Legislature(1993 - 1994)

02/03/1993 03:00 PM House HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
           HOUSE HEALTH, EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES                         
                       STANDING COMMITTEE                                      
                        February 3, 1993                                       
                            3:00 p.m.                                          
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
  Rep. Cynthia Toohey, Co-Chair                                                
  Rep. Con Bunde, Co-Chair                                                     
  Rep. Gary Davis, Vice Chair                                                  
  Rep. Al Vezey                                                                
  Rep. Harley Olberg                                                           
  Rep. Bettye Davis                                                            
  Rep. Irene Nicholia                                                          
  Rep. Tom Brice                                                               
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
  Rep. Pete Kott                                                               
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
  EO 84:    Consolidating the duties and functions of the                      
            Alaska Women's Commission and the Alaska                           
            Commission on Children and Youth into a new Alaska                 
            Human Relations Commission in the Governor's                       
            NOT HEARD - HELD TO TIME UNCERTAIN                                 
  *HB 88:   "An Act establishing May 1 as Family Day and the                   
            Month of May as Preservation of the Family Month."                 
            PASSED OUT WITH DO PASS RECOMMENDATION                             
  *HB 79:   "An Act relating to recovery from a parent or                      
            legal guardian of wilful or malicious destruction                  
            of property by a minor."                                           
            HEARD AND HELD IN COMMITTEE                                        
  * First public hearing.                                                      
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
  REP. CON BUNDE                                                               
  Alaska State Legislature                                                     
  State Capitol                                                                
  Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182                                                    
  Phone:  (907) 465-4843                                                       
  Position Statement:  Sponsor of HB 88                                        
  MASSOUD SHADZAD, President                                                   
  PROMPT Foundation, Inc.                                                      
  P.O. Box 22234                                                               
  Juneau, Alaska 99802                                                         
  Phone:  (907) 463-2698                                                       
  Position Statement:  Supported HB 88                                         
  JAY FRANK, Lobbyist                                                          
  431 N. Franklin St.                                                          
  Juneau, Alaska 99801                                                         
  Phone:  (907) 586-5777                                                       
  Position Statement:  Represented State Farm & Allstate;                      
                       Would work with sponsor to amend HB 88.                 
  PREVIOUS ACTION                                                              
  EO 84:    Was previously heard in the House State Affairs                    
            Committee on 1/19/93, and in the House HESS                        
            Committee on 2/1/93.                                               
  BILL:  HB  88                                                                
  BILL VERSION: HB 88 AM                                                       
  SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) BUNDE,Toohey,Porter,Martin,                    
  TITLE: "An Act establishing May 1 as Family Day and the                      
  month of May as Preservation of the Family Month; and                        
  relating to the prevention of child abuse and neglect in the                 
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  01/25/93       152    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/25/93       152    (H)   HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL                       
  01/27/93       169    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): MARTIN                             
  01/29/93       184    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): SANDERS                            
  02/01/93       202    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): B.DAVIS                            
  02/03/93              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                      
  BILL:  HB  79                                                                
  SHORT TITLE: DAMAGE TO PROPERTY BY MINORS                                    
  BILL VERSION:                                                                
  SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) BUNDE,Toohey,Porter                            
  TITLE: "An Act relating to recovery from a parent or legal                   
  guardian of wilful or malicious destruction of property by a                 
  JRN-DATE    JRN-PG                     ACTION                                
  01/22/93       130    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S)                  
  01/22/93       130    (H)   HES, JUDICIARY, FINANCE                          
  01/29/93       184    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): PORTER                             
  02/03/93              (H)   HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106                      
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
  TAPE 93-10A, SIDE A                                                          
  Number 000                                                                   
  CHAIR TOOHEY called the meeting to order at 3:03 p.m. and                    
  noted members present.                                                       
  EO 84:  ALASKA HUMAN RELATIONS COMMISSION                                    
  CHAIR TOOHEY announced that the committee members had been                   
  provided minutes from the State Affairs Committee meeting                    
  concerning EO 84, as well as an opinion from the Division of                 
  Legal Services, plus more testimony on the order.  She                       
  announced that EO 84 would be held over to a later date not                  
  established.  She then invited testimony on HB 88.                           
  HB 88:  MAY 1 IS FAMILY DAY/MAY IS FAMILY MONTH                              
  REP. CON BUNDE, SPONSOR OF HB 88, spoke on the history of                    
  the bill.  He said Massoud Shadzad, a sociologist and                        
  promoter of a family day holiday, had approached him to                      
  express concern about the troubled state of the American                     
  family and his hope that a "Family Day" holiday, like                        
  Mother's Day or Father's Day, might draw attention to the                    
  problems, challenges and importance of families.                             
  REP. BUNDE continued, noting possible concerns that such a                   
  bill might better take the form of a resolution, which lasts                 
  but one year.  Such a resolution had been introduced last                    
  year, but Mr. Shadzad had sought a more permanent, possibly                  
  a national holiday, Rep. Bunde said.  Several states have                    
  already passed such bills, he noted, and it would not cost                   
  the state any money, nor set a precedent that might obligate                 
  the state to create a legal day off from work.                               
  Number 104                                                                   
  Preservation of Family, and Prevention of Domestic Violence                  
  and Child Abuse, testified in favor of HB 88.  (His written                  
  testimony is herein incorporated and identified as                           
  Attachment 1.)  He said he has in 25 years of observation                    
  and research watched the America family disintegrate under                   
  assault from poverty, unemployment, violence, apathy, abuse,                 
  self-centeredness and other ills.  He proposed setting aside                 
  May 1 as "Family Day" and May as "Preservation of the Family                 
  Month" as a reminder of the family's importance, and as an                   
  opportunity to do good for individuals, families and                         
  The committee discussed the origin of the expression                         
  "Mayday" as a distress signal.                                               
  Number 250                                                                   
  REP. BETTYE DAVIS asked how news of such a day would be                      
  promulgated if there were no funds appropriated, and what                    
  department of state government would administer such a                       
  REP. BUNDE answered that he believed volunteer advocates and                 
  the press would spread awareness of the day, possibly with                   
  assistance from merchants.                                                   
  REP. B. DAVIS speculated as to whether Family Day would                      
  become a commercial holiday, akin to Mothers or Fathers                      
  Days, which are the occasion for theme sales and commercial                  
  Number 275                                                                   
  MR. SHADZAD said that six other states have passed similar                   
  bills, at no cost to them.  He stated that he has borne much                 
  of the costs.  He stated President Bill Clinton signed such                  
  a bill while governor of Arkansas.                                           
  REP. GARY DAVIS expressed concern over establishing a                        
  precedent by establishing a commemorative memorial day such                  
  as Family Day in statute instead of via resolution.  He                      
  asked for information about whether HB 88 would establish a                  
  Number 305                                                                   
  MR. SHADZAD recalled starting his efforts to create a                        
  national, possibly international, holiday in Oregon in 1989.                 
  He expressed the hope that such a holiday might encourage                    
  scholars and politicians to encourage self-supporting                        
  programs to aid communities as larger families.                              
  Number 322                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE said Alaska statutes already designate four or                    
  five other commemorative days.  He stated that, in a broad                   
  sense, it was the intent of HB 88 to establish a precedent                   
  in support of national recognition of Family Day.  He said                   
  he introduced the measure as a bill, not a resolution,                       
  because resolutions last only a year.                                        
  Number 330                                                                   
  REP. G. DAVIS said he would prefer to delay action on HB 88,                 
  but indicated a willingness to bow to the committee's                        
  REP. HARLEY OLBERG questioned whether such measures as                       
  creation of a holiday are not accomplished by governor's                     
  REP. BUNDE repeated that the governor had signed such a                      
  proclamation last year, but it had expired after a year.                     
  Number 344                                                                   
  CHAIR TOOHEY called a brief at-ease at 3:25 p.m.  She called                 
  the meeting back to order at 3:27 p.m.                                       
  REP. BUNDE read from the Alaska Statutes, starting with                      
  44.12.030, listing Wickersham Day, Anthony J. Dimond Day,                    
  Ernest Gruening Day, Bob Bartlett Day, William A. Egan Day,                  
  and Elizabeth Peratrovich Day.                                               
  CHAIR TOOHEY asked the will of the committee.                                
  REP. BUNDE moved passage without objection.                                  
  REP. IRENE NICHOLIA asked for time to discuss HB 88.                         
  CHAIR TOOHEY called a brief at-ease, then called the meeting                 
  back to order two minutes later.  She announced passage of                   
  HB 88 from the committee with individual recommendations.                    
  HB 79:  DAMAGE TO PROPERTY BY MINORS                                         
  Number 390                                                                   
  CHAIR TOOHEY brought HB 79 to the table.                                     
  Number 393                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE spoke as sponsor of HB 79.  He said the bill was                  
  a minor adjustment of a statute created in 1967 which                        
  limited to $2,000 the amount of damage recovery possible                     
  from parents of a minor who wilfully destroyed another's                     
  property.  He noted that inflation has risen since 1967, and                 
  likewise the cost of property damage, and asked that the                     
  damage limit be lifted to $50,000, the same limit allowed in                 
  district court.                                                              
  Number 412                                                                   
  REP. NICHOLIA said HB 79 could place a burden on residents                   
  of her district who might not be able to pay up to $50,000                   
  to compensate for damage done by their children, whom they                   
  may have difficulty controlling.                                             
  Number 420                                                                   
  REP. BUNDE noted that property damage from juveniles was                     
  likewise a burden on the victims.  He said the intent of the                 
  bill was, in part, to encourage parents to be more                           
  responsible for their children's activities by costing them                  
  money if they were not.                                                      
  Number 430                                                                   
  REP. B. DAVIS asked how much damages had been recovered                      
  under the statute with the $2,000 limit.                                     
  REP. OLBERG noted that legal expenses and other difficulties                 
  make it unlikely most people would go to court to recover                    
  $2,000 in property damages.                                                  
  Number 452                                                                   
  REP. B. DAVIS asked who would enforce this law and how much                  
  was collected under the existing statute.                                    
  REP. BUNDE explained that HB 79 does not create a criminal                   
  fine; rather, it raises the limit on award amounts in civil                  
  suits to make it more likely that a victim could recover                     
  nearer the real value of damages done by a minor.                            
  Number 465                                                                   
  REP. B. DAVIS asked for someone other than the bill's                        
  sponsor, preferably someone from a state department, to                      
  answer her question.                                                         
  Number 470                                                                   
  REP. OLBERG said that her question was not answerable                        
  because a government entity would only be involved if it                     
  were the plaintiff in a civil action.  He said information                   
  on such cases was unlikely to be readily available.                          
  Number 480                                                                   
  REP. B. DAVIS said that it was impossible to force                           
  individuals to pay damages if they did not have the money,                   
  and asked whether the bill would force parents to pay the                    
  damages up to $50,000 if they did not have the means.                        
  REP. BUNDE stated that yes, under HB 79 a court could enter                  
  a $50,000 judgement against parents of a minor who caused                    
  that amount of damage.  As such, he said, it would encourage                 
  parental knowledge of children's activities and whereabouts.                 
  CHAIR TOOHEY called a brief at-ease at 3:39 p.m., and called                 
  the meeting back to order at 3:40 p.m.                                       
  Number 515                                                                   
  REP. G. DAVIS asked whether the current statute was stifling                 
  the courts in ordering restitution, and he expressed a                       
  desire to hear legal opinions or expert testimony on the                     
  question.  He also mentioned a national trend toward more                    
  creative court restitution orders and predicted a bill would                 
  sometime come before the legislature to address the issue on                 
  a larger scale.                                                              
  Number 547                                                                   
  ALLSTATE INSURANCE COMPANIES, testified on HB 79.  He said                   
  the bill, by expanding the level of financial exposure by                    
  2000 percent, significantly expands the concept of strict                    
  liability under the tort system under which parents can                      
  sometimes be held responsible for their childrens' actions.                  
  MR. FRANK said the insurance industry's concern was that                     
  such damages might be covered by homeowners' insurance                       
  policies, thus both mitigating the impact on the responsible                 
  parents and raising the cost of such insurance for other                     
  policyholders.  He said he had spoken with Rep. Bunde, who                   
  had expressed agreement with the industry on the possibility                 
  of excluding such damage awards from coverage.                               
  Number 585                                                                   
  REP. OLBERG repeated that HB 79's intent is to allow                         
  recovery of damages done by a minor, regardless of whether                   
  the minor's parents had insurance or not.  He expressed                      
  displeasure at the idea of an amendment and asked to see any                 
  such amendment.                                                              
  CHAIR TOOHEY closed testimony on HB 79 and announced that                    
  the bill would be held and would be brought up again for                     
  further consideration, most likely at the next meeting of                    
  the committee.  There being no further business before the                   
  committee, Chair Toohey ADJOURNED the meeting at 3:49 p.m.                   

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