Legislature(2017 - 2018)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/02/2018 01:30 PM Senate JUDICIARY

Note: the audio and video recordings are distinct records and are obtained from different sources. As such there may be key differences between the two. The audio recordings are captured by our records offices as the official record of the meeting and will have more accurate timestamps. Use the icons to switch between them.

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

Audio Topic
01:33:09 PM Start
01:35:34 PM SJR14
02:06:59 PM Confirmation Hearing(s): Select Committee on Legislative Ethics
02:11:36 PM HB312
02:43:28 PM SB148
02:45:04 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Consideration of Appointee: TELECONFERENCED
Dennis "Skip" Cook, Select Committee on
Legislative Ethics
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
Moved SB 148 Out of Committee
         SJR 14-CONST. AM: PARENTAL CONSENT TO ABORTION                                                                     
1:35:34 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL announced the consideration of SJR 14.                                                                            
1:36:07 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR DONNY  OLSON, Alaska  State Legislature,  Juneau, Alaska,                                                               
sponsor  of  SJR  14,  provided  a  summary  of  the  legislation                                                               
speaking to the following sponsor statement:                                                                                    
     Parents alone have the sole  duty and responsibility of                                                                    
     raising their children,  providing for their education,                                                                    
     sustenance,   and   spiritual  wellbeing.   Any   legal                                                                    
     provision, guideline, statute,  or ordinance infringing                                                                    
     upon that  fundamental principle  and right  of parents                                                                    
     should be changed.                                                                                                         
     Senate  Joint Resolution  14 proposes  an amendment  to                                                                    
     the   Alaska  Constitution   creating  a   new  section                                                                    
     allowing  the legislature  OR  the  people through  the                                                                    
     initiative  process  to  have  the  option  to  require                                                                    
     notice to  and the consent  of the parent or  the legal                                                                    
     guardian  of a  minor before  the minor's  pregnancy is                                                                    
     It   is  a   well-established  principle   that  before                                                                    
     treating  a patient,  a physician  or other  healthcare                                                                    
     provider must obtain the consent  of that patient. This                                                                    
     proposition  becomes less  clear  when treating  minors                                                                    
     and  physicians are  often faced  with the  question of                                                                    
     just  who  may  consent  to treatment  and  under  what                                                                    
     circumstances?  This  resolution  is a  first  step  to                                                                    
     clarify this vital issue.                                                                                                  
SENATOR  OLSON advised  that  the resolution  is  the first  step                                                               
toward putting  the question of amending  the Alaska Constitution                                                               
for this specific purpose before  the voters. He cited Article I,                                                               
Section  2  as  the  authorizing authority.  He  noted  that  the                                                               
resolution   is  a   response  to   the  2010   [Alaska  Parental                                                               
Notification  Initiative] that  the Alaska  Supreme Court  struck                                                               
down.  He emphasized  that  political power  is  inherent in  the                                                               
people,  not  the five  judges  that  everyone  looks up  to  and                                                               
greatly respects.                                                                                                               
1:43:37 PM                                                                                                                    
JIM   PUCKETT,  Staff,   Senator   Donny   Olson,  Alaska   State                                                               
Legislature,  Juneau, Alaska,  stated that  SJR 14  provides that                                                               
Article I, Constitution of the  State of Alaska, would be amended                                                               
by  adding a  new Section  26 titled  "Notice and  Consent before                                                               
Termination  of   Minor's  Pregnancy.   This  section   could  be                                                               
implemented by  the legislature or  by initiative.  The amendment                                                               
proposed by the  resolution would be placed before  the voters at                                                               
the next general election.                                                                                                      
1:44:53 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked what happens  in the circumstance of a                                                               
child who is a ward of the state.                                                                                               
MR. PUCKETT  replied it could  be handled  the same way  that the                                                               
state  currently  handles  the  situation of  a  pregnant  foster                                                               
child, although he did not know what that was.                                                                                  
CHAIR COGHILL pointed  out that the resolution  provides that the                                                               
section would be implemented by law.                                                                                            
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked how the resolution defines a minor.                                                                  
MR. PUCKETT said the state defines a  minor as a person age 18 or                                                               
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  asked if a  married 17-year-old  would need                                                               
parental consent to obtain an abortion.                                                                                         
MR. PUCKETT replied  that will be addressed  should the amendment                                                               
be put in place.                                                                                                                
SENATOR  OLSON offered  his  understanding that  a  minor who  is                                                               
married would be emancipated.                                                                                                   
CHAIR COGHILL added that a 16-year-old can be emancipated.                                                                      
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI said he was  trying to frame the extent that                                                               
a parent has rights over their  minor child's body. He asked if a                                                               
parent could force their 15-year-old child to have an abortion.                                                                 
MR. PUCKETT  replied, "We're  dealing with  the consent,  not the                                                               
parents forcing them to do something."  He added that in school a                                                               
parent must  consent to  their child seeing  the school  nurse or                                                               
going on a field trip.                                                                                                          
SENATOR COSTELLO  recalled a  proposition that  said a  child who                                                               
was  pregnant and  could not  go  to their  parents could  appear                                                               
before a judge.  She asked if the legislature would  need to work                                                               
out the details, should this pass.                                                                                              
1:49:09 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. PUCKETT  said Ballot  Measure 2  allowed the  minor to  go to                                                               
court  to authorize  an  abortion without  giving  notice to  the                                                               
parent or  guardian. It  also made  it a felony  for a  doctor to                                                               
notify the parents of the minor's intent to have an abortion.                                                                   
CHAIR  COGHILL added  that  the issue  of  judicial bypass  could                                                               
again be up for debate should  this question get to the people of                                                               
SENATOR  COSTELLO  asked  if the  legislature  would  handle  the                                                               
regulatory details if the constitution is changed.                                                                              
SENATOR OLSON  replied that  is his  understanding, but  he would                                                               
prefer to  delay any  discussion of the  details until  after the                                                               
people have spoken about what they want in the constitution.                                                                    
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI  asked the  intent  regarding  the type  of                                                               
notice and  consent. Is the notice  verbal or written and  is the                                                               
consent from the parent to the child and the doctor?                                                                            
MR. PUCKETT said those details would  be worked out later, but it                                                               
seems reasonable that the consent would be written.                                                                             
1:52:10 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI  asked if  a  doctor  would be  subject  to                                                               
criminal  penalties  if  he/she  performed  an  abortion  without                                                               
parental consent.                                                                                                               
MR.  PUCKETT replied  that  detail  would be  worked  out in  the                                                               
1:52:35 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KELLY   pointed  out  that   the  resolution   says  the                                                               
legislature  shall  implement the  section  by  law in  a  manner                                                               
consistent with  the requirements  of the U.S.  Constitution. The                                                               
details are left to the legislature to work out.                                                                                
MR. PUCKETT  agreed and read  the legislative oath of  office. He                                                               
said legislators  will take care of  the details that arise  as a                                                               
result in the change to the constitution.                                                                                       
SENATOR KELLY it's also important  for the legislature to realize                                                               
that  the constitutional  amendment regarding  privacy also  says                                                               
that the  legislature shall  implement this by  law and  that has                                                               
mostly been ignored by the courts.                                                                                              
MR. PUCKETT said  the sponsor's intent is for the  people to have                                                               
an opportunity to make their will very clear.                                                                                   
1:54:59 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI disagreed  that  all the  details would  be                                                               
decided by the  legislature in the future. He  said he interprets                                                               
the entire  first sentence as  a fundamental change in  the state                                                               
constitution. Thus,  the legislative  history on what  is notice,                                                               
what is consent, who is a legal  guardian, and what is a minor is                                                               
very  relevant and  will override  the second  sentence. He  said                                                               
things that  are defined in  this room are critical  because that                                                               
legislative history will inform the  court when these issues come                                                               
up in court cases, which they undoubtedly will.                                                                                 
He asked if a minor has  constitutional rights to decide when and                                                               
if they want to start a family.                                                                                                 
MR. PUCKETT replied, "I believe, in  Alaska there is an age where                                                               
they can legally go get married on their own."                                                                                  
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked if a  15-year-old has parenting rights                                                               
over her child  or if that minor's parents  have parenting rights                                                               
over their grandchild.                                                                                                          
CHAIR COGHILL suggested the sponsor respond.                                                                                    
1:57:44 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR OLSON said he didn't have  answers to all the details. He                                                               
wants the  people of  Alaska to  decide if  they want  parents to                                                               
consent to this surgical procedure.                                                                                             
CHAIR COGHILL said  he wanted the sponsor to hear  the first line                                                               
of questions  so he could begin  to think about the  language and                                                               
how  it  might  be  challenged.  The  questions  are  appropriate                                                               
because  the  definitions are  something  that  will need  to  be                                                               
fleshed out. He  said he generally agrees that  the people should                                                               
reinforce what the legislature is trying to define.                                                                             
He asked  Senator Wielechowski  if he had  anything more  for the                                                               
committee and sponsor to consider.                                                                                              
1:59:39 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI  questioned  whether this  should  just  be                                                               
limited  to the  termination of  pregnancy. If  not, he  asked if                                                               
Section I should  say that notice and consent  is required before                                                               
any medical procedure is done.                                                                                                  
MR. PUCKETT replied, "It's already  a reality that just about any                                                               
other type of medical procedure that  needs to be done on a minor                                                               
needs consent from a parent."                                                                                                   
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI   replied  that   is  false   and  directed                                                               
attention to AS 25.20.025.                                                                                                      
MR.  PUCKETT named  abortion, treatment  of sexually  transmitted                                                               
disease and noted there is a third item.                                                                                        
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI read  paragraph (1)  and part  of paragraph                                                               
(2) of Sec.  25.20.025(a). He questioned saying a  minor must get                                                               
consent  to terminate  a pregnancy,  but not  for anything  else,                                                               
including major surgery.                                                                                                        
MR. PUCKETT said  he stands corrected; he didn't  think about the                                                               
exceptions  in  current law.  He  asked  Senator Wielechowski  to                                                               
restate the original question.                                                                                                  
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  asked the  reasoning for singling  out this                                                               
one medical situation.                                                                                                          
2:01:45 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR KELLY  said the  answer is that  the courts  have singled                                                               
out abortion as  having special rights to the  point that parents                                                               
do not  have rights.  In other situations,  the courts  have been                                                               
fairly reasonable about requiring the  consent of the parent. The                                                               
resolution  seeks to  put  abortion on  that  reasonable list  of                                                               
things to which parents should give consent.                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL  asked the sponsor to  do a little research  on the                                                               
areas where  there is an  exception to the parental  consent rule                                                               
and the  litigation that  followed Roe  v. Wade.  The idea  is to                                                               
understand  the  line  of thinking  that  makes  this  resolution                                                               
SENATOR OLSON said he understands that  Roe v. Wade is the law of                                                               
the land  and SJR 14  is not an attack  on that. He  continued to                                                               
     This is  the idea that I  as a parent who  has children                                                                    
     that are  younger girls    but more importantly  that I                                                                    
     as an  Alaskan, whether I'm  in the legislature  or not                                                                    
     in the legislature,  have got the ability  to make sure                                                                    
     that  if a  majority of  us have  an idea  and we  want                                                                    
     something   done,  that   there  is   a  constitutional                                                                    
     protection that if we vote  a certain way, we want this                                                                    
     done this  way that the  courts don't have  the ability                                                                    
     to overturn it.                                                                                                            
     We've got  a five-judge panel  out there, many  of whom                                                                    
     aren't  even   from  the  state  of   Alaska  that  are                                                                    
     overturning what people from  the state of Alaska voted                                                                    
     on.  And  that's what  I'm  trying  to do.  That's  the                                                                    
     bottom line of  what I want to say. Is  if we've got an                                                                    
     initiative that passes, I want  that listened to and if                                                                    
     that's   being   overturned   then   a   constitutional                                                                    
     amendment  needs to  be drawn  up and  that's why  I've                                                                    
     drawn it.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR KELLY  said most  of the  things like  what is  a parent,                                                               
what is  a minor, and  what are  the circumstances under  which a                                                               
parent has  control are  defined in statute  and work  quite well                                                               
until it comes to abortion. The courts treat that differently.                                                                  
CHAIR COGHILL  said he asked  the sponsor for the  information so                                                               
there would be a good  record. Because "termination of pregnancy"                                                               
has  been highly  litigated through  the years,  it is  important                                                               
that each  word and the  intent is  clear going forward.  He said                                                               
that's  what Senator  Wielechowski is  getting to  and he  agrees                                                               
with that point.                                                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL  thanked the sponsor  and held SJR 14  in committee                                                               
for future consideration.                                                                                                       

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 312 - Sectional Summary (ver. O).pdf SJUD 3/2/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 312
HB 312 - Letters of Support #1.pdf SJUD 3/2/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 312
HB 312 - Letters of Support #2.pdf SJUD 3/2/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 312
HB 312 - Sponsor Statement.pdf SJUD 3/2/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 312
HB 312 - Supporting Document - Stable for Discharge Definition.pdf SJUD 3/2/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 312
HB 312 - Letter of Opposition.pdf SJUD 3/2/2018 1:30:00 PM
HB 312
SJR 14 - Sponsor Statement.pdf SJUD 3/2/2018 1:30:00 PM
SJR 14
SJR 14 - Version A.PDF SJUD 3/2/2018 1:30:00 PM
SJR 14
Skip Cook Resume.pdf SJUD 3/2/2018 1:30:00 PM