Legislature(1997 - 1998)

03/03/1998 03:40 PM STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
            SENATE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE                                     
                    March 3, 1998                                              
                      3:40 p.m.                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                
Senator Lyda Green, Chairman                                                   
Senator Jerry Ward, Vice-Chairman                                              
Senator Jerry Mackie                                                           
Senator Jim Duncan                                                             
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                 
Senator Mike Miller                                                            
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                             
SENATE BILL NO. 309                                                            
"An Act relating to the use of force by peace officers and                     
correctional officers."                                                        
     - MOVED SB 309 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                           
SENATE BILL NO. 284                                                            
"An Act relating to cruelty to animals."                                       
     - MOVED SB 284 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                           
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 38                                                 
Relating to the bombardment of the village of Angoon.                          
     - MOVED SJR 38 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                           
PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                               
SB 309 - See State Affairs minutes dated 2/26/98.                              
SB 284 - No previous action to report.                                         
SJR 38 - No previous action to report.                                         
WITNESS REGISTER                                                               
Senator Dave Donley                                                            
State Capitol                                                                  
Juneau, Ak 99801-1182                                                          
   POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 284                                       
Mr. Bill Godek                                                                 
Kenai Animal Control                                                           
210 Fidalgo #200                                                               
Kenai, Ak 99611                                                                
   POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 284                                        
Mr. Harvey Baskin                                                              
PO Box 877306                                                                  
Wasilla, Ak 99687                                                              
   POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 284                                        
Dr. Berton Gore                                                                
500 S. Alaska Suite A                                                          
Palmer, Ak 99645                                                               
   POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 284                                     
Mr. Herb Simon                                                                 
HCO 3, Box 8591                                                                
Palmer, Ak 99645                                                               
   POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 284                                     
Mr. Bob Franklin                                                               
Alaska Farm Bureau                                                             
PO Box 75184                                                                   
Fairbanks, Ak 99707-5184                                                       
   POSITION STATEMENT: Supported SB 284                                        
Ms. Anne Carpeneti                                                             
Department of Law                                                              
PO Box 110300                                                                  
Juneau, Ak 99811-0300                                                          
   POSITION STATEMENT: Commented on SB 284                                     
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                               
TAPE 98-11, SIDE A                                                             
Number 001                                                                     
CHAIRMAN GREEN called the Senate State Affairs Committee to order              
at 3:35 p.m. and brought up SB 309.                                            
        SB 309 - USE OF NONLETHAL AND DEFENSIVE WEAPONS                        
CHAIRMAN GREEN said the first order of business would be rescinding            
the committee's action on passage of SB 309.                                   
SENATOR MACKIE made a motion to rescind the committee's action in              
moving SB 309. Without objection, it was so ordered and the bill               
was before the committee.                                                      
SENATOR MACKIE made a motion to rescind their action in adopting               
amendment #1, changing "guard" to correctional officer as it was               
inconsistent with the drafting of the bill. Without objection, it              
was so ordered and the amendment, offered by SENATOR MACKIE was                
once again before them. SENATOR MACKIE withdrew the amendment.                 
SENATOR MACKIE then moved SB 309 out of committee with individual              
recommendations. Without objection, it was so ordered.                         
                  SB 284 - CRUELTY TO ANIMALS                                  
SENATOR DAVE DONLEY, sponsor of SB 284, came forward to present his            
SENATOR WARD moved the adoption of a committee substitute for SB
284. Without objection, it was so ordered.                                     
SENATOR DAVE DONLEY explained the bill makes it easier to prosecute            
existing crimes of cruelty to animals. SENATOR DONLEY said SB 284              
does not criminalize anything new but only simplifies the                      
prosecution of existing crimes by changing the standards of proof              
required in such cases. He indicated that the bill changes                     
"intentionally" to "knowingly", as well as requiring only "severe"             
or "prolonged suffering" of an animal, and not both. SENATOR DONLEY            
said also "reckless neglect" is changed to "criminal negligence,"              
but stressed that the bill will not result in more prosecutions,               
only an increased ability for prosecutors to obtain convictions for            
existing crimes. SENATOR DONLEY also said the bill alleviates                  
concerns that the bill would criminalize additional procedures by              
clearly stating that accepted veterinary and animal husbandry                  
practices are legal.                                                           
SENATOR MACKIE asked if this bill would affect an Iditarod musher              
in the case of a dog's death and SENATOR DONLEY repeated that                  
nothing currently legal would become illegal under this bill, SB
284 only regards the standard of proof used for prosecution.                   
SENATOR DONLEY did acknowledge a letter of support from a mushing              
organization for the bill. SENATOR MACKIE said his concern was that            
knowingly is a much lower standard than intentionally. SENATOR                 
DONLEY said he is not aware of any Alaskan musher who has been                 
prosecuted under the existing law and again repeated that no one               
who was not prosecuted under the existing law would be prosecuted              
under this new law.                                                            
CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if there is currently an exemption for mushing            
and if SENATOR DONLEY believed it would be appropriate to include              
one in this bill. SENATOR DONLEY said he would have no objection to            
such an exemption and believes there are strict standards within               
the sporting community itself.                                                 
CHAIRMAN GREEN suggested inserting the word "mushing" after the                
word hunting in the list of activities in the bill.                            
SENATOR MACKIE asked why the last version dropped the term ranching            
and CHAIRMAN GREEN replied that the words animal husbandry had been            
substituted and because it is an equivalent, more easily defined               
phrase. SENATOR DONLEY agreed.                                                 
MR. HERB SIMON, a farm owner and operator from Nalchina and                    
president of the Alaska Livestock Producers Co-op, testified that              
he has a copy of the committee substitute and sees no problem with             
MR. BOB FRANKLIN, president of the Alaska Farm Bureau, also has no             
problem with the recent changes and believes the farm community                
generally supports the bill.                                                   
MR. BILL GODEK, representing Kenai animal control, said this is a              
good, streamlined bill and thinks the language will really help                
juries. He indicated that his support also for the language changes            
and the inclusion of mushing.                                                  
MR. HARVEY BASKIN testified via teleconference from Mat-Su. MR.                
BASKIN said he likes the intent as well as the bill itself. He                 
asked, in case an abuse is alleged, who would be the person to                 
investigate. MS. ANNE CARPENETI, representing the Department of                
Law, assumed it would be someone from the community such as an                 
animal control officer or a state trooper. SENATOR MACKIE said he              
believed the concern was that animal rights' groups would be                   
investigating, but stated this would not be the case. CHAIRMAN                 
GREEN added that different communities would have different                    
MR. BASKIN said regardless of who the investigator is, they need to            
have some expertise since someone's freedom may be on the line.                
MR. BERT GORE, a veterinarian, testified via teleconference from               
Mat-Su. MR. GORE voiced some concerns he had heard from the farms              
he works with. He believed that some of the daily operations of                
dairies can be seen from the road system and might be construed as             
cruelty. MR. GORE said farmers were concerned that a complaint                 
might be investigated by an animal rights group unfamiliar with                
routine farm practices. He also commented that the troopers do not             
have an adequate farm background. Since they would conduct                     
investigations in unorganized boroughs, he has generally been                  
called upon to provide expert testimony. He suggested including a              
provision in the bill about who will conduct these investigations              
in the unorganized areas in the state.                                         
MR. HARVEY BASKIN repeated his support for the bill and the new                
language in it. DR. GORE agreed.                                               
SENATOR DONLEY asked MS. CARPENETI for her opinion on the change in            
language and she replied that the Department supports the change in            
paragraph A regarding the culpable mental state.                               
SENATOR WARD asked if the old Dutch pig farm, where the pigs never             
actually touched the ground, would be considered cruelty to                    
animals. SENATOR DONLEY replied that would be considered an animal             
husbandry practice.                                                            
CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if there was any way they could address HARVEY            
BASKIN's concern and SENATOR DONLEY said the existing law is the               
same and currently the troopers rely on expert testimony from MR.              
GORE and he feels this is appropriate. MR. GORE explained that in              
his investigations in unorganized boroughs, he writes up the                   
deficiencies he finds in a facility, along with a correction plan              
and does a follow up to check progress on the corrections before               
negligence charges are filed. He said it is a long process  that               
would be better expedited.                                                     
MR. HERB SIMON expressed that his interpretation of the committee              
substitute implies that no one less than a veterinarian would be               
qualified to determine if a condition met the standards set out in             
the bill. CHAIRMAN GREEN reminded him that the bill read veterinary            
or animal husbandry practices. MR. SIMON argued that a veterinarian            
would be the expert and the troopers would not. SENATOR MACKIE said            
this issue can't be legislated. He said it is incumbent upon law               
enforcement to provide expert testimony when necessary and as                  
currently happens in the investigation of all types of crimes.                 
CHAIRMAN GREEN thinks the concern is that farmers might be under               
unnecessary review and she would want to fix that if appropriate.              
SENATOR DONLEY agreed with SENATOR MACKIE that the troopers will               
seek expertise in areas when it is necessary.                                  
CHAIRMAN GREEN asked again about including mushing on page 2 of the            
MR. GORE clarified that animal control officers perform                        
investigations in the organized boroughs within the state. CHAIRMAN            
GREEN asked if he thought the bill allows for better evaluation and            
resolution and MR. GORE replied that the new terms will make it                
easier for those who investigate allegations. CHAIRMAN GREEN then              
asked if the bill provides enough protection for ranchers and MR.              
GORE replied he did.                                                           
MR. HARVEY BASKIN commented that good animal husbandry is defined              
in textbooks and he did not see the necessity for a veterinary                 
opinion in most cases.                                                         
SENATOR MACKIE moved the inclusion of: ", mushing, " on page 2,                
line 1. SENATOR DUNCAN objected to say, according to the letter                
submitted by the organization Mush With Pride, no specific                     
exemption is required in the bill. SENATOR DUNCAN also believed                
that mushing is already protected. SENATOR MACKIE withdrew his                 
SENATOR MACKIE then moved SB 284 out of committee with individual              
recommendaitons. Without objection, it was so ordered.                         
             SJR 38 - APOLOGY TO VILLAGE OF ANGOON                             
SENATOR MACKIE, sponsor of SJR 38, presented the resolution as a               
means to bring closure to a painful incident in the history of                 
Angoon. On October 26, 1882 a naval bombardment destroyed the                  
village. This attack was the result of a dispute between the                   
village and a whaling company over the accidental death of a tribal            
member in the company's employ. The village and it's food stores               
were shelled and burned, causing widespread death and distruction.             
SENATOR MACKIE expressed the opinion of elders in the community                
that a simple apology by the federal government would bring closure            
to the incident and redress longstanding feelings of victimization             
and disrespect. The resolution requests that President Clinton                 
issue an apology to the people of Angoon. SENATOR MACKIE added that            
Angoon is one of the most culturally traditional village in the                
state and still deeply feels the effects of this incident.                     
MR. LEONARD JOHN, member of the Kootznoowoo Tribal Corporation,                
reported that the village was elated when they heard about this                
resolution. He reflected that 100 years is a long time to carry                
these memories and the heartache from this incident. He told of how            
the community and his family remembers the incident to this day and            
said he hopes for the resolution to bring closure.                             
SENATOR WARD moved SJR 38 out of committee with individual                     
recommendations. Without objection, it was so ordered. With no                 
further business to come before the committee, they were adjourned.            

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