Legislature(1993 - 1994)
04/12/1993 01:00 PM House JUD
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE April 12, 1993 1:00 p.m. MEMBERS PRESENT Representative Brian Porter, Chairman Representative Jeannette James, Vice-Chair Representative Pete Kott Representative Gail Phillips Representative Joe Green Representative Cliff Davidson Representative Jim Nordlund COMMITTEE CALENDAR HB 188 "An Act relating to forfeiture of certain property; and providing for an effective date." HEARD AND HELD IN COMMITTEE FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION HB 71 "An Act relating to the involuntary dissolution of Native corporations; and providing for an effective date." PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE WITH A DO PASS RECOMMENDATION SB 53 "An Act relating to payment for abortions under Medicaid and general relief medical assistance; annulling changes made by certain regulations adopted by the Department of Health and Social Services relating to funding of abortion services under the general relief medical program." MOTION TO MOVE OUT OF COMMITTEE FAILED BY A VOTE OF 3-4 SB 122 "An Act relating to the disclosure of information by an employer about the job performance of an employee or former employee." HCSSB 122 (JUD) PASSED OUT WITH A DO PASS RECOMMENDATION HB 222 "An Act relating to landlords and tenants, to termination of tenancies and recovery of rental premises, to tenant responsibilities, to the civil remedies of forcible entry and detainer and nuisance abatement, and to the duties of peace officers to notify landlords of arrests involving certain illegal activity on rental premises." HEARD AND HELD IN COMMITTEE FOR FURTHER CONSIDERATION WITNESS REGISTER MARGOT KNUTH Assistant Attorney General Department of Law Criminal Division P. O. Box 110300 Juneau, Alaska 99811-0300 Phone: 465-3428 Position Statement: Explained HB 188 LIEUTENANT PAUL HARRIS Alaska State Troopers Department of Public Safety 4500 West 50th Avenue Anchorage, Alaska 99502 Phone: 243-2298 Position Statement: Supported HB 188; Supported the concept of HB 222 CHRISTINE SCHLEUSS, President Alaska Trial Lawyers Association Schleuss and McComas 500 L Street, Suite 300 Anchorage, Alaska 99501 Phone: 258-7807 Position Statement: Suggested amendment to HB 188 LARRY LABOLLE, Legislative Aide to Representative Richard Foster Alaska State Legislature State Capitol Court Building, Room 611 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Phone: 465-3789 Position Statement: Reviewed HB 71 MIKE MONAGLE Supervisor, Corporate Information Department of Commerce and Economic Development Division of Banking, Securities and Corporations P. O. Box 110808 Juneau, Alaska 99811 Phone: 465-2570 Position Statement: Answered questions related to HB 71 GAYLE HORETSKI, Committee Counsel House Judiciary Committee Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 120 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Phone: 465-6841 Position Statement: Explained changes in HCSSB 122 (JUD); Discussed HB 222 RUTH SKIDMORE, Legislative Aide to Senator Bert Sharp Alaska State Legislature State Capitol Capitol Building, Room 514 Juneau, Alaska 99801 Phone: 465-3004 Position Statement: Supported House Judiciary amendment to SB 122 REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES Alaska State Legislature State Capitol, Room 501 Juneau, Alaska 99801-1182 Phone: 465-3743 Position Statement: Prime sponsor of HB 222 SHERRIE GOLL Alaska Women's Lobby P. O. Box 22156 Juneau, Alaska 99802 Phone: 463-6744 Position Statement: Opposed HB 222 ELLEN NORTHUP, Director The Glory Hole P. O. Box 21997 Juneau, Alaska 99802 Phone: 586-4159 Position Statement: Objected to shortened notice periods contained in HB 222 PREVIOUS ACTION BILL: HB 188 SHORT TITLE: FORFEITURE OF CERTAIN PROPERTY BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): RULES BY REQUEST OF THE GOVERNOR TITLE: "An Act relating to forfeiture of certain property; and providing for an effective date." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/01/93 489 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 03/01/93 490 (H) JUDICIARY, FINANCE 03/01/93 490 (H) -4 ZERO FNS (ADM, ADM, DPS, LAW) 3/1/93 03/01/93 490 (H) GOVERNOR'S TRANSMITTAL LETTER 04/05/93 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 04/06/93 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 04/07/93 (H) JUD AT 02:00 PM CAPITOL 120 04/12/93 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 BILL: HB 71 SHORT TITLE: DISSOLUTION OF NATIVE CORPORATIONS BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) FOSTER,MacLean TITLE: "An Act relating to the involuntary dissolution of Native corporations; and providing for an effective date." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/18/93 101 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 01/18/93 101 (H) CRA, JUDICIARY 03/25/93 (H) CRA AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 124 03/25/93 (H) MINUTE(CRA) 03/26/93 781 (H) CRA RPT 5DP 2NR 03/26/93 781 (H) DP: SANDERS,BUNDE,WILLIAMS, TOOHEY,OLBERG 03/26/93 781 (H) DNP: DAVIES, WILLIS 03/26/93 781 (H) -ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DCED) 3/26/93 03/26/93 807 (H) COSPONSOR(S): MACLEAN 04/12/93 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 BILL: SB 53 SHORT TITLE: ANNULLING ABORTION FUNDING REGULATIONS BILL VERSION: CSSB 53(FIN) AM(EFD FLD) SPONSOR(S): HEALTH, EDUCATION & SOCIAL SERVICES TITLE: "An Act relating to payment for abortions under Medicaid and general relief medical assistance; annulling changes made by certain regulations adopted by the Department of Health and Social Services relating to funding of abortion services under the general relief medical program." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 01/22/93 122 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 01/22/93 122 (S) HES, JUD, FINANCE 01/27/93 (S) HES AT 01:30 PM BUTROVICH ROOM 205 01/27/93 (S) MINUTE(HES) 01/29/93 187 (S) HES RPT 4DP 1NR 1DNP 01/29/93 187 (S) FISCAL NOTES PUBLISHED (DHSS-5) 02/10/93 (S) JUD AT 01:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211 02/10/93 (S) MINUTE(JUD) 02/24/93 (S) JUD AT 01:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211 02/24/93 (S) MINUTE(JUD) 02/25/93 481 (S) JUD RPT 1DP 2DP W/AM 2DNP 02/25/93 481 (S) PREVIOUS FNS (DHSS-5) 02/25/93 487 (S) FIN WAIVED PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE,RULE 23 02/26/93 499 (S) FIN RPT CS 4DP 2DNP NEW TITLE 02/26/93 499 (S) PREVIOUS FNS APPLY TO CS (DHSS- 5) 02/26/93 (S) FIN AT 09:00 AM SENATE FINANCE 518 02/26/93 (S) MINUTE(FIN) 02/26/93 (S) RLS AT 01:15 PM FAHRENKAMP ROOM 203 02/26/93 (S) MINUTE(RLS) 03/02/93 575 (S) MOTION TO CALENDAR 3/3/93 FLD Y8 N11 E1 03/03/93 589 (S) RULES RPT 2/CALENDAR 1/OTHER REC 3/3/93 03/03/93 590 (S) READ THE SECOND TIME 03/03/93 591 (S) FIN CS ADOPTED Y13 N5 E1 A1 03/03/93 592 (S) AM NO 1 ADOPTED Y11 N8 E1 03/03/93 592 (S) ADVANCE TO 3RD RDG FAILED Y13 N6 E1 03/03/93 592 (S) THIRD READING 3/5 CALENDAR 03/05/93 634 (S) READ THE THIRD TIME CSSB 53 (FIN) AM 03/05/93 635 (S) PASSED Y12 N6 E2 03/05/93 635 (S) EFFECTIVE DATE FAILED Y12 N6 E2 03/05/93 635 (S) Duncan NOTICE OF RECONSIDERATION 03/08/93 658 (S) RECON TAKEN UP - IN THIRD READING 03/08/93 659 (S) PLACED AT BOTTOM OF CALENDAR UNAN CONS 03/08/93 672 (S) PASSED ON RECONSIDERATION Y13 N6 E1 03/08/93 672 (S) EFFECTIVE DATE FAILED Y13 N6 E1 03/08/93 677 (S) TRANSMITTED TO (H) 03/10/93 582 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 03/10/93 582 (H) L&C, HES, JUDICIARY, FINANCE 03/23/93 (H) L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 124 03/25/93 (H) L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 124 03/25/93 (H) MINUTE(L&C) 03/26/93 791 (H) L&C RPT 3DP 2DNP 2NR 03/26/93 791 (H) DP: WILLIAMS, PORTER, SITTON 03/26/93 791 (H) DNP: GREEN, MULDER 03/26/93 791 (H) NR: HUDSON, MACKIE 03/26/93 791 (H) -5 PREVIOUS SENATE FNS(DHS) 1/29/93 03/26/93 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 03/26/93 (H) MINUTE(HES) 04/01/93 (H) HES AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 106 04/01/93 (H) MINUTE(HES) 04/02/93 957 (H) HES RPT 4DP 2DNP 1NR 04/02/93 957 (H) DP: TOOHEY, B.DAVIS, NICHOLIA, OLBERG 04/02/93 957 (H) DNP: VEZEY, G.DAVIS 04/02/93 957 (H) NR: BUNDE 04/02/93 957 (H) -5 PREVIOUS FNS (DHSS) 1/29/93 04/02/93 957 (H) REFERRED TO JUDICIARY 04/12/93 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 BILL: SB 122 SHORT TITLE: EMPLOYER'S LIABILITY FOR REFERENCE INFO BILL VERSION: HCS SB 122(JUD) SPONSOR(S): SENATOR(S) SHARP,Frank,Taylor,Kelly,Rieger, Miller,Pearce,Donley TITLE: "An Act relating to the disclosure of information by an employer about the job performance of an employee or former employee." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 02/19/93 411 (S) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 02/19/93 412 (S) LABOR & COMMERCE, JUDICIARY 03/04/93 (S) L&C AT 01:30 PM FAHRENKAMP ROOM 203 03/04/93 (S) MINUTE(L&C) 03/05/93 613 (S) L&C RPT 3DP 1AM 03/05/93 614 (S) ZERO FNS (COURT, ADM, LAW) 03/22/93 (S) JUD AT 01:30 PM BELTZ ROOM 211 03/22/93 (S) MINUTE(JUD) 03/23/93 911 (S) JUD RPT 3DP 2NR 03/23/93 911 (S) PREVIOUS ZERO FNS (COURT, ADM, LAW) 03/23/93 (S) MINUTE(RLS) 03/24/93 926 (S) RULES RPT 3 TO CAL 1NR 3/24/93 03/24/93 927 (S) READ THE SECOND TIME 03/24/93 927 (S) ADVANCE TO 3RD RDG FAILED Y11 N8 A1 03/24/93 928 (S) THIRD READING 3/25/93 03/24/93 934 (S) COSPONSOR(S): FRANK, TAYLOR, KELLY, 03/24/93 934 (S) RIEGER, MILLER, PEARCE, DONLEY 03/25/93 949 (S) READ THE THIRD TIME SB 122 03/25/93 950 (S) RETURN TO SECOND FOR AM 1 Y15 N2 E1 A2 03/25/93 950 (S) AM NO 1 ADOPTED UNAN CONSENT 03/25/93 950 (S) AUTOMATICALLY IN THIRD READING 03/25/93 951 (S) PASSED Y16 N- E1 A3 SB 122 AM 03/25/93 951 (S) DUNCAN NOTICE OF RECONSIDERATION 03/29/93 980 (S) RECONSIDERATION NOT TAKEN UP 03/29/93 981 (S) TRANSMITTED TO (H) 03/30/93 844 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/ REFERRAL(S) 03/30/93 844 (H) JUDICIARY 04/12/93 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 BILL: HB 222 SHORT TITLE: USE OF RENTED PROPERTY/LAW VIOLATIONS BILL VERSION: SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) JAMES,Porter TITLE: "An Act relating to landlords and tenants, to termination of tenancies and recovery of rental premises, to tenant responsibilities, to the civil remedies of forcible entry and detainer and nuisance abatement, and to the duties of peace officers to notify landlords of arrests involving certain illegal activity on rental premises." JRN-DATE JRN-PG ACTION 03/12/93 619 (H) READ THE FIRST TIME/REFERRAL(S) 03/12/93 619 (H) LABOR & COMMERCE, JUDICIARY 04/01/93 (H) L&C AT 03:00 PM CAPITOL 17 04/01/93 (H) MINUTE(L&C) 04/02/93 932 (H) L&C RPT 3DP 4NR 04/02/93 932 (H) DP: WILLIAMS, MULDER, PORTER 04/02/93 932 (H) NR: GREEN, MACKIE, SITTON, HUDSON 04/02/93 932 (H) -2 FISCAL NOTES (DPS, LAW) 4/2/93 04/12/93 (H) JUD AT 01:00 PM CAPITOL 120 ACTION NARRATIVE TAPE 93-58, SIDE A Number 000 The House Judiciary Committee meeting was called to order at 1:10 p.m., on April 12, 1993. A quorum was present. Chairman Porter announced that the committee would take up HB 188 first. HB 188: FORFEITURE OF CERTAIN PROPERTY Number 028 MARGOT KNUTH, ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, CRIMINAL DIVISION, DEPARTMENT OF LAW (DOL), stated that HB 188 would amend the state's forfeiture laws, which were used almost exclusively in felony drug cases. She commented that existing forfeiture laws were difficult to use, causing the state to rely on the federal government to handle forfeiture cases. She noted that the federal government charged the state a 15% fee for providing that service. She stated that often in drug cases, a defendant thought beforehand about whether the benefits of the crime outweighed the potential costs. MS. KNUTH said that the DOL felt if it could take the profit out of drug crimes, it would be more effective in deterring those crimes. She said further that HB 188 permitted the forfeiture of real property, including buildings, in addition to other types of property. Additionally, it allowed for the tracing of funds to permit forfeiture of any property which was purchased with the proceeds of drug sales. House Bill 188 would also permit the sharing of assets between the state and municipal police departments, she said. MS. KNUTH added that the bill also made a number of technical changes to the state's forfeiture laws, in response to some court rulings. REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN mentioned concerns that HB 188 would increase the chance of an innocent bystander having his or her property confiscated. Number 124 MS. KNUTH replied that HB 188 did a good job of safeguarding innocent property owners. She stated that part of the confusion might stem from the fact that a protection provision was deleted from one section of the bill and reinserted into another section. She mentioned another provision in the bill which stated that there was a "prima facie" case for forfeiture, if there had been an indictment. She mentioned concerns that an indictment was an early phase in a court proceeding, and hence forfeiture at that stage might be premature. MS. KNUTH stressed that the prima facie showing was completely rebuttable, as it only stated that there was at least probable cause to believe that certain property was owned by a drug offender. Property was not automatically forfeited upon an indictment, she noted. Number 165 REPRESENTATIVE JEANNETTE JAMES stated that it would be easy to find out who owned property that was subject to forfeiture. It appeared to her that HB 188 would force an owner to prove that he or she did not have any knowledge that drug activity was occurring. She wondered if the burden of proof should not be reversed. Number 187 MS. KNUTH replied that the burden of proof initially was upon the government. After the government made its showing, she said, a person could dispute that showing. Number 212 LIEUTENANT PAUL HARRIS, from the ALASKA STATE TROOPERS' STATEWIDE DRUG ENFORCEMENT UNIT, said that HB 188 would provide law enforcement with a powerful tool for going after drug traffickers. He said that the bill represented an improvement over existing law, as it covered many areas which were left out of the old forfeiture laws. He commented that HB 188 provided protection for innocent parties. LT. HARRIS mentioned that HB 188 would allow the state to go after property in which people had hidden illegal profits, including money, real estate, and weapons. He approved of the bill's provision which allowed forfeited property to be shared by the state and local police forces, as proceeds from the sale of seized property could be used for additional drug law enforcement efforts. Number 287 CHRISTINE SCHLEUSS, representing the ALASKA ACADEMY OF TRIAL LAWYERS and the ALASKA ACTION TRUST, testified via telephone from Anchorage. She shared the belief that drug dealers should not be able to keep property which was purchased with the proceeds from drug sales. However, she said that her organization felt that HB 188 would pose a risk to innocent property-owners who had no connection to drug sales that occurred on their property. The bill would require innocent property-owners to either undergo a tremendously expensive process to get their property back or not get their property back at all. MS. SCHLEUSS suggested that HB 188 be amended so that it did not pose a risk to innocent persons, but instead focused its efforts on those who were truly involved in drug trafficking. She mentioned a "60 Minutes" television program about federal forfeiture laws, which she said were narrower than those proposed in HB 188. The "60 Minutes" program portrayed several apparently innocent parties who had had sizable assets seized by the federal government wielding its forfeiture law. She urged the committee members to view the "60 Minutes" program, in order to understand the harm that could result from a well- intentioned bill like HB 188. MS. SCHLEUSS likened HB 188 to a "zero tolerance" law. She reminded the committee what had happened several years ago when the federal government had used its forfeiture laws to implement a zero tolerance drug policy, which had devastating effects on the fishing industry. She said that HB 188, as written, did not require proof beyond a reasonable doubt of anyone's guilt, much less the guilt of the property owner. She cited an example of a child who lived with his or her parents, and who possessed or sold drugs in the home. She said that under HB 188, innocent parents could find themselves losing their homes. MS. SCHLEUSS commented that fishing boat owners, who did not know that crew members possessed or sold drugs, could lose their boats and therefore their livelihoods. She expressed her opinion that HB 188 went too far. She stated that the bill held that the government only had to prove, by 51% of the evidence, that property was connected to drug activity, either as a place where a drug deal took place, or was purchased with the proceeds from drug sales. She said that in order for an owner to recover forfeited property, he or she had to convince a court that he or she did not know about the drug activity. MS. SCHLEUSS commented that it was very difficult for a person to prove a negative. She suggested that the committee amend HB 188 so that it applied only to individuals convicted of drug offenses. In order for the law to be applied to property beyond that of convicted drug dealers, she recommended that, before property was seized, the government should have to prove by at least clear and convincing evidence, that the owners were aware of and approved of the use of their property for illegal purposes. MS. SCHLEUSS expressed her opinion that HB 188, as currently written, imposed an unfair burden of proof on the property- owners. She commented that the bill's provision that forfeited property be turned over to law enforcement agencies was an unfortunate aspect of HB 188. She suggested instead turning the property over to drug rehabilitation programs. She noted that when law enforcement agencies received the forfeited property, there was a built-in incentive for law enforcement to overstep its bounds. Number 475 REPRESENTATIVE JIM NORDLUND asked if Ms. Schleuss had any proposed language to offer. MS. SCHLEUSS did not have any proposed language to offer at this time; however, she added that she could prepare some by the end of the week. Number 496 REPRESENTATIVE NORDLUND mentioned that he had seen the "60 Minutes" episode to which Ms. Schleuss referred. He asked the Chairman if he intended to move HB 188 out of committee today. Number 499 CHAIRMAN BRIAN PORTER stated that he would go along with the committee's desire. Number 503 REPRESENTATIVE NORDLUND asked if Ms. Schleuss could prepare amendment language by Wednesday, at which time the committee could also view the "60 Minutes" episode. Number 511 CHAIRMAN PORTER expressed concerns about the factuality of a "60 Minutes" program presentation. He asked Ms. Schleuss about the standard of proof required in property-dispute matters brought before the court, and asked if HB 188's standard of proof was not the same. Number 525 MS. SCHLEUSS responded that the standard of proof could vary in civil cases. Sometimes, she said, the standard was "a preponderance of evidence," while other times it was "clear and convincing evidence." She said that the standard of proof in civil cases was not "proof beyond a reasonable doubt." She added that in civil cases, property was never taken from an owner without a hearing. Number 548 MS. KNUTH mentioned that a sentence on page 3, lines 18 and 19, of HB 188 should be deleted, as notice provisions were already covered in existing statute. Number 561 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES asked if, at the time of arrest, a lien would be placed on a piece of real estate where a drug offense was thought to have taken place. She asked at what point the property would be in jeopardy. Number 570 MS. KNUTH replied that the state would need to initiate a forfeiture proceeding first, by providing notice of what property could be subject to seizure, and the connection that the state would attempt to prove between the property and the offense. She stated that if the hearing on HB 188 was to be continued another day, her colleague, Mr. Dean Guaneli could more adequately speak to the effects of the bill. Number 596 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES was concerned that if a person had committed a drug offense and his or her property was subject to forfeiture, a notice could protect the state from a situation in which the offender disposed of the property before it could be forfeited. Conversely, she did not wish to inhibit innocent property-owners from acting to protect their interests. She stressed the need for a balanced approach. Number 613 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked Ms. Knuth to share the committee's concerns with Mr. Guaneli, so that he might address them at the next hearing on HB 188 on the following Wednesday. He said that the "60 Minutes" tape would be shown at 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday in the committee room. Number 630 REPRESENTATIVE PETE KOTT MOVED an AMENDMENT DELETING the sentence on page 3, lines 18-19, as proposed by Ms. Knuth. There being no objection, the AMENDMENT WAS ADOPTED. Number 644 MS. SCHLEUSS indicated that she would send amendment language to Representative Nordlund for the committee's consideration. CHAIRMAN PORTER announced that the committee would take up HB 71 next. HB 71: DISSOLUTION OF NATIVE CORPORATIONS Number 659 LARRY LABOLLE, LEGISLATIVE AIDE TO REPRESENTATIVE RICHARD FOSTER, PRIME SPONSOR of HB 71, stated that a bill similar to HB 71 had passed the House the year before, but died in the Senate Rules Committee at the end of the session. He said that the bill would provide a one-year period for ANCSA (Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act) village corporations which had been involuntarily dissolved because they had not completed their biannual report, to be reinstated. He added that the corporations would have to pay all dues and fees as if they had been incorporated all along. MR. LABOLLE raised the question of why the corporations could not simply go out and reincorporate. He stated that, because they were the corporations which were originally set up under ANCSA, the reincorporation had to occur in order to allow for the continuation of property ownership and liability. He mentioned the summer fishing village of Hamilton, in Representative Foster's district, which had allowed its corporate status to lapse, and said that many similar village corporations existed in Southeast Alaska. Number 688 REPRESENTATIVE JOE GREEN asked how the state could ensure that corporations did not, in the future, allow their corporate status to lapse again. Number 692 MR. LABOLLE replied that it was his hope that village corporations would not allow their corporate status to lapse again. He said that Representative Foster would send out notices to corporations within his district, as well as to others of which he was aware, that needed to reincorporate, informing them of the one-year window in which they could do so. Number 705 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES understood that the reincorporation option was already available to corporations. She asked Mr. LaBolle what would happen if another corporation had used the village corporation's name during the period that the incorporation had been allowed to lapse. Number 717 MR. LABOLLE replied that a village would still have to reincorporate in order to pick up all of the corporate rights and responsibilities that existed for the ANCSA corporation. Number 724 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES asked if the corporations which had already reincorporated would be melded with those which had not. MR. LABOLLE replied in the affirmative. Number 728 REPRESENTATIVE GAIL PHILLIPS asked Mr. LaBolle why the similar bill had died the year before in the Senate Rules Committee. Number 730 MR. LABOLLE responded that the bill had been caught in the end-of-session time crunch. Number 744 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES understood that some corporations had been involuntarily dissolved, and later reinstated after fees had been paid, provided that no other corporation had taken their corporate name. She asked Mr. Monagle what the time limit for reinstatement was. Number 752 MIKE MONAGLE, SUPERVISOR, CORPORATE INFORMATION, DIVISION OF BANKING, SECURITIES AND CORPORATIONS, DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT (DCED), replied that a corporation had three years from the date of dissolution in which to be reinstated. Number 753 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES asked if some of the corporations covered by HB 71 had been dissolved for longer than three years. MR. MONAGLE replied in the affirmative. REPRESENTATIVE GREEN made a MOTION to MOVE HB 71 out of committee, with individual recommendations and a zero fiscal note. There being no objection, IT WAS SO ORDERED. SB 53: ANNULLING ABORTION FUNDING REGULATIONS Number 767 CHAIRMAN PORTER announced that the committee would take up SB 53 next. He commented that SB 53 had received a great deal of testimony from around the state. He said that there were no significant legal questions surrounding the bill. Consequently, he invited each member to give a statement on his or her position on the bill, if they so desired, and then a vote could be taken on whether or not to move the bill out of committee. Number 783 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN commented that publicly-funded elective abortions were inconsistent with the legislature's efforts to cut the budget. Number 799 REPRESENTATIVE KOTT agreed with Representative Green's remarks. He stated that abortion funding and unwanted pregnancies were part of a larger and growing problem. Number 811 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES indicated that she had never supported public funding for elective abortions. She recognized that abortions required for medical or psychological reasons should be treated like any other medical procedure, however. She opposed SB 53, and echoed Representative Green's comment that supporting publicly-funded elective abortions would be inconsistent with other budget-cutting actions taken by the legislature this year. TAPE 93-58, SIDE B Number 000 CHAIRMAN PORTER commented that he had had personal experiences in his background which required him to support SB 53. He stated that abortion had been a felony crime in Alaska when he first worked as a police officer. He said that he had investigated illegal abortions, and said that the state should never go back to the days of "back-room" abortions. He believed that not publicly funding abortions for poor women would make them susceptible to "back-room" abortions. Number 028 REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS chose not to comment at this time. Number 029 REPRESENTATIVE NORDLUND took issue with Representative Green's and Representative Kott's comments regarding the costs of SB 53. He said that if SB 53 was not enacted, the state would face tremendous downstream health care, criminal justice, and social service costs. He said that SB 53 sets up two classes of people: poor women who would not be able to get abortions and women who could afford to get abortions. He believed that was fundamentally wrong. He supported the bill. Number 061 REPRESENTATIVE CLIFF DAVIDSON said that he had no statement to make. Number 065 REPRESENTATIVE NORDLUND made a MOTION to MOVE SB 53 out of committee. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES OBJECTED. A roll call vote was taken on moving SB 53 out of committee. Representatives Nordlund, Davidson, and Porter voted "YEA." Representatives Green, Kott, Phillips, and James voted "NAY." And so, the bill FAILED TO MOVE out of committee. CHAIRMAN PORTER announced that the committee would take up SB 122 next. SB 122: EMPLOYER'S LIABILITY FOR REFERENCE INFO Number 099 GAYLE HORETSKI, COMMITTEE COUNSEL, HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE, called the members' attention to a draft committee substitute for SB 122, dated April 9, 1993. She mentioned that a companion bill, HB 147, which the House Judiciary Committee had passed out earlier, was currently in the House Rules Committee. She stated that the draft committee substitute for SB 122 included language at the bottom of page 1 and the top of page 2 which had been lifted from the House Judiciary Committee's substitute for HB 147. MS. HORETSKI said that the draft committee substitute had two additional differences from the House Judiciary Committee's version of HB 147. She added that those two differences were part of the bill which the Senate had passed. The first change appeared on page 1, line 11, where the phrase "employer or" was added, in order to clarify that the bill applied to both present and former employers who gave out references. The other change appeared on page 2, line 2, and added the word "comparable," to clarify that the bill referred to federal civil rights laws, not all federal laws. Number 165 REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS asked if Senator Bert Sharp, sponsor of SB 122, concurred with the changes starting at the bottom of page 1 of the draft committee substitute. RUTH SKIDMORE, LEGISLATIVE AIDE TO SENATOR SHARP PRIME SPONSOR of SB 122, indicated that the sponsor did not oppose the amendment. Number 181 MS. HORETSKI mentioned that former-Representative Max Gruenberg had expressed concerns about the use of the word "recklessly" in SB 122, and would be available by telephone to testify if the committee wished to hear from him. Number 190 REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS commented that the committee had given the bill ample consideration and that she, therefore, saw no reason to reopen the discussion on its language. Number 199 MS. HORETSKI described the changes that the committee had made to the original HB 147. Number 236 REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS asked Ms. Skidmore to clarify for the committee that SB 122's sponsor supported the draft committee substitute. MS. SKIDMORE stated that Senator Sharp supported the draft committee substitute. Number 238 REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS made a MOTION to MOVE HCSSB (122) (JUD) out of committee, with individual recommendations and a zero fiscal note. There being no objection, IT WAS SO ORDERED. CHAIRMAN PORTER announced that the committee would take up HB 222, next. HB 222: USE OF RENTED PROPERTY/LAW VIOLATIONS Number 280 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES, PRIME SPONSOR of HB 222, said that she introduced the bill due to many requests that the landlord/tenant law be changed. She said that, to date, she had received only favorable responses to her bill. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES explained that HB 222 was a very complex bill, which essentially accomplished three things: (1) it expedited a landlord's ability to evict a tenant who failed to pay rent when due, or damaged the premises, or refused to vacate the premises after a lease expired; (2) it increased the tenant's responsibility for maintenance of a rental unit and allowed the landlord to use a "premises condition statement," signed by both parties, as legal evidence; and (3) it added criminal offenses involving alcohol or drugs to the nuisance abatement statutes and allowed eviction for those offenses. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES indicated that HB 222 would not hurt responsible tenants, but would give them and landlords much- needed relief and protection from irresponsible tenants. She urged the committee to support the bill. She commented that the bill contained two classifications of landlords: professional and incidental. She said that the existing landlord/tenant law had been very effective, except that it was weighted toward tenants. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES expressed an opinion that the existing landlord/tenant law had resulted in landlords requiring huge deposits from new tenants, as a result of experiences with bad tenants in the past. She said that the law needed to be changed so that it was weighted more towards landlords. She noted that she had two amendments to offer, in response to concerns expressed at the House Labor and Commerce Committee hearing on HB 222. Number 363 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES read AMENDMENT NO. 1, which included the use of rental property to engage in prostitution as a criminal offense for which a tenant could be evicted, instead of allowing a person to be evicted for simply working as a prostitute off the rented premises. Number 426 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked Representative James if the effect of AMENDMENT NO.1 was to expand the prohibited acts from prostitution to prostitution-involved crimes such as soliciting prostitution, assignation, etc. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES replied in the affirmative. Number 432 REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS said that the original intent of HB 222 was to limit the group of acts for which a tenant could be evicted to drug and alcohol offenses; AMENDMENT NO.1 added an additional type of activity. She made a MOTION to ADOPT AMENDMENT NO.1. There being no objection, IT WAS ADOPTED. Number 445 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES OFFERED AMENDMENT NO.2, which she said would benefit tenants. The amendment changed the language of the bill to relate only to substantial acts or omissions. The amendment defined "substantial" as something which caused damage in excess of the amount of the rental property's security deposit. REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS MOVED AMENDMENT NO.2. She then questioned whether the definition of "substantial" was sufficiently concise. Number 474 CHAIRMAN PORTER said that it was his understanding AMENDMENT NO,2 replaced language which existed in present statute. Number 479 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES replied that the language in AMENDMENT NO. 2 did not exactly match, but was similar to language presently in statute. She said that the existing language referred to "substantial" acts or omissions, but did not define "substantial." Number 492 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN made a MOTION to ADOPT AMENDMENT NO.2. There being no objection, IT WAS ADOPTED. REPRESENTATIVE NORDLUND distributed copies of AMENDMENT NO. 3, which he said had been included in the Senate's companion bill to HB 222. He said that the amendment would allow for a mediation process to be set up between a landlord and a tenant. If the mediation broke down, he said, the proceedings would return to court. He said that the amendment provided an avenue for differences to be resolved outside of a courtroom. He expressed an opinion that the amendment would not take the "teeth" out of the bill. REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS asked Representative James to state her objections to including this particular amendment in HB 222. Number 530 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES commented that mediation was always available to parties in dispute, but she felt that putting it into statute would be too cumbersome. Number 539 REPRESENTATIVE NORDLUND indicated his understanding that mediation between a landlord and a tenant could occur, whether or not it was included in HB 222. However, he said that including it in the law would draw attention to the fact that there was another avenue available for people wanting to resolve differences. Number 557 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked Representative Nordlund to comment on the section of his amendment pertaining to section 6 of HB 222. Number 559 REPRESENTATIVE NORDLUND commented that it was his understanding that the amendment as a whole would allow for a mediation process to be conducted. He said that he could not speak to the specifics of the amendment. Number 560 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES indicated that she was not familiar with the particular section either. She said that if the amendment would extend the time frames which were in HB 222, then she would oppose it. Number 569 CHAIRMAN PORTER suggested that the committee consider the portion of AMENDMENT NO. 3 beginning with the section pertaining to page 7, line 7. He said that the amendment would not require mediation, but merely allowed for it. Number 573 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES understood that the amendment would not require mediation. She expressed concern that mediation would not be mentioned in some rental agreements, resulting in complex court proceedings later. Number 580 CHAIRMAN PORTER did not think that such a problem would result, given the wording of the amendment. MS. HORETSKI expressed her opinion that AMENDMENT NO. 3 would not invalidate a rental agreement which did not mention mediation. Number 589 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked if a landlord could include mediation in rental agreements with some tenants, but not with others. Number 598 MS. HORETSKI commented that landlords could treat different tenants differently, but could not discriminate against tenants on the basis of certain features, including race and sex. However, if a landlord had articulable reasons for treating one tenant differently than another (for example, a lack of references), then he or she could impose different conditions on that tenant, she said. Number 613 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES stated that mediation seemed like a stall tactic, as well as a cumbersome requirement. Number 632 REPRESENTATIVE PHILLIPS mentioned that the amendment had not been formally moved. Additionally, she said that the amendment was to SB 155, the Senate version of HB 222, and HB 222's sponsor did not support it. Number 641 REPRESENTATIVE NORDLUND said that he would not formally move the amendment, as there apparently were not enough votes to support it. He said that if the hearing on HB 222 were to be continued on another day, he would bring the amendment back before the committee, redrafted so that the format conformed with HB 222. CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that the committee now had HB 222, as amended by AMENDMENTS NO. 1 AND 2, before it. Number 650 SHERRIE GOLL, representing the ALASKA WOMEN'S LOBBY, commented that HB 222 was substantially similar to landlord/tenant bills which had been before the legislature for the last five years. She said that the landlord/tenant law now in place had tried to balance the rights of landlords and tenants. She expressed an opinion that HB 222 tipped the balance too far in favor of landlords. She said that women, minorities, and low-income citizens were more likely to be renters than other Alaskans; for that reason, she said that the effects of HB 222 would disproportionately fall on those groups of people. MS. GOLL expressed her concern about HB 222's shortened notice periods. She appreciated the bill's accompanying fiscal note, to cover the cost of preparing a brochure explaining the new landlord/tenant law. She commented that in some instances, the bill was changing notice periods from ten days to five days; in other instances, notice periods were being decreased from ten days to 24 hours. She stated that the bill would result in more evictions. MS. GOLL agreed that there were bad tenants, but expressed doubts that changing the landlord/tenant law would have any impact on tenants who disregarded the law anyway. She said that in most cases, landlords were able to protect themselves by requiring references or deposits. She applauded AMENDMENT NO. 2, saying that it made HB 222 more balanced. She said that her organization supported the mediation process. MS. GOLL called attention to the section of HB 222 pertaining to a tenant who had been arrested for a crime. She said that by shortening the notice period, eviction proceedings would begin before the tenant was able to defend him- or herself against the crime for which he or she was arrested. And, if the tenant was convicted, she questioned what purpose would be served by putting that person's family out on the street. MS. GOLL summarized by saying that, when dealing with the landlord/tenant law, both parties needed to be respected. She reiterated her belief that HB 222 went too far in shifting the balance away from tenants and toward landlords. TAPE 93-59, SIDE A Number 000 ELLEN NORTHUP, DIRECTOR of THE GLORY HOLE homeless shelter in Juneau, distributed a letter to the members of the committee. She believed Americans were innocent until proven guilty, and said that some of HB 222's provisions ran counter to that tenet. However, she approved of many of the provisions of the bill. She was aware that shortening the notice period from ten days to five days was aimed at drug dealers and prostitutes, but said that it would also hit senior citizens whose social security checks were held up in the mail. MS. NORTHUP mentioned a current situation of which she was aware, involving an elderly man who had lived in the same apartment for about six years. The building was sold to another owner, who implemented a new requirement of first and last months' rent, plus a cleaning deposit. When the man first moved into the building, she said, he only had to pay his first month's rent. He was unable to pay for his last month, plus his cleaning deposit and, therefore, was evicted. MS. NORTHUP stated that her primary objection to HB 222 was its shortened notice periods. She suggested that landlords ask prospective tenants if they knew how to clean a house. Strange as it might seem, she said, some people had never kept an apartment. Number 135 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES commented that tenants could only seek assistance from the general relief program of the Division of Public Assistance when they could present an eviction notice. Therefore, she said, eviction notices were sometimes given to tenants in order to benefit them. She said that in most cases, landlords were understanding in the situation of a welfare or social security check arriving late. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES expressed an opinion that landlords required first and last months' rent, plus deposits as a result of problems that had occurred due to the existing landlord/tenant law. She noted that if tenants were given a five-day notice period, and could not come up with rent money within that time, then they would probably also be unable to come up with the rent money in ten days. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES agreed that the intention of the existing landlord/tenant law was to protect both parties. However, she said that during the fifteen years that it had been in effect, it had bent over backwards for tenants. She said that the existing law had resulted in many people who were unwilling to be landlords. She expressed an opinion that the state needed to encourage landlords to provide rental housing. CHAIRMAN PORTER asked Representative James if she was aware of a memorandum from Jack Chenoweth of the Legislative Affairs Agency's Division of Legal Services, which suggested that a particular amendment be made to HB 222. REPRESENTATIVE JAMES indicated that she had seen the memorandum, and felt that if the amendment was necessary, then she would support including it. However, she said that if the amendment was unnecessary, then she would rather not include it. Number 195 MS. HORETSKI mentioned that a House Judiciary Committee substitute would need to be drafted anyway, due to the other amendments that had been made. She noted that she had seen Mr. Chenoweth's suggested amendment regarding court rule references, but was as yet uncertain as to whether HB 222 made procedural or substantive changes. Number 200 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES indicated that she would like to hear Ms. Horetski's legal opinion of Mr. Chenoweth's suggested amendment. Number 209 CHAIRMAN PORTER suggested that the committee hold HB 222 in committee until the following Wednesday; in the meantime, he said, a committee substitute could be drafted and Ms. Horetski could research Mr. Chenoweth's concerns. Number 219 REPRESENTATIVE NORDLUND noted that sections 1 and 6 of HB 222 would place additional requirements on police departments, including notifying property-owners if someone other than the property-owner was arrested, and aiding in the eviction process. He wondered what sort of impact the bill would have on the Alaska State Troopers and on local police departments. Number 234 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES indicated that there was a fiscal note accompanying HB 222. Number 238 LT. HARRIS commented that he supported the concept of section 1 of HB 222, while recognizing that it would create more work for the Troopers. He said that in most cases, it would be easy to find out who owned a piece of property and notify that person by letter. He said that in Anchorage and Fairbanks, records were computerized, thereby speeding up the notification process. In other areas of the state, he said, finding out who owned a particular piece of property would be more time-consuming. But, he said that notification of property-owners was an important thing to do. LT. HARRIS indicated his understanding that eviction notices were usually served by private process-servers, only asking the police for assistance if certain problems arose. At that time, he said, the police would provide assistance as part of its routine work. He stated that the Department of Public Safety (DPS) supported the concept of HB 222. Number 273 CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that it would be helpful to the police to have the cooperation of a property-owner in these instances. Additionally, police could use the opportunities presented in HB 222 to point out the owner's responsibilities toward bad tenants. He added that the police's involvement stemming from HB 222 would not necessarily be viewed as a problem. Number 288 REPRESENTATIVE NORDLUND asked how a court would interpret section 10 of HB 222, pertaining to a person's reputation in the community. Number 298 CHAIRMAN PORTER replied that a person's reputation in the community was a standard used in establishing the credibility of a witness. Number 311 REPRESENTATIVE NORDLUND stated that HB 222 reduced a notice period from 20 days to 24 hours, for breach of a rental agreement. He asked if this would present due process problems. Number 325 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES stated that the 24-hour period pertained not to non-payment of rent, but to situations in which a rental unit was being damaged. Number 335 REPRESENTATIVE NORDLUND stated that he was referring to page 10, lines 8 and 9 of HB 222. Number 344 REPRESENTATIVE JAMES stated that the section to which Representative Nordlund was referring was where the committee had inserted the word "substantially." The effect of that section, she said, would give landlords an opportunity to evict tenants before damage became worse. She said that she had personal experiences in which property she owned was being damaged by tenants, and all she could do was to watch helplessly as the damage was perpetrated. She stated that the 24-hour notice period did not apply to non- payment of rent situations. Number 361 CHAIRMAN PORTER announced that a House Judiciary Committee substitute for HB 222 would be drafted, with or without Mr. Chenoweth's amendment, based on the outcome of Ms. Horetski's research. He said that the bill would be back before the committee on Wednesday. ADJOURNMENT CHAIRMAN PORTER adjourned the meeting at 2:55 p.m.