Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/12/1993 01:00 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  Number 409                                                                   
  REP. NORDLUND mentioned Rep. Bunde's HB 100, Prosecution of                  
  Juvenile Felons, and the sponsor's comment that children                     
  under the age of 18, in some cases, ought to be tried as                     
  adults.  Yet in HB 79, he said, the sponsor provided that                    
  parents should be responsible for the actions of children                    
  under the age of 18.  He asked Rep. Bunde to explain this                    
  apparent incongruity.                                                        
  Number 425                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE said that Rep. Nordlund's point was well taken.                   
  He said HB 79 relied somewhat on existing law in that it was                 
  difficult to recover damages from a person under the age of                  
  Number 442                                                                   
  REP. NORDLUND commented that the approaches of HB 100 and                    
  HB 79 seemed to be at cross-purposes.                                        
  Number 446                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE stated that he understood Rep. Nordlund's point,                  
  but he did not entirely concur.  He said he did not see his                  
  ideas as mutually contradictory.                                             
  REP. NORDLUND clarified his point by saying that if a child                  
  was able to make adult decisions, then the parents should be                 
  released from responsibility for the child's actions.                        
  Number 459                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE said that parents could be released from                          
  responsibility through legal action.                                         
  Number 464                                                                   
  REP. JAMES stated that she viewed HB 79 and HB 100 as                        
  addressing two entirely different issues.  She said that the                 
  issue of parental responsibility did not necessarily enter                   
  into HB 100.                                                                 
  Number 479                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE expressed his opinion that the two bills                          
  addressed two different issues.                                              
  REP. KOTT asked if HB 79 would result in the state being                     
  obligated to cover damages committed by a minor.  He                         
  mentioned a case on the Kenai Peninsula in which a child in                  
  the custody of the state and living in a foster home had                     
  committed arson.                                                             
  REP. BUNDE said that under current law, a state agency or                    
  its agents would not be liable for the acts of a minor in                    
  their custody.  He said his bill would not change that or                    
  increase the state's liability.                                              
  Number 514                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON asked Rep. Bunde if he had children, and if                    
  so, what tools he employed to control the behavior of his                    
  Number 515                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE said that he did have children and used remedies                  
  ranging from a strong voice and spankings to "time out" and                  
  threats of kicking the children out of the house if they did                 
  not behave.  He noted that if he had been responsible for                    
  $50,000 in damages committed by his children, he would have                  
  adjudicated them as delinquent as soon as he felt they might                 
  commit damage in retaliation for being kicked out of the                     
  house.  He said that he subscribed to the theory of "Tough                   
  Love," whereby a child was told that if he or she lived with                 
  parents, he or she would have to abide by rules set by the                   
  Number 531                                                                   
  REP. KOTT asked what happened once a child was adjudicated                   
  as delinquent.                                                               
  Number 535                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE replied that he believed that such children                       
  became wards of the court.                                                   
  Number 543                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON commented that a parent could not have a child                 
  adjudicated as delinquent unless the child had committed a                   
  crime, in his understanding.                                                 
  Number 547                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE said that his research indicated that if a child                  
  were out of control, a parent could have him or her                          
  adjudicated as delinquent.  He noted that the process was                    
  not a simple one.                                                            
  Number 554                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that it was his understanding that a                   
  court had to judge whether or not a child was delinquent.                    
  Number 560                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON said that a parent could not necessarily have                  
  an unruly child adjudicated as delinquent.                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER replied that Rep. Davidson was correct.                      
  REP. NORDLUND asked about a child who committed an act of                    
  vandalism, was caught, and was charged with a crime by the                   
  police.  At that point, he asked, would the child be                         
  adjudicated as delinquent, and therefore not covered under                   
  the provisions of HB 79?                                                     
  Number 574                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE said that the child would not be considered                       
  delinquent at the point at which the crime was committed.                    
  He or she would be adjudicated as such after the crime was                   
  Number 579                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER commented that one malicious act would not                   
  guarantee that a child would be branded "delinquent."                        
  Number 586                                                                   
  REP. KOTT asked if a parent could petition the court to                      
  adjudicate a child as delinquent if that child ran away from                 
  Number 596                                                                   
  RANDALL HINES, YOUTH CORRECTIONS SPECIALIST with the                         
  DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND SOCIAL SERVICES, commented that                     
  children entered the juvenile justice system through a                       
  number of means:  petitions filed by law enforcement                         
  agencies, school district referrals, and parental referrals.                 
  However, he said if a child did not break the law, no                        
  delinquent offense had occurred.  He stated that a child                     
  could not be adjudicated as delinquent just because he or                    
  she had run away from home and was incorrigible.                             
  Number 613                                                                   
  REP. KOTT asked if, under HB 79's provisions, a parent could                 
  be liable for $50,000 worth of damage caused by a teenage                    
  Number 620                                                                   
  MR. HINES noted that parents could not "adjudicate" their                    
  children as delinquent; only the court could do that.                        
  Number 626                                                                   
  REP. KOTT commented that the committee should get a legal                    
  opinion as to whether adjudication was the only mechanism                    
  for alleviating parental responsibility for damage caused by                 
  their children.  He asked Mr. Hines to discuss the                           
  emancipation process.                                                        
  Number 631                                                                   
  MR. HINES said that in order for a child to be legally                       
  emancipated, it had to be demonstrated to the court that the                 
  child was recognized as an adult.                                            
  CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that for a child to be emancipated,                    
  the child often had to demonstrate talents, not liabilities.                 
  Number 639                                                                   
  REP. JAMES expressed her belief that if a parent could not                   
  control a child, he or she could have the child placed in                    
  foster care.                                                                 
  Number 646                                                                   
  MR. HINES replied that emergency foster care could be                        
  provided for such children in some cases.                                    
  Number 654                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON asked Mr. Hines if he felt that changing laws                  
  so as to give parents reasons to relinquish control of their                 
  children to the state was a good idea.                                       
  Number 663                                                                   
  MR. HINES said that each family was "a fingerprint," and the                 
  issues surrounding a family's ability to care for a child                    
  were very complex.  He said that strengthening the runaway                   
  law might be a step in the right direction.  He added that                   
  providing additional foster care might also be part of the                   
  solution.  He said that there was not one simple answer to                   
  this complex problem.                                                        
  Number 689                                                                   
  REP. PHILLIPS made a motion to move HB 79 out of committee                   
  with individual recommendations.                                             
  Number 692                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON objected.  He asked that the committee hear                    
  testimony from the court system on the issue.                                
  Number 697                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN PORTER commented that the committee had addressed                   
  many important issues.  He said that in his understanding                    
  HB 79 was not intended to solve the whole problem of                         
  delinquent juveniles.  He said that the bill had a                           
  relatively narrow focus in deterring some juveniles from                     
  committing acts of vandalism.                                                
  Number 715                                                                   
  REP. DAVIDSON maintained his objection, as he was not                        
  convinced that HB 79 was a good bill.  He noted that bills                   
  that the committee passed out might well become state law.                   
  He said that the legislature needed to address all the                       
  aspects of the problem of delinquent juveniles.  He said he                  
  appreciated the sponsor's effort, but felt that HB 79 would                  
  result in more pressure on the family unit.  He said that he                 
  would like to hear from more agencies, more parents, and                     
  perhaps some children.                                                       
  CHAIRMAN PORTER called for a roll call vote on the motion to                 
  move the bill from committee.  Reps. Green, Kott, James and                  
  Porter voted "yea."  Reps. Davidson and Nordlund voted                       
  "nay."  And so, HB 79 was moved out of committee with                        
  individual recommendations and a zero fiscal note.                           

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