Legislature(1997 - 1998)

1997-03-12 Senate Journal

Full Journal pdf

1997-03-12                     Senate Journal                      Page 0691
SB 132                                                                       
SENATE BILL NO. 132 BY THE SENATE RULES COMMITTEE                              
BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR, entitled:                                          
An Act relating to registration of sex offenders and                          
central registry of sex offenders; relating to access                          
to, release of, and use of criminal justice                                    
information and systems; relating to notices                                   
concerning sex offender registrants; and providing                             
for an effective date.                                                         
was read the first time and referred to the Health, Education and              
Social Services, Judiciary and Finance Committees.                             
Fiscal notes published today from Department of Public Safety (2).             
Indeterminate fiscal notes published today from Department of                  
Administration (2).                                                            
Governors transmittal letter dated March 10:                                   
Dear President Miller:                                                         
Reducing the number of people, especially children, who are                    
victimized by violent and repeat sex offenders is an important part            
of my goal of ensuring safe, healthy communities for Alaskans.  This           
bill strengthens the sex offender registration statutes and broadens           
access to criminal records in an effort to better protect the public           
from these criminals.                                                          
The bill is prompted, in part, to comply with the requirements of the          
federal Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually                  
Violent Offender Registration Act which requires registration of sex           
offenders whose victims were under 18 years old.  Compliance with              
the Act will maintain the states eligibility for $200,000 in grant             

1997-03-12                     Senate Journal                      Page 0692
SB 132                                                                       
The state already complies with much of the Wetterling Act by                  
requiring registration of most sex offenders who victimize children.           
For full compliance with the act, this bill adds to the list of offenses       
that require registration to include kidnaping when the victim is              
under 18; sexual abuse of a minor in the fourth degree if the victim           
is 16 or 17 years old; and promoting prostitution in the third degree,         
if the offender induces a person 16 or 17 years of age to engage in            
The bill also enlarges the category of sex offenders who must                  
register for life.  Under present  law, only repeat sex offenders must         
register for life while other sex offenders register for 15 years.  This       
bill requires life registration for first-time offenders convicted of the      
most serious sex offenses, the unclassified felonies of sexual assault         
in the first degree and sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree.           
The state must verify the addresses of life registrants every 90 days.         
By requiring those most serious first-time offenders to register for           
life, the state is expecting to avoid the costly and time-consuming            
procedure recommended by the Wetterling Act.  That is to require               
a sentencing court, with the advice of a statewide board of experts            
in the treatment and behavior of sex offenders, to determine whether           
each sex offender is a sexually violent predator.  The expense of              
establishing such a board of experts and the costs of open-ended               
litigation concerning whether a sex offender continues to be a                 
predator would be very high.   Registration for life and address               
verification is not only less expensive, but will better protect the           
Separate from the Wetterling Act requirements, the bill also changes           
when the time begins on the 15-year requirement for sex offender               
registration.  Currently the clock starts  at the time of unconditional        
discharge, which is an elusive date determined by a complex formula            
based on Department of Corrections information which is not                    
available in the record system of the Department of Public Safety.             
The bill  would  start  the  clock  at the time the offender  registers,       

1997-03-12                     Senate Journal                      Page 0693
SB 132                                                                       
which will actually create an incentive for the offender to register as        
quickly as possible.  It is a misdemeanor to fail to comply with the           
sex offender registration law; thus it is important the period of              
registration be absolutely clear.                                              
Finally, the bill expands public access to information on all                  
convictions by opening state criminal history records beyond the               
current 10-year limit.   Broader information to the public will enable         
people to better protect themselves and their families.                        
This bill is one more step the state can take to keep our                      
communities safe.  I urge your favorable action.                               
						Tony Knowles