Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/31/1994 03:00 PM HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  HB 354 - I.D. REQUIRED TO ENROLL CHILD IN SCHOOL                             
  Number 276                                                                   
  REP. CYNTHIA TOOHEY addressed HB 354.  She stated that the                   
  bill adds a new subsection to AS 14.30.710 that will require                 
  a person who initially enrolls a child in school to provide                  
  a birth certificate or other proof of identity to the school                 
  not more than 30 days after enrollment.  The school will                     
  notify the missing persons information clearinghouse if a                    
  child is enrolled under a name other than what is indicated                  
  on at least one of the child's identifying documents.  She                   
  further explained that law enforcement would be notified and                 
  requested to determine whether the child has been reported                   
  missing if a person fails to produce proof of identity and                   
  any previous school records.  The school will use a form                     
  that contains written notice informing the person enrolling                  
  the child that enrollment under a false name is a criminal                   
  offense and that failure to comply is a violation.  She                      
  asserted that passage of the bill could possibly help in                     
  locating exploited and missing children and it would be                      
  consistent with at least seven other states that require                     
  birth certificates upon enrollment.                                          
  REP. TOOHEY indicated that there was a committee substitute                  
  (CS).  She said the original bill as written requires the                    
  parents to produce any prior school records, which is not                    
  common practice.  A school will send records forward to the                  
  next school, the records are not given to the parent.  She                   
  indicated that the CS rectifies that issue.                                  
  CHAIR BUNDE asked SHEILA PETERSON to come forward to answer                  
  SHEILA PETERSON, Special Assistant to Commissioner Covey,                    
  Department of Education (DOE), testified in support of HB
  354.  She stated that the DOE is appreciative of the hard                    
  work that the HESS Committee staff has offered to the                        
  crafting of the CS.  She said the CS provides a mechanism to                 
  help the Public Safety Division identify missing children.                   
  She indicated that one of the sections in the CS addresses a                 
  situation where a child is using two last names, citing that                 
  the birth certificate may be in the biological father's                      
  name, but the child currently is using the step-father's                     
  last name.  She said the CS requires that at least one                       
  identifying document must have the name the child is                         
  currently using.                                                             
  Number 388                                                                   
  REP. TOOHEY made a motion to adopt the CS for HB 354.                        
  CHAIR BUNDE, hearing no objections, stated that the CS for                   
  HB 354 was so moved.  He then asked LIEUTENANT CASANOVAS to                  
  Number 490                                                                   
  LIEUTENANT DENNIS CASANOVAS, Commander, Statewide Criminal                   
  Investigation Unit, said he would be available for                           
  CHAIR BUNDE asked if Lt. Casanovas was in favor of the bill.                 
  LT. CASANOVAS maintained that it was very possible that the                  
  bill would assist in identifying missing children and                        
  reuniting them with their rightful parents.                                  
  CHAIR BUNDE asked for questions.                                             
  REP. VEZEY said he failed to see the benefits of the bill as                 
  he felt that the children are in a safe environment at                       
  school.  He thought the legislation would just create a                      
  tremendous amount of paperwork.                                              
  CHAIR BUNDE responded that a child may be very young,                        
  kindergarten age, and it is very likely that a parent has                    
  kidnapped the child.  He also indicated that some children                   
  have been abducted as early as three years old and are not                   
  inclined to protest.                                                         
  Number 460                                                                   
  REP. TOOHEY asserted that there would not be extra paper                     
  work because children need proof of identification and shot                  
  records anyway.  She said the main thrust of the bill is to                  
  detect if there has been a kidnapping.                                       
  CHAIR BUNDE observed that parents have been known to falsify                 
  children's birth records to enable them to enroll their                      
  children in all-day kindergarten because it is cheaper than                  
  REP. KOTT asked Ms. Peterson if schools in Alaska have                       
  problems obtaining records from schools in other states.                     
  MS. PETERSON said to her knowledge there is no problem.  She                 
  indicated that statutes require a school that is receiving a                 
  transfer student to request within 14 days the records of                    
  the child from the previous school.  She further indicated                   
  that if a child transfers to an Alaskan school from an                       
  Alaskan school, the transcripts must be submitted within 10                  
  days after receiving the request.                                            
  Number 522                                                                   
  REP. KOTT asked how the requesting of a birth certificate                    
  could assist in ascertaining whether or not a child has been                 
  CHAIR BUNDE observed that when the child is first enrolled                   
  in school, a birth certificate is needed as identification.                  
  Then once that proof of identification has been certified,                   
  the record would follow the child to the next school.  He                    
  further explained that if records are coming from out-of-                    
  state, it can take a very long time to receive them and                      
  sometimes they are lost.  He indicated that there have been                  
  cases in Alaska where a noncustodial parent has moved to                     
  rural Alaska with the child.                                                 
  MS. PETERSON clarified that if a person enrolls a child as                   
  Johnny Smith, and that is not his name or the name that he                   
  was enrolled under in the previous school, and the school                    
  was unable to obtain the records by request, it would be                     
  assumed that the current school would follow up and                          
  ascertain as to whether Johnny Smith is really Johnny Smith.                 
  She explained that the school would then contact the missing                 
  persons clearinghouse.                                                       
  Number 591                                                                   
  CHAIR BUNDE asked if the process would be most useful when                   
  the child first enters school and establishes a positive                     
  identity.  Then the record of positive identity would follow                 
  the child.                                                                   
  MS. PETERSON said yes.                                                       
  CHAIR BUNDE asked if a child must establish positive                         
  identity every time there is a change of schools.                            
  MS. PETERSON indicated that a child would need identifying                   
  documents or a birth certificate if the child has not                        
  previously been enrolled in school.                                          
  REP. VEZEY said the legislation only applies to people who                   
  have not previously been enrolled in public school.                          
  CHAIR BUNDE indicated that a youth might register for the                    
  first time in high school because they were in a private                     
  school previously.  He asked for further questions.  He                      
  closed public testimony and asked for further discussion.                    
  REP. G. DAVIS made a motion to pass HB 354 out of committee                  
  with individual recommendations and accompany zero fiscal                    
  CHAIR BUNDE asked for objections.                                            
  REP. VEZEY objected.                                                         
  CHAIR BUNDE called for the vote.  Reps. G. Davis, Kott,                      
  Toohey, and Bunde voted Yea and Rep. Vezey voted Nay.  Chair                 
  Bunde announced that HB 354 was so moved.                                    
  Seeing no further business before the committee, CHAIR BUNDE                 
  adjourned the meeting at 4:07 p.m.                                           

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