Legislature(1993 - 1994)
02/03/1993 03:00 PM House HES
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= 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 Office. 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 SHORT TITLE: MAY 1 IS FAMILY DAY/MAY IS FAMILY MONTH BILL VERSION: HB 88 AM SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) BUNDE,Toohey,Porter,Martin, Sanders,B.Davis 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 family." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/25/93 152 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 01/25/93 152 (H) HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES 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 minor." 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 MASSOUD SHADZAD, PRESIDENT OF PROMPT FOUNDATION, INC, For 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 communities. 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 holiday. 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 promotions. 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 precedent. 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 wishes. REP. HARLEY OLBERG questioned whether such measures as creation of a holiday are not accomplished by governor's proclamation. 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 JAY FRANK, A LOBBYIST REPRESENTING THE STATE FARM AND 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.