Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/21/1995 09:15 AM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= 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                 
  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.                             
  The meeting was adjourned at approximately 11:00 a.m.                        

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