Legislature(1993 - 1994)

03/22/1993 01:00 PM House JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
  HB 4:  PROTECT ELDERLY AND DISABLED ADULTS                                   
  Number 021                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE JERRY MACKIE, PRIME SPONSOR of HB 4, said                     
  that the bill would add, as an aggravating factor at the                     
  time of sentencing, that a victim was elderly or disabled.                   
  He stated that his bill would serve as a deterrent against                   
  crimes against elderly and disabled individuals.  He                         
  indicated that HB 4 would amend the Code of Criminal                         
  Procedure, which allowed presumptive sentences to be                         
  aggravated, by adding a new paragraph to include victims                     
  aged 65 or over, or with a disability which limited major                    
  life activities.                                                             
  REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE commented that HB 4 would amend the                    
  elderly and disabled adult protection laws to provide a                      
  penalty of a class B misdemeanor for conviction of or                        
  failure to report a crime under those statutes.  He said                     
  that the bill would also require the court to report                         
  convictions to licensing or regulatory entities.  Conviction                 
  of a professional, licensed person for a crime against an                    
  elderly or disabled person could result in disciplinary                      
  action or sanctions.                                                         
  REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE noted that elderly and disabled                        
  persons were more vulnerable to and disproportionately                       
  damaged by crimes against them.  He added that these people                  
  took longer to recover from the impacts of financial,                        
  emotional, or physical abuse.  He mentioned the rapid growth                 
  of the senior citizen population in Alaska.  He stated that                  
  28 states had adult protection statutes.  He said that about                 
  200 reports of elder abuse were made in Alaska every year.                   
  He asserted that HB 4 would provide an incentive to report                   
  abuse and a deterrent to crimes against the elderly.                         
  REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE pointed out that bills identical to                    
  both HB 4 and HB 3, Regulation of Home Care Providers, had                   
  passed the House the year before.  He mentioned the                          
  Chairman's interest in deleting section 2 from the bill,                     
  because a similar aggravator already existed in present law.                 
  He expressed his support for deleting that section.                          
  Number 136                                                                   
  CHAIRMAN BRIAN PORTER commented that Margot Knuth, from the                  
  Department of Law (DOL), had brought the redundancy of                       
  section 2 to the committee's attention.                                      
  Number 144                                                                   
  DOL, stated that the proposed new aggravator substantially                   
  overlapped an existing aggravator.  She expressed the DOL's                  
  opinion that it would make the most sense to simply leave                    
  the aggravator statutes the way they were.  She noted that                   
  there was a slight difference between a defendant who knew                   
  or reasonably should have known that a victim was vulnerable                 
  or incapable of resistance due to advanced age, and a                        
  defendant who knew or reasonably should have known that a                    
  victim was at least 65 years old.                                            
  MS. KNUTH believed it would be difficult to apply an                         
  absolute cut-off point at the age of 65, as defendants would                 
  not often know exactly how old a victim was.  She said that                  
  the existing framework of "advanced age" was used by                         
  prosecutors without any apparent problems.                                   
  Number 180                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE mentioned that the intent of placing                   
  the 65-year-old cut-off in HB 4 was to help the DOL get                      
  appropriate sentences in these cases.  However, he commented                 
  that if the DOL was not having any difficulty in proving                     
  that defendants knew or reasonably should have known that a                  
  victim was 65 years old or older, then he saw no reason to                   
  change the existing aggravator.                                              
  Number 198                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN made a MOTION to DELETE section 2                   
  of HB 4 and renumber subsequent sections accordingly.                        
  Number 210                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE commented that the proposed change                     
  would probably result in a change to HB 4's title.                           
  REPRESENTATIVE GREEN said that he would consider the change                  
  to the title as a friendly amendment to his motion.                          
  Number 230                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE CLIFF DAVIDSON asked Ms. Knuth to explain the                 
  effect of the amendment.                                                     
  Number 234                                                                   
  MS. KNUTH mentioned that there was currently an aggravating                  
  factor for defendants who knew, or reasonably should have                    
  known, that a victim was particularly vulnerable or                          
  incapable of resistance due to advanced age, disability, ill                 
  health, or extreme youth, or who was for any other reason                    
  substantially incapable of exercising normal physical or                     
  mental powers of resistance.                                                 
  MS. KNUTH commented that the addition proposed in HB 4 would                 
  largely overlap the existing aggravator.  She said that the                  
  DOL believed it would be best to continue using the existing                 
  aggravator.  She noted that having both aggravators on the                   
  books would likely confuse the courts.  She mentioned the                    
  large degree of success the DOL has had with using the                       
  existing aggravator.  She expressed concerns about the                       
  language contained in the aggravator proposed in HB 4.                       
  MS. KNUTH noted that the proposed amendment to HB 4 would                    
  delete the new aggravator and leave the state with its                       
  existing, similar aggravator.  There being no objection to                   
  the amendment, IT WAS ADOPTED.                                               
  Number 283                                                                   
  (JUD) out of committee with individual recommendations.  She                 
  then REMOVED HER MOTION.                                                     
  CHAIRMAN PORTER called for an "at ease."                                     
  Number 297                                                                   
  mentioned a small concern with HB 4.  He said that the bill                  
  provided that the court system would notify licensing or                     
  regulatory entities if a professional, licensed person was                   
  convicted of a crime against an elderly or disabled person.                  
  He said that the bill's language was overly broad, and                       
  requested an amendment indicating that the court should                      
  notify the primary licensing or regulatory entity.                           
  Number 318                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS suggested adding the word                            
  "appropriate" instead of "primary."                                          
  MR. SNOWDEN approved of Representative Phillips' proposed                    
  Number 328                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS made a MOTION to ADD the word                        
  "appropriate" to page 2, line 4 and line 10 of HB 4.                         
  Number 335                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE MACKIE expressed his support for                              
  Representative Phillips' motion.  There being no objection                   
  to the amendment, IT WAS ADOPTED.                                            
  Number 342                                                                   
  REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS made a MOTION to MOVE CSHB 4 (JUD)                   
  out of committee, with individual recommendations.  There                    
  being no objection, IT WAS SO ORDERED.                                       
  CHAIRMAN PORTER announced that HB 3 was the next item of                     
  business before the committee.                                               

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