Legislature(1993 - 1994)

1993-02-26 Senate Journal

Full Journal pdf

1993-02-26                     Senate Journal                      Page 0506
SB 138                                                                       
SENATE BILL NO. 138 by the Senate Rules Committee by request                   
of the Governor, entitled:                                                     
"An Act authorizing the interception of private                               
communications related to the commission of certain                            
criminal offenses; making related amendments to                                
statutes relating to eavesdropping and wiretapping;                            
relating to the penalty for violation of statutes                              
relating to eavesdropping and unauthorized                                     
interception, publication, or use of private                                   
communications; and providing for an effective                                 
was read the first time and referred to the Judiciary and Finance              
Zero fiscal notes published today from Department of Law,                      
Department of Public Safety and Department of Administration.                  
Governor's transmittal letter dated February 26:                               
Dear Mr. President:                                                            
Under the authority of art. III, sec. 18, of the Alaska Constitution,          
I am transmitting a bill authorizing the interception of private               

1993-02-26                     Senate Journal                      Page 0507
SB 138                                                                       
Section 1 creates a new chapter in the criminal code relating to               
"interception of private communications," more commonly thought                
of as "wiretapping."  Sections 2 - 8 of this bill make conforming              
amendments to existing eavesdropping statutes in AS42 (Public                  
Utilities and Carriers) and increase the penalty for a violation of            
those statutes.  The bill contains substantial safeguards and                  
protections similar to those required in federal law.                          
Comprehensive federal legislation has been enacted (18 U.S.C. 2510             
- 2521), authorizing wiretapping under carefully delineated                    
circumstances.  Under the federal law, states may adopt similar laws           
only if, like this bill, they are at least as restrictive and protective       
of private communications as the federal law.                                  
Under this bill, wiretapping is permitted only if a court order is             
obtained in advance, and only the attorney general or the attorney             
general's designee may authorize an application for the order.  This           
bill limits the crimes for which wiretapping may be used to murder,            
kidnapping, and class A or unclassified felony drug offenses.                  
Careful records must be kept during the interceptions, which must be           
filed with and held by the court under seal.  Notice of the                    
interception must be given in almost all circumstances and a                   
defendant always has the right to move to suppress the evidence for            
any violation of the law, before it is used at trial or sentencing.            
Finally, annual reports, providing information about each interception         
made during the year, must be prepared by the attorney general and             
filed with the federal government.                                             
This bill is one of four that I am introducing this session to create          
tough new laws to combat drugs and violent crime.  If enacted,                 
these bills will give the state the tools it needs to investigate and          
prosecute serious criminals fairly and effectively.                            

1993-02-26                     Senate Journal                      Page 0508
SB 138                                                                       
I urge your favorable action on this bill.                                     
Walter J. Hickel