Legislature(1995 - 1996)
03/21/1995 09:15 AM FIN
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SENATE BILL NO. 82 "An Act relating to revocation of a driver's license for illegal possession or use of a controlled substance or illegal possession or consumption of alcohol by a person at least 13 but not yet 21 years of age; and providing for an effective date." Co-chair Halford took up HB 21 which is the companion bill to SB 82. He invited Marveen Coggins, Legislative Aide to Representative Toohey to join the table. Ms. Coggins testified in support of HB 21. (Testimony is attached.) Subsequently, Co-chair Halford asked Senator Miller, as sponsor of SB 82, to speak to HB 21. Senator Miller, as representative of District Q, stated that SB 82 "relates to revocation of a driver's license for illegal possession or use of a controlled substance or illegal possession or consumption of alcohol by a person at least 13 but not yet 21 years of age". SB 82 does not relate to firearms. In his investigation, the only difference is that most of this activity happens in the city of Anchorage. The city of Fairbanks, unlike the testimony that was given, changes under state statute because they do not have their own city ordinance regarding minor consumption. The vast majority is under the Anchorage law. As a matter of fact, over 50% of the cases which relate to minors and alcohol does come under this statute rather than state law. It has shown to be a strong deterrent to teenage drinking and drug use because they can identify with loosing their driver's license. It'll be the committee's decision to decide upon firearm use. Co-chair Halford questioned municipal ordinances regarding firearm provisions. Senator Donley agreed to the concern and talked about the general conformity of municipal ordinances with state law. He inquired as to the provisions within this legislation that require the municipal ordinance to be substantially similar to the state law? Further, he noted an incidence where state and municipal law were not in agreement. He cited an incidence involving the city of Anchorage. Municipal law has made it illegal for women to carry mace in their purses. This action made it necessary for the Legislature to legislate a statute to make it legal for people to carry defensive weapons. He stated he supported this legislation, but wanted parameters surrounding the kinds of ordinances they can adopt to make it apply. Discussion was had on alcohol related violations, and firearm violations pertaining to the revocation of the driver's license. Co-chair Halford asked that Margot Knuth, Department of Law, Criminal Section, and Juanita Hensley, Department of Public Safety, Driver Services, to join the committee. Ms. Knuth, noted that there is a difference between what the department is doing with "Use it/Loose it" for alcohol and firearms. The difference which applies to firearms in section 28.15.185, requires a court conviction or adjudication for the offense. She suggested the committee consider changing words on page 3, line 25, "or municipal ordinance...", to read, "with substantially similar elements", it would maintain the intent of the bill. Senator Rieger asked if the language in sections 1 and 2 was as clear as in section 5? Ms. Knuth responded that the way the draft reads, each of the places where it says, "or municipal ordinance" does tie back to either the alcohol or controlled substance section and adds or extends it for those violations. Senator Rieger asked for clarity on the draft language. Ms. Knuth answered that if there is an ambiguity in the statute, it always gets held against the state. She stated that the language does require the citation be for the offense that is the focus of these proceedings. She stated that there are provisions that require the factual basis for the citation. It would be very difficult to say, "here is the factual basis for the conduct", and "here is a citation that does not relate to it". Senator Rieger stated his fear of a presumption of guilt until innocent. He noted that with this legislation, the police officer can take the driver's license before the adjudication or conviction. The only protection for the victim is through the request of an administrative review. There is a presumption of guilt based on probable cause. Ms. Knuth disagrees with a presumption of guilt. When charged with a criminal offense and a trial is set, it indicates respect for the charge. She stated that there is an ability to request a hearing at which the defendant asks the state to prove its case. The defendant does not have to make an affirmative showing that they were not drinking, the burden remains with the government to show that there was a violation. Anytime there are charges, there is enough from the charge to keep the proceedings going along and to hold a factual adjudication. There is the option to choose a hearing, that is a right. Senator Rieger asked if there is an adjudication is there a conviction? Ms. Knuth stated that adjudications do not result in convictions. He asked how to satisfy the language on page 4, lines 3-9. He asked if not convicted because it was not in adjudication then nothing is done under paragraph 2? Ms. Knuth responded to start on page 3, lines 28-31. In speaking to a juvenile adjudication, the language, "if convicted", should also be read to include, "adjudicated". Otherwise, there is a situation where the license is lost because of adjudication for an offense and cannot be restored unless convicted of the offense, which the law does not intend. Senator Rieger expressed his concerns with small town convictions and revocation of driver's licenses. Ms. Knuth defined "probable cause" as evidence that uncontroverted, would lead a reasonable person to believe that the offense was committed beyond reasonable doubt. Discussion was had on "probably cause". Co-chair Halford determined that this bill will be first on the agenda tomorrow. He stated that the fiscal note and Letter of Intent do not make sense as they read. The Letter of Intent may be applying to last years revenue. ADJOURNMENT The meeting was adjourned at approximately 11:00 a.m.