Legislature(2015 - 2016)HOUSE FINANCE 519

04/15/2016 08:30 AM FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Recessed to a Call of the Chair --
Moved CSSB 101(FIN) Out of Committee
Moved HB 339 Out of Committee
Moved CSSB 69(FIN) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HOUSE BILL NO. 339                                                                                                            
     "An Act relating to arson in the third degree."                                                                            
8:59:52 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GABRIELLE   LEDOUX,  SPONSOR,   thanked  the                                                                    
committee for hearing  her bill. The bill  aimed to increase                                                                    
public safety  by expanding the circumstances  where the act                                                                    
of  arson may  be classified  as arson.  She explained  that                                                                    
current  law provided  that damaging  a vehicle  by fire  or                                                                    
explosion may only  be charged as arson in  the third degree                                                                    
if the  crime was committed  on state or municipal  land. An                                                                    
identical action on private land  would be criminal mischief                                                                    
in the  third degree.  She explained  that both  crimes were                                                                    
Class C felonies. She elaborated  that the narrowness of the                                                                    
arson  statute   hindered  fire  and   arson  investigators'                                                                    
ability  to  track  repeat  offenders.  She  continued  that                                                                    
serial arsonists were often prime  suspects when a new arson                                                                    
crime was committed,  but were difficult to  track when they                                                                    
had  only been  previously convicted  of criminal  mischief.                                                                    
The bill  would aid investigators  in solving the  crimes by                                                                    
creating a  clear criminal history. She  urged the committee                                                                    
to support the bill.                                                                                                            
Representative LeDoux  relayed that  the bill  was supported                                                                    
by the  Alaska Fire  Chief's Association.  Additionally, the                                                                    
bill  had been  one of  late Representative  Max Gruenberg's                                                                    
priorities.   She   explained  that   after   Representative                                                                    
Gruenberg  had passed  away, the  House Judiciary  Committee                                                                    
decided to sponsor the legislation.                                                                                             
Co-Chair   Thompson  discussed   individuals  available   to                                                                    
9:02:54 AM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Thompson asked  to hear from the  Department of Law                                                                    
(DOL).  He wondered  if  there were  any  problems with  the                                                                    
KACI   SCHROEDER,  ASSISTANT   ATTORNEY  GENERAL,   CRIMINAL                                                                    
DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF  LAW, replied that DOL  saw no legal                                                                    
issues with the legislation as currently drafted.                                                                               
Co-Chair  Neuman  believed  during   his  time  as  a  House                                                                    
Representative,   Senator  Bill   Stoltze   had  worked   on                                                                    
legislation specifying  that a crime would  be classified as                                                                    
arson  if it  was committed  on  public lands.  He asked  if                                                                    
there had ever  been an arrest of someone  burning a vehicle                                                                    
(even on public land).                                                                                                          
Ms. Schroeder  noted that  it was  a statute  the department                                                                    
was familiar  with, but she did  not know if there  had been                                                                    
any arrests for the crime.                                                                                                      
Representative  Wilson  stated  that   the  issue  had  been                                                                    
brought  forward  by  firefighters   in  her  district.  She                                                                    
clarified  that there  was currently  a different  charge on                                                                    
public lands versus private lands.                                                                                              
Ms. Schroeder answered  in the affirmative; if  the bill did                                                                    
not go through  the department would continue  to charge the                                                                    
crime on  private lands  as criminal  mischief in  the third                                                                    
degree (a Class C felony).                                                                                                      
Representative Wilson  asked for verification that  the bill                                                                    
created  even ground  and allowed  fire fighters  and public                                                                    
safety to  track offenders who  committed the crime  on both                                                                    
public and private property.                                                                                                    
Ms.  Schroeder replied  in the  affirmative. The  department                                                                    
would have  the ability  to charge the  crime as  arson. The                                                                    
crime  would be  tracked as  arson, which  was an  immediate                                                                    
notification to the public and  law enforcement that burning                                                                    
was involved.                                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Neuman  asked if there  was current law to  force a                                                                    
person  who committed  the  crime to  pay  for removing  the                                                                    
Ms. Schroeder answered that the  direction would be included                                                                    
in part of the damages  and restitution the department often                                                                    
sought in resolving the cases.                                                                                                  
Co-Chair Thompson  noted that Vice-Chair Saddler  had joined                                                                    
the meeting.                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Thompson OPENED and CLOSED public testimony.                                                                           
Co-Chair Neuman addressed the two  zero fiscal notes for the                                                                    
Department of  Law and Department  of Administration  for FY                                                                    
17  to  FY  22.  He  noted  that  the  departments  did  not                                                                    
currently anticipate a fiscal impact from the legislation.                                                                      
Co-Chair  Neuman MOVED  to REPORT  HB 339  out of  committee                                                                    
with individual recommendations  and the accompanying fiscal                                                                    
notes. There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                             
HB  339 was  REPORTED  out  of committee  with  a "do  pass"                                                                    
recommendation  and  with   two  previously  published  zero                                                                    
fiscal notes: FN1 (ADM) and FN2 (LAW).                                                                                          
9:07:45 AM                                                                                                                    
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
9:09:16 AM                                                                                                                    

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
CS SB 101 Summary of Changes.pdf HFIN 4/15/2016 8:30:00 AM
SB 101
CS SB 101 Transmittal Letter.pdf HFIN 4/15/2016 8:30:00 AM
SB 101
SB69 Sectional Analysis.pdf HFIN 4/15/2016 8:30:00 AM
SB 69
SB69 Sponsor Statement.pdf HFIN 4/15/2016 8:30:00 AM
SB 69
SB69 Summary of Changes ver A to ver S.pdf HFIN 4/15/2016 8:30:00 AM
SB 69
SB69 Supporting Documents.pdf HFIN 4/15/2016 8:30:00 AM
SB 69
HB 339 - Letter of Support - Alaska Association of Fire & Arson Investigators.pdf HFIN 4/15/2016 8:30:00 AM
HB 339
HB 339 - Letter of Support - Alaska Fire Chiefs Association.pdf HFIN 4/15/2016 8:30:00 AM
HB 339
HB 339 - Sponsor Statement.pdf HFIN 4/15/2016 8:30:00 AM
HB 339