEMENT: representing Governor-prime sponsor SB 217 Harry Jenkins 210 10th Ave., Fairbanks, AK 99701¶(907)456-4905 POSITION STATEMENT: opposed to SB 217 Emma Warwick 518 Fulton Ave., Fairbanks, AK 99701¶(907)456-5188 POSITION STATEMENT: opposed to SB 217 Nancy Mendenhall 1907 Yankovich Rd., Fairbanks, AK 99709¶(907)479-2786 POSITION STATEMENT: opposed to SB 217 Joe Montgomery 1048 Beech Lane, Anchorage, AK 99501¶(907)272-9339 POSITION STATEMENT: opposed to SB 217, except for Section 3 Gordon Guffey 1241 Denali St., No. 101, Anchorage, AK 99501¶(907)276-1110 POSITION STATEMENT: opposed to SB 217 Eva Johnson 2233 Knoll Circle, Anchorage, AK 99501¶(907)277-4082 POSITION STATEMENT: opposed to SB 217 Donald Barnett 1516 Birchwood St., Anchorage, AK 99508¶(907)279-4069 POSITION STATEMENT: opposed to SB 217 John Gibbons Anchorage Pioneer Home, Anchorage, AK ¶(907)276-3414 POSITION STATEMENT: opposed to SB 217, except for Section 3 Joe Lawlor P.O. Box 1133, Homer, AK 99603¶(907)235-7943 POSITION STATEMENT: supports SB 217 Lois Irvin 167 Bayview Ave., Homer, AK 99603¶(907)235-7172 POSITION STATEMENT: supports SB 217 Robert Gore 119 Austin St., #911, Ketchikan, AK 99901¶(907)225-6949 POSITION STATEMENT: opposed to SB 217 Ed Knoebel P.O. Box 84, Glennallen, AK 99588¶(907)822-3208 POSITION STATEMENT: testified on SB 217, supports Section 3 Holly Hollis P.O. Box 870675, Wasilla, AK 99687¶(907)376-3524 POSITION STATEMENT: testified on SB 217 Doris Bacus 716 Mission Road, Kodiak, AK 99615¶(907)486-5119 POSITION STATEMENT: testified on SB 217 Glen Hanneman 3370 Davis Road, Fairbanks, AK 99709¶(907)479-6686 POSITION STATEMENT: opposed to SB 217 Betty & Robert Hufman 1018 Galena St., Fairbanks, AK 99709¶(907)474-0549 POSITION STATEMENT: opposed to SB 217 Robert Thibideau 1616 Glacier Ave., Juneau, AK 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: opposed to SB 217 Sandy Burd, Aide Senator Fred Zharoff State Capitol, Juneau, Alaska, 99801-1182¶(907)465-3473 POSITION STATEMENT: representing prime sponsor of SB 221 Alison Gordon, Aide Senator Steve Frank State Capitol, Juneau, Alaska, 99801-1182¶(907)465-3709 POSITION STATEMENT: representing prime sponsor of SB 266 Brett Huber, Aide Senator Lyda Green State Capitol, Juneau, Alaska, 99801-1182¶(907)465-6600 POSITION STATEMENT: representing prime sponsor of SB 177 Caroline Lombard, Aide Senator Randy Phillips State Capitol, Juneau, Alaska, 99801-1182¶(907)465-4949 POSITION STATEMENT: testified on SB 177 Ann Ringstad, Aide Senate State Affairs Committee State Capitol, Juneau, Alaska, 99801-1182¶(907)465-3004 POSITION STATEMENT: testified on SB 177 Gary Hayden, System Director Alaska Marine Highway System 3132 Channel Dr., Juneau, AK 99801-7898¶(907)465-8827 POSITION STATEMENT: opposed to SB 177 Bob Provost, Lobbyist Inland Boatman's Union/Pacific 231 S. Franklin St., Juneau, AK 99801¶(907)586-8200 POSITION STATEMENT: opposed to SB 177 Vernon Marshall, Lobbyist National Education Association - Alaska 114 2nd St., Juneau, AK 99801 POSITION STATEMENT: opposed to SB 177 ACTION NARRATIVE SSTA - 2/13/96 SB 217 INCOME LIMITS FOR LONGEVITY BONUS TAPE 96-12, SIDE A Number 001 CHAIRMAN SHARP called the Senate State Affairs Committee to order at 3:35 p.m. and brought up SB 217 as the first order of business before the committee. The chairman noted that the committee did not yet have a quorum, but would start by taking testimony. He asked Ms. Sipe to repeat information from the overview of SB 217 for the benefit of persons listening via teleconference. That overview was given during the February 1, 1996 Senate State Affairs Committee meeting. Number 015 CONNIE SIPE, Director, Division of Senior Services, Department of Administration, synopsized information from the overview given during the February 1, 1996 meeting of the Senate State Affairs Committee. Number 165 SENATOR LEMAN asked if it is easily identifiable on tax forms which income from native corporations is taxable and which isn't. MS. SIPE responded it is broken down as to what is taxable and what isn't. SENATOR LEMAN asked if non-taxable income from native corporations would count toward the income limits specified in SB 217. MS. SIPE responded she cannot speak for the governor on whether it is intended that income be counted toward the income limits in SB 217. She needs to speak to the Governor's Legislative Office regarding clarification on that question. Number 180 ALISON ELGEE, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Administration, added that, as the bill is currently written, the portion of the native dividend distribution that is not taxable for federal tax purposes would not be calculated in the income calculation for purposes of longevity bonus eligibility. CHAIRMAN SHARP commented that it would take an amendment to put that item in the same classification as non-taxable interest and gifts. MS. ELGEE responded that is correct. Number 200 HARRY JENKINS, testifying from Fairbanks, asked how the Division of Senior Services could state in a letter of January 17, 1996 that SB 217 would only affect 8% of Alaska's seniors, if they do not know seniors' income? He disagrees with items (lines) 19-31 on page 2, invading the right of privacy. Also, if this will be administered on the honor system, why not write that in the bill? Mr. Jenkins stated that there also seem to be two different effective dates in the bill: one in Section 6 and one in Section 7. He thinks the bill ought to be rewritten and thrown in the wastepaper basket. Number 220 EMMA WARWICK, testifying from Fairbanks, stated that since the State of Alaska has already passed a bill phasing out the longevity bonus program, further restrictions will only add more bureaucracy to the system. This would negate any planned savings. The longevity program was implemented to repay pioneers in some way for their many contributions to the development of Alaska. Ms. Warwick believes it would be gross discrimination to place an income restriction on receipt of this recognition. All should be treated equally, and the trend towards socialism terminated. Number 240 NANCY MENDENHALL, stated that SB 217 would change the whole idea of the program. She is bothered a great deal, because she thinks this would reward someone who didn't save money when they were younger. She also has a question about income from native corporations. Some of that income is taxable, and some is not, and she couldn't quite understand all of the statements that were made. Under SB 217, the longevity bonus program becomes a needs-based program, and what she considers to be another welfare program. Number 258 CHAIRMAN SHARP clarified that a 1099 is sent out by native corporations listing which income is taxable and which is not. So that could be determined. Number 263 JOE MONTGOMERY, testifying from Anchorage, stated he is unhappy with SB 217. When the longevity bonus program was implemented, it was truly a longevity bonus. It is not a welfare program. We do not feel that receiving a longevity bonus should be based upon one's income. He thinks implementation problems with SB 217 have been underestimated. He understands the budget problems, but if cuts have to be made, why not take $25 or 10% or some other percent off per month. Let the phase-out program run it's course. Number 285 SENATOR DUNCAN asked Mr. Montgomery how he felt about Section 3 of SB 217, which relates to qualification based on physical presence in the state. Number 298 MR. MONTGOMERY responded that adjustments could be made to presence requirements. He thinks 180 days might be excessive. He would have no objection to that length of time being modified. Number 310 GORDON GUFFEY, testifying from Anchorage, stated that by placing a cap on eligibility to receive longevity bonus benefits, SB 217 has placed those remaining eligible to receive the bonus in the status of receiving welfare. This bill strays so far from the original intent of longevity - recognizing the contribution of Alaskan pioneers in the development of Alaska, that it no longer deserves to be called a longevity bonus. Rather than passing SB 217 into law, the legislature should abolish the longevity bonus program altogether, transfer the funds from that program to the welfare department, and allow that department to distribute those funds as welfare. Number 326 EVA JOHNSON, testifying from Anchorage, stated she would rather see the longevity bonus program phased out than turned into a welfare program. Number 333 DONALD BARNETT, testifying from Anchorage, stated the longevity bonus program is nothing more than a welfare program now, and he is adamantly opposed to this whole thing the way it is. Number 344 JOHN GIBBONS, testifying from the Anchorage Pioneer Home, stated he objected to SB 217 for previously stated reasons. It departs from the original concept of a longevity bonus. He doesn't see how SB 217 is different from requiring showing income when applying for a pioneers' home. If you really want to balance the budget, why don't you work towards reestablishing the personal income tax. It is a fair tax, and we would be able to recover some of the wages of non-resident workers. He has no complaint about the 90-day allowable absence period. He stated that if SB 217 is passed, you might as well change the name of the Pioneers' Homes to the Old Folks' Homes, because the pioneers will have long since departed. Number 360 SENATOR DUNCAN asked Mr. Gibbons to clarify whether he thought 180 days would be a good amount of time for allowable absences from the state. MR. GIBBONS replied that he thinks 180 days is overstating the case, unless the absence is for a medical reason. Number 375 JOE LAWLOR, testifying from Homer, stated he strongly supports SB 217. The program was originally begun to help people stay in Alaska, for those who needed assistance. When we had all the oil money, we could kind of live wild on the hog, but that oil money is going. So both the intent of the bill and also Section 3 he supports. We have too many people who don't need the money and are spending their time out of the state. LOIS IRVIN, testifying from Homer, stated she supports SB 217. Number 394 ROBERT GORE, testifying from Ketchikan, thinks the longevity bonus program has helped keep an old, married couple out of the pioneer home. Elimination of the bonus is a very reasonable and comprehensive phase-out plan. That plan is very agreeable to the pioneers and the local elderly people in Ketchikan. We would like to continue on that route, and don't see the need for the income cap, to turn this program into a needs-based program. Mr. Gore thinks that would set up a lot of unnecessary expense to determine who is eligible and who wouldn't be eligible. He has heard that SB 217 would probably require the creation of another division or office to check eligibility. Mr. Gore stated those are his complaints against SB 217, and he hopes it is considered with care before it is thrown away. He thinks SB 217 is very harmful. ED KNOEBEL, testifying from Glennallen, stated he supports Section 3 of SB 217. He asked if social security would be counted towards the income limits in SB 217. Number 441 MS. SIPE responded social security is counted to the degree it's taxable under federal law. At this point, I think the limit on social security is $25,000. Above that would be taxable. MR. KNOEBEL also suggested passing a school tax. Number 449 HOLLY HOLLIS, testifying from Matsu, asked if adjusted gross income is income described in a 1040, or if it means gross income period. CHAIRMAN SHARP replied it refers to adjusted gross income as described in the 1040 form. MS. HOLLIS thinks a total allowable absence of 90 days should be enough, except for medical reasons. She thinks recognition should be given to the contributions seniors have made to the state. The longevity bonus, no matter how much it is, is all spent in Alaska. SB 217 departs from the original concept of a longevity bonus by making another classification of our citizens. She thinks a state income tax should be reestablished - she knows that people from outside who work in Alaska send their money outside, because she used to work in a post office. She suggested that if reductions to the longevity bonus are made, they be uniform. Number 480 DORIS BACUS, testifying from Kodiak, asked what happened to the lawsuit. She stated she's talked to a lot of people in Kodiak, and many of them feel that the longevity bonus should be done away with. They feel that it's not right that a lot of the Native Alaskans who've lived here all their lives are denied, when immigrants who've lived here a year and a day are getting longevity bonuses. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked the status of the lawsuit Ms. Bacus mentioned. CHAIRMAN SHARP replied that the state has filed their briefs. MS. SIPE added that the judge must make a decision by May. SENATOR LEMAN asked the name of that case. MS. SIPE responded it is Magert v. Sipe. SENATOR LEMAN commented Ms. Sipe will become famous. MS. SIPE stated that they were supposed to sue the commissioner, but it got her. Number 497 GLEN HANNEMAN, testifying from Fairbanks, stated he objects to tampering with the longevity bonus program, particularly since it's already in phase-out mode. This bill could throw a monkey wrench into the system. He doesn't like the stigma of means testing. It sounds like welfare. He supports the position of the Pioneers' Grand Igloo, which unanimously opposes SB 217. He also objects because the marriage section seems to contain some discrimination. Letting the administrator establish regulations scares him. Mr. Hanneman would like to know how much savings are expected from SB 217, and what the costs will be to implement the legislation. Overall, he thinks it is a bad bill, and recommends do not pass. Number 516 CHAIRMAN SHARP pointed out that there are fiscal notes on SB 217. The fiscal notes show savings, but the administration claims there will be no additional costs due to SB 217. There is an estimated $6,000,000 savings in the longevity bonus program and $1,900,000 savings in the SSI program. Number 526 BETTY HUFMAN, testifying from Fairbanks, stated she opposes SB 217. Ms. Hufman read a statement from her husband Robert opposing SB 217. The statement said the term "longevity bonus" is a misnomer. SB 217 would convert the present program into a bastardized welfare program. Let the phase-out program run its' course. In the event SB 217 is passed, they believe a new state mini-IRS department will be instituted just for those people remaining in the program. Please recommend do not pass on SB 217. Ms. Hufman recommends that SB 217 be put on hold until the outcome of the lawsuit. She thinks tracking income of applicants could cost the state much more money than the program would save. Ms. Hufman thinks allowing 180-day absences from the state is too liberal. Number 552 SENATOR DUNCAN clarified that Section 3 is not liberalizing the amount of time people are allowed to stay out of state; it is actually making it more difficult to be out of the state. The administration is proposing that instead of being able to come back in to the state once every 90 days and continue to be eligible, if you are absent for a cumulative of 180 days, an applicant would lose their eligibility. He wanted to make sure that was clear, and that he didn't confuse people. CHAIRMAN SHARP added that was also how he understood it. Number 565 ROBERT THIBIDEAU stated that the total population in the state is 615,900. Of that figure, about 29,000 are senior citizens. The longevity bonus program has about 25,500 participants. He has the feeling that the reason why there already appears to be about 3,500 people eligible who are not participating in the longevity bonus program, is because they have enough money and they don't want to be bothered with the restrictions. In respect to turning this program into a welfare program, if there's anything that seniors dislike hearing, it's that they are welfare people. Seniors are a very proud people. They think - maybe others don't, but they think they contribute a lot to the state, in the past and presently. The state is very fortunate in having a very small senior population. If Alaska had the same burden that California, New York, or Minnesota has, and the programs that they offer their seniors, you'd be scratching your head. TAPE 96-12, SIDE B MR. THIBIDEAU continued, stating that the senior population contributes so much in Alaska, that a dollar amount can't even be put on it. Our mere presence is a stabilizing influence. He doesn't think the State of Alaska would want to go back to a period when only 2-3% of the population was 65 and over. CHAIRMAN SHARP stated that, since there were no more witnesses to testify and no more comments from committee members, SB 217 would be set aside until interest is shown in hearing it again. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS stated he is not interested in SB 217. Number 572 SENATOR DUNCAN stated he has no interest in the bill as written, but he thinks the section dealing with absences from the state is worthy of discussion by itself. That might have some impact on the total cost of the program. He wondered if the committee would want to consider introducing legislation containing just that portion of SB 217. CHAIRMAN SHARP agreed with Senator Duncan. SSTA - 2/13/96 SB 221 MOUNTAIN VIEW ROAD - GUSTAVUS SENATOR SHARP brought up SB 221 as the next order of business before the Senate State Affairs Committee and called the first witness. SANDY BURD, Aide to Senator Fred Zharoff, prime sponsor of SB 221, stated that SB 221 was introduced at the request of the residents of Gustavus. Senator Zharoff received a petition with 121 signatures and a letter from the community association. CHAIRMAN SHARP asked if there were any questions regarding SB 221. Hearing none, the chairman asked the pleasure of the committee. Number 553 SENATOR DUNCAN made a motion to discharge SB 221 from committee with individual recommendations. CHAIRMAN SHARP, hearing no objection, stated SB 221 was discharged from the Senate State Affairs Committee with individual recommendations. SSTA - 2/13/96 SB 266 CREAMER'S FIELD GOOSE CLASSIC Number 550 SENATOR SHARP brought up SB 266 as the next order of business before the Senate State Affairs Committee and called the first witness. Number 545 ALISON GORDON, Aide to Senator Steve Frank, prime sponsor of SB 266, stated that SB 266 would amend current law to include the Friends of Creamer's Field among those who could operate and administer a goose classic. A goose classic is a game of chance in which the participant has an opportunity to win a cash prize for guessing the closest time of arrival of the first goose to Creamer's Field. Currently, the Fairbanks Montessori Association is the only group that may operate and administer a goose classic. This association has found that with their small, volunteer group, it has not been able to put on a classic. Subsequently, there has never been a goose classic in Fairbanks. The Montessori Association and Friends of Creamer's Field have worked to form a contract in which the two organizations would put the classic on together. SB 266 would also allow either group to operate the game separately, if one should decide not to take part. The department supports this legislation. Number 535 CHAIRMAN SHARP mentioned that the Friends of Creamer's Field is a fairly large group working towards preserving the field, which is a refuge. The chairman asked the pleasure of the committee. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS stated he is opposed to gambling. SENATOR DONLEY stated he also votes against gambling bills. CHAIRMAN SHARP, hearing no motion to discharge, said he would let the sponsor lobby committee members. SSTA - 2/13/96 SB 177 CONCEALED HANDGUN PERMIT AMENDMENTS Number 525 SENATOR SHARP brought up SB 177 as the next order of business before the Senate State Affairs Committee and called the first witness. Number 518 BRETT HUBER, Aide to Senator Lyda Green, prime sponsor of SB 177, informed the committee that after reviewing concerns and comments made regarding SB 177, Senator Green has worked on the version of the bill before the committee today. Mr. Huber thinks it is important to note that testimony in previous committee meetings was supportive of a reduction of permit fees, the removal of limitations on where permittees are allowed to carry, and the allowance of reciprocity agreements with other states. He also asked that it be remembered that permittees are law-abiding Alaskans. Mr. Huber thinks it is important to differentiate between law-abiding citizens' proper use of a firearm, and the concerns associated with other improper uses. Number 506 MR. HUBER outlines the changes from version G. Section 3 requires that DPS provide applicants with the laws and regulations pertaining to the concealed handgun program. Section 6 puts some misdemeanor offenses that would disallow a person from obtaining a permit, or be grounds for revocation of a permit back in the bill. Committee members should have in their bill packets a list of the retained misdemeanor offenses. The list reflects the misdemeanants in the current program which involve acts of violence against a person or misuse of weapons. Section 8 of the bill restores the requirement to display physical competency and to qualify with a handgun specific to action type. Section 12 restores the prohibition of concealed carry inside school buildings, state court houses, law enforcement facilities, correctional facilities, as well as those places prohibited by federal law. Section 14 removes the prohibition on derringers and miniature handguns as weapons allowable for concealed carry. Those are the changes contained in the committee substitute. Number 493 SENATOR LEMAN asked Mr. Huber if any thought has been given to having the department prepare a layman's version of the statutes for distribution to permit applicants and permittees. Also, he is concerned that a $65 fee might not adequately cover costs. He doesn't want this program to become subsidized. Number 476 MR. HUBER responded to the first question. Currently, as part of the concealed handgun permit process, applicants are required to take a course; four hours of that course work deals directly with the laws and regulations relating to concealed carrying. So we believe applicants should be able to develop an understanding of the law at that time. As to the second question, Senator Green has requested from DPS a breakdown of the costs associated with SB 177. Senator Green is continuing to explore with DPS what that level needs to be. It is certainly not the intent of the sponsor to have the program subsidized by other funds, but also not to have program receipts from the program subsidizing other programs. Number 460 SENATOR LEMAN commented that one of the best things put in the first law on concealed carrying was the application fee cap. But he thinks that a $65 fee is probably too low. He would like to see what the costs actually are. A better number would probably be about $95. But he would really like to get that information. Number 450 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS made a motion to adopt the committee substitute for SB 177. Number 444 CHAIRMAN SHARP, hearing no objection, stated the State Affairs Committee substitute for SB 177 has been adopted. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS stated he has several proposed amendments to offer. The first has to do with his concern over concealed weapons on school grounds and school buses. We should leave the law the way it is, so one amendment puts the legislation back to the original law. The other amendment deals with posting a sign on a premises forbidding concealed weapons. Senator Phillips thinks the property rights of a person - under SB 177, would he be prohibited from preventing a person from carrying a concealed weapon in his home? Number 435 MR. HUBER responded that in discussions with the Department of Law and several attorneys who deal with firearms issues, homeowners would not be precluded from prohibiting anyone from entering their property for any reason. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked if it would prohibit other establishments from prohibiting concealed carrying on their premises. Number 430 MR. HUBER thinks it would be the same on that. Establishments controlled by an individual could, as long as it doesn't breach some other rights of the individual, or show just cause, disallow people from entering your establishment on a variety of criteria. Number 425 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS read the language on page 6, Section 12, paragraph (9). He thinks that if the owner of a building, house, or facility does not want concealed carrying, the property rights would supersede the concealed carrying rights. He does not see the need for deleting the section restricting where permittees can carry; that is why he is offering an amendment. His three concerns are: carrying on school buses and school grounds, prohibiting property owners from posting prohibitions on carrying concealed, and carrying in nursing homes. Number 383 SENATOR DONLEY thinks everyone is concerned about the misuse of firearms, but he thinks what Mr. Huber was trying to explain is that concealed carrying on premises where the property owner is opposed to it is really a private matter between the property owner and the permittee. Under existing law, that situation would be a violation, so the state would intervene. Senator Donley thinks it is clear that property owners would still have the authority to ban concealed weapons from their property, it just wouldn't be violation of state law if permittees violated property owner's posted prohibition. Unless the order to leave the premises is based on some other illegal discriminatory criteria, that order would be within the rights of the property owner. MR. HUBER added that what Senator Donley just stated is basically the sponsor's position on the committee substitute: by removing those provisions, it does not prohibit property owners from precluding who they want to either enter or not enter their premises. Currently, it is a misdemeanor for a permittee to inadvertently enter an establishment with a posted prohibition. He feels it places an undue burden on permit holders. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked if people could carry a concealed weapon onto a vessel of the Alaska Marine Highway System. He thinks last years' bill was adequate. The only problem he sees is with the current fees. The only complaints he has heard is with the fees. Number 335 CHAIRMAN SHARP stated that at the hearing in Anchorage in October there was a lot of testimony on the problem that once people were permitted, they had to keep removing their concealed weapon to go into many places. If federal law precludes carrying a concealed weapon, which it does in airport loading and unloading areas- SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS interrupted and asked why we are deleting financial institutions, such as a bank. Most banks have armed guards. Number 325 SENATOR DONLEY replied that at the hearings this summer there was a lot of testimony from business owners that when they bring their deposits to the bank, they have to leave their weapons in the car. This causes two problems: they have no protection in the bank parking lot, and they are afraid that the weapon in the car is a target for theft. CHAIRMAN SHARP noted that the most vulnerable place for being attacked is in parking lots. Number 316 SENATOR LEMAN asked if federal law precludes carrying a weapon into a bank. SENATOR DONLEY does not think so. Number 313 SENATOR DUNCAN noted that he agreed with Senator Phillips on this point, which is unusual. He remembers the floor debate on the first concealed carrying legislation. It seems to him that the best thing to do would be to post in advance. He hasn't heard of people getting rolled in bank parking lots. Bank robberies usually happen in the bank, not out in the parking lot. He thinks we are overreaching, and he will support Senator Phillips. Number 285 SENATOR DONLEY replied that by removing this section, nothing prohibits posting. Property owners can still post: no weapons allowed. It's just that the enforcement would be based on a trespassing dispute, or some private cause of action, rather than a crime. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS stated then that the burden would be on the property owner, rather than the permittee. Why should that burden be on the property owner? SENATOR LEMAN and SENATOR DONLEY stated it was currently on the property owner. CHAIRMAN SHARP noted that property owners can post anything they want. For example: no shirtless, no backpacks, no sandals. So people do restrict that. SENATOR DUNCAN commented that maybe we should have them shirtless, then they couldn't have a concealed weapon. Number 263 MR. HUBER wanted committee members to remember that SB 177 does not preclude anyone from flying in the face of good weapon use: someone can still enter a premises if they choose to conceal a gun and are not a permittee. We are talking about the most law abiding citizens. No permit has yet been revoked because of misuse of the weapon. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS stated that is probably because of the way the law is today. SENATOR DUNCAN commented that is a good reason to keep it that way. CHAIRMAN SHARP stated his biggest concern isn't permittees, it's someone carrying who isn't a permittee. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked what the public policy is behind allowing for people to have concealed weapons on a school bus, or even on school grounds. Aren't we sending the wrong message to the kids? He just can't accept that. CHAIRMAN SHARP thinks a school district could prohibit that. A school district would have the right to post anything they want, just like any other business. At least that is his understanding. Number 237 SENATOR DONLEY informed the committee that he was the author of the law that currently bans guns from school grounds. He asked how the concealed carrying law would interplay with that ban. MR. HUBER responded that is addressed in Section 1 of SB 177. It corresponds with Section 6, which provides an affirmative defense to AS 11.61.210, that prohibits weapons on school grounds. The reason for school grounds, is to accommodate people dropping off or picking up people on school grounds. If a permittee drives past a school, they are guilty of a misdemeanor. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked if anyone has been convicted of that. MR. HUBER replied not that he knows of. Number 218 SENATOR DONLEY stated the law banning weapons on school grounds specifies that guns have to be encased and put away before people can come on school grounds. SENATOR DUNCAN stated that is not a requirement with SB 177. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS thinks that area should be looked at. He is having a difficult time accepting that provision. Number 200 CHAIRMAN SHARP stated he would probably go along with adding school grounds back into SB 177. On page 6, line 6, take out "or" leave a comma in there and put "junior high, secondary school, or school bus". He can see the logic to that. School grounds, passing through, dropping people off, picking people up, he would hate to see that specifically prohibited, except by the school district. SENATOR DONLEY asked if the sponsor has thought about simply making an exception for picking up and dropping off, rather than a blanket exception for school grounds. MR. HUBER responded that was discussed. But the problem with that is there are other reasons to go to the school, perhaps to drop off a pair of tennis shoes that your child forgot, perhaps it's playing basketball after hours with your children CHAIRMAN SHARP asked Senator Phillips if he wanted to discuss his amendments. Number 165 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS stated his first amendment would delete the reference to school buildings, on the grounds, school parking lot, or school bus. It also inserts, "or while participating in a school sponsored event. Basically, it would bring the committee substitute back to what the current law is, in terms of schools. CHAIRMAN SHARP stated he has a problem with that one. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS made a motion to adopt amendment #1. CHAIRMAN SHARP objected to adoption of amendment #1. The chairman asked if there was any further discussion. SENATOR DONLEY commented he wished the committee had language before it that would allow pickups and deliveries. CHAIRMAN SHARP stated that would address most of the concerns he heard at the committee meeting in October. The chairman called the roll on the motion. Adoption of amendment #1 failed, with a vote of 1 yea, 3 nays, 1 absent. Voting for adoption was Senator Phillips. Voting against adoption were Senators Sharp, Leman, and Donley. Senator Duncan was absent. Number 115 SENATOR DONLEY suggested a conceptual amendment to SB 177. It would extend the exception for concealed weapons to the act of delivering or picking up from a school. If someone was dropping off someone else's sneakers or something, he would want to include that. So he wouldn't limit it to just delivering or picking up children. The building, grounds, and school buses would be off limits. Number 103 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked what the law was concerning unconcealed weapons on school grounds. SENATOR DONLEY replied they are banned. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS said, "And yet we want to allow concealed weapons on school grounds." SENATOR DONLEY responded that state law allows encased weapons on school grounds. CHAIRMAN SHARP noted you can also have encased weapons on school grounds if you're going to a shooting range in the school. SENATOR DONLEY stated that the only difference here is that a permittee wouldn't have to unload or encase their weapon to deliver and pick up. But if you went on to the school grounds for other purposes- you couldn't go in the building with it, you couldn't go on a school bus, you couldn't hang out in the school parking lot with it. You could just deliver and pick up. That would be his conceptual amendment. SENATOR LEMAN stated he doesn't object to that conceptual amendment, but he wonders if that is covered now under federal law. What is the federal law concerning school grounds? Number 068 MR. HUBER responded that federal law has been struck down because of interstate commerce. So state law is the only law in place prohibiting that. SENATOR LEMAN stated he doesn't have any objection to that. His concern is the person who is "hanging out". CHAIRMAN SHARP asked if there was any other discussion on the conceptual amendment. Hearing none, he asked if there was any objection to the conceptual amendment. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS objected. If the law says, right now, unconcealed weapons, exposed, is prohibited by law on school grounds, unless they're unloaded and encased - in this situation we're talking about the possibility of a loaded gun, concealed, and allowed to be on school grounds. SENATOR DONLEY stated it would be allowed only for the purposes of picking up and delivering something. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS said he doesn't know why anyone would want to do that. CHAIRMAN SHARP asked the secretary to call the roll. The conceptual amendment passed with a vote of 3 yeas, 1 nay, and 1 absent. Voting for amendment are Senators Sharp, Leman, and Donley. Voting against the amendment is Senator Phillips. Senator Duncan is absent. CHAIRMAN SHARP asked if there are any other amendments. SENATOR LEMAN stated he had an amendment. TAPE 96-13, SIDE A Number 001 SENATOR LEMAN made a motion to adopt amendment #2. He explained that amendment #2 would reinsert certain misdemeanors that have been taken out of the committee substitute. He believes that if a person commits these misdemeanors, they should have to wait five years before being able to obtain a permit. CHAIRMAN SHARP asked if there was discussion on the amendment. SENATOR LEMAN asked if there was any comment from the sponsor. Number 030 MR. HUBER responded it was the sponsor's attempt to use the criteria of acts that include violence to another person or misuse of weapons. Senator Leman's list seems to leave out the most questionable of the misdemeanors that were in the original law. Number 039 CHAIRMAN SHARP asked if there is objection to amendment #2. Hearing none, he stated that amendment #2 was adopted. Number 045 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS offered amendment #3. This specifies that a permittee may not carry a concealed weapon into- and it reinserts paragraphs (4-12). He offered the amendment for institutions such as the Mary Conrad Center. This would just bring the committee substitute back to current law. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS moved amendment #3. CHAIRMAN SHARP objected for the purposes of discussion. SENATOR LEMAN asked what amendment #3 would do. SENATOR DONLEY replied it just seems to restore the status quo, with the exception of the addition of prohibition for a business, hospital, or nursing home. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS stated that would take care of the Mary Conrad Center's concerns. CHAIRMAN SHARP asked if it wouldn't also delete paragraphs (4-12). SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS said no, it reinserts them. The current bill deletes it. All he is doing is to reinsert it. SENATOR DONLEY stated the result of this amendment would be to keep all the current prohibitions, but also add, nursing homes, hospitals, and businesses. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS stated he did get a request from Providence Hospital in Anchorage for this provision. SENATOR DONLEY said it is kind of like a double-negative. CAROLINE LOMBARD, Aide to Senator Phillips, stated that basically, everything that's been capitalized would still be deleted. Number 107 SENATOR DONLEY stated this amendment deletes this language from SB 177. It's a double negative, so you're back to the status quo. SENATOR LEMAN noted that on page 2, the language specifies insertion of (4). Why are you inserting-? You see what I'm saying, on page 2? CHAIRMAN SHARP commented you don't want that if we're going to have the deletion. SENATOR LEMAN stated it is getting confusing to him on page 2 with the insert. Insert, on lines 12-14- MS. LOMBARD interjected that is still excluded, so those would not be inserted. Number 130 SENATOR DONLEY said, "So you want to allow people to still carry concealed weapons to the airline terminal, to a vessel on the marine highway, and in a financial institution." SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS said he did not want that. This is misdrafted. The intent is to bring back the marine highway system and airline terminals. Number 150 SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS moved amendment #3 with that understanding. SENATOR LEMAN asked, "Which understanding." SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS replied that basically he wants to go back to the original law, which includes passenger loading or unloading areas of an airline terminal and vessels of the Alaska Marine Highway System. So what we really should do is get rid of that bracket. I do not want to delete paragraphs (6 & 7). SENATOR LEMAN clarified that Senator Phillips just wanted to add new language in paragraphs (17-20). SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS replied that is correct. SENATOR DONLEY asked about paragraph (9). SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS responded he wants to leave paragraph (9) in. SENATOR LEMAN asked if Senator Phillips wanted to leave it in the law, or leave it as a deletion. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS replied he wants to leave it the way it is in current law. SENATOR LEMAN commented that means we take it out. CHAIRMAN SHARP stated he understands the first page. You get down to insert, and he thinks all you would want to do is have a revised paragraph (9). The rest of it wouldn't be applicable. SENATOR LEMAN said, except for line 30, also. That's an insertion. Number 175 ANN RINGSTAD, Committee Aide, Senate State Affairs Committee, interjected, "3 and 30." SENATOR LEMAN stated that 3 is in the deletion. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS stated that the request he made to the attorney was to leave everything alone, and add nursing homes and hospitals. That is all he asked. SENATOR DONLEY added that it might be easier to just make an oral motion. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS offered a conceptual amendment. The amendment is to leave the law the way it is- CHAIRMAN SHARP interjected, "Leave the law, not the cs." SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS replied, "The law." SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS continued, saying add paragraph (7), which would include institutions like the Mary Conrad Center and Providence Hospital. Number 192 SENATOR DONLEY asked Senator Phillips if the language on line 30 was important to him. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked what it would mean. SENATOR DONLEY replied he does not know what it means. He is not proposing the amendment. CHAIRMAN SHARP thinks federal law takes precedence anyway. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS said to just delete that. He thinks the chairman is correct. Number 200 CHAIRMAN SHARP stated he could go for adding: business, hospital, nursing home. CHAIRMAN SHARP asked if there was any other discussion on the motion. Hearing none, the chairman stated he objected to the motion and asked the secretary to take the roll. Amendment #3 failed, 1 yea, 3 nays, and 1 absent. Voting for the amendment was Senator Phillips. Voting against the amendment were Senators Sharp, Leman, and Donley. Senator Duncan was absent. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS commented that SB 177 is so bad now, that he doesn't even think he wants to improve it. CHAIRMAN SHARP asked if there are any other amendments to come before the committee. SENATOR DONLEY asked where SB 177 goes next. CHAIRMAN SHARP replied SB 177 goes to Judiciary, then Finance. The chairman called witnesses to testify. Number 225 GARY HAYDEN, System Director, Alaska Marine Highway System, stated opposition to SB 177, because it would allow the carrying of weapons onto marine highway vessels, which is contrary to current Alaska Marine Highway System policy. The current policy is that people are allowed to either keep their weapons locked in their cars, or check their weapons with the purser. People are so used to doing that, that some people even check in their sheath knives with the purser. The purser gives the weapon owner a claim ticket, and the owner picks the weapon up at the end of the voyage. There are a lot of security reasons why we have that policy. It seems to be working. Number 240 SENATOR DONLEY asked if there is anything in existing law prohibiting the marine highway system from adopting regulations or policies that would conform to their current policy. Number 245 MR. HUBER responded that he does not know of anything, but that question is better posed to counsel. SENATOR DONLEY almost thinks that the marine highway system could go ahead and do that on their own. CHAIRMAN SHARP would think so also. If a private person can post, he would think a public facility could post rules and regulations in the terminal. SENATOR DONLEY and CHAIRMAN SHARP think the Judiciary Committee could probably explore that. Number 255 BOB PROVOST, lobbyist for Inland Boatman's Union/Pacific, informed the committee that the IBU/P represents most of the employees on the marine highway system. He stated he supports Mr. Hayden's testimony. As far as inconveniencing permittees, Mr. Provost does not think those circumstances apply on the marine highway system. People are generally on ferries for a couple hours to three or four days. In the summer time, the ferries carry a lot of passengers, and many people do not stay in staterooms. There are people sleeping all over the ferry, from the solarium, to the lounges, to the hallways. If someone legally carrying a handgun is sleeping on deck, they don't have a secure place to put that handgun. We have a lot of children who travel with their families in the summer time, and in the winter time we have school teams travelling. He is concerned that a child might come across a handgun, and the door would be opened for a mishap. He is not saying permittees are dangerous-these people are licensed to carry handguns, there is no problem there, but he just sees the potential for a mishap if these firearms are not secured in a safe place. There is a long history of safe transportation on the ferries, so the concern for someone getting robbed on the ferry-really that would be very rare. Therefore, Mr. Provost does not think the concern for personal safety really applies on the ferry. IBU/P would feel really uncomfortable that there might be a possibility for mishaps. Number 295 CHAIRMAN SHARP does not think there are any laws prohibiting rifles, shotguns, or any other type of weapon onto a ferry. The Alaska Marine Highway System has the regulations that shut it down, and the chairman thinks the system could still do that with concealed carry permittees. He does not think the concealed weapon law gives permittees the right to carry their weapon in any areas any more than it does the owner of a rifle or a shotgun, if you have regulations posted that it is against the law on the ferries. MR. PROVOST responded he does not know. SENATOR RANDY PHILLIPS asked if persons are allowed to have unconcealed weapons on the ferries. MR. PROVOST responded, "No." If the weapon is locked in the passengers vehicle, that is no problem. There are surveillance cameras on the car deck. He has worked on the ferry system for 18 years. As a purser, he has had policemen travelling with their families on vacation check their handguns. It is standard procedure and has worked well over the years. Number 316 SENATOR LEMAN suggested that if the marine highway system's policy has been in place for so many years, then he doesn't think SB 177 would change that policy. He is of the same opinion as the chairman: deleting this does not prevent the system from having that regulation. Number 325 MR. PROVOST replied that, as far as the legal ramifications, he does not know. If it's state law that they're allowed to carry their concealed weapons, he doesn't know how far reaching that would be. CHAIRMAN SHARP asked that the Judiciary Committee determine that the Alaska Marine Highway System still has the right to deny carrying of firearms. He does not believe they belong off the car deck and out of the car either. Number 333 SENATOR DONLEY suggested adding a note to the bill referral to the Judiciary Committee asking that they examine that question. The law is, that the presumption is, that the citizens have the right to keep and bear arms, and then we refine that. You can carry any weapon you want, as long as it's in the open. The exception to that is if you get a concealed carry permit, then you can carry concealed. But there are still some places where you won't be able to carry any weapon at any time, whether it's concealed or in the open. How all these things interplay, would be a good question for the Judiciary Committee. Number 346 VERNON MARSHALL, Lobbyist, NEA - Alaska, stated his concern had been partially addressed. That concern related to school grounds. Schools are experiencing some increase in violent activity, and NEA's position is that schools should be gun-free areas. We were going to ask that the current definition in Chapter 11 be kept, which defines school grounds as building structure, athletic playing field, playground, parking area, and basically the land that contains the real property of the school as areas where concealed carrying would be prohibited. That is current law. For the safety of children and of the public, it is wise to not - and we're not trying to address whether a permittee is a good citizen or not. We assume folks are good citizens, because they got the permit. We are concerned about those who don't have permits. But having guns on campus is not good public policy, and we're opposed to that. Mr. Marshall stated he was pleased to see Senator Phillips amendments. CHAIRMAN SHARP asked that Judiciary look at the conceptual language that the State Affairs Committee tightened up. Number 372 SENATOR DONLEY stated that if it is drafted correctly, it should maintain all the current bans anywhere described, the only exception would be going to and from for picking up and dropping off. In the next committee we could narrow the debate to whether that should be allowed, or not. MR. MARSHALL thought that basically, you would encase the gun and unload the weapon. SENATOR DONLEY stated that is under existing law. The exception here would be that permittees would be allowed to pick up and drop off. Under the conceptual amendment permittees wouldn't have to unload or encase. That would be the only difference now in SB 177. CHAIRMAN SHARP noted that would exclude loitering and everything else. CHAIRMAN SHARP asked if there were any other amendments. Hearing none, he asked the pleasure of the committee. SENATOR LEMAN suggested reporting the bill, as amended with the accompanying fiscal notes. MS. RINGSTAD noted that there is a negative fiscal note from DPS and a zero fiscal note from LAW. CHAIRMAN SHARP noted that there has been testimony that this program would not be subsidized. SENATOR LEMAN wanted a message sent to the Finance Committee to look at the upper limit, the dollars. And a note to Judiciary on these others-all of those things accompanying it. SENATOR DONLEY asked if part of the motion to move the bill was to ask the Judiciary Committee to examine the issue of the authority. SENATOR LEMAN and CHAIRMAN SHARP replied, "Yes." CHAIRMAN SHARP added, "And to ask Finance to make sure it isn't a subsidized activity." CHAIRMAN SHARP asked if there were any other comments. Hearing none, the chairman asked if there was objection to moving the bill with accompanying fiscal notes from committee. Hearing none, SB 177 was discharged from the Senate State Affairs Committee. SSTA - 2/13/96 SB 221 MOUNTAIN VIEW ROAD - GUSTAVUS CHAIRMAN SHARP asked that a motion be made to move out the accompanying zero fiscal note to SB 221. SENATOR DONLEY made a motion to discharge the zero fiscal note. CHAIRMAN SHARP, hearing no objection, stated the zero fiscal note would accompany SB 221 out of the Senate State Affairs Committee. Number 407 CHAIRMAN SHARP adjourned the Senate State Affairs Committee at 5:35 p.m.