Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

02/05/2018 01:30 PM JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Please Note Time Change --
*+ HB 312 CRIMES AGAINST MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+= HB 129 FISH & GAME: OFFENSES;LICENSES;PENALTIES TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        HB 129-FISH & GAME: OFFENSES;LICENSES;PENALTIES                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
2:57:54 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN announced that the  final order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO.  129, "An Act relating to  sport fishing, hunting,                                                               
or  trapping licenses,  tags, or  permits; relating  to penalties                                                               
for  certain   sport  fishing,  hunting,  and   trapping  license                                                               
violations;  relating to  restrictions on  the issuance  of sport                                                               
fishing, hunting, and trapping  licenses; creating violations and                                                               
amending  fines  and  restitution   for  certain  fish  and  game                                                               
offenses; creating  an exemption from payment  of restitution for                                                               
certain  unlawful  takings  of  big  game  animals;  relating  to                                                               
commercial  fishing violations;  allowing  lost federal  matching                                                               
funds from  the Pittman -  Robertson, Dingell -  Johnson/Wallop -                                                               
Breaux  programs  to be  included  in  an order  of  restitution;                                                               
adding a  definition of 'electronic  form'; and providing  for an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:00:31 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
NANCY MEADE,  General Counsel, Alaska Court  System, advised that                                                               
HB 129 is a governor's bill,  it does not affect the court system                                                               
much  at  all,  and  that   the  Alaska  Court  System  (ACS)  is                                                               
completely neutral on  the bill.  She related that  she was asked                                                               
to  respond to  certain questions  raised in  the last  committee                                                               
meeting  regarding restitution  and  fines.   While  it does  not                                                               
matter to  the court  system what  is in the  bill, she  said she                                                               
could assist in understanding a  little bit about where the money                                                               
goes when  the court "orders some  of this stuff."   She referred                                                               
to Sec.  17, AS  16.05.925(b), page 5,  lines 10-26,  and advised                                                               
that it  adjusts the restitution  amount that may be  ordered for                                                               
someone convicted of unlawfully taking  one of the mammals listed                                                               
in subsection  (b) and increases  those amounts.   Routinely, the                                                               
court  orders  restitution in  cases  that  involve the  unlawful                                                               
taking of  game and there are  a series of regulations  that come                                                               
up when violated, under which  people are convicted.  When people                                                               
are convicted for those misdemeanors  they may receive a fine and                                                               
this restitution.   She advised  that in speaking with  judges in                                                               
some of  the areas  where these cases  would arise,  she believes                                                               
that restitutions  are generally  ordered in the  amounts listed.                                                               
In the event  someone does unlawfully take a  moose, for example,                                                               
it  is  fairly  routine  in  certain areas  to  order  $1,000  in                                                               
restitution,  and  under  AS 16.05.925(b)(8)  that  amount  would                                                               
change to $2,500, she said.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:02:25 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE,  in response to the  question as to the  fiscal impact                                                               
of  these increases,  responded that  the court  system does  not                                                               
track fine amounts or restitution  amounts, according to statute,                                                               
so she  could not locate "a  great answer."  Although,  she said,                                                               
she could  determine how many  misdemeanor convictions  had taken                                                               
place for  the unlawful taking  of game  by going through  all of                                                               
the regulations.   She advised that  in the last couple  of years                                                               
it has  varied from a low  of 29 cases  per year to 45  cases per                                                               
year.   (Audio difficulties) 30  or 35 per  year and maybe  up to                                                               
$1,000 more  would be ordered  in restitution, roughly  there may                                                               
be $70,000 ordered in total for  restitution.  She said she could                                                               
get the  numbers for  total fish  and game  restitutions ordered,                                                               
except there is restitution for  "lots of things" other than just                                                               
the unlawfully  taking of  game, such  as commercial  fishing and                                                               
"all sorts of  stuff."  In 2017, approximately  $100,000 in total                                                               
fish and  game restitution was  ordered, and in 2016  $20,000 was                                                               
ordered  in  restitution, so  it  varies  depending upon  "what's                                                               
going on  out there" and what  cases come to court.   She related                                                               
that she  also learned, by looking  at how much of  those dollars                                                               
are actually  paid as opposed to  ordered, that when it  comes to                                                               
fish  and   game  restitution  as   opposed  to   other  criminal                                                               
restitution, a  large percentage is  paid.  Of the  $100,000 owed                                                               
in  2017,  approximately $65,000  was  paid,  which is  a  higher                                                               
percentage of recovery than from the other crimes.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
3:04:26 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE  referred to "how  the money works" and  explained that                                                               
the court  signs an order, there  may be a fine,  restitution, or                                                               
other things  going on, and then  the court is finished  with the                                                               
case.  Except, people can pay  the court anytime, but many people                                                               
do not.   Previously, after  30-days the court clerks  would send                                                               
all  of  its  judgments  to the  Department  of  Law  Collections                                                               
Section  and  it would  try  to  collect  on behalf  of  victims'                                                               
restitution and  collect court fines,  except that  section "went                                                               
away."  The  Department of Administration then  "sort of" revised                                                               
and revived that section as  the Shared Services of Alaska (SSOA)                                                               
Division  within  the Department  of  Administration.   The  SSOA                                                               
currently  collects fines  and  "lots of  other  things that  the                                                               
court  orders," with  the exception  of restitution.   Currently,                                                               
she  offered, the  court collects  restitution and  SSOA collects                                                               
every other debt  a person might owe after a  criminal case.  She                                                               
opined that  it probably is  not important to the  committee "who                                                               
is trying  to collect  what on  behalf of whom"  when all  of the                                                               
criminal debts  someone may  owe is  deposited straight  into the                                                               
general fund and it does not go to anyplace else.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
When the  court collects restitution,  it goes to a  named victim                                                               
injured in  a criminal case  because restitution may be  owed for                                                               
the  value  of  the  person's  car, or  medical  bills  after  an                                                               
assault.   Except, she pointed out,  in fish and game  cases, the                                                               
restitution in  Section 17 goes  to the  state because it  is the                                                               
state's  loss  of  fish  and  game.    The  state  collects  that                                                               
restitution and puts  it straight into the general  fund where it                                                               
stays and is not dedicated anywhere, she opined.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:06:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   KREISS-TOMKINS   commented   that   given   that                                                               
explanation,  he  could  not  understand  why  there  was  not  a                                                               
positive fiscal note for this legislation.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. MEADE said  that of course the court system  would not have a                                                               
fiscal note because it does not  care what it is collecting or on                                                               
the benefit  of whom.   She  then deferred  to the  department to                                                               
answer the  question and said that  she did not know  that anyone                                                               
ever submits fiscal notes for the general fund.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:07:34 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX noted  that she  found it  perplexing that                                                               
there would not be a fiscal note for the general fund.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN opined that all could  agree that whoever it is that                                                               
is supposed to  submit a fiscal note for the  general fund, it is                                                               
not the court system.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:07:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX   referred  to  [CSHB  129,   Sec.  4,  AS                                                               
16.05.430(a),  page 2,  lines 27-31  and page  3, lines  1-2] and                                                               
advised that  there were probably  "a few other  sections around"                                                               
that refer  to "things are punishable"  instead of "by a  fine of                                                               
not  more than  $1,000 or  by imprisonment  for not  more than  6                                                               
months, or  by both."   It  read: "punishable  as provided  in AS                                                               
12.55," and  Representative LeDoux asked  the amount of  the fine                                                               
under AS 12.55.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS.  MEADE responded  that AS  12.55 is  in the  criminal penalty                                                               
section of the statutes, and  that Representative LeDoux probably                                                               
previously saw  AS 12.55 in  crime bills mostly.   Currently, she                                                               
said, the fish and game  laws have many unclassified misdemeanors                                                               
as  this wording  read: "it  is guilty  of a  misdemeanor with  a                                                               
specified punishment."   She explained that Section  4 would "get                                                               
rid  of  that  specific  punishment,"  change it  to  a  class  A                                                               
misdemeanor, and treat  it in the same manner as  any other class                                                               
A misdemeanor  under Title 11, such  as an assault and  so forth.                                                               
Those  class  A  misdemeanor  penalties under  AS  12.55  have  a                                                               
maximum fine  of $25,000 with minimum  and maximum imprisonments.                                                               
She  reiterated that  the effect  of that  provision changes  the                                                               
minimum and maximum prison term  and changes the fine from $1,000                                                               
up to a maximum of $25,000.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:09:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  commented  "that's a  huge  change,"  and                                                               
asked whether  this was actually  intended.  Her concern  is that                                                               
for most  criminals, whether  the fine is  $500 or  $500,000, the                                                               
problem  is  that  so  many  of the  people  arrested  for  petty                                                               
offenses do not have the money  at all.  Except, she pointed out,                                                               
with a  fish and  game violation, some  of these  people actually                                                               
have the  money to pay  the fine.   For example,  fishermen might                                                               
just  pay the  fine  in order  to  get back  out  on the  fishing                                                               
grounds. She said she was  unsure the state necessarily wanted to                                                               
increase those fine from what  the legislature previously thought                                                               
should not be  punishable for a fine  of over $1,000 to  go up to                                                               
$25,000, because "that's a heck of a leap."                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX commented  that  she would  like to  speak                                                               
with  "whoever, you  know, came  up with  this language,  whether                                                               
this  was actually  the  intent.   And,  if it  was  in fact  the                                                               
intent, some rationale for what the  intent was to increase it by                                                               
... is that 25-fold or is it 25,000-fold?"                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN  answered  that  it was  25-fold  and  advised  the                                                               
committee  that Representative  LeDoux  was  discussing that  the                                                               
maximum  penalty  on a  misdemeanor  goes  to $25,000  under  the                                                               
current status  of class  A misdemeanors.   He deferred  to Aaron                                                               
Peterson, Department of Law.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:11:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
AARON  PETERSON, Assistant  Attorney General,  Office of  Special                                                               
Prosecutions,  responded   that  Representative   LeDoux  exactly                                                               
identified  (audio difficulties)  and potential  fine amounts  on                                                               
some of the offenses, and that is a policy question.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN  interrupted Mr.  Peterson and  pointed out  that on                                                               
the  one hand  it is  a  policy (audio  difficulties) making  and                                                               
presenting this bill.   Chair Claman expressed that  he would not                                                               
accept  an answer  saying  that this  is a  policy  call for  the                                                               
legislature because this is a governor's bill.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:12:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. PETERSON explained  that some of these offenses  should be in                                                               
line  with  other  class  A  misdemeanors in  that  some  of  the                                                               
affected  offenses  change,  for   example,  under  Sec.  11  [AS                                                               
16.05.783(c),  page 4,  lines 10-16],  (audio difficulties)  from                                                               
$5,000 to $25,000.  In effect,  he noted, throughout Title 16, it                                                               
makes  the fine  amount and  the  jail time  amount uniform  with                                                               
other  class   A  misdemeanors   found  under  Title   11  (audio                                                               
difficulties) in statute.  He  pointed out that in several places                                                               
there  are  additional  (audio   difficulties)  to  reduce  those                                                               
misdemeanors  down  to violations,  which  was  discussed in  the                                                               
previous  hearing.   The  rationale is  making  it uniform  while                                                               
giving the Department  of Public Safety (DPS)  and the Department                                                               
of  Law (DOL)  the ability  to,  where appropriate,  reduce to  a                                                               
violation  and the  smaller maximum  fine under  AS 12.55.035  of                                                               
$500,  and  they do  not  carry  (audio difficulties)  making  it                                                               
uniform with statutes in other sections.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:14:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  commented  that the  administration  went                                                               
through this bill last week and  she did not think that the issue                                                               
of  the big  fine increase  was necessarily  pointed out  to this                                                               
committee, and she believed that is something worth mentioning.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
[HB 129 was held over.]                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB312 ver O 2.5.18.PDF HJUD 2/5/2018 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 2/7/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 312
HB312 Sponsor Statement 2.5.18.pdf HJUD 2/5/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 312
HB312 Sectional Analysis ver O 2.5.18.pdf HJUD 2/5/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 312
HB312 Additional Document-EMTALA Interpretive Guidelines - Stable for Discharge Definition 2.5.18.pdf HJUD 2/5/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 312
HB312 Supporting Document-Letters of Support 2.5.18.pdf HJUD 2/5/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 312
HB312 Supporting Document-Teamsters Local 959 Letter 2.5.18.pdf HJUD 2/5/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 312
HB312 Supporting Document-Fairbanks Memorial Hospital Letter 2.5.18.pdf HJUD 2/5/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 312
HB312 Supporting Document-Alaska Regional Hospital Letter 2.5.18.pdf HJUD 2/5/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 312
HB312 Fiscal Note LAW-CRIM 2.5.18.pdf HJUD 2/5/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 312
HB312 Fiscal Note DHSS-API 2.5.18.pdf HJUD 2/5/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 312
HB129 ver D 1.29.18.pdf HJUD 2/5/2018 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 2/7/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 2/9/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 129
HB129 Additional Document-ACS FY18 Q2 Collections Memo 2.5.18.pdf HJUD 2/5/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 129
HB129 Fiscal Note DPS-AWT 1.29.18.pdf HJUD 1/29/2018 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 1/31/2018 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 2/5/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 129
HB129 Updated Fiscal Note DFG-CO 2.5.18.pdf HJUD 2/5/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 129
HB129 Fiscal Note DOA-SSOA 2.5.18.pdf HJUD 2/5/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 129