Legislature(1995 - 1996)

02/28/1996 02:22 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
               HOUSE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                              
                       February 28, 1996                                       
                           2:22 P.M.                                           
 MEMBERS PRESENT                                                               
 Representative Brian Porter, Chairman                                         
 Representative Joe Green, Vice Chairman                                       
 Representative Con Bunde                                                      
 Representative Bettye Davis                                                   
 Representative Al Vezey                                                       
 Representative Cynthia Toohey                                                 
 Representative David Finkelstein                                              
 MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                
 COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                            
 HOUSE BILL 391                                                                
 "An Act relating to succession to assets and liabilities of                   
 dissolved municipalities."                                                    
      - CSHB 391(CRA) PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                  
 HOUSE BILL 386                                                                
 "An Act relating to cruelty to animals and the provision of food              
 and water to confined or impounded animals."                                  
      - PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                
 HOUSE BILL 450                                                                
 "An Act relating to trademarks; amending Alaska Rule of Appellate             
 Procedure 609; and providing for an effective date."                          
      - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                
 HOUSE BILL 520                                                                
 "An Act relating to death investigations and inquests, coroners,              
 public administrators, and medical examiners, including the state             
 medical examiner; relating to the jurisdiction of district court              
 judges and magistrates in certain cases involving death."                     
      - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                
 HOUSE BILL 295                                                                
 "An Act relating to the custody and disposition of property in the            
 custody of municipal law enforcement agencies."                               
      - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                
 WITNESS REGISTER                                                            
 TOM WRIGHT, Staff to Ivan Ivan                                                
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 503                                                       
 Juneau, Alaska  99501-2133                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-4942                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 391 as sponsor's staff                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BEN GRUSSENDORF                                                
 Alaska State Legislature                                                      
 State Capitol, Room 415                                                       
 Juneau, Alaska  99501-2133                                                    
 Telephone:  (907) 465-3824                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 386 as sponsor                           
 LARRY PETTY                                                                   
 P.O. Box 56114                                                                
 North Pole, Alaska  99705                                                     
 Telephone:  (907) 488-2770                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified against HB 386                                 
 TIM ELLISON                                                                   
 P.O. Box 55590                                                                
 North Pole, Alaska  99705                                                     
 Telephone:  (907) 488-1970                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified against HB 386                                 
 DIXIE JENNINGS                                                                
 422 NRA Lane                                                                  
 Fairbanks, Alaska  99709                                                      
 Telephone:  (907) 6598                                                        
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified against HB 386                                 
 LIEUTENANT CHRIS STOCKARD                                                     
 Department of Public Safety                                                   
 450 Wittier Street                                                            
 Juneau, Alaska  99801                                                         
 Telephone:  (907) 465-4306                                                    
 POSITION STATEMENT:  Provided information on HB 386                           
 PREVIOUS ACTION                                                               
 BILL:  HB 391                                                               
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) IVAN                                            
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG             ACTION                                        
 01/05/96      2369    (H)   PREFILE RELEASED                                  
 01/08/96      2369    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/08/96      2369    (H)   CRA, JUDICIARY, FINANCE                           
 01/25/96              (H)   CRA AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                       
 01/25/96              (H)   MINUTE(CRA)                                       
 02/08/96              (H)   CRA AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 124                       
 02/08/96              (H)   MINUTE(CRA)                                       
 02/09/96      2681    (H)   CRA RPT  CS(CRA) NT 3DP 2NR                       
 02/09/96      2681    (H)   DP: KOTT, NICHOLIA, IVAN                          
 02/09/96      2681    (H)   NR: ELTON, AUSTERMAN                              
 02/09/96      2682    (H)   3 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (LAW, DNR, DCRA)              
 02/23/96              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 02/23/96              (H)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 02/26/96              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 BILL:  HB 386                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: CRUELTY TO ANIMALS                                               
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) GRUSSENDORF,Finkelstein,B.Davis                 
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG             ACTION                                        
 01/05/96      2367    (H)   PREFILE RELEASED                                  
 01/08/96      2367    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/08/96      2367    (H)   RESOURCES, JUDICIARY                              
 02/14/96              (H)   RES AT  8:00 AM CAPITOL 124                       
 02/14/96              (H)   MINUTE(RES)                                       
 02/19/96      2801    (H)   RES RPT  CS(RES) NT 2DP 4NR 1AM                   
 02/19/96      2801    (H)   DP: DAVIES, AUSTERMAN                             
 02/19/96      2801    (H)   NR: NICHOLIA, LONG, KOTT GREEN                    
 02/19/96      2802    (H)   AM: WILLIAMS                                      
 02/19/96      2802    (H)   FISCAL NOTE (DPS)                                 
 02/19/96      2802    (H)   ZERO FISCAL NOTE (DCRA)                           
 02/21/96      2845    (H)   FIN REFERRAL ADDED                                
 02/28/96              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 BILL:  HB 450                                                               
 SHORT TITLE: ALASKA TRADEMARK ACT                                             
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) THERRIAULT                                      
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG             ACTION                                        
 01/26/96      2541    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 01/26/96      2541    (H)   LABOR & COMMERCE, JUDICIARY                       
 02/19/96              (H)   L&C AT  3:00 PM CAPITOL 17                        
 02/19/96              (H)   MINUTE(L&C)                                       
 02/19/96              (H)   MINUTE(L&C)                                       
 02/21/96      2829    (H)   L&C RPT  CS(L&C) NT 2DP 5NR                       
 02/21/96      2830    (H)   DP: KOTT, PORTER                                  
 02/21/96      2830    (H)   NR: ROKEBERG, ELTON, KUBINA, MASEK                
 02/21/96      2830    (H)   NR: SANDERS                                       
 02/21/96      2830    (H)   FISCAL NOTE (DCED)                                
 02/28/96              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 BILL:  HB 520                                                               
 SPONSOR(S): FINANCE                                                           
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG             ACTION                                        
 02/16/96      2791    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 02/16/96      2791    (H)   JUDICIARY, FINANCE                                
 02/28/96              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 BILL:  HB 295                                                               
 SPONSOR(S): REPRESENTATIVE(S) PORTER,Toohey                                   
 JRN-DATE     JRN-PG             ACTION                                        
 04/05/95      1027    (H)   READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRAL(S)                 
 04/05/95      1027    (H)   JUDICIARY, FINANCE                                
 04/19/95      1390    (H)   COSPONSOR(S): TOOHEY                              
 04/19/95              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 04/19/95              (H)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 04/21/95              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 04/21/95              (H)   MINUTE(JUD)                                       
 04/22/95      1446    (H)   JUD RPT  CS(JUD) 5 DP                             
 04/22/95      1447    (H)   DP: PORTER, FINKELSTEIN, GREEN, BUNDE             
 04/22/95      1447    (H)   DP: TOOHEY                                        
 04/22/95      1447    (H)   2 ZERO FISCAL NOTES (DPS)                         
 04/24/95      1485    (H)   JUD ADDITIONAL FN (LAW)                           
 02/01/96              (H)   FIN AT  1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                 
 02/01/96              (H)   MINUTE(FIN)                                       
 02/21/96      2844    (H)   RETURN TO JUD  COMMITTEE                          
 02/28/96              (H)   JUD AT  1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                       
 ACTION NARRATIVE                                                              
 TAPE 96-26, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN BRIAN PORTER called the House Judiciary committee meeting            
 to order at 2:22 p.m.  Members present at the call to order were              
 Representatives Green, Bunde, and Vezey.  Representatives Toohey,             
 Davis and Finkelstein arrived at their respective times: 2:25 p.m.;           
 2:35 p.m. and 2:44 p.m.  There were no members absent.                        
 HB 391 - DISSOLVED MUNICIPALITIES/SUCCESSION                                
 Number 096                                                                    
 TOM WRIGHT, Staff to Representative Ivan Ivan testified regarding             
 HB 391, an act related to dissolved municipalities.  After                    
 discussing with Margie Vandor from the Department of Law, who had             
 been in contact with someone from the Department of Community and             
 Regional Affairs, both of these entities agreed that it didn't make           
 a difference if the language in this legislation should read                  
 "shall" or "may" in relation to the state being obligated to assume           
 responsibility for an entity chooses dissolution.                             
 MR. WRIGHT then referred to a letter sent by the Alaska Rural                 
 Electric Cooperative Association, Inc. (ARECA) which he hadn't yet            
 been able to read.  The committee stood at ease until everyone had            
 a chance to review it.                                                        
 MR. WRIGHT made note of the second area of concern regarding the              
 Local Boundary Commission (LBC) reviewing debts and liabilities               
 prior to transferring them.  These both have to be placed into                
 consideration before the dissolution results.  He then referred to            
 Rick Elliott on line from the Department of Community & Regional              
 who was available to answer questions which Representative Green              
 asked about subsurface and surface land rights.                               
 Number 365                                                                    
 RICK ELLIOTT, Municipal Land Trustee, Department of Community &               
 Regional Affairs, Division of Municipal & Regional Assistance                 
 outlined for the committee that there were four ways which a city             
 might acquire land.  They may acquire land from the Federal Town              
 Site Program, or possibly from municipal entitlement.  The                    
 municipality could purchase land, assume it through donation or               
 condemnation or lastly, by 14 (c) (3) conveyances.  If property is            
 conveyed under this latter provision to an entity, the only right             
 which is transferred is the surface rights, there wouldn't be any             
 subsurface rights attached.                                                   
 MR. ELLIOTT went on to note if property was acquired under                    
 municipal entitlement, the state reserves the mineral estate rights           
 also.  Under the other two categories, there could be possible                
 mineral interests attached.  The federal government typically                 
 conveys all rights to property unless they've determined that the             
 land is valuable and they would reserve these interests.                      
 Conceivably, there could be situations where land is transferred              
 with subsurface rights as well.  After discussing these scenarios             
 with the Department of Law, they agreed that a stipulation in the             
 quit claim deed should be included to reserve the mineral estate if           
 any, to the state.  This would take care of this problem.  Mr.                
 Elliot said that this could be accomplished through a standard                
 provision in the deed.                                                        
 Number 600                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE CON BUNDE noted for the record that it was his                 
 intent that this subsurface provision should made part of the                 
 standard deed even though it wouldn't be made a part of this                  
 legislation as a precautionary step.  He then made a motion to move           
 CSHB 391 (CRA) from the House Judiciary Committee with individual             
 recommendations and attached fiscal note.  Hearing no objections,             
 it was so moved.                                                              
 HB 386 - CRUELTY TO ANIMALS                                                 
 Number 720                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BEN GRUSSENDORF next came forward to testify in                
 regards to HB 386, an act related to the cruelty of animals as                
 sponsor.  He stated that this issue had been called to his                    
 attention for the last eight years and finally he felt it was time            
 for him to address an issue which could not be handled through the            
 budget.  Representative Grussendorf noted that there are shocking             
 things which happen, not only what we do to one another, but what             
 we inflict upon other living beings.  He made reference to an                 
 article in the Fairbanks newspaper regarding cruelty to dogs which            
 he brought to the hearing.                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE GRUSSENDORF said that it was his goal through this             
 legislation to make it easier for the prosecution of cruelty to               
 animals, a simple language change regarding how someone would go              
 about getting a conviction.  The boroughs interceded to gain                  
 authorization as well, so the committee substitute now includes the           
 penalties related to the offenses, as well as empowering the                  
 boroughs to address cruelty to animals independently.                         
 Number 858                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE GRUSSENDORF referred to the cruelty to animal                  
 statutes and noted that any hunting or trapping activities would              
 not come under the jurisdiction of HB 386.  He also noted that the            
 practices related to livestock and domestic farm animals would not            
 come under this legislation.  Also in the existing statutes, as               
 long as an activity comes under veterinarian standards or related             
 acceptable practices, then these practices are allowed.                       
 Representative Grussendorf talked to the state veterinarian, Burt             
 Dorr and Ed Kurns from the Division of Agriculture which confirmed            
 that such things as castration, de-horning, docking, etc. would               
 fall under acceptable veterinarian practices.  This does not                  
 necessarily mean that a vet needs to be present to perform these              
 activities dealing with livestock.                                            
 REPRESENTATIVE GRUSSENDORF noted the penalties portion of this                
 legislation.  Previously, the standard related to cruelty of                  
 animals was intentional and was a hard thing for a prosecutor to              
 prove.  The standard in this legislation would change rather to               
 "knowingly," a standard that anyone should know if an animal was              
 not sheltered, fed, or watered, eventually it would die.  The                 
 present statute doesn't allow for intervention until the animal is            
 actually dead.                                                                
 REPRESENTATIVE GRUSSENDORF stated it had been suggested that the              
 boroughs would like to have a broader definition as to "regulate."            
 He felt that this was an issue they could discuss with the voters             
 in their areas.                                                               
 Number 1055                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE CYNTHIA TOOHEY referred to a case in Palmer a few              
 years ago where a musher was culling his puppies by shooting them.            
 It was very emotional for everyone.  She asked if this legislation            
 specifically addressed this issue.                                            
 REPRESENTATIVE GRUSSENDORF stated that whatever is done to an                 
 animal has to be done so humanely.  He said he didn't necessarily             
 condone it, but in response to an additional question by                      
 Representative Toohey, Representative Grussendorf said that putting           
 puppies in a sack and drowning them could be considered a                     
 traditional way of culling a litter.  He thought that the                     
 legislation provided for a standard of care which a reasonable                
 person would do in a situation related to animal practices.                   
 Number 1174                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked if this legislation would interfere with           
 pest or rodent control.                                                       
 REPRESENTATIVE GRUSSENDORF responded that he thought Representative           
 Bunde might be referring to another bill.  He further stated that             
 this legislation addressed domestic animals.  This legislation does           
 not negatively affect hunting or trapping either.                             
 Number 1314                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE AL VEZEY appreciated Representative Grussendorf's              
 compassion for animals, but stated that this bill was not limited             
 to domestic animals, it just refers to animals.  Anyone would say             
 that trapping is a brutal way of collecting animals, as well as               
 hunting.  He felt that if this legislation was enacted they would             
 be giving anti-trapping and hunting forces a statute for which they           
 could sue to stop people from participating in these activities.              
 Representative Vezey also noted his surprise that under existing              
 law that decompression chambers are an illegal manner of exposing             
 of animals, which has been the method that the Fairbanks, North               
 Star Borough has used for about a decade.                                     
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY stressed that this legislation gives authority           
 to municipalities, but Fairbanks for example, already has this                
 authority.  He also mentioned agriculture being affected by this              
 bill.  It could give people a tool against someone who raises                 
 animals commercially.                                                         
 Number 1409                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE GRUSSENDORF indicated to Representative Vezey that             
 all the points he just made regarding hunting and farming practices           
 are already covered by existing statute.  This new legislation                
 would not give anyone an advantage.  He again noted the language,             
 "anything that is necessary or incidental to lawful hunting and               
 trapping activities," was defensible.  In regards to agriculture he           
 noted language in HB 386, "performed to accepted veterinarian                 
 practices," as also being defensible.                                         
 REPRESENTATIVE VEZEY submitted that there are more ways to trap an            
 animal, some would be considered more humane than others, so this             
 could open up this issue.                                                     
 REPRESENTATIVE GRUSSENDORF stressed that it's illegal for a                   
 resident of the state to possess a wild animal without a permit.              
 When wild animals are taken out of the equation, this legislation             
 addresses domestic animals only through it's exceptions to and in             
 defense of, in other words, someone may not legally possess a moose           
 calf, a bear, etc.  The act of hunting and trapping are defensible            
 under another category.  He also noted that this legislation has no           
 affect on fishing either.                                                     
 Number 1572                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE DAVID FINKELSTEIN asked why this legislation does              
 not allow first class boroughs to enact ordinances which are                  
 stricter than this law.                                                       
 REPRESENTATIVE GRUSSENDORF noted that this was out of concessions             
 to some groups which were concerned and it was suggested that the             
 boroughs would like to have a stricter definition of cruelty to               
 animals, rather than not being able to exceed the penalties                   
 outlined by the state.  He said he had an amendment drafted in lieu           
 of this concept if the committee so desired.  There are some                  
 boroughs which have a more strict definition of what is cruelty to            
 animals.  He noted that this was fine, but these boroughs shouldn't           
 be able to impose a penalty greater than what the state allows for.           
 CHAIRMAN PORTER admitted that this clause had not caught his                  
 attention.  When Chairman Porter served on a municipal assembly he            
 was a little angry when the state legislature would tell the cities           
 what they could and couldn't do.  He asked what the persuasive                
 thought about restricting the boroughs was.                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE GRUSSENDORF confirmed that it wasn't his intent to             
 allow the clause which addressed the boroughs in this legislation,            
 but a lot of boroughs and animal control officers had approached              
 him.  He added that it made sense that these groups desired                   
 intervention before the animal was dead.  He did state though that            
 this clause was not part of the original version of this                      
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE suggested that a standard treatment of                   
 penalties be established for this legislation.                                
 Number 1808                                                                   
 LARRY PETTY testified by teleconference from Fairbanks against HB
 386.  He stated that the local Farm Bureau had appointed him to be            
 a watchdog over HB 386 to try and get production agriculture                  
 excluded from this bill.  Farmers have tried and true, traditional            
 methods of housing, feeding and caring for livestock.  They have              
 been castrating, docking, de-horning, branding and conducting their           
 own medical procedures without the aid of a veterinarian for over             
 200 years.  If any bill was passed that would change this, it could           
 kill agriculture in Alaska.  Mr. Petty felt as though these issues            
 should be addressed by the Department of Agriculture and warned               
 against local boroughs licensing, regulating, or telling farmers              
 how to do certain procedures, this could put these farmers in an              
 economic disadvantage compared to other farmers outside of a                  
 borough's jurisdiction.                                                       
 Number 2061                                                                   
 TIM ELLISON testified by teleconference from Fairbanks against HB
 386.  He stated that he earns his living directly through farming             
 and he is the Vice President of the local chapter of the Farm                 
 Bureau.  He felt as though the Bureau was concerned about the                 
 interpretation regarding this proposed legislation.  He noted New             
 Jersey as a state which lost almost all of their veal calf                    
 production because of the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to            
 Animals (SPCA) and other animal rights groups and their                       
 interpretation of language similar to that provided in HB 386.                
 There is no protection of the farmer in HB 386.                               
 Number 2147                                                                   
 DIXIE JENNINGS testified by teleconference from Valdez against HB
 386.  She said was deeply concerned with this legislation,                    
 especially in regards to the term criminal negligence.  She also              
 noted the use of the word "animals" without specification of                  
 domestic or wild.                                                             
 Number 2253                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY referenced the article from the Fairbanks               
 newspaper which Representative Grussendorf had provided and asked             
 how many cases such as this takes place in Alaska.  She noted that            
 it was probably rare.                                                         
 REPRESENTATIVE GRUSSENDORF cited that it's not as rare as they'd              
 like to believe it is.  He stated that he's received hundreds of              
 requests from people over the last few years who have asked that              
 something had to be done in this area.  Again, he indicated that              
 this legislation attempts to intervene and a lot of local                     
 governments or troopers who are aware of an abusive situation                 
 cannot do so because the success of a prosecution is so slim under            
 the existing statutes.                                                        
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY accepted the fact that there are more cases             
 of this abuse than they'd like to see, but she felt as though they            
 need to protect the people who had just testified.  If they're                
 concerned that the agriculture part of this animal bill might                 
 impact them, then she can't support the bill, until there are                 
 safeguards put in this legislation that are apparently missing.               
 REPRESENTATIVE GRUSSENDORF recounted that the agricultural issues             
 referred to in testimony are already covered by existing statutes.            
 He stressed that he was not adding anything new, other than                   
 allowing boroughs to acquire jurisdiction and then tinkering with             
 the definition in order to facilitate prosecution.                            
 Number 2378                                                                   
 LIEUTENANT CHRIS STOCKARD, Department of Public Safety provided               
 information about HB 386.  He did not bring to the hearing                    
 statistics regarding this issue.  He noted that it wasn't a large             
 number, but probably the department gets about 200 reports of abuse           
 per year.  Under the existing statute, relatively few of these                
 complaints result in prosecution because of the difficulty of                 
 meeting the intentional standards outlined in the existing law.               
 This bill, with the exception of those sections dealing with                  
 borough jurisdiction which the department hadn't considered,                  
 changes only the standard of proof used to establish the existing             
 violations.  This standard would change from "intentional" to                 
 "knowingly" and from "recklessly" to "criminal negligence."  It               
 doesn't affect whether an act is considered a misdemeanor or a                
 LT. CHRIS STOCKARD noted that these changes in standards would not            
 affect the practices of agriculture.  This legislation would affect           
 extraordinary conduct involving animals, rather than routine                  
 TAPE 96-26, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 121                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN moved that they delete section 3 and 6             
 from CSHB 386(RES).  He stated that the municipalities in the state           
 would have quite a challenge on this, the Matsu Borough being the             
 best example where they have all sorts of unusual circumstances,              
 especially related to horse and dog neglect.  These municipalities            
 need to be able to manage this particular problem and sometimes it            
 may require a stricter penalty than what this particular law                  
 allows.  There are different circumstances around the state and he            
 trusts that municipalities would not abuse this power.  They've               
 actually had this power all along to enact more strict laws                   
 regarding cruelty to animals.                                                 
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE stated that he was not uncomfortable with the            
 statute as it exists now.                                                     
 Number 227                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN PORTER spoke in favor of the amendment.  He stated that he           
 couldn't think of any other piece of legislation which restricted             
 the rights of a first class city or borough, not one.  He felt as             
 though these entities could decide what's best for their districts.           
 Number 288                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN PORTER hearing no objection to the motion to delete                  
 sections 3 and 6, moved this amendment.                                       
 REPRESENTATIVE BETTYE DAVIS made a motion to move CSHB 386(RES)               
 from the House Judiciary Committee meeting with individual                    
 recommendations, attached fiscal note and deleted sections as                 
 reflected in the amendment.  Hearing no objection it was so moved.            
 CHAIRMAN PORTER adjourned the House Judiciary Committee meeting at            
 3:16 p.m.                                                                     

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