Legislature(1995 - 1996)

1996-01-08 Senate Journal

Full Journal pdf

1996-01-08                     Senate Journal                      Page 2062
SB 205                                                                       
SENATE BILL NO. 205 BY THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                              
BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR, entitled:                                          
An Act relating to vehicle theft and the                                      
consequences of vehicle theft, including revocation                            
of a drivers license, privilege to drive, or privilege                         
to obtain a license; amending Alaska Rule of                                   
Criminal Procedure 32.1; and providing for an                                  
effective date.                                                                
was read the first time and referred to the State Affairs, Health,             
Education and Social Services, Judiciary and Finance Committees.               
Fiscal notes published today from Department of Law, Department                
of Public Safety, Department of Health and Social Services (3),                
Department of Administration, Department of Corrections.  Zero                 
fiscal note published today from Department of Public Safety.                  

1996-01-08                     Senate Journal                      Page 2063
SB 205                                                                       
Governors transmittal letter dated January 8:                                  
Dear President Pearce:                                                         
Under the authority of art. III, sec. 18, of the Alaska Constitution,          
I am transmitting a bill that replaces the joyriding provisions in the         
criminal mischief statutes with the new crime of vehicle theft, and            
provides that first degree vehicle theft is a class C felony.                  
Last year I vetoed a bill also dealing with car theft.  Unlike this            
proposed legislation, last years bill dealt only with juvenile                 
offenders.  It would have automatically waived all juveniles charged           
with joyriding to adult court, regardless of their age, their criminal         
history, and the seriousness of the offense.  This would result in             
widely diverse and unfair treatment of juveniles who commit theft              
offenses--a juvenile who borrowed a snowmobile would have a                    
permanent record, while another who stole valuable property during             
a burglary would be prosecuted as a juvenile, with no permanent                
criminal record.  Further, the Legislature failed to fully fund the            
fiscal notes accompanying the bill.                                            
This bill changes the name of the prohibited conduct from joyriding            
or criminal mischief to vehicle theft; both imply a childish lark or           
prank, which is offensive to victims of the crime and is not an                
accurate description of this dangerous behavior.  It  creates two new          
sections in the criminal code--vehicle theft in the first and second           
degree.  Vehicle theft in the first degree prohibits any taking of a           
motor vehicle, and raises the penalty for first time car thieves from          
a class A misdemeanor to a class C felony.  Thus, the penalty for              
first time car theft is increased from a maximum one year in jail to           
a maximum five years in jail and the fine is raised from a maximum             
$5,000 to a maximum $50,000.  Vehicle theft in the second degree               
prohibits a first offense theft of vehicles such as snowmachines and           
other off-highway vehicles. Vehicle theft in the second degree is a            
class A misdemeanor, which is the penalty provided for this offense            
in current law.   			                                                          

1996-01-08                     Senate Journal                      Page 2064
SB 205                                                                       
Under this vehicle theft bill, juveniles who steal vehicles will be            
treated like juveniles who steal other property--waived into adult             
court if they are not amenable to treatment and dealt with in juvenile         
court if they are amenable to treatment.  By providing that first              
offense vehicle theft is a class C felony rather than a misdemeanor,           
the division of family and youth services in the Department of                 
Health and Social Services will have a much more effective tool for            
holding juveniles accountable for their acts.                                  
The bill also adds the conviction of either first or second degree             
vehicle theft to the statute authorizing immediate revocation of               
driving privileges, and provides for mandatory revocation of driving           
privileges by the court when a person is convicted of vehicle theft            
in the first or second degree.                                                 
For the bill to be effective in reducing vehicle theft in Alaska,  the         
state agencies responsible for enforcing it must be fully funded.  The         
division of family and youth services, which administers the juvenile          
justice system, must have additional probation officers; and the               
Department of Corrections must be funded for the additional costs              
of incarceration and supervision of car thieves.  Prosecution of               
felonies is more expensive for the Department of Law, and                      
administrative costs for the division of motor vehicles in the                 
Department of Public Safety will increase as a result of the                   
automatic license revocation for persons convicted of vehicle theft.           
A safer and more secure place to own and operate a vehicle will                
result from the passage and funding of this legislation.                       
I urge your prompt consideration and passage of this bill.                     
						Tony Knowles