Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

02/07/2018 01:00 PM JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Delayed to 1:45 PM --
Moved HB 312 Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
        HB 129-FISH & GAME: OFFENSES;LICENSES;PENALTIES                                                                     
2:15:59 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."                                                                                                                
CHAIR  CLAMAN  reminded the  committee  that  this is  the  third                                                               
hearing in  the House  Judiciary Standing  Committee on  CSHB 129                                                               
and there had been questions  during the 2/5/18 committee meeting                                                               
regarding  fiscal notes.   He  advised that  Sylvan Robb,  Deputy                                                               
Commissioner,  Department  of  Administration and  Kelly  Howell,                                                               
Administrative  Services Director,  Department  of Public  Safety                                                               
are  available  to testify  regarding  "your  fiscal notes,"  and                                                               
explain the process of preparing fiscal notes.                                                                                  
2:16:55 PM                                                                                                                    
SYLVAN ROBB,  Deputy Commissioner, Department  of Administration,                                                               
[Available to testify.]                                                                                                         
2:16:59 PM                                                                                                                    
KELLY  HOWELL, Director,  Administrative Services,  Department of                                                               
Public Safety, [Available to testify.]                                                                                          
CHAIR  CLAMAN  asked  Ms.  Robb to  describe  the  Department  of                                                               
Administration's  fiscal  note,  provide more  insight  into  the                                                               
preparation of fiscal notes, and when they are prepared.                                                                        
2:17:20 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. ROBB  responded that the  Department of  Administration (DOA)                                                               
is in  the process of  preparing an indeterminate fiscal  note on                                                               
CSHB 129,  and that Shared  Services of Alaska (SSOA)  deals with                                                               
collections  for the  Alaska Court  System.   Once the  court has                                                               
transferred those fines  and fees, those collections  are sent to                                                               
the DOA  in an aggregate  format and it has  no way to  parse out                                                               
what percentage  or amount  from past fines  are related  to fish                                                               
and  game offenses  versus  other  types of  offenses.   At  this                                                               
point, until  there is  more data in  the future,  the department                                                               
could not  determine the  impact of this  bill, she  pointed out.                                                               
She  said  that she  could  only  speak  in general  terms  about                                                               
preparing a fiscal  note because she is not an  attorney.  In the                                                               
terms of the way fiscal notes  have been handled in the past, she                                                               
offered that  a fiscal note  was required  when there would  be a                                                               
positive or  negative impact  on a department's  budget.   In the                                                               
absence of  an impact  taking place  on a  department, generally,                                                               
there would  be a zero-fiscal note  in the event a  committee was                                                               
likely to  wonder why there  was not  be a fiscal  note, thereby,                                                               
giving  the  department  a  chance to  explain  the  reason,  she                                                               
2:18:49 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX   surmised  that  when   something  merely                                                               
affects  the  general fund  for  the  entire  state and  not  one                                                               
particular department, no fiscal note is prepared.                                                                              
MS. ROBB  reminded Representative LeDoux that  when revenue bills                                                               
have come  up over the past  couple of years and  were definitely                                                               
intended to impact the general  fund, those have shown the change                                                               
in revenue.  She differed to the Legislative Finance Division.                                                                  
2:19:36 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN commented that Ms.  Robb understood, at least as the                                                               
Deputy Commissioner  of the  Department of  Administration (DOA),                                                               
that if a  fiscal note would raise revenue and  those funds would                                                               
go  directly to  the  DOA,  that there  would  be  a fiscal  note                                                               
showing the  positive effect  of the legislation.   In  the event                                                               
the funds were going to the  general fund and not specifically to                                                               
the DOA,  that would not  cause the  department to have  a fiscal                                                               
note representing the revenue, he questioned.                                                                                   
MS.  ROBB responded  that that  has  been the  convention in  the                                                               
CHAIR CLAMAN related that, in contrast,  if it would cost the DOA                                                               
more  money to  do whatever  is in  the bill  causing a  negative                                                               
fiscal note, then  it would be looking solely at  the DOA and not                                                               
beyond the department.                                                                                                          
MS. ROBB  answered that Chair Claman  was correct in that  if the                                                               
funds  to be  raised were  to be  retained by  the Department  of                                                               
Administration, the change in revenue would be reflected.                                                                       
2:20:29 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN acknowledged that the  indeterminate fiscal note has                                                               
not  been completed  and asked  whether it  reflected that  there                                                               
might   be  revenue   going  directly   to   the  Department   of                                                               
Administration (DOA), or  rather, if that revenue  comes in, that                                                               
it is  going to the general  fund.  In  the event it is  going to                                                               
the  general fund,  he  asked why  an  indeterminate fiscal  note                                                               
would  be prepared  if Ms.  Robb did  not believe  there was  any                                                               
reason   this  would   bring  revenue   to   the  Department   of                                                               
Administration separately.                                                                                                      
MS. ROBB  explained that  the way  the collections  process works                                                               
for the  Alaska Court System  (ACS) is  that once funds  had been                                                               
transferred  to   collections,  if   it  had   been  successfully                                                               
collected by  a vendor,  that the department  employed to  try to                                                               
increase collections  for the state, SSOA  receives a percentage.                                                               
In  the event  fines  were  increased, the  amount  of money  the                                                               
department had the percentage to collect on, would increase.                                                                    
2:21:27 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX noted  that she unsure what  Ms. Robb meant                                                               
by "shared services"  and asked whether the fiscal  note is being                                                               
prepared by SSOA or by the Department of Fish and Game.                                                                         
MS. ROBB clarified  that she was speaking to the  fiscal note for                                                               
the DOA and its division of  Shared Services of Alaska (SSOA), as                                                               
it relates to its collections portion.                                                                                          
CHAIR  CLAMAN  surmised  that the  Department  of  Administration                                                               
(DOA) has  different contractors to  try to collect debt,  and in                                                               
that instance  if they collect $100,  the DOA may receive  3 or 4                                                               
percent of  the $100, and the  other $96 would go  to the general                                                               
fund.   Therefore, the indeterminate role  is whatever percentage                                                               
the  department may  receive  from  contractors collecting  these                                                               
debts on behalf of SSOA, he offered.                                                                                            
MS. ROBB  advised that  Chair Claman was  mostly correct  in that                                                               
the contractor  employed to perform  the collections,  receives a                                                               
percentage of  the money as  incentive to collect for  the state.                                                               
In the event the amount of  the fees does not change, the state's                                                               
ability  to receive  more or  less money  is not  impacted.   For                                                               
example, a  $100 fine for a  criminal offense that now  becomes a                                                               
$100  violation  that  would  have  no impact  for  SSOA  in  the                                                               
potential collection.   The primary reason the  DOA's fiscal note                                                               
will be indeterminate  is that the debts that  are transferred to                                                               
collections from  the court  system arrive  in the  aggregate and                                                               
they are inclusive of all types of debts.                                                                                       
2:23:28 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  said he was not  concerned so much                                                               
about  which agency  has  the fiscal  note.   He  then offered  a                                                               
scenario wherein on  average data showed that 10  black bears had                                                               
been  illegally  harvested  over   the  last  10-years,  and  the                                                               
legislature  doubled  restitution  to,  for  example,  $1,000  to                                                               
$2,000.  Thereby, causing a  positive fiscal note associated with                                                               
that  increased   restitution  of   $10,000,  of   which  happens                                                               
approximately 10  different times in this  bill with restitution,                                                               
he  advised.   Representative Kreiss-Tomkins  questioned why  the                                                               
number is indeterminate, and why there  is not an estimate of the                                                               
revenue raised from the increased restitution.                                                                                  
MS. ROBB  clarified that  SSOA does  not collect  restitution, it                                                               
collects fines and fees imposed by the court.                                                                                   
2:24:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   KREISS-TOMKINS   asked  which   agency   handles                                                               
MS. ROBB answered the Alaska Court System.                                                                                      
2:25:16 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS commented  that  the testimony  of                                                               
Ms.  Meade was  that the  Alaska Court  System (ACS)  passes that                                                               
money  onto  the  general  fund.    He  asked  who  receives  the                                                               
restitution revenue from the court system.                                                                                      
MS. ROBB  responded that  the money flows  into the  general fund                                                               
and  once the  money is  in the  general fund,  it is  up to  the                                                               
legislature  to   allocate  it  as   it  sees  fit.     Ms.  Robb                                                               
acknowledged that  these questions  were moving beyond  her scope                                                               
of expertise.                                                                                                                   
2:26:03 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  commented  that  it  is  unlikely                                                               
there is  an open pit  into which dollars  flow and no  one keeps                                                               
track  of the  money.    The court  system  has  to liaison  with                                                               
someone, and  he said  that he  would like to  know who  that is,                                                               
whether that person  keeps track of the  restitution dollars that                                                               
flow into the general fund, and  to offer an estimate of how much                                                               
increased restitution  revenue would  likely be  forthcoming with                                                               
the passage of CSHB 129.                                                                                                        
CHAIR CLAMAN  noted that  "that seems like  that has  a different                                                               
practice  than  the  legislature's  done when  there  is  revenue                                                               
that's  coming through  the  general  fund."   He  said that  his                                                               
office could look for an answer.                                                                                                
2:26:59 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN commented  that  it should  be doable  to                                                               
attach a  fund code  to any  funds being  collected by  the court                                                               
system when  transferring the restitution  money to DOR,  DOA, or                                                               
whoever, to  make sure  those funds are  identified based  on the                                                               
categories the  state wants  to keep track  of, if  nothing else.                                                               
In  the  event there  are  specific  crimes  of interest  to  the                                                               
legislature, that might  be something to track  and he encouraged                                                               
finding a way to maintain that information.                                                                                     
MS. ROBB answered that the money  does go to the general fund and                                                               
she would find the answer.                                                                                                      
2:28:09 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  explained that he  was not looking  for a                                                               
bean counter,  he is  looking for an  economist, someone  who can                                                               
assess there is a supply and demand  curve at play.  He said that                                                               
he assumed  that by  significantly increasing  the penalty  for a                                                               
violation, hopefully there would be fewer violations.                                                                           
2:29:21 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. HOWELL  advised the committee  that the Department  of Public                                                               
Safety (DPS) submitted a zero  fiscal note because the department                                                               
will not  receive an increase  or decrease in  its appropriations                                                               
as  a result  of the  passage  of CSHB  129.   Therefore, a  zero                                                               
fiscal note  is appropriate for  the Department of  Public Safety                                                               
(DPS), she said.                                                                                                                
2:30:26 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  CLAMAN  advised  Major  Bernard  Chastain,  Department  of                                                               
Public  Safety (DPS)  that questions  were  raised regarding  the                                                               
interplay  between   this  bill  and  AS   12.55,  regarding  the                                                               
misdemeanor sentencing  provisions.   He asked Major  Chastain to                                                               
provide the administration's perspective to the committee.                                                                      
2:31:02 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR  BERNARD CHASTAIN,  Deputy Director,  Division of  Wildlife                                                               
Troopers,  Department  of Public  Safety  (DPS),  noted that  the                                                               
question  last week  had to  do  with the  increase in  potential                                                               
fines for  class A misdemeanors.   He advised that this  bill was                                                               
first introduced in 2015, and  during that time frame Senate Bill                                                               
91  and SB  54 had  not yet  gone through  the process  and those                                                               
amounts  have not  changed.   Under  Senate Bill  91, the  actual                                                               
value for  a class A misdemeanor  moved to a maximum  of $25,000;                                                               
part  of the  Senate Bill  91 change  aligned penalties  under AS                                                               
12.55.035  class  A  misdemeanor  and  increased  that  value  to                                                               
$25,000.   As this bill  has moved  through the process  over the                                                               
last couple of  years, there was a change to  align Title 16 with                                                               
a variety  of misdemeanor offenses and  unclassified misdemeanors                                                               
with specific  penalties for  each section,  he explained.   This                                                               
bill attempted to  go through and align  the misdemeanor offenses                                                               
as all  class A misdemeanors  within Title  16, and it  created a                                                               
secondary  class within  each of  those sections  of a  violation                                                               
offense, he related.   Some of the offenses have  moved up in the                                                               
potential maximum fine a court could  impose, up to $25,000.  All                                                               
of the offenses listed in  this bill have a secondary possibility                                                               
of charging  with a violation offense,  with a maximum of  a $500                                                               
fine.   He noted  that he has  it broken out  by sections  if the                                                               
committee  would  like  him  to  go through  each  section.    In                                                               
general, he  offered, the possible  fine is a maximum  of $25,000                                                               
under a class A misdemeanor,  which was changed under Senate Bill                                                               
91, as a  maximum fine a court  could impose.  It is  rare that a                                                               
fine would  be imposed to  the maximum amount because  it usually                                                               
only happens under the worst circumstances, he advised.                                                                         
2:33:58 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  noted that  the "huge difference"  in CSHB
129 between  a $1,000 fine and  a $25,000 fine was  never pointed                                                               
out for the committee.                                                                                                          
MAJOR  CHASTAIN  responded  that  in  2015,  when  the  bill  was                                                               
introduced, the difference  in the change had to  do with $1,000,                                                               
and at the time the maximum fine  was $10,000.  The change in the                                                               
maximum penalty  took place  during the changes  to AS  12.55 and                                                               
defining it  as a  class A  misdemeanor automatically  changed it                                                               
under Senate Bill 91, he explained.                                                                                             
2:35:05 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX said  she understood  what Major  Chastain                                                               
was  saying  except  that  someone   had  testified  before  this                                                               
committee and  basically explained the  bill.  At that  time, she                                                               
said that she would have thought  the change in fines from $1,000                                                               
to $25,000 would have been mentioned.   She pointed out that that                                                               
difference  is not  something a  legislator  would have  realized                                                               
when reading the  bill unless they went back to  the statute, and                                                               
so forth.   She commented that  that difference does not  pop out                                                               
and asked why this issue was not mentioned.                                                                                     
MAJOR CHASTAIN responded  that the initial bill  went through the                                                               
House  and Senate  Resources  Standing  Committees and  penalties                                                               
were  discussed  "pretty robustly"  during  that  timeframe.   He                                                               
related that he  had presented the bill to  this committee during                                                               
its first  hearing this  year, and  he went  step-by-step through                                                               
the sectional  analysis.  He  stressed that it certainly  was not                                                               
his intent to skip over any information.                                                                                        
[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 Supporting Document-SEARHC Letter 2.7.18.pdf HJUD 2/7/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 312
HB312 Public Comment-Supporting 2.7.18.pdf HJUD 2/7/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 312
HB312 Updated Fiscal Note DHSS-API 2.7.18.pdf HJUD 2/7/2018 1:00:00 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
Representative Reinbold Document Offered to HJUD Committee- Recidivism Definition 2.7.18.pdf HJUD 2/7/2018 1:00:00 PM