Legislature(2021 - 2022)BUTROVICH 205
03/30/2021 01:30 PM HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES
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SB 92-MISSING PERSONS UNDER 21 YEARS OLD 1:32:15 PM CHAIR WILSON announced the consideration of SENATE BILL NO. 92 "An Act relating to missing persons under 21 years of age." 1:33:09 PM RANDI BREAGER, Legislative Liaison, Department of Public Safety, Anchorage, Alaska, thanked the committee for hearing SB 92, reviewed the documents in the bill packets, and deferred to Ms. Monfreda to introduce the bill. 1:34:26 PM KATHRYN MONFREDA, Director, Statewide Services, Department. of Public Safety, Anchorage, Alaska, stated the purpose of this bill is to bring state laws into conformity with federal laws pertaining to the reporting of missing persons between 18 and 21. Federal laws from 2003 (Suzanne's Law) and 2006 (Adam Walsh Act) require law enforcement to enter missing person information into the National Crime Information Center (NCIC) database within 2 hours of being reported missing if they are under 21 years of age. 1:35:44 PM MS. MONFREDA reported that Alaska's missing persons laws have not been amended since enactment in the mid to late 1980's. AS 18.16.620 requires law enforcement to report missing minors to the states Missing Persons Clearinghouse, if not located within 48 hours of being reported missing. AS 47.10.141 requires missing minors be reported to the Alaska Public Safety Information Network (APSIN) and National Crime Information Center (NCIC) with 24 hours after a report is completed. AS 47.10.390 defines a runaway minor as a person under the age of 18. MS. MONFREDA said slide 4 summarizes the proposed changes to bring state law into conformity with federal law. All missing persons under age 21, instead of the state requirement of age 18, are entered into the state and national databases within 2 hours versus the current state requirement of 24 hours. MS. MONFREDA advised that most state and local law enforcement agencies have enacted training to meet the more restrictive federal requirements. Many agencies currently comply and changes to the Alaska Public Safety Information Network's programming is completed. 1:37:05 PM MS. MONFREDA stated the benefits of enacting this law are the removal of conflicting and less restrictive state statutory requirements, faster state and nationwide notification for missing person under 21 years of age, and improved response for the vulnerable, college-age population. Upon being entered into the national system, The Center for Exploited and Missing Children is notified and proactively assists in investigations. 1:37:33 PM MS. MONFREDA presented the sectional analysis for SB 92. Section 1 removes the reference to AS 47.10.141 in AS 18.65.620, since the time required for entering a missing person into APSIN and NCIC is specified in AS 18.65.620. Section 2 adds a subsection to AS 18.65,620 which specifies law enforcement must report a missing person under the age of 21 to APSIN and NCIC within 2 hours of completing the report. Law enforcement must remove the information no later than 24 hours after learning a person has been located. Section 3 amends AS 47.10.141(a) by removing language pertaining to the time of entry and the time of removal from the state and national databases, since this is now specified in AS 18.65.620. The bill will become effective 90 days after being signed. 1:38:41 PM SENATOR REINBOLD asked why the bill is being proposed now when changes to federal law occurred in 2003 and 2006. She questioned whether the funds Congress passed for indigenous women and children served as an impetus. MS. MONFREDA responded she thinks the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women is partially responsible for bringing this to the forefront. The department has also been taking a hard look as missing persons. She noted the bill was proposed previously but failed to advance. Department of Public Safety proposed it again this year and the governor accepted it for introduction. SENATOR REINBOLD requested confirmation that nothing triggered the bill other than it is correcting a long-standing gap in conformity. MS. MONFREDA stated that is correct. She reiterated that since law enforcement already trains to the federal standard, the bill is a formality to make the laws match. 1:40:47 PM CHAIR WILSON recalled one of the slides stated most local law enforcement agencies are now complying with federal law. He asked how law enforcement statewide would be notified if changes to the statute were made and how many agencies are not in compliance with the change. MS. MONFREDA replied agencies are audited for compliance. She said she does not have the exact number but she has been informed most agencies are complying. CHAIR WILSON asked her to provide compliance numbers to the committee. MS. MONFREDA agreed to provide the information. 1:41:42 PM SENATOR HUGHES asked what information is entered into a missing persons under age 21 database and how it compares to what is entered for an adult. MS. MONFREDA stated there are two methods for entering information. The Missing Persons Clearinghouse, which is notified within 24 hours of a person missing and the NCIC and APSIN systems which are primarily for law enforcement use. The APSIN and NCIC systems include a basic description of the person: name, sex, race, height, weight, last seen wearing and vehicle description, if pertinent. The department hopes to replace its system with modern technology capable of including photos. Once the Missing Persons Clearinghouse starts its investigation, they will add photos, and any other descriptive information, including dental records. In addition to the Missing Persons Clearinghouse receiving this information, it is public information. The department also puts out flyers. 1:44:20 PM SENATOR HUGHES requested she comment on any differences in reporting between minors and adults. MS. MONFREDA stated there is no difference in reporting. As much information is obtained as possible regardless of age. 1:44:39 PM CHAIR WILSON opened public testimony on SB92, ascertained there was none and closed public testimony. 1:45:15 PM MS. BREAGER, thanked the committee for hearing the bill. 1:45:35 PM SENATOR REINBOLD stated she has been unsuccessful in tracking what happened to the millions of dollars from the federal government for missing women and children. She asked if anyone knows where the money is. 1:45:58 PM MS. BREAGER answered that the mysticism surrounding the money is partly due to federal government announcements of funds that had been granted to Alaska for several years. She clarified that $6 million of new money was received through the Emergency Federal Law Enforcement Assistance (EFLEA) grant program as a direct result of Attorney General Barr's violence against women disaster declaration, following his visit to the state. The Department of Public Safety applied for the grant. The funds were specifically to improve rural public safety facilities. The Department of Commerce, Community and Economic Development (DCCED) managed the funds but did not retain any, not even for administrative costs. Funds were fully granted to local rural communities. Most of the projects were upgrading office facilities and jail cells. Funds were also provided to small community village and tribal police groups. Ms. Breager believes the funds also benefited two Village Public Safety Officer (VPSO) programs SENATOR REINBOLD asked if a decrease in missing women and children has been achieved and if prosecutions have increased so that villages, rural communities and even larger communities are safer. 1:48:23 PM MS. BREAGER replied that the $6 million grant was all for capital funds. It did not go to hiring Public Safety Officers or personnel. The designs for the funds were infrastructure, as this was acknowledged as a consistent need when Attorney General Barr traveled the state. SENATOR REINBOLD stated the reply was helpful. 1:49:03 PM CHAIR WILSON held SB 92 in committee.