Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/25/1993 03:00 PM House HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  HB 136:  DRUNK DRIVING AND BREATH TEST OFFENSES                              
  Number 030                                                                   
  REP. ELDON MULDER, PRIME SPONSOR OF HB 136, introduced                       
  himself and read his sponsor statement, which is on file in                  
  the committee room.  In summary, the statement said the bill                 
  is aimed at eliminating the backlog of 2,500 offenders                       
  waiting as long as a year before serving their mandatory 72                  
  hours of imprisonment for driving while intoxicated (DWI).                   
  Under the bill, offenders and those who refuse to submit to                  
  a breath test for alcohol must:  serve their 72-hour                         
  sentence in a Community Residential Center (CRC); pay the                    
  costs for such incarceration, if necessary through permanent                 
  fund dividend withholding; while incarcerated, perform 24                    
  hours of community service in a halfway house if available,                  
  or in an alternative facility designated by the Department                   
  of Corrections; and forfeit their vehicle upon third or                      
  subsequent offenses.  The intent of the bill is to curtail                   
  the number of DWIs by stiffening punishment, and to ease                     
  financial burdens on the Department of Corrections, he said.                 
  Number 084                                                                   
  REP. MULDER read through the sectional analysis of HB 136,                   
  noting the important provisions of the bill.                                 
  (Rep. B. Davis arrived at 3:13 p.m.  Rep. Brice arrived at                   
  3:14 p.m.)                                                                   
  Number 118                                                                   
  REP. MULDER asked the committee to consider amendments to                    
  the bill to create a working draft, instead of developing a                  
  committee substitute.  He presented a list of amendments to                  
  HB 136, and described them, numbered as described.                           
  Number 181                                                                   
  REP. G. DAVIS moved passage of the first amendment, changing                 
  the definition of half-way house to CRC.  Hearing no                         
  objection, Chair Bunde announced the AMENDMENT PASSED.                       
  REP. B. DAVIS moved passage of the second amendment,                         
  specifying that "appropriate facilities" under the bill are                  
  to be determined by the Department of Corrections.  Hearing                  
  no objection, Chair Bunde announced the AMENDMENT PASSED.                    
  REP. NICHOLIA moved passage of the third amendment, put                      
  forth as a cost-savings measure at the suggestion of the                     
  Department of Corrections, to extend the requirement for                     
  half-way house incarceration to second offenders, as well as                 
  to first offenders.  Hearing no objection, Chair Bunde                       
  announced the AMENDMENT PASSED.                                              
  REP. BRICE moved passage of the fourth amendment, to include                 
  provisions for limited driver's licenses, put forth at the                   
  suggestion at the Division of Motor Vehicles.  Hearing no                    
  objection, Chair Bunde announced the AMENDMENT PASSED.                       
  REP. G. DAVIS moved passage of the fifth amendment,                          
  eliminating Section 3 of the bill, relating to forfeiture of                 
  vehicles.  Hearing no objection, Chair Bunde announced the                   
  AMENDMENT PASSED.                                                            
  (Rep. Olberg arrived at 3:17 p.m.)                                           
  Number 191                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE asked for comment and questions about the first                  
  two amendments, and hearing none, turned to the third                        
  REP. NICHOLIA asked whether a person arrested for DWI in an                  
  area in which no half-way house was available would have to                  
  serve the sentence in a jail.                                                
  REP. MULDER answered yes, if no other appropriate facility                   
  was available, the sentence would have to be served in jail.                 
  Number 210                                                                   
  REP. NICHOLIA asked if the Department of Corrections had a                   
  list of appropriate facilities in rural areas.                               
  REP. MULDER said such a question might be better answered by                 
  the Commissioner of the Department of Corrections.                           
  Number 236                                                                   
  REP. KOTT asked if the committee could assume the first and                  
  third amendments replaced the term "half-way house" with                     
  "community residential center."                                              
  REP. MULDER said he felt he could not change terminology in                  
  mid-stream and so put forth those amendments to make the                     
  change in terminology clear in both sections.                                
  Number 256                                                                   
  REP. MULDER said the fourth amendment addresses the current                  
  ability of the court to allow those convicted for up to six                  
  drunken driving offenses to enjoy the use of a limited                       
  drivers license, allowing them to drive to and from work.                    
  The Department of Motor Vehicles has said such a provision                   
  is costly, ineffective, and in violation of federal                          
  directives, Rep. Mulder said.                                                
  Number 271                                                                   
  REP. TOOHEY asked a clarifying question about the fourth                     
  REP. MULDER answered the question, saying the amendment                      
  would limit such licenses only to first offenders and would                  
  deny the limited license to those with subsequent offenses,                  
  he said.                                                                     
  CHAIR BUNDE said he did not wish to rush the amendments                      
  through the committee, especially as members had not seen                    
  them before the meeting.  He encouraged members to take                      
  their time and pose any questions they wished.                               
  REP. MULDER noted that, under the bill, those who refuse to                  
  take a breath test and are still convicted of drunken                        
  driving would not be eligible for a limited license.                         
  CHAIR BUNDE asked whether the fifth amendment merely deleted                 
  the option of confiscating the vehicle of a person convicted                 
  of DWI.                                                                      
  REP. MULDER said the court has the ability to confiscate a                   
  vehicle after the first offense.  He said that he had wanted                 
  to include strict sanctions to take away the vehicle of a                    
  person who committed multiple offenses and continued to                      
  drive drunk.  However, he encountered many statutory                         
  problems relating to ownership, liens and titles, and so                     
  decided to abandon the amendment as unnecessarily                            
  CHAIR BUNDE invited Department of Corrections Commissioner                   
  Rupp to testify, and asked him to limit his testimony to HB
  136, even though the commissioner was also planning to                       
  testify on HB 137 as well.                                                   
  Number 322                                                                   
  testified in Juneau in support of HB 136.  He expressed                      
  concern with the problem with drunken drivers and the delays                 
  of up to a year between sentencing and incarceration, which                  
  he said defeats the purpose of the law.  He also said that                   
  the state needs to assess whether those arrested for DWIs                    
  are functioning alcoholics who need treatment for their                      
  problem, while at the same time not excusing drunken                         
  behavior.  He supported the bill's effort to make people                     
  accountable for their actions and responsible for the costs                  
  incurred by their offenses.  Commissioner Rupp referred to                   
  the fiscal notes accompanying the bill and said the bill                     
  would collect as much revenue as it would cost after some                    
  initial expenses.  He said he had read news accounts of                      
  third-time offenders' involvement in fatal car accidents and                 
  called such situations intolerable.                                          
  Number 380                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE asked why, if the program would generate                         
  receipts equal to expenditures, there was no zero fiscal                     
  REP. MULDER answered that the fiscal notes displayed                         
  expenses in the top half of the page, and program receipts                   
  on the bottom side, and the two amounts balanced after the                   
  first year.                                                                  
  CHAIR BUNDE apologized for misreading the fiscal notes.                      
  Number 394                                                                   
  REP. BRICE asked about the assumption in the fiscal note                     
  that the state could collect only 60 percent of the charges                  
  levied under the bill, when the bill gave the state the                      
  ability to attach permanent fund dividends.                                  
  COMMISSIONER RUPP said that the department generally assumes                 
  it can collect 60 percent of the funds due it.  Also, he                     
  said, the department could not assume everyone arrested for                  
  DWI receives a permanent fund dividend.  He added that the                   
  state would eventually pay for itself.                                       
  Number 414                                                                   
  REP. BRICE said the fiscal notes were probably conservative                  
  estimates and the state would eventually bring in more money                 
  than the program cost.                                                       
  COMMISSIONER RUPP said he would be pleased with the extra                    
  money and could easily put the funds to good use within the                  
  REP. NICHOLIA noted that many people in Alaska do not                        
  receive permanent fund dividends because they owe for child                  
  care (support).                                                              
  Number 432                                                                   
  REP. G. DAVIS asked if the fiscal notes reflected the                        
  provisions for half-way house sentencing for second                          
  COMMISSIONER RUPP said extending the CRC provision to second                 
  offenders meant the department was looking at 20 days, which                 
  left more options.  He invited a staffer to testify with                     
  Number 444                                                                   
  CORRECTIONS, said 1,100 people were charged with a second                    
  DWI offense in 1992.  The offense carries a 30-day sentence,                 
  with a third of the sentence, or 10 days, subtracted for                     
  "good time."  Assuming 80 percent of those charged are                       
  convicted and serve their sentence, the second-offense CRC                   
  provision results in an additional 17,800 bed-days.  She                     
  said HB 136 addresses first-time offenses, of which there                    
  were 3,261 in 1992.  If each served a three-day sentence,                    
  that means 6,783 bed-days.  At $60 per day, a 20-day                         
  sentence would cost an offender $1,200, she said.                            
  COMMISSIONER RUPP said that cost did not seem unreasonable                   
  given the permanent fund dividend and other assets that                      
  people would have.  He said he felt the key was to say that                  
  people are responsible for the costs the state bears.                        
  Number 458                                                                   
  REP. KOTT asked if the term "imprisonment" should be used                    
  instead of "detention" when referring to a stay at a half-                   
  way house.                                                                   
  COMMISSIONER RUPP answered that the term "half-way house"                    
  had been replaced in favor of "community residential center                  
  (CRC)," a more expressive and appropriate term.  He added                    
  that some areas speak of community corrections, or community                 
  imprisonment, or house arrest.                                               
  REP. KOTT asked if AS 28.35.03 also included other motorized                 
  vehicles, such as snowmobiles.                                               
  COMMISSIONER RUPP responded affirmatively.                                   
  Number 475                                                                   
  REP. KOTT asked what type of facility in rural Alaska might                  
  be deemed an "appropriate facility" by the Department of                     
  COMMISSIONER RUPP said giving the department latitude would                  
  be appropriate.  He noted the department would consider a                    
  community's resources for possible CRCs, including such                      
  facilities as a hotel, which would mean the prisoner would                   
  have to pay the cost of incarceration in a hotel.  In other                  
  places, the department might deem an armory or other                         
  community facility an "appropriate facility."  It is                         
  important to make sure a place of confinement was                            
  appropriate and safe, to address liability issues, he said.                  
  If the bill did not provide for CRC, requirements for                        
  imprisonment in jail might mitigate (sic) against it, he                     
  said.  He stated he wanted to let the community respond to                   
  what it had.                                                                 
  REP. KOTT said he would hate to tell constituents that a                     
  drunk driving conviction netted a person a three-day stay in                 
  Juneau's Westmark hotel.                                                     
  Number 475                                                                   
  COMMISSIONER RUPP said he was once sentenced in traffic                      
  court to a traffic school, which took place overnight in a                   
  hotel and which cost some participants both the cost of the                  
  traffic school and the costs of a night's lodgings at a                      
  hotel.  He said it was a method that had been tried with                     
  Number 500                                                                   
  REP. BRICE asked what would happen if a first-time DWI                       
  offender was indigent and had their permanent fund dividend                  
  (PFD) already attached.                                                      
  COMMISSIONER RUPP said he would not mind attaching PFDs for                  
  future years.  He also said offenders could borrow money                     
  from friends or relatives, credit cards or any method of                     
  payment to make sure that a person was held accountable for                  
  the cost to society of his actions.                                          
  REP. BRICE said his major concern was not to see children                    
  neglected to pay costs of imprisonment.                                      
  Number 522                                                                   
  REP. NICHOLIA asked if the Department of Corrections knew                    
  how the cost of incarceration in a CRC would compare to the                  
  cost of incarceration in a jail.                                             
  COMMISSIONER RUPP answered yes, and noted that such costs                    
  vary by region.  He said the cost for jails range from a low                 
  of $68 to a high of almost $140 per day, for an average of                   
  about $100 per day.  The costs for CRCs range from a low of                  
  $38 per day to a high of almost $70 per day, he said.                        
  REP. NICHOLIA asked whether a person in an area without a                    
  CRC would have to serve their sentence in jail and incur the                 
  higher cost.                                                                 
  COMMISSIONER RUPP answered yes.  But he added that most                      
  communities are open to the idea of CRCs.  He added that the                 
  department would be willing to contract with for- or non-                    
  profit corporations to provide the service.  A church or a                   
  community association could provide the CRC service, as long                 
  as they met the core criteria for the state's core program.                  
  He said the state should make allowances for regional                        
  variations in CRC conditions or programs, especially to make                 
  allowances for Native issues.                                                
  (Rep. Olberg departed at approximately 3:45 p.m.)                            
  REP. NICHOLIA asked which rural communities the department                   
  contacted concerning the CRC programs.                                       
  COMMISSIONER RUPP said the department would not talk about                   
  contracting for CRCs until the legislature had its say on                    
  HB 136.  But, he said, he had spoken with a representative                   
  of Saxman who was interested in doing a culture-relevant                     
  program in that area.  Commissioner Rupp also noted that he                  
  had spoken with representatives of "two other areas that                     
  were associations," as well as with representatives from the                 
  Alaska Federation of Natives.  He said the department's                      
  intent, if HB 136 were to pass, would be to sit down with                    
  people in various areas to see what types of facilities                      
  would make sense as CRCs.  He said the department would                      
  promulgate its basic uniform requirements for certification,                 
  then talk with representatives from different areas to see                   
  how they might want to add to those basic requirements, then                 
  entertain proposals.                                                         
  Number 574                                                                   
  testified from Anchorage on HB 136.  She addressed the                       
  bill's fourth amendment, to include provisions for limited                   
  driver's licenses.  She said the division asked Rep. Mulder                  
  to include the amendment for two reasons.  The first reason                  
  was that the existing 1990 statutes regarding limited                        
  licenses, allowing such licenses to be granted to those                      
  charged with their second to sixth drunken driving offenses,                 
  are extremely burdensome to the division and to the court                    
  system.  She said there was no method included to allow the                  
  division to keep track of the limited license.  Given                        
  Alaskans' transience of residence and employment, the                        
  existing statutes create a large burden of paperwork and                     
  recordkeeping on the division and on the license-holder's                    
  employers, Ms. Hensley said.                                                 
  (Rep. Brice departed at 3:50 p.m.)                                           
  (Rep. Brice returned at 3:52 p.m.)                                           
  MS. HENSLEY said the second reason the division sought Rep.                  
  Mulder's fourth amendment was that granting limited licenses                 
  under the statutes was a large factor and disqualified the                   
  state from receiving about $200,000 in annual alcohol                        
  education grants given by the National Highway Safety                        
  Traffic Administration and administered by the Division of                   
  Public Safety's planning agency.  The grant requirements                     
  specify that a qualifying state must meet five of six                        
  qualifications, she said.  The state does not comply with                    
  requirements for limited licenses, for minimum age drinking                  
  prevention programs, or for sobriety checkpoints.                            
  TAPE 93-24, SIDE B                                                           
  Number 000                                                                   
  THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, testified from Anchorage,                   
  making himself available to answer questions on HB 136.                      
  (Rep. Olberg returned at 3:54 p.m.)                                          
  AGENCY, IN THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, testified via                    
  teleconference in Juneau, making himself available to answer                 
  questions on HB 136.                                                         
  REP. G. DAVIS noted the absence of a fiscal note from the                    
  Division of Motor Vehicles on the bill, and asked whether                    
  the bill would not require more work for the division.                       
  MR. DULANY answered that the bill would actually help the                    
  division.  He said that when amendments were passed in 1990,                 
  the division was unable to place a fiscal note and obtain                    
  funding to do the work called for by the amendments.  He                     
  said HB 136 would help the division's operations in the                      
  driver services area.                                                        
  Number 039                                                                   
  REP. NICHOLIA asked whether the Department of Corrections                    
  would work with tribal courts in villages, as most                           
  nonprofits do not have programs in all villages.                             
  COMMISSIONER RUPP answered yes.                                              
  Number 050                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE closed public testimony on HB 136 and asked the                  
  will of the committee.                                                       
  REP. BRICE moved passage of HB 136 with individual                           
  recommendations, with amendments and fiscal notes attached.                  
  Number 070                                                                   
  REP. VEZEY expressed concern about the number of amendments                  
  to the bill and said he would like to see a full list of the                 
  amendments so that the bill could be read in one document.                   
  He also expressed concern about the fiscal note.  He said if                 
  the Department of Corrections wanted to come back later and                  
  ask for more money to administer the program, he would be                    
  encouraged to refuse.  He said the bill was supposed to                      
  reduce the cost of enforcing compliance, and if it did not                   
  achieve that end, the legislature should try a different                     
  REP. G. DAVIS expressed agreement with Rep. Vezey on the                     
  number of amendments and said the fiscal impact of the third                 
  amendment was not included in the fiscal note, which would                   
  be updated and included.                                                     
  REP. BRICE said he would be willing to withdraw his motion                   
  to pass the bill from the committee if it were the will of                   
  the committee.                                                               
  CHAIR BUNDE said he would be willing to have a vote on the                   
  REP. B. DAVIS objected to the motion.                                        
  CHAIR BUNDE said he understood the will of the committee to                  
  have a clean copy of HB 136, plus a revised fiscal note to                   
  allow for the impact of including second offenses.  Chair                    
  Bunde closed discussion of HB 136 and announced his                          
  intention to turn the chair over to Rep. Toohey and to have                  
  the discussion turn to HB 137.                                               
  REP. NICHOLIA asked whether the committee would be able to                   
  discuss HB 136 when the bill returned to the table with a                    
  clean copy.                                                                  
  CHAIR BUNDE said yes, the committee would be able to                         
  continue discussing the bill until it was ready to vote.                     
  Chair Bunde announced he would have to leave the meeting at                  
  4:30 p.m. for another commitment, at which time he would                     
  turn the chair over to Rep. Toohey.  He noted the                            
  teleconferenced portion of the meeting was completed.  He                    
  brought HB 137 to the table.                                                 
  (Rep. Kott departed at approximately 4:00 p.m.)                              

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