Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 106

02/03/2015 08:00 AM House STATE AFFAIRS

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08:18:33 AM Start
08:19:11 AM HB43
08:54:03 AM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
Moved CSHB 43(STA) Out of Committee
<Bill Hearing Rescheduled from 1/27/15>
             HB 43-AK LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS' DAY                                                                         
8:19:39 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR KELLER  announced that the only order  of business was                                                               
HOUSE BILL  NO. 43, "An  Act establishing Alaska  Law Enforcement                                                               
Officers' Day."                                                                                                                 
8:20:23 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES  moved  to adopt  the  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute for HB 43, Version  29-LS0242\W, Shutts, 1/28/15, as a                                                               
work draft.   There being no objection, Version W  was before the                                                               
8:20:41 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN introduced  HB 43, as prime sponsor.   He related that                                                               
he  was raised  by a  Los Angeles  County deputy  sheriff, has  a                                                               
grandson who has a [law  enforcement] placement in Maryland, and,                                                               
himself,  served as  an  officer in  the  Tucson, Arizona  police                                                               
department  and   has  personal  understanding  why   Alaska  Law                                                               
Enforcement  Day  should  be  regarded  as a  special  day.    He                                                               
mentioned the  need for technology, but  moreover emphasized that                                                               
law enforcement officers  put their lives on the  line every day.                                                               
He  related a  harrowing experience  he had  as an  officer.   He                                                               
stated his  belief that law enforcement  officers deserve special                                                               
recognition, which is the purpose of the proposed legislation.                                                                  
8:22:36 AM                                                                                                                    
JOANNA  LEWIS,  Staff,  Representative  Bob  Lynn,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, presented  HB 43 on  behalf of  Representative Lynn,                                                               
prime sponsor.   She  explained that  the original  bill proposed                                                               
that  a [Sunday  on,  or  preceding,] May  15  be established  as                                                               
Alaska Law Enforcement  Officers' Day because May  15 is National                                                               
Peace Officer  Memorial Day, and  the week  in which it  falls is                                                               
National Police Memorial Week.   Ms. Lewis said after introducing                                                               
the original  bill version, the  prime sponsor  received feedback                                                               
from several law enforcement agencies  that the proposed date may                                                               
conflict with some of the  memorial services already taking place                                                               
across the state.  She explained  that Version W would change the                                                               
proposed  Alaska  Law Enforcement  Officers'  Day  to January  9,                                                               
which was recently named,  "National Law Enforcement Appreciation                                                               
Day," as  part of a  national movement  led by [the  FBI National                                                               
Academy  Associates,  Inc.] and  "Police  Survivors,  Inc."   She                                                               
said, there has been nothing  but good feedback since making that                                                               
8:26:12 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  stated that he was  not certain whether                                                               
he would  be allowed to  offer an  amendment or vote  on anything                                                               
via teleconference,  and suggested that another  committee member                                                               
could [offer amendments] for him.                                                                                               
VICE CHAIR KELLER said he  would limit the offering of amendments                                                               
to  the  committee  members  [physically]   present.    He  noted                                                               
Representative Kreiss-Tomkins had  agreed to offer Representative                                                               
Gruenberg's amendment.                                                                                                          
8:27:12 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS   moved  to  adopt   Amendment  1,                                                               
labeled 29-LS0242\W, Shutts, 2/2/15, which read as follows:                                                                     
     Page 1, line 1:                                                                                                            
          Delete "Law Enforcement"                                                                                            
          Insert "Peace"                                                                                                      
     Page 1, line 4:                                                                                                            
          Delete "Law Enforcement"                                                                                            
          Insert "Peace"                                                                                                      
     Page 1, lines 4 - 5:                                                                                                       
          Delete "Law Enforcement"                                                                                              
          Insert "Peace"                                                                                                        
     Page 1, lines 5 - 6:                                                                                                       
          Delete "law enforcement officers and"                                                                                 
     Page 1, line 6:                                                                                                            
          Delete "Law Enforcement"                                                                                              
          Insert "Peace"                                                                                                        
8:27:15 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR KELLER objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                       
8:27:34 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG explained  that the handwritten addition                                                               
to Amendment 1 [which read  "Insert 'Alaska'"], should be deleted                                                               
because he had  included it as a result  of previously misreading                                                               
text.  [Representative Gruenberg's  recommendation was treated as                                                               
a motion to amend Amendment 1.]                                                                                                 
VICE CHAIR  KELLER announced that  there being no  objection, the                                                               
amendment to Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                           
8:28:39 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG referenced the  footnote on the one-page                                                               
memorandum from  Legislative Legal  and Research  Services, which                                                               
states that the definition of  "peace officer" is included in [AS                                                               
01.10.060(a)(7)].   He offered  his understanding  that according                                                               
to the  memorandum, everything that  falls under the  category of                                                               
"law  enforcement   officer,"  also   falls  under   the  general                                                               
definition   of  "peace   officer";  however,   there  are   some                                                               
categories  under "peace  officer" that  do not  fall under  "law                                                               
enforcement officer".                                                                                                           
8:29:36 AM                                                                                                                    
LISA KIRSCH,  Assistant Revisor,  Legislative Legal  and Research                                                               
Services,  Legislative Affairs  Agency, responded  that generally                                                               
speaking, that is  correct; however, she deferred  to the drafter                                                               
of  Amendment 1,  Ms.  Susie Shutts.    Nevertheless, Ms.  Kirsch                                                               
stated  that the  definition in  Title 1  is a  more encompassing                                                               
definition that has broader application.                                                                                        
8:30:12 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  surmised that putting in  the term "law                                                               
enforcement officer" would be  redundant because everything would                                                               
be included within the definition in Title 1 of "peace officer".                                                                
8:30:33 AM                                                                                                                    
SUSIE  SHUTTS,  Legal  Counsel, Legislative  Legal  and  Research                                                               
Services, stated  that she  had written  the memorandum  to which                                                               
Representative Gruenberg  had referred.  She  echoed Ms. Kirsch's                                                               
statement  that the  definition in  Title 1  is broad.   [Due  to                                                               
technical  difficulties, sound  was  briefly lost.]   Ms.  Shutts                                                               
indicated  that  there  is no  law  enforcement  definition  that                                                               
would, by  default, apply here.   She said the  legislature could                                                               
add  one; however,  if not  added then  the common  usage of  law                                                               
enforcement officer would apply.                                                                                                
8:31:22 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  noted  that  in the  footnote  of  her                                                               
memorandum, Ms. Shutts mentioned  that there are several statutes                                                               
using  the term  "law  enforcement officer."    He asked  whether                                                               
those particular  references would  be covered  if only  the term                                                               
"peace officer" was used in the bill.                                                                                           
MS. SHUTTS  answered yes.   She indicated  that the usage  of the                                                               
term "law  enforcement officer" in  statute is specific,  and she                                                               
said she  thinks "the broad  definition of 'peace  officer' would                                                               
cover that."                                                                                                                    
8:32:58 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE  CHAIR KELLER  noted that  the bill  states that  Alaska Law                                                               
Enforcement Officers'  Day would honor "law  enforcement officers                                                               
and peace officers."   He queried whether that gets  the job done                                                               
and asked Representative  Gruenberg to explain whether  he has an                                                               
aversion to the term law enforcement officer.                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG  said   it   seems   that  since   law                                                               
enforcement officers are  peace officers, it is  redundant to say                                                               
"law  enforcement  officers  and  peace  officers"  in  that  law                                                               
enforcement  officers  would be  covered  by  just stating  peace                                                               
8:33:58 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR KELLER  said he does not see Amendment  1, as amended,                                                               
as an improvement  to HB 43.  Further, he  said he had considered                                                               
asking   Representative  Gruenberg   to  withdraw   the  proposed                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG said  he would not belabor  the point if                                                               
it  was  the wish  of  the  prime  sponsor  for Amendment  1,  as                                                               
amended, to be withdrawn.                                                                                                       
VICE  CHAIR  KELLER  asked  for  feedback  from  other  committee                                                               
8:34:37 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE VAZQUEZ echoed Vice  Chair Keller's point that the                                                               
bill includes both law enforcement officers and peace officers.                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG   reiterated   his   point   regarding                                                               
redundancy  and  restated his  willingness  for  Amendment 1,  as                                                               
amended, to be withdrawn.                                                                                                       
VICE CHAIR  KELLER said he  would ask for the  proposed amendment                                                               
to be withdrawn  unless he heard an argument in  favor of it from                                                               
the committee.                                                                                                                  
8:35:37 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  withdrew his  motion to  adopt the                                                               
proposed Amendment 1, [as amended].                                                                                             
8:36:19 AM                                                                                                                    
JAKE  METCALFE,  Director,  Public Safety  Employees  Association                                                               
(PSEA), Local  803, testified in support  of HB 43.   He reviewed                                                               
that  the  PSEA  represents  approximately  800  law  enforcement                                                               
employees  throughout  Alaska,  including:     the  Alaska  State                                                               
Troopers,  court  services  officers,  airport  police  and  fire                                                               
officers, deputy  fire marshals  within the Department  of Public                                                               
Safety  (DPS),  and  municipal  employees  in  Ketchikan,  Sitka,                                                               
Juneau, Fairbanks,  Soldotna, Dillingham, and Unalaska.   He said                                                               
the  municipal  employees  include:   law  enforcement  officers,                                                               
dispatchers,   evidence   custodians,   and  clerks   in   police                                                               
MR.  METCALFE mentioned  transition  reports  from Governor  Bill                                                               
Walker,  and  offered his  understanding  it  had been  published                                                               
about two  weeks prior.  He  read a quote included  in the report                                                               
by the transition team on public safety, as follows:                                                                            
     As a  state and as an  employer, we have a  duty to the                                                                    
     men  and  women  we  hire  to  serve  and  protect  our                                                                    
     citizens and to  enforce our laws.  If we,  as a state,                                                                    
     are asking these public servants  to protect all of our                                                                    
     citizens from danger,  we owe them the  full measure of                                                                    
     our  support.   They  deserve  to  be well-paid,  well-                                                                    
     equipped,  well-trained, and  well-led.   They need  to                                                                    
     know that if  they're injured, we will  nurse them back                                                                    
     to  health,  and  that  if they  are  killed,  we  will                                                                    
     comfort and assist their families.                                                                                         
MR. METCALFE  said the PSEA believes  HB 43 is an  example of the                                                               
policy statement included  in the transition report.   He said by                                                               
establishing an  Alaska Law Enforcement Officers'  Day, the State                                                               
of Alaska  would show a  full measure of  support to the  men and                                                               
women  hired  to  protect  its citizens  and  enforce  its  laws.                                                               
Further,  the  proposed legislation  would  give  Alaska and  its                                                               
communities   the  opportunity   to  reflect   on  the   ultimate                                                               
sacrifices made and  time to honor those  who dedicate themselves                                                               
and their  families to serve Alaskans.   He stated that  the PSEA                                                               
asks the committee to support HB 43.                                                                                            
MR. METCALFE imparted that one  of the PSEA's members was injured                                                               
over  the  weekend in  a  plane  accident  while working  and  is                                                               
currently in  the hospital.   Further, he noted that  two members                                                               
were killed  in May of  2014:  Scott Johnson  and Gabe Rich.   He                                                               
said their families are going  through the grief and tragedy that                                                               
resulted from that loss.  He  echoed a comment from Chair Lynn in                                                               
that people  working in law  enforcement can  go to work  one day                                                               
and  end up  making the  ultimate sacrifice.   He  said the  PSEA                                                               
considers HB 43 to be a positive bill.                                                                                          
8:41:04 AM                                                                                                                    
LIEUTENANT  KRIS  SELL,  Vice President,  Alaska  Peace  Officers                                                               
Association,  stated that  there are  approximately 800  members,                                                               
composed of  active and former  law enforcement  officers, public                                                               
safety  workers,  supporters  of   law  enforcement,  and  a  few                                                               
prosecutors.   She  said those  in  the association  are part  of                                                               
their communities.   She referred  to recent occurrences  [in the                                                               
Lower 48], which have led  to distrust between police departments                                                               
and citizens.   She stated that it is fortunate  that that is not                                                               
the norm in Alaska.  She  indicated an event that has occurred in                                                               
Juneau a  few times,  called, "Coffee with  a Cop,"  during which                                                               
people who  participate sometimes have questions,  but often just                                                               
express their support.  Lieutenant  Sell stated that the proposed                                                               
legislation  would designate  a formal  day when  people can  say                                                               
that  "we are  not a  house divided  in Alaska."   She  expressed                                                               
thanks on behalf of the APOA for committee support of HB 43.                                                                    
8:43:29 AM                                                                                                                    
BRANDY  JOHNSON stated  that she  is  the recent  widow of  Scott                                                               
Johnson, a former  sergeant with the Alaska State  Troopers.  She                                                               
said  she  spoke on  behalf  of  all the  men  and  women in  law                                                               
enforcement and their  families.  She stated that  in 2014, there                                                               
were  121 line-of-duty  deaths.   She  said two  of those  deaths                                                               
occurred in Alaska, with the  loss of her husband, Scott Johnson,                                                               
and Alaska State Trooper Gabe Rich, and following that incident,                                                                
morale among law enforcement in Alaska was significantly                                                                        
MS. JOHNSON continued as follows:                                                                                               
     The law  enforcement community  within our  great state                                                                    
     should  know they're  appreciated.    They perform  the                                                                    
     task most of  us would never want to  experience.  They                                                                    
     are the  people that get  the calls at home,  while the                                                                    
     rest of the  public is sleeping, to respond  to the car                                                                    
     accident,  a drowning,  or a  murder.   Law enforcement                                                                    
     cleans up  the floor after a  teenager commits suicide,                                                                    
     so the mother  doesn't have to.  They cut  the body out                                                                    
     of the frozen  river with a chain saw in  the winter to                                                                    
     recover someone's  loved one.   They  are the  ones who                                                                    
     answer a  call when  a domestic violence  situation has                                                                    
     turned into a hostage situation.   Can you imagine what                                                                    
     it would be  like to interview a suspect  that you know                                                                    
     from evidence has raped a dead  child?  If my words are                                                                    
     disturbing  here today,  imagine  having  to deal  with                                                                    
     these situations every day.                                                                                                
     Law enforcement also comforts people  on the worst days                                                                    
     of their life.   They demonstrate infinite patience and                                                                    
     put   their  life   on  the   line  to   protect  their                                                                    
     communities.   They  do it  when they  are tired,  when                                                                    
     they  miss their  daughter's  birthday,  and even  when                                                                    
     it's Christmas.   Most calls  are requests for  help or                                                                    
     to file a  complaint; seldom are the calls  to just say                                                                    
     thank  you:   Thank you  for finding  and returning  my                                                                    
     rifle; thank you  for the compassion you  showed when I                                                                    
     felt  scared, violated,  threatened; or  thank you  for                                                                    
     patiently  answering my  questions.   Those letters  of                                                                    
     thank  you from  the public  often mean  the most,  yet                                                                    
     many do not call to say thank you.                                                                                         
     Do  troopers and  officers do  their  duty without  our                                                                    
     appreciation?   Yes.  Do they  expect our appreciation?                                                                    
     No.  Does  appreciation encourage them to  come to work                                                                    
     and do well at their job?   Yes.  I have spent the last                                                                    
     23  years  living the  law  enforcement  life.   It  is                                                                    
     extremely   draining.     A   day   to  recognize   law                                                                    
     enforcement in  Alaska would mean  a great deal  to the                                                                    
     men and women in the  law enforcement community.  I ask                                                                    
     you   to  consider   HB  43   and  tell   Alaska's  law                                                                    
       enforcement their sacrifice and risk have not gone                                                                       
8:47:01 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE  CHAIR  KELLER  indicated  that  [Ms.  Johnson's  testimony]                                                               
certainly confirms  the value  of the  proposed legislation.   He                                                               
said, "We are deeply indebted to our law enforcement officers."                                                                 
8:47:12 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR  KELLER closed public testimony  after ascertaining no                                                               
one further wished to testify.                                                                                                  
8:48:23 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR KELLER  noted that in the committee  packet were three                                                               
amendments from Representative Gruenberg,  and asked if all three                                                               
were intended to be moved for adoption.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG answered  no.   He  explained that  the                                                               
amendment  labeled  "\W.3" was  a  combination  of the  amendment                                                               
already adopted and the forthcoming amendment.                                                                                  
8:48:45 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS   moved  to  adopt   Amendment  2,                                                               
labeled 29-LS0242\W.1, Shutts, 2/2/15, which read as follows:                                                                   
     Page 1, line 7, following "observed by":                                                                                   
          Insert "                                                                                                              
     Page 1, line 7, following "public":                                                                                        
          Insert ";                                                                                                             
               (2)  activities directed at encouraging                                                                          
     people  of all  ages to  increase their  involvement in                                                                    
     preventing  and   reporting  crimes,   assisting  peace                                                                    
     officers  with   solving  crimes,  and   keeping  their                                                                    
     communities safe"                                                                                                          
VICE CHAIR KELLER objected for the purpose of discussion.                                                                       
8:49:03 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  stated  that  Amendment  2  would  add                                                               
language  encouraging people  to  help  law enforcement  officers                                                               
maintain the peace.  He opined  that Amendment 2 would not hinder                                                               
HB  43, but  would strengthen  it  by encouraging  people to  get                                                               
involved.   He stated,  "It was  to avoid  things like  the Kitty                                                               
Genovese case  ... where  people just stand  around and  don't do                                                               
8:49:58 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN  said  he thinks  the  proposed  legislation  already                                                               
encourages people's support, and Amendment 2 would be redundant.                                                                
8:50:27 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG said he  would support the withdrawal of                                                               
Amendment 2, if that was the wish of the prime sponsor.                                                                         
8:50:45 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE  CHAIR KELLER  expressed  his  wish for  Amendment  2 to  be                                                               
8:51:28 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  withdrew   his  motion  to  adopt                                                               
Amendment  2.   There being  no  objection, the  motion to  adopt                                                               
Amendment 2 was withdrawn.                                                                                                      
8:51:52 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG reiterated  his  understanding that  he                                                               
was not allowed  to vote via teleconference, and  related that he                                                               
supports [HB 43, as amended] and would give a "do pass."                                                                        
8:52:12 AM                                                                                                                    
[Due to technical difficulties sound was lost briefly.]                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  [moved to report CSHB  43, Version                                                               
29-LS0242\W, Shutts, 1/28/15, as  amended, out of committee] with                                                               
individual  recommendations and  the  accompanying fiscal  notes.                                                               
There being  no objection, CSHB  43(STA) was reported out  of the                                                               
House State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                         
8:52:36 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR KELLER handed the gavel back to Chair Lynn.                                                                          
8:52:41 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LYNN noted  that HB  43  was conceived  before the  recent                                                               
events  in Ferguson,  Missouri, and  New York  City.   He stated,                                                               
"Because these  things happen all  the time, we must  support our                                                               
law enforcement.   We have  a lot of problems,  we have a  lot of                                                               
challenges in  Alaska, but  unless we survive,  with the  help of                                                               
law enforcement and other first  responders, those problems don't                                                               
mean a heck of a lot."                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
01a HB43 Draft Proposed Blank CS ver W.pdf HSTA 2/3/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 43
01bHB43 Summary of Changes ver A to ver W.pdf HSTA 2/3/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 43
02 HB43 ver A.PDF HSTA 2/3/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 43
03 HB43 Sponsor Statement.pdf HSTA 2/3/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 43
04 HB43 Supporting Documents-APOA Statement.pdf HSTA 2/3/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 43
05 HB43 Supporting Documents-Article KTVA 1-9-15.pdf HSTA 2/3/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 43
06 HB43 Supporting Documents-Executive Proclamation 1-08-15.pdf HSTA 2/3/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 43
07 HB43 Supporting Documents-Letter Brad Johnson 1-28-2015.pdf HSTA 2/3/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 43
08 HB43 Supporting Documents-Letter Gary Folger 1-24-2015.pdf HSTA 2/3/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 43
09 HB43 Supporting Documents-Letter Gerard Asselin 1-24-2015.pdf HSTA 2/3/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 43
10 HB43 Supporting Documents-Letter Jake Metcalfe 1-26-2015.pdf HSTA 2/3/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 43
11 HB43 Supporting Documents-Legal Memo.pdf HSTA 2/3/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 43
12 HB43-LEG-SESS-01-27-2015.pdf HSTA 2/3/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 43