Legislature(2023 - 2024)BUTROVICH 205
03/08/2023 01:30 PM Senate JUDICIARY
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|Presentation(s): Alaska Bar Rule 43.5 and the Community Justice Worker Program by Nikole Nelson, Executive Director Alaska Legal Services Corporation|
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 12-ADDRESS CONFIDENTIALITY PROGRAM 1:32:28 PM CHAIR CLAMAN announced the consideration of SENATE BILL NO. 12 "An Act relating to confidentiality of information; relating to the duties of the Department of Administration; creating an address confidentiality program; and providing for an effective date." [Before the committee was CSSB 12(STA), work order 33-LS0162/U] SENATOR JESSE KIEHL, District B, Alaska State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, Sponsor of SB 12 paraphrased the sponsor statement. SB 12 creates an address protection program for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, peace officers and correctional officers, and their families. Alaska is one of only nine states without any form of address protection program. A person needs an address to vote, drive, work and send children to school. When an address shows up in a public record, a person seeking safety from a stalker or abuser faces unnecessary danger. Alaska law enforcement professionals also face threats of retribution. An address protection program gives those Alaskans a tool to stay safe. Under SB 12, the state would retain a post office box and confidentially forward mail to the persons true address. He stressed that Alaskans with a protective order, public safety professionals, and their families deserve a chance to live safely. SENATOR KIEHL shared the impetus for the proposed legislation with a story about a former legislator who described her pre- legislative work in victim services. He remarked that participation in public life creates public records that often contain an address. Senator Tobin joined the hearing. SENATOR KIEHL furthered that the proposed legislation provides those with a protective order against a stalker or domestic violence assailant the opportunity to use a State of Alaska post office box. The victims official mail is forwarded to their true mailing address with confidentiality protections. The bill enables a victim to bypass the creation of a public record that could lead an assailant to them. SENATOR KIEHL stated that the bill also includes a provision for Peace Officers and Correction Officers. The provision was included in the bill because of an illegal online effort to disclose police officer addresses and locations of their childrens schools. He added that SB 12 does not have the power to erase a presence from the internet. The bill language is directed at cases where a person truly restarted their lives after surviving domestic violence or has a career in public safety. The address protection registry under SB 12 can be used to keep families safe. CHAIR CLAMAN asked about the sectional analysis and changes made in the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee. 1:37:06 PM ELLA ADKINSON, Staff for Senator Kiehl, Alaska State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska provided a sectional analysis. SB 12 version U: Address Protection Sectional Analysis Sec. 1: Puts the program in the Department of Administration. Sec. 2: Creates the program. (b) requires a Post Office Box as a substitute mailing address for enrollees and instructs the department to forward mail to participants. It charges the department with protecting confidentiality and requires regulations to govern enrollment and withdrawal. (c) describes eligible participants as people sheltered by a protective order and their parents, guardians, children, and household members. It also admits peace officers and correctional officers. (d) requires state and municipal agencies to accept the P.O. Box. (e) describes the eligibility period. (f) forbids the department from charging a fee. (g) allows access to confidential addresses subject to a search warrant. (h) establishes penalties for unlawfully revealing a protected individual's address. (i) defines certain terms. Sec. 3: Establishes a transition period for the department to adopt regulations to implement the program. Sec. 4: Lets the department begin its regulation process immediately. Sec. 5: Sets an effective date of Jan. 1, 2024, for the rest of the bill. SENATOR KIEHL reviewed the changes in the committee substitute. The root version of the bill placed strictures on the court system for Peace Officer and Correctional Officer addresses. The court system has a long-standing system of allowing police officers to list their work address when they are asked to be in court. Learning this prompted the removal of those provisions from the bill. He mentioned another deletion of a protective order that involves protecting minors and people with disabilities from the financial dissipation of assets, which are not safety concerns. Lastly, the changes fine-tuned the definition of household members who might participate in the registry. Summary of Changes for SB 12 Bill Version B to U 1. Section 1, page 1 line 5-11 has been deleted 2. Section 2, page 1 line 12-page 2 line 11 has been deleted 3. Section 3, page 2 line 12-page 3 line 2 has been deleted 4. Section 4, page 3 line 3-16 has been deleted 5. Section 6(c)(3), page 4 line 30-31 has been deleted 6. Section 6(i)(4), page 6 line 18, has been amended, removing "another individual" and replacing it with "an individual enrolled in the program" 1:39:53 PM CHAIR CLAMAN recalled concerns about the fiscal note in the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee hearing on SB 12. SENATOR KIEHL replied that the Department of Administration refined their fiscal note. The fiscal impact to the bill relates to personal services as the new program requires two staff members. SENATOR TOBIN was interested in the definition of Peace Officer. She read that the definition includes United States Marshal. She wondered if the program would apply to a federal law officer commissioned as a state trooper. 1:41:32 PM SENATOR KIEHL responded that the bill uses the broad definition of the statutes in Title 1. He offered to provide concrete data but believed that all police officers would qualify for the program. 1:42:02 PM SENATOR KAUFMAN asked about commercial mail forwarding services. He wondered if a forwarding service might provide a different option. 1:42:41 PM SENATOR KIEHL responded that the bill addresses the minimal provision of forwarding mail necessary to participate in public life. He pointed out that the program does not serve as a forwarding service for Amazon packages. The effort of the legislation is to enable people to live life without creating public records. He remarked that the legislation matches that of 41 other states. The precise implementation was left to the Department of Administration who was unable to find a commercial service that could offer the needed protection at this time. SENATOR KAUFMAN appreciated the response. He has family members who use commercial mail forwarding services, and he looked forward to discussing it further with the sponsor offline. 1:45:08 PM CHAIR CLAMAN moved to invited testimony. 1:45:27 PM SUZI PEARSON, Director, Abused Women's Aid In Crisis, Anchorage, Alaska, testified in support of SB 12. She stated that people living in domestic violence shelters require alternative mail options to protect safety. 1:47:08 PM KEELEY OLSON, Director, Standing Together Against Rape, Anchorage, Alaska, testified in support of SB 12. She mentioned working with a similar program in Washington. The accessible programs are available in up to 40 states nationwide. She advocated for public servants and law enforcement officers. 1:49:34 PM MICHAEL RADGOSKY, President, Police Officers Association, Fairbanks, Alaska, testified in support of SB 12. He opined that the proposed legislation benefits law enforcement officers. He appreciated knowing that his loved ones at home are protected by having their personal location secured from exposure. 1:50:24 PM RANDY MCLELLAN, President, Alaska Correctional Officers Association, Anchorage, Alaska, testified in support of SB 12. He stated that Alaska had approximately 950 correctional officers spread among 12 different facilities across the state. He noted that physical assault and threats of harm against correctional officers and their families are commonplace. He stated that SB 12 helps ensure that correctional officers and their families personal information remains private and confidential. 1:51:32 PM CHAIR CLAMAN opened public testimony on SB 12. After ascertaining that no one in the room or online wished to testify, he closed public testimony. CHAIR CLAMAN held SB 12 in committee for further review.