Legislature(2005 - 2006)HOUSE FINANCE 519

02/28/2006 01:30 PM FINANCE

Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as

* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHB 380(FIN) Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
                  HOUSE FINANCE COMMITTEE                                                                                       
                     February 28, 2006                                                                                          
                         1:46 P.M.                                                                                              
CALL TO ORDER                                                                                                                 
Co-Chair Meyer called the House  Finance Committee meeting to                                                                   
order at 1:46:36 PM.                                                                                                          
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Representative Mike Chenault, Co-Chair                                                                                          
Representative Kevin Meyer, Co-Chair                                                                                            
Representative Bill Stoltze, Vice-Chair                                                                                         
Representative Richard Foster                                                                                                   
Representative Mike Hawker                                                                                                      
Representative Mike Kelly                                                                                                       
Representative Beth Kerttula                                                                                                    
Representative Carl Moses                                                                                                       
Representative Bruce Weyhrauch                                                                                                  
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Representative Jim Holm                                                                                                         
Representative Reggie Joule                                                                                                     
ALSO PRESENT                                                                                                                  
Representative  Mark  Neuman;   Senator  Con  Bunde;  Senator                                                                   
Gretchen Guess;  Mike Pawlowski, Staff, Representative  Kevin                                                                   
Meyer;  Rex  Shattuck,  Staff,  Representative  Mark  Neuman;                                                                   
Sueann Williams  testified for  Bob Loescher, Spirit  Village                                                                   
Inc.,  Juneau;   Dr.  Robert  Gerlack,  State   Veterinarian,                                                                   
Anchorage; Kristin Ryan, Director,  Division of Environmental                                                                   
Health, Department of Environmental Conservation                                                                                
PRESENT VIA TELECONFERENCE                                                                                                    
Louisa Castrodale,  Division of Public Health,  Department of                                                                   
Health & Social Services, Anchorage;  Steve Mulder, Assistant                                                                   
Attorney  General, Department  of Law,  Anchorage; Rob  Arno,                                                                   
Alaska  Outdoor  Council  (AOC),   Mat-Su;  Larry  DeVilbiss,                                                                   
Director,  Division  of Agriculture,  Department  of  Natural                                                                   
Resources;  Quinlan   Steiner,  Director,   Public  Defender,                                                                   
Department  of  Administration,   Anchorage;  Ginger  Bryant,                                                                   
South Peninsula Haven House, Homer;  Christine Kernak, Tundra                                                                   
Woman's   Coalition,   Bethel;   Nicole   Songer,   Executive                                                                   
Director,  Cordova  Family  Resource   Center,  Cordova;  Sue                                                                   
Christensen,  Administrative  Assistant, Bering  Sea  Women's                                                                   
Group, Nome;  Sabrina Fernandez, Assistant  Attorney General,                                                                   
Department of Law, Anchorage                                                                                                    
HB 353    An Act relating to sentences for sexual offenses.                                                                     
          HB 353 was HEARD and  HELD in Committee for further                                                                   
HB 380    An Act relating to the powers and duties of the                                                                       
          commissioner    of   environmental    conservation;                                                                   
          relating to animals,  animal products, agricultural                                                                   
          products,  and the  transportation  of animals  and                                                                   
          animal   products;  relating  to   the  employment,                                                                   
          appointment, and duties  of a state veterinarian by                                                                   
          the  commissioner  of  environmental  conservation;                                                                   
          relating  to  the  powers of  the  commissioner  of                                                                   
          natural resources regarding  agricultural products;                                                                   
          and providing for an effective date.                                                                                  
          CS HB 380 (FIN) was reported out of Committee with                                                                    
          a "no recommendation"  and with zero note #1 by the                                                                   
          Department of Natural Resources.                                                                                      
CS SB 218(FIN)                                                                                                                  
          An  Act   relating  to  sex  offenders   and  child                                                                   
          kidnappers; relating  to reporting of sex offenders                                                                   
          and   child   kidnappers;  relating   to   periodic                                                                   
          polygraph  examinations for sex offenders  released                                                                   
          on  probation or parole;  relating to  sexual abuse                                                                   
          of  a   minor;  relating  to  the   definitions  of                                                                   
          'aggravated  sex offense'  and 'child  kidnapping';                                                                   
          relating to  penalties for failure to  report child                                                                   
          abuse  or neglect; relating  to sentencing  for sex                                                                   
          offenders  and  habitual criminals;  and  providing                                                                   
          for an effective date.                                                                                                
          CS  SB 218 (FIN)  was HEARD  and HELD in  Committee                                                                   
          for further consideration.                                                                                            
HOUSE BILL NO. 380                                                                                                            
     An  Act  relating  to  the  powers  and  duties  of  the                                                                   
     commissioner of environmental  conservation; relating to                                                                   
     animals,  animal  products, agricultural  products,  and                                                                   
     the  transportation  of  animals  and  animal  products;                                                                   
     relating to  the employment, appointment,  and duties of                                                                   
     a   state   veterinarian    by   the   commissioner   of                                                                   
     environmental  conservation; relating  to the  powers of                                                                   
     the   commissioner   of  natural   resources   regarding                                                                   
     agricultural  products; and  providing for an  effective                                                                   
1:47:38 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair  Chenault MOVED  to ADOPT  work draft  #24-LS1469\Y,                                                                   
Bannister,  2/27/06, as the  version of  the bill before  the                                                                   
Committee.  There being NO OBJECTION, it was adopted.                                                                           
1:48:18 PM                                                                                                                    
MICHAEL   PAWLOWSKI,  STAFF,   REPRESENTATIVE  KEVIN   MEYER,                                                                   
provided  an overview  of  HB 380.   The  bill  is a  product                                                                   
resulting from  an interim work group between  the Department                                                                   
of Environmental  Conservation,  the Department  of Fish  and                                                                   
Game, the  Department of Natural  Resources and  the Division                                                                   
of Agriculture.  HB 380 provides  a repeal and reenactment of                                                                   
the powers  of the Department  of Environmental  Conservation                                                                   
and  the  statutes that  authorize  the  State  veterinarian.                                                                   
Most of those powers were passed  in 1949, prior to statehood                                                                   
and  do  not  adequately  reflect   present  threats,  facing                                                                   
Alaskans and animals in the State.                                                                                              
Mr.  Pawlowski   said  the  primary   problem  is   that  the                                                                   
definition  of  an  "animal",  historically  was  limited  to                                                                   
"livestock"; that  made sense in  the 1940's and  1950's when                                                                   
all  animals were  considered  "livestock."   The  Department                                                                   
currently has no  authority to quarantine an animal  if it is                                                                   
a pet  and not livestock.   Mr. Pawlowski reiterated  that HB
380 reflects cooperative efforts  between the above-mentioned                                                                   
departments.   He highlighted  changes made in  the committee                                                                   
   · Page 2, Lines 28-31, speaks to when the Department                                                                         
     adopts  regulations,  which  grant powers  regulated  in                                                                   
     that section.  The commissioner  should give substantial                                                                   
     weight  to  the  State standards.    Issues  arose  with                                                                   
     granting  authority already  existing in  statute.   The                                                                   
     concern   would  be  that   the  issue  would   reopened                                                                   
     regulatory  powers.     Also,  there  is   concern  that                                                                   
     standard   regulatory   practices,   when   related   to                                                                   
     livestock, can  be "messy".  The State does  not want to                                                                   
     open-the-door  for unnecessary  shut  downs in  industry                                                                   
1:51:48 PM                                                                                                                    
   · The second change highlights the controversial portions                                                                    
     of  the bill  in Section  3, the granting  of powers  to                                                                   
     inspect a premise.  The Department  of Natural Resources                                                                   
     and the Department of Environmental  Conservation govern                                                                   
     that  section   jointly.    The  key  between   the  two                                                                   
     departments  is what  product is  being regulated.   The                                                                   
     Department   of  Environmental   Conservation  has   the                                                                   
     oversight   of   animals   and  animal   products;   the                                                                   
     Department of Natural Resources has the oversight of                                                                       
     agriculture products.                                                                                                      
In the original  bill, the House Resources  Committee allowed                                                                   
the  inspection of  the  premise anytime  day  or night;  the                                                                   
proposed  bill returns  the  language to  hours  of a  normal                                                                   
business  day  and  adds:  "Anytime   that  the  Commissioner                                                                   
determines that  there is an  immediate threat to  the health                                                                   
or safety of an animal or the general public."                                                                                  
1:53:24 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Pawlowski  said, those were the main  changes, indicating                                                                   
other  minor   changes  that   would  be  addressed   through                                                                   
testimony and the amendments.                                                                                                   
1:53:50 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice  Chair  Stoltze  referenced  Section 4,  and  asked  why                                                                   
language   was   specifically    included,   delegating   the                                                                   
commissioner's  powers.     Mr.  Pawlowski   understood  that                                                                   
language related to the State  veterinarian and the manner in                                                                   
which  the   role  of   the  commissioner  and   veterinarian                                                                   
interact.   He referenced  Page 2,  Lines 23-26,  designating                                                                   
that authority  and requested  the Department answer  why the                                                                   
structure was placed into the bill.                                                                                             
1:55:35 PM                                                                                                                    
DR.  ROBERT GERLACK,  ALASKA STATE  VETERINARIAN,  ANCHORAGE,                                                                   
testified  that the bill  was introduced  to look at  disease                                                                   
problems existing  in Alaska.   He  spoke about diseases  now                                                                   
existing, which  are "crossing  the boundaries" between  pets                                                                   
and  livestock.    It  is known  that  the  diseases  can  be                                                                   
transmitted  not only  through the animals  but also  through                                                                   
the  animal  products.   Restricting  authority  to  specific                                                                   
categories  of   animals  would  leave  both   livestock  and                                                                   
wildlife  susceptible  to  health  threats.    He  emphasized                                                                   
certain diseases would have great impact on society.                                                                            
Dr.  Gerlack listed  diseases  that could  be transmitted  to                                                                   
products; the  avian influenza, African swine  fever and hoof                                                                   
and mouth.                                                                                                                      
1:58:28 PM                                                                                                                    
Dr. Gerlack explained that the  intent of the legislation was                                                                   
to expand  the authority  to protect  livestock industry  and                                                                   
animals on  farms new to the  industry as well  as addressing                                                                   
human public health concerns.                                                                                                   
2:01:46 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr. Gerlack offered to answer questions of the Committee.                                                                       
Vice Chair  Stoltze  noted Page  4, Section  4, and asked  if                                                                   
that reference  was to the  State veterinarian.   Mr. Gerlack                                                                   
advised the  language would allow  the State veterinarian  to                                                                   
be the  inspector but in situations,  in which an  area could                                                                   
not be attended, there would be  designating language for the                                                                   
appropriate authority to provide  the necessary investigation                                                                   
with trained personnel.                                                                                                         
2:02:58 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice  Chair Stoltze  supported someone  with the  appropriate                                                                   
expertise being given that authority  rather than a political                                                                   
2:03:53 PM                                                                                                                    
SABRINA FERNANDEZ, (TESTIFIED  VIA TELECONFERENCE), ASSISTANT                                                                   
ATTORNEY  GENERAL,  DEPARTMENT  OF  LAW,  offered  to  answer                                                                   
questions of the Committee.                                                                                                     
STEVE  MULDER,  (TESTIFIED  VIA   TELECONFERENCE),  ASSISTANT                                                                   
ATTORNEY GENERAL,  DEPARTMENT OF  LAW, ANCHORAGE,  noted that                                                                   
he was available for questions.                                                                                                 
LOUISA CASTRODALE,  (TESTIFIED VIA TELECONFERENCE),  DIVISION                                                                   
OF PUBLIC  HEALTH, DEPARTMENT  OF HEALTH  & SOCIAL  SERVICES,                                                                   
ANCHORAGE,  testified  on behalf  of Dr.  Richard  Mandsager,                                                                   
Director of  the Division of Public  Health.  She  noted that                                                                   
there offices was  in full support of the legislation.   They                                                                   
work closely  with the  State veterinarian;  it is  essential                                                                   
for those involved in the human  health field to be confident                                                                   
in animal quarantine and isolation authority.                                                                                   
2:05:50 PM                                                                                                                    
ROB  ARNO,  (TESTIFIED VIA  TELECONFERENCE),  ALASKA  OUTDOOR                                                                   
COUNCIL  (AOC),   MATSU,  mentioned   that  AOC's   statewide                                                                   
membership  depends on  a wild-food harvest  and members  are                                                                   
concerned  about the health  of that  harvest.  AOC  supports                                                                   
passage of HB 380.                                                                                                              
2:06:57 PM                                                                                                                    
LARRY  DEVILBISS, (TESTIFIED  VIA TELECONFERENCE),  DIRECTOR,                                                                   
DIVISION  OF AGRICULTURE,  DEPARTMENT  OF NATURAL  RESOURCES,                                                                   
ANCHORAGE, testified in support  of the proposed legislation.                                                                   
He stated  that the committee  substitute was  an improvement                                                                   
as it clarifies the role of each department.                                                                                    
2:08:20 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice  Chair Stoltze  noted  that commercial  fishermen  often                                                                   
were included in proposals of  this nature and asked why they                                                                   
were not.                                                                                                                       
2:10:13 PM                                                                                                                    
KRISTIN  RYAN, DIRECTOR,  DIVISION  OF ENVIRONMENTAL  HEALTH,                                                                   
DEPARTMENT  OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION,  advised  that the                                                                   
Department of Environmental Conservation  did include fish in                                                                   
their definition of animal products;  however, the Department                                                                   
of  Fish  and  Game  regulates  wild fish;  no  one  has  the                                                                   
authority  to regulate  "domestic" fish.   The definition  of                                                                   
agricultural products does not include fish.                                                                                    
Vice Chair Stoltze voiced his frustration.                                                                                      
2:11:30 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Kelly  asked  about  available  responses  to                                                                   
threats from  the avian flu.   Mr. Pawlowski  understood that                                                                   
the proposed legislation could  address the gaps in authority                                                                   
where  there is  no oversight  or  testing, letting  diseases                                                                   
"slip through the cracks".                                                                                                      
Dr. Gerlach  added that the intent  of HB 380 is  to identify                                                                   
other diseases  besides the avian  influenza, such  as monkey                                                                   
pokes coming into  this country with the import  of rats from                                                                   
Africa.   Some rats were intermixed  at a pet store  and from                                                                   
that, infection spread to a number  of people in the Midwest.                                                                   
The  legislation  provides  a  first  step  in  dealing  with                                                                   
situations  that  may be  problematic.   He  emphasized  that                                                                   
Alaska cannot always rely on voluntary cooperation.                                                                             
2:15:15 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice Chair  Stoltze asked  if there  was any circumstance  in                                                                   
which  rodents  could  be  regulated at  State  fairs.    Dr.                                                                   
Gerlach replied they would be  if they carried a disease that                                                                   
could impact people.                                                                                                            
2:15:57 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Meyer  MOVED to  ADOPT Amendment #1,  24-LS1469\Y.1,                                                                   
Bannister, 2/28/06,  which would delete all  material on Page                                                                   
2, Lines 21-22 and would insert:                                                                                                
     "(1)  Adopt a schedule  of fees  or charges, and  credit                                                                   
     provisions, for  services related to animals  and animal                                                                   
     products rendered  by state veterinarian to  farmers and                                                                   
     others at their  request, and all the receipts  from the                                                                   
     fees   and  charges   shall   be   transmitted  to   the                                                                   
     commissioner for deposit in the state treasury:".                                                                          
Vice Chair Stoltze OBJECTED.                                                                                                    
Mr. Pawlowski explained that Amendment  #1 addresses concerns                                                                   
voiced by  Representative Holm.   The concern was to  Page 2,                                                                   
Lines 21  & 22, determining  that the  fee authority  was too                                                                   
broad.   The  proposed  language goes  back  to the  original                                                                   
statute and  keeps the fees  charged for services  related to                                                                   
animals and  animal products,  to the  farmers and  others at                                                                   
their requests.   The State lab does a lot of  testing at the                                                                   
request of  individuals and farmers  and needs  the authority                                                                   
to  charge  a  fee  for  services.     He  advised  that  the                                                                   
Department supported the correction.                                                                                            
Vice Chair  Stoltze WITHDREW his  OBJECTION.  There  being NO                                                                   
further OBJECTION, Amendment #1 was adopted.                                                                                    
2:17:40 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Meyer  MOVED to ADOPT Amendment  #2, #24-LS1469\Y.2,                                                                   
Bannister, 2/28/06.  Vice Chair Stoltze OBJECTED.                                                                               
Mr.  Pawlowski  recommended  that   language  be  deleted  on                                                                   
Amendment  #2, Lines 7  & 8,  as it  was no longer  necessary                                                                   
with passage of Amendment #1.   Co-Chair Meyer MOVED to AMEND                                                                   
#2 as recommended.                                                                                                              
2:19:13 PM                                                                                                                    
Mr.  Pawlowski explained  that  the amendment  addresses  the                                                                   
distinction and  jurisdiction on  animal and animal  products                                                                   
versus  agricultural   products.     Amendment  #2   provides                                                                   
clarifying  language,  which  Representative  Holm  commented                                                                   
that  it   would  "tighten  it   up".    The   Department  of                                                                   
Environmental Conservation supports the amendment.                                                                              
2:19:36 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice Chair  Stoltze WITHDREW his  OBJECTION.  There  being NO                                                                   
further OBJECTION, Amendment #2 was adopted.                                                                                    
2:19:58 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Foster MOVED to  REPORT CS HB 380 (FIN) out of                                                                   
Committee with individual recommendations  and with zero note                                                                   
#1 by  the Department of Natural  Resources.  There  being NO                                                                   
OBJECTION, it was so moved.                                                                                                     
CS HB  380 (FIN)  was reported  out of  Committee with  a "no                                                                   
recommendation" and  with zero note  #1 by the  Department of                                                                   
Natural Resources.                                                                                                              
2:21:00 PM                                                                                                                    
HOUSE BILL NO. 353                                                                                                            
     An Act relating to sentences for sexual offenses.                                                                          
CS FOR SENATE BILL NO. 218(FIN)                                                                                               
     An Act relating  to sex offenders and  child kidnappers;                                                                   
     relating  to  reporting   of  sex  offenders  and  child                                                                   
     kidnappers; relating to periodic  polygraph examinations                                                                   
     for  sex  offenders  released on  probation  or  parole;                                                                   
     relating  to sexual abuse  of a  minor; relating  to the                                                                   
     definitions  of  'aggravated  sex  offense'  and  'child                                                                   
     kidnapping';  relating  to   penalties  for  failure  to                                                                   
     report child  abuse or  neglect; relating to  sentencing                                                                   
     for sex offenders and habitual  criminals; and providing                                                                   
     for an effective date.                                                                                                     
Co-Chair Meyer  explained that the  Senate bill would  be the                                                                   
vehicle  the House Finance  Committee  would consider,  as it                                                                   
was further  along in the  legislative process.   He reminded                                                                   
members that HB 353 and SB 218 were companion bills.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  MARK  NEUMAN,  CO-SPONSOR,  thanked  his  co-                                                                   
sponsors for helping  to make Alaska a better  place to live.                                                                   
He pointed out statistics indicating  that Alaska ranks as #1                                                                   
in rapes per  capita throughout the United State.   There are                                                                   
over 4300  registered sex offenders  in the State  of Alaska.                                                                   
He  stressed that  the price  and costs  associated with  the                                                                   
victimization  of the 521  statewide victims, averages  about                                                                   
$86.5 thousand dollars per victim.   That is over $45 million                                                                   
dollars per  year in victim  costs alone.   Only 16%  of rape                                                                   
victims report  their rapes.   Representative Neuman  pointed                                                                   
out that when  a perpetrator is put away for  longer periods,                                                                   
they are  often accused for  additional crimes.   The average                                                                   
sex offender  commits approximately  110 rapes and  318 other                                                                   
offenses before they  are caught.  He stressed  that there is                                                                   
an epidemic in Alaska and the brakes need to be put on.                                                                         
2:25:24 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR CON BUNDE, CO-SPONSOR,  testified in support of CS SB
218 (FIN),  pointing out  it is  a bipartisan and  unicameral                                                                   
issue.    The  problem  is  huge   throughout  Alaska.    The                                                                   
statistics are  outrageous and  many victims are  hesitant to                                                                   
come forward.   The problem is  larger than is apparent.   He                                                                   
noted  that in certain  areas  of the State,  there are  over                                                                   
1,000 registered sex offenders.                                                                                                 
Senator Bunde  acknowledged all  the help received  from each                                                                   
of the  staff and  the departments affected.   He  added that                                                                   
the Department  of Law, the  Department of Public  Safety and                                                                   
Department of Corrections have  addressed the details & legal                                                                   
aspects.    The Legislature  handles  public  policy  issues;                                                                   
hence, the reason for the bill.                                                                                                 
Senator  Bunde elaborated  on the testimony  received  in the                                                                   
House Judiciary Committee regarding  the "sad but true" long-                                                                   
term effects  experienced  by the  victim and  the fact  of a                                                                   
high recidivism  rate and little change in  the perpetrator's                                                                   
behavior.  There  have been many programs attempting  to help                                                                   
change that  behavior and  none seem  to work.   In  order to                                                                   
protect  women  and  children  in our  society,  it  requires                                                                   
longer prison terms.  He doubted  that drugs and alcohol were                                                                   
the main factors contributing to the behavior.                                                                                  
Senator    Bunde   acknowledged    costs   associated    with                                                                   
incarceration.   He believed that  the costs associated  with                                                                   
the long-term  effects on  the women  and children  were much                                                                   
Senator  Bunde  rejected  the  notion  that  the  legislation                                                                   
resulted from  national "hysteria reaction"  around Jessica's                                                                   
law.   The bill provides  the opportunity  to address  a long                                                                   
and overdue  concern.   The bill  proposes longer  sentencing                                                                   
and  using  polygraph  testing  for those  on  probation  and                                                                   
parole.   It  has  been proven  that the  polygraph  testing,                                                                   
keeps the perpetrator relatively  under compliance.  He urged                                                                   
favorable consideration of the bill.                                                                                            
2:32:15 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR GRETCHEN  GUESS, CO-SPONSOR, testified  in support of                                                                   
the legislation.   She pointed out the number  of co-sponsors                                                                   
with diverse party and regional support.                                                                                        
Senator Guess addressed  the values of the legislation.   She                                                                   
indicated  that  sex  crimes  have  always  been  "under-dog"                                                                   
considerations  for the  Legislature.   Rape and  molestation                                                                   
have been spoken of as a family  or community matter.  It has                                                                   
only been recently  that people have become  aware that these                                                                   
crimes   are   intentional   acts  of   violence   that   are                                                                   
devastating.     The  Alaska   Statutes  carry  a   very  low                                                                   
punishment  and she asked  if those  punishments reflect  the                                                                   
values of  Alaskan communities.   CS  SB 218 (FIN)  addresses                                                                   
these concerns.  The bill before  the Committee contains many                                                                   
compromises made along the way.                                                                                                 
2:35:04 PM                                                                                                                    
Senator  Guess  reminded  members  that the  bill  speaks  to                                                                   
crimes of penetration,  molestation, and incest  in the third                                                                   
degree.     Those  crimes  are   very  serious.     The  bill                                                                   
distinguishes  sexual crimes against  children with  proof of                                                                   
the actual case and therefore,  the sentence could be reduced                                                                   
for  some molestation  crimes.    Senator Guess  warned  that                                                                   
crimes against of children are obscene.                                                                                         
The  range  of  activity  in   the  bill  was  expanded  when                                                                   
addressing molestation  and incest,  which warrant  the range                                                                   
between the  second and third  degrees and would  provide the                                                                   
flexibility within  the judicial  system on the  nuances that                                                                   
happen with the above-mentioned crimes.                                                                                         
2:38:26 PM                                                                                                                    
Senator Guess pointed  out that the Sam 3 -  the sexual abuse                                                                   
of  a minor  is not  contained in  the proposed  legislation.                                                                   
Those cases identify "date-rape"  and are not included in the                                                                   
sentencing  guidelines at  this  time.   She urged  favorable                                                                   
consideration of the bill.                                                                                                      
2:39:32 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice Chair  Stoltze thanked Senator  Guess for the  amount of                                                                   
work done on the legislation.                                                                                                   
Co-Chair  Meyer  pointed  out  that  the  original  bill  had                                                                   
"stiffer"  penalties  and asked  why  it had  been  modified.                                                                   
Senator Guess  explained that  her original bill  had focused                                                                   
on  the sexual  abuse  of a  minor,  not the  sexual  assault                                                                   
ranges.  All the penalties were  higher.  Compromise resulted                                                                   
when addressing  some of the "other  crimes" out there.   She                                                                   
noted that there always must be  "give and take" when working                                                                   
with the whole  legislative body and which,  addressing crime                                                                   
of penetration and attempted rape  of a child.  Senator Guess                                                                   
was  uncomfortable  with  the  changes  made  in  the  Senate                                                                   
Finance Committee,  reducing the sentence  from 3 years  to 1                                                                   
2:43:04 PM                                                                                                                    
Senator Bunde noted  that he had been one of  the legislators                                                                   
recommending  less severity  in the punishment.   He  claimed                                                                   
there is an  issue of proportionality regarding  treatment of                                                                   
a  convicted sex  crime  being treated  more  harshly than  a                                                                   
murder crime.   He agreed it  was an important  discussion to                                                                   
have.   Discussing sentencing  can accomplish several  things                                                                   
and  can place  people in  jail  sending a  clear message  of                                                                   
societal standards.                                                                                                             
2:45:14 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative   Neuman   noted    concerns   regarding   the                                                                   
proportionality of a Court challenge  and recommending one or                                                                   
two    years   higher    than    the   current    sentencing.                                                                   
Representative  Neuman  stressed  that these  are  "lifetime"                                                                   
crisis against  the victim.  He  pointed out that he  had not                                                                   
initially included polygraphs  because of the fiscal expense;                                                                   
however,  following discussion  with  Senator  Guess, he  now                                                                   
understands it would happen only  twice a year and would cost                                                                   
around  $200 dollars  each time.    The Court  can order  the                                                                   
perpetrator to pay for those costs.                                                                                             
2:46:54 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Kelly  questioned if  there  had been  public                                                                   
education  notices  for  women   and  children  around  these                                                                   
Senator  Bunde replied  he  was not  aware  of such  noticing                                                                   
happening in the State, however,  in a less direct way, there                                                                   
has been press coverage and interest.   The legislation would                                                                   
put out  a considerable amount  of information to  the public                                                                   
indicating  the new  standards.   Unless  a  person has  been                                                                   
involved in  the system  before, they might  not be  aware of                                                                   
that   information.      He   noted   that   some   offenders                                                                   
intentionally move  to states that  do not use  the polygraph                                                                   
2:50:41 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative   Neuman  noted   the   national  media   hype                                                                   
following the concern.  The average  person probably does not                                                                   
have to deal  with it.  Passage  of the bill would  provide a                                                                   
lot of  Alaskan's with information  on the vastness  of these                                                                   
2:51:24 PM                                                                                                                    
Senator  Guess noted  from comments  heard  in her  district,                                                                   
citizens assume  the sentencing  is already  that high.   She                                                                   
noted  especially  crimes  against  children  require  public                                                                   
education, as is the case with  sexual assault.  She observed                                                                   
that public awareness  is gradually increasing  as the crimes                                                                   
become  discussed within  the  communities &  churches.   She                                                                   
pointed  out  that  crimes  against  children  are  sometimes                                                                   
committed by family-members.                                                                                                    
Senator Bunde  observed the great  number of articles  in the                                                                   
newspapers  recounting   sexual  assault  cases,   especially                                                                   
involving children.                                                                                                             
2:54:49 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Kerttula  commended the sponsors  for shedding                                                                   
light on  issues helping  victims.   She asked  clarification                                                                   
regarding  the Letter of  Intent and  the sources behind  the                                                                   
shocking statistics.  She referenced  Page 3 and the horrific                                                                   
number  of offenses  happening  before  the perpetrator  gets                                                                   
caught and  asked if  that number could  be substantial.   In                                                                   
the same section, it indicates  that crimes go undetected for                                                                   
sometimes up to  sixteen years.  Representative  Kerttula was                                                                   
2:56:51 PM                                                                                                                    
Senator Bunde  emphasized the amount  of time that  went into                                                                   
preparing the report;  he acknowledged it was  startling.  He                                                                   
referred  to  the  footnote  referencing   the  sex  offender                                                                   
treatment   evaluation   report   as  the   base   for   that                                                                   
information.  He  noted that Ms. Parker of  the Department of                                                                   
Corrections could provide more information.                                                                                     
Representative  Kerttula  requested a  copy  of that  report.                                                                   
She voiced concern  that some of the proposed  sentences were                                                                   
higher than those for murder and  questioned that philosophy.                                                                   
2:58:08 PM                                                                                                                    
Senator Bunde  responded that it  was not the intent  to seek                                                                   
higher sentences  than for murder or manslaughter.   That was                                                                   
a  policy decision,  observing  that  many of  these  victims                                                                   
often  face a  "lifetime sentence".   He  advised that  large                                                                   
sentences could serve  as a deterrent, admitting  that if the                                                                   
sentence is higher than manslaughter,  it definitely, sends a                                                                   
strong message.                                                                                                                 
2:59:39 PM                                                                                                                    
Senator Guess  expressed that her analysis of  the sentencing                                                                   
procedures reflected  the nature of intention.   When someone                                                                   
dies, there are multiple ways  in which it may happen.  Death                                                                   
could  be unintentional,  whereas  there was  not  a case  of                                                                   
unintentional sexual assault.   She noted that since rape and                                                                   
molestation  were   intentional,  the  sentences   should  be                                                                   
higher, observing they do not  extend as far as manslaughter.                                                                   
She   noted  that   murder  crimes   were   not  taken   into                                                                   
consideration  when making  the decisions  for sentencing  of                                                                   
sexual assault crimes.                                                                                                          
3:03:10 PM                                                                                                                    
Senator Guess advised that in  most cases, there are multiple                                                                   
offenses,  which played  a part in  determining the  sentence                                                                   
for a single crime.                                                                                                             
Representative  Neuman observed that  there are many  aspects                                                                   
to the issue of  sentencing; the first being 15  to 25 years.                                                                   
He  reiterated that  the  victim must  deal  with the  crime,                                                                   
every day  of their  life.  He  referred to  Page 3  from the                                                                   
Letter of Intent,  noting that the average number  of victims                                                                   
of a sex  offender before caught  is 110 and that  they could                                                                   
go an average of 16 years before detected.                                                                                      
3:05:07 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Bunde  thanked  Representative  Kerttula  for                                                                   
mentioning the  Letter of Intent,  as it is an  integral part                                                                   
of the  bill.   He knew  that most  likely there  would  be a                                                                   
Court  challenge.   He mentioned  the amount  of research  in                                                                   
drafting  the letter,  so when  the  challenges happens,  the                                                                   
Legislature will have the information.                                                                                          
3:05:53 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Kerttula suggested  language be more specific.                                                                   
3:07:12 PM                                                                                                                    
Senator  Guess   referred  to   Ms.  Parker,  Department   of                                                                   
Corrections.  She  pointed out that a defense  attorney could                                                                   
bring  up  lesser  crimes  during   a  trial.    A  crime  of                                                                   
harassment would be handled differently  than the molestation                                                                   
and  penetration.   She  agreed  that there  has  not been  a                                                                   
problem at this  time with mandatory jail time  and suggested                                                                   
there is  subjectivity in the  current legislation.   She was                                                                   
not willing to trade leniency for child molesters.                                                                              
3:09:21 PM                                                                                                                    
Senator  Guess commented  on the differences  that cross  the                                                                   
ten-year  line, stressing  that rape should  incur a  serious                                                                   
3:10:11 PM                                                                                                                    
Senator Bunde  acknowledged that Representative  Kerttula had                                                                   
asked  important  questions and  pointed  out  that all  laws                                                                   
contain  some  ambiguity.   He  observed  that  prosecutorial                                                                   
discretion was a part of the current  system and noted that a                                                                   
judge and  jury play a  part, as well  as litigators,  in the                                                                   
actual sentences served by a perpetrator.                                                                                       
3:11:39 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Neuman  referred   again  to  the  Letter  of                                                                   
Intent, highlighting that perpetrators  of sexual crimes were                                                                   
often guilty of multiple incidents.                                                                                             
Representative  Kerttula  thanked the  panel  for their  work                                                                   
with a difficult topic.                                                                                                         
Representative  Kelly observed  that the perpetrators  cannot                                                                   
be  rehabilitated  and  expressed   support  for  the  longer                                                                   
3:13:32 PM                                                                                                                    
Senator Bunde  advised that there  was some small  success in                                                                   
rehabilitation of offenders, who  were the victims of incest.                                                                   
He  concurred that  there  has not  been  broad success  with                                                                   
3:14:57 PM                                                                                                                    
Senator Guess  referred to a  study tracing treatment  of sex                                                                   
offenders.  She noted that the  study revealed that there was                                                                   
not a statistical difference between  those treated and those                                                                   
untreated.   She noted one  of the key successful  provisions                                                                   
in  the sentencing  portion  of  the  bill is  the  automatic                                                                   
probation  and polygraphs.   She  thought that  could be  the                                                                   
best practice to  protect people and help those  convicted of                                                                   
crimes.  She observed a pattern  of behavior and if revealed,                                                                   
could  prevent   recurrence  with   use  of  the   polygraph.                                                                   
Required  polygraph  testing  can  serve as  a  deterrent  to                                                                   
3:17:03 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Neuman  reiterated that the  polygraph testing                                                                   
can decrease the rate of recurrence.                                                                                            
3:18:06 PM                                                                                                                    
Senator  Bunde stated  that  the current  polygraph  practice                                                                   
utilizes  trained  operators,  which  he  hoped  would  be  a                                                                   
regulated  and  standardized   policy.    Requiring  specific                                                                   
training could make the legislation too inflexible.                                                                             
3:19:02 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Meyer opened PUBLIC TESTIMONY.                                                                                         
SUEANN  WILLIAMS   TESTIFIED  FOR  ROBERT   LOESCHER,  SPIRIT                                                                   
VILLAGE INC.,  JUNEAU, read a  letter of support  from Robert                                                                   
Loescher, a board  member for Spirit Village, Inc.   (Copy on                                                                   
3:21:54 PM                                                                                                                    
Vice Chair Stoltze  asked about  the nature of Spirit Village                                                                   
and the services  they provide.  Ms. Williams  responded that                                                                   
they are  a non-profit  organization, providing  programs for                                                                   
prisoner's re-entry into the communities.                                                                                       
Vice  Chair  Stoltze  asked  if it  was  a  culturally  based                                                                   
program.  Ms. Williams replied  that a portion was culturally                                                                   
3:22:33 PM                                                                                                                    
NICOLE  SONGER,  (TESTIFIED  VIA  TELECONFERENCE),  EXECUTIVE                                                                   
DIRECTOR, CORDOVA FAMILY RESOURCE  CENTER, CORDOVA, testified                                                                   
in support of the legislation  and encouraged the Committee's                                                                   
3:23:45 PM                                                                                                                    
SUE    CHRISTENSEN,    (TESTIFIED     VIA    TELECONFERENCE),                                                                   
ADMINISTRATIVE  ASSISTANT, BERING  SEA  WOMEN'S GROUP,  NOME,                                                                   
spoke to  issues of  harassment and  child molestation.   She                                                                   
stressed the "defenselessness"  of a child and suggested that                                                                   
a  law  be   passed,  addressing  the  need   for  vulnerable                                                                   
children's protection  for those 10  years and younger.   She                                                                   
addressed  mental illness,  foster care,  addicts, rapes  and                                                                   
molestation of  children and the need to  front-load services                                                                   
for those  victims.   Ms. Christensen  emphasized that  these                                                                   
crimes "kill" and  alter a child's core and  deserves a death                                                                   
penalty.   She mentioned the  national law regarding  the age                                                                   
of  consent   and  requested   clarification  on   the  child                                                                   
kidnapping section.                                                                                                             
3:27:30 PM                                                                                                                    
QUINLAN  STEINER, (TESTIFIED  VIA TELECONFERENCE),  DIRECTOR,                                                                   
PUBLIC   DEFENDER  AGENCY,   DEPARTMENT  OF   ADMINISTRATION,                                                                   
ANCHORAGE, commented  that Section 2, as written,  creates an                                                                   
irreconcilable  conflict  with   the  rules  of  professional                                                                   
conduct that  would prevent the  Public Defender's  Agency to                                                                   
represent  individuals   guilty  of  a  previous   sex  crime                                                                   
conviction.   He  advised, he  was working  with Susan  Parks                                                                   
from the  Department of Law,  to develop language  that would                                                                   
maintain  the  substance of  that  section and  thought  that                                                                   
there  was language  that could  work for both  parties.   He                                                                   
offered to answer questions of the Committee.                                                                                   
3:29:11 PM                                                                                                                    
GINGER   BRYANT,   (TESTIFIED  VIA   TELECONFERENCE),   SOUTH                                                                   
PENINSULA HAVEN  HOUSE, HOMER, spoke  in strong favor  of the                                                                   
bill.    She stressed  how  heartbreaking  these  crimes  are                                                                   
against  children.   It is  a  crime of  silence and  without                                                                   
polygraphs,  the crimes will  continue.   She urged  that the                                                                   
perpetrators be placed behind bars.                                                                                             
3:30:39 PM                                                                                                                    
CHRISTINE  KERNAK,  (TESTIFIED  VIA  TELECONFERENCE),  TUNDRA                                                                   
WOMAN'S COALITION,  BETHEL, testified  in strong  support for                                                                   
the proposed legislation.                                                                                                       
3:31:52 PM                                                                                                                    
REX SHATTUCK,  STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE MARK  NEUMAN, indicated,                                                                   
he intended  to provide  personal testimony.   He stated  the                                                                   
legislation affects many people, known and unknown.                                                                             
Mr.  Shattuck provided  testimony  regarding  his own  sexual                                                                   
abuse.   He  emphasized  that  the  numbers provided  in  the                                                                   
backup are  "very" realistic.   He  noted that his  situation                                                                   
resulted in  a Class  B felony for  the perpetrator  and knew                                                                   
five other individuals  impacted by the same  person, who was                                                                   
in a place of authority, not a family member.                                                                                   
Until  recently, Representative  Neuman admitted  he had  not                                                                   
been aware  of the impact  of Mr. Shattuck's  personal abuse.                                                                   
He commented that  he felt obligated to testify.   Sentencing                                                                   
of  a  Class  B  felony can  result  in  two  to  five  years                                                                   
sentence.  If  the legislation were passed,  that perpetrator                                                                   
would potentially  be looking at five to fifteen  years.  Mr.                                                                   
Shattuck pointed  out that  he has dealt  with the  crime for                                                                   
35+ years.   When  comparing it  to a  murder, with  a murder                                                                   
situation,  there is  a sense  of finality;  however, with  a                                                                   
crime  of sexual  molestation of  a child,  the victim  deals                                                                   
with  the  devastation  for  a  lifetime.    The  legislation                                                                   
provides an important  message to those contemplating  such a                                                                   
crime and sends a strong societal  signal.  He urged that the                                                                   
bill be passed from Committee.                                                                                                  
3:36:28 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative Kerttula  apologized for any  hurtful comments                                                                   
she might have made, noting her  intent was that the State of                                                                   
Alaska draft a better and stronger law.                                                                                         
3:36:51 PM                                                                                                                    
Co-Chair Meyer closed PUBLIC TESTIMONY.                                                                                         
Co-Chair Meyer  indicated that the Department  of Corrections                                                                   
and Department  of Law  would provide  testimony at  the next                                                                   
Vice  Chair Stoltze  requested  that the  Public Defender  be                                                                   
invited for that meeting.                                                                                                       
3:38:03 PM                                                                                                                    
Representative  Foster  discussed  concern  with  the  fiscal                                                                   
costs, mentioning  subcommittee work to address  such issues.                                                                   
He worried  about  the impact  of those costs  to the  Alaska                                                                   
Court System  and wondered  about supplemental cost  requests                                                                   
that would be associated with the increased penalties.                                                                          
Co-Chair  Meyer  echoed  the same  concerns,  noting  further                                                                   
discussion on those matters at the next meeting.                                                                                
HB 353 and CS  SB 218 (FIN) were HEARD and  HELD in Committee                                                                   
for further consideration.                                                                                                      
3:40:40 PM                                                                                                                    
The meeting was adjourned at 3:41 P.M.                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects