Legislature(1997 - 1998)

03/24/1997 09:03 AM Senate HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                         March 24, 1997                                        
                            9:03 a.m.                                          
  MEMBERS PRESENT                                                              
 Senator Gary Wilken, Chairman                                                 
 Senator Loren Leman, Vice-Chairman                                            
 Senator Lyda Green                                                            
 Senator Jerry Ward                                                            
 Senator Johnny Ellis                                                          
  MEMBERS ABSENT                                                               
 All members present                                                           
  COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                           
 SENATE BILL NO. 58                                                            
 "An Act relating to the privilege to drive of minors and to the               
 penalty for the consumption or possession of alcoholic beverages by           
 persons under 21 years of age."                                               
  - MOVED CSSB 58 (HES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                       
 SENATE BILL NO. 11                                                            
 "An Act relating to state aid for school construction debt; and               
 providing for an effective date."                                             
  - MOVED CSSB 11 (HES) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                       
 SENATE BILL NO. 132                                                           
 "An Act relating to registration of sex offenders and central                 
 registry of sex offenders; relating to access to, release of, and             
 use of criminal justice information and systems; relating to                  
 notices concerning sex offender registrants; and providing for an             
 effective date."                                                              
  - HEARD AND HELD                                                             
 SENATE BILL NO. 146                                                           
 "An Act relating to the public school funding program; relating to            
 the definition of a school district, to the transportation of                 
 students, to school district layoff plans, to the special education           
 service agency, to the child care grant program; imposing a school            
 tax in the unorganized borough; and providing for an effective                
  - SCHEDULED BUT NOT HEARD                                                    
  PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                             
 SB 58 - See Senate Health, Education & Social Services minutes                
         dated 3/10/97, 3/21/97.                                               
 SB 11 - See Senate Health, Education & Social Services minutes                
         dated 2/26/97, 3/21/97.                                               
 SB 132 - No previous Senate action to record.                                 
 SB 146 - No previous Senate action to record.                                 
  WITNESS REGISTER                                                             
 Joe Ambrose, Staff                                                            
 Senator Robin Taylor                                                          
 State Capitol Bldg.                                                           
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Staff to sponsor of SB 58.                             
 Loren Jones, Director                                                         
 Division of Alcohol and Drug Programs                                         
 P.O. Box 110607                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-0607                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:                 Supported CSSB 58(HES).                  
 Juanita Hensley, Chief                                                        
 Driver Services                                                               
 Division of Motor Vehicles                                                    
 P.O. Box 20020                                                                
 Juneau, AK 99811-0020                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Supported CSSB 58(HES).                                
 Brett Huber, Staff                                                            
 Senator Halford                                                               
 State Capitol Bldg.                                                           
 Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Staff to sponsor of SB 11.                             
 Anne Carpeneti, Assistant Attorney General                                    
 Criminal Division                                                             
 Department of Law                                                             
 P.O. Box 110300                                                               
 Juneau, AK 99811-0300                                                         
  POSITION STATEMENT:   Discussed SB 132.                                      
  ACTION NARRATIVE                                                             
 TAPE 97-33, SIDE A                                                            
 Number 001                                                                    
            SB  58 MINOR CONSUMING ALCOHOL:  PENALTY                          
  CHAIRMAN WILKEN  called the Senate Health, Education and Social              
 Services (HESS) Committee to order at 9:03 a.m. and announced  SB 58          
  to be up for consideration.                                                  
  SENATOR GREEN  moved to adopt CSSB 58(HES).  There were no                   
 objections and it was so ordered.                                             
  JOE AMBROSE,  Staff to Senator Taylor, sponsor, said as per Chairman         
 Wilken's request he met with representatives of the court system,             
 Department of Law, Department of Health and Social Services, and              
 the Department of Public Safety who all had something to do with              
 the CS to SB 58 and Senator Taylor is very comfortable with this              
 Mr. Ambrose said it is surprising how little lee-way district court           
 judges have when dealing with minors consuming alcohol.  In 1995              
 minor consuming was moved from the juvenile justice system to                 
 district court.  SB 58 was introduced to correct some problems that           
 occurred with that move.  Some kids thought the $100 fine was a               
 joke and there continued to be repeat offenders.  One of the                  
 punishments a judge had available was to revoke the driver's                  
 license which entitle the defendant to a jury trial and a public              
 defender.  So SB 58 removes the driver's license revocation from              
 the purview of the court and makes it an administrative action by             
 the Division of Motor Vehicles.  Mr. Ambrose then reviewed the                
 sections of the bill.                                                         
 Mr. Ambrose said there is startling data about the rate of minors             
 consuming in Alaska, especially repeat offenders.  These are the              
 offenders Senator Taylor is concerned with - the teenagers who are            
 on their 12th, 13th, and 14th offense.                                        
  CHAIRMAN WILKEN  asked how the success of this bill could be                 
 measured over time.   JOE AMBROSE  responded that question was asked          
 about the effectiveness of alcohol treatment programs in Alaska.              
 There was a study commissioned by the legislature at that time                
 which came back with the result that alcohol treatment programs in            
 Alaska are a lot more effective than some people think they were.             
 The Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse will be providing the                  
 curriculum for the classes.  He said they would hopefully see a               
 drastic reduction in the numbers of repeat offenders.                         
  LOREN JONES,  Director, Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, said          
 the sections that moved into the CS from SB 71 transfer the                   
 approval process for alcohol information schools, for both adults             
 and minors, from the DMV to Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse so             
 they can set up age appropriate curriculum for minors and improve             
 upon the current curriculum for adult services.  It also gives                
 authority to the division for that purpose.  This allows them to              
 also monitor kids who are being processed through this.  The                  
 division will also use the funds available to grant to local                  
 agencies throughout the state the ability to operate the youth                
 assessment programs.  He said the grants have specific evaluative             
 criteria to measure the reduction in number of repeat offenders.              
 The division hopes to get the message out that there are                      
 consequences that are certain and will be monitored, that teenagers           
 will not be able to simply walk away and do nothing about it.                 
 Mr. Ambrose said the state is in the third year that the "use it or           
 lose it" has been in effect and between the first and second year             
 there was not a significant increase in the number of first time              
 offenders; there was an increase in the second and third time                 
 offenders and these are the targets of this legislation.                      
  LOREN JONES  said success would be measured by the number of                 
 offenders going down in a five-year period.                                   
 Number 270                                                                    
  SENATOR WARD  asked if he knew what questions were asked of a person         
 applying for a driver's permit.   LOREN JONES  replied that he did            
 not.   SENATOR WARD  did not know if young citizens taking the test           
 are currently required to actually know the answer.                           
  JOE AMBROSE  pointed out that there is other information up-front            
 that this kind of activity would place the young person's license             
 at risk.  He clarified that this bill does not propose any kind of            
 study.  It is a bill to divert kids into actual treatment programs.           
  SENATOR GREEN  asked if there was a current component in the adult           
 ASAP program requiring those people to stay in touch even after               
 going through the program.   LOREN JONES  explained that currently an         
 individual stays until the individual has successfully completed              
 the assignment, whether it be alcohol education or treatment.  Once           
 that process is over the ASAP function is closed.  Most persons get           
 a year probation with the court.  If for some reason the individual           
 has not completed the program, the program managers try to monitor            
 the participants through the process until they do.                           
 Number 302                                                                    
  JUANITA HENSLEY,  Division of Motor Vehicles, said there are several         
 ways to educate students regarding the consequences of using                  
 alcohol.  A brochure is available to all the students in all the              
 schools and two driver improvement specialists, one in Anchorage              
 and one in Juneau, who speak in schools.  She said there is a                 
 section in the driver's manual that deals strictly with drugs                 
 and alcohol and driving.  The driver's test also has specific                 
 questions that deal with alcohol.  She mentioned that students                
 usually know about the "use it or lose it" because a friend or                
 acquaintance has been in contact with police and had his/her                  
 license revoked.  The information is out there.                               
  SENATOR WARD  suggested the test ask the question of how many under          
 age young citizens have lost their license due to having alcohol in           
 the car.  He thought that would make the issue even more prominent            
 and would not cost any money.   JUANITA   HENSLEY  responded that she         
 would be more than happy to work with him on developing questions             
 on that issue; the department is in the process of revising the               
 driver's manual.                                                              
  SENATOR LEMAN  related an incident of a constituent of his whose             
 driver's license was suspended for something like 10-years and he             
 would be 30 before he could legally drive.  He said he supported              
 the law, but wanted to know if this law was really working and if             
 there was something the division could do to be flexible in cases             
 like this.   JUANITA   HENSLEY  clarified that the fiscal note on whic        
 estimated the number of students caught with alcohol to be 2,500              
 was in error and there are 3,900 plus now.  The law went into                 
 effect July 1, 1994 and the division does not know whether it is              
 working at this point, because at the same time in 1995 it was                
 taken out of the criminal justice system and put into violations              
 where the judges have no control to mandate that the person go to             
 alcohol treatment.  This bill will mandate the person be screened             
 and go to alcohol treatment before the person's license is returned           
 which would help them determine whether it is working or not.                 
  SENATOR WARD  said the reason the 1983 drunk driving bill was as             
 successful as it was is because it made mandatory penalties.  There           
 has to be the deterrent of penalties rather than alcohol treatment            
 programs to make the number go down.  Senator Ward did not think              
 this message was clear enough to the youngsters now.  Senator Ward            
 asked Mr. Ambrose to let Senator Taylor know of his concern about             
 the testing and see if it could be worked into the bill somewhere             
 in the process.  Senator Ward moved to pass CSSB 58(HES) from                 
 committee with individual recommendations and the accompanying                
 fiscal notes.  There were no objections and it was so ordered.                
                SB  11 SCHOOL DEBT REIMBURSEMENT                              
  CHAIRMAN WILKEN  announced  SB 11  to be up for consideration.               
  SENATOR WARD  moved to adopt the CS to SB 11.  There were no                 
 objections and it was so ordered.                                             
  BRETT HUBER,  Staff to Senator Halford, sponsor, explained the               
 changes in the CS which addressed the concerns of the committee.              
  SENATOR LEMAN  noted the language referring to 75 rather than 70             
 percent on page 4, line 13 that he did not recall from last week's            
 amendment.   CHAIRMAN WILKEN  explained that it is personal                   
 preference; he liked 75 percent better because it is a fixed number           
 and it becomes rooted in people's minds that the state pays three             
 quarters.  He noted that Senator Leman was not in the room when it            
 was discussed before the committee.                                           
  SENATOR GREEN  moved to pass CSSB 11(HES) from committee with                
 individual recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes.                 
 There were no objections and it was so ordered.                               
        SB 132 CRIMINAL JUSTICE INFO, INCL. SEX OFFENDER                      
  CHAIRMAN WILKEN  announced  SB 132  to be up for consideration.              
  ANNE CARPENETI,  Department of Law, explained that this bill has two         
 parts dealing with criminal background information.  The first part           
 amends AS 12.62 which is the criminal justice information systems             
 and the security statutes in two general ways; first by clarifying            
 procedures for a person to get background information held by the             
 FBI.  Secondly, it eliminates the historical time limitation on               
 prior convictions and the ability to obtain information on prior              
 convictions for State records.                                                
 Ms. Carpeneti said the second part of the bill brings the state in            
 compliance with the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and              
 Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act.  In order to stay                 
 eligible for 100 percent funding from the Burn formula funding                
 grants the legislation is necessary.  It requires the state to                
 adopt a two-tier sex offender registration program - one for                  
 certain offenses against children and sexually violent crimes and             
 requires registration for at least 10 years.  The other second part           
 of the Wetterling Act provides more stringent registration                    
 requirements for sexually violent predators.  Ms. Carpeneti                   
 informed the committee that Alaska already has a two-step sex                 
 offender registration procedure.  The first is for 15-years for               
 first time sex offenders and the second requires recidivist sex               
 offenders to register for life.  Ms. Carpeneti explained that the             
 Wetterling Act requires the state to appoint panels of experts in             
 behavior and the treatment of sex offenders which would examine a             
 person who has been convicted of a sex offense and make a                     
 recommendation to the sentencing court whether or not that person             
 should be classified as a sexually violent predator.  If a person             
 is classified as a sexually violent predator, he or she would                 
 remain there until the board examined the person at a later date              
 and made the recommendation that the person is no longer sexually             
 violent.  The recommendation would have to go back to the original            
 sentencing court and the court would make the determination if that           
 person has ceased to be a sexually violent predator.                          
 Ms. Carpeneti said there are several problems with that approach.             
 The cost of establishing a statewide board of experts would be                
 significant and the second and more significant cost would be to              
 litigate whether or not the individual is a sexually violent                  
 predator and remains one.  The potential for litigation is for the            
 life of the person.  For these reasons, the department has been               
 working with the federal government on an alternate approach which            
 the department expects will be accepted.  The legislation proposes            
 in addition to the life-time registration of recidivist offenders,            
 to add to that category persons who are convicted for the first               
 time of the most serious sexual offenses, sexual assault in the               
 first degree (an unclassified felony) and sexual abuse of a minor             
 in the first degree (also an unclassified felony).  Ms. Carpeneti             
 said the Wetterling Act also requires verification of the addresses           
 of sexually violent predators through registration every 90 days.             
  SENATOR WARD  asked for a copy of the Wetterling Act for all                 
 committee members and asked if the state is receiving the grant               
 money now.   ANNE CARPENETI  replied yes.   SENATOR WARD  asked if            
 there is a document saying that our laws are out of compliance and            
 the state will not receive it this year.  Senator Ward requested a            
 copy of that also.   ANNE   CARPENETI  noted that the department has          
 had communications with the Department of Justice setting forth the           
 requirements of what the state must do.  At this point, the                   
 department knows that the state is not in compliance.  The federal            
 government has not formally said that the federal money will be cut           
 off.   SENATOR WARD  asked her to get a letter stating that to the            
 committee.   ANNE   CARPENETI  replied that she would do her best.            
  SENATOR GREEN  asked if there was a timing sequence that other               
 things might happen at the federal level.                                     
  TAPE 97-33, SIDE B                                                           
  Number 580                                                                   
   SENATOR GREEN  said that might make it easier for the state to              
 comport to what they have done afterwards.   ANNE   CARPENETI  replied        
 that two other pieces of law have been passed since the Wetterling            
 Act.  One is Megan's Law which addresses notification of the                  
 location of sex offenders and that is addressed in this bill by               
 allowing the Department of Public Safety to adopt regulations                 
 addressing notification.  The second is a bill requiring some time            
 in the future the FBI to establish a tracking system of sex                   
 offenders.  That is provided in this bill by requiring the                    
 Department of Public Safety to notify the State and FBI whenever a            
 sex offender moves out of State and notify the state they are                 
 moving to.                                                                    
 Ms. Carpeneti explained that other states are trying to find                  
 creative alternatives for the board of experts, but some of the               
 provisions of the Wetterling Act can't be changed.  The state has             
 adopted guidelines, which she will provide the committee, which               
 gives them a lot more freedom in certain areas.                               
  SENATOR GREEN  did not think the current sex offender registration           
 system in Alaska went far enough.   ANNE   CARPENETI  pointed out that        
 Alaska is more stringent than federal statutes, in that first                 
 offenses must register for 15 years.  The Wetterling Act starts               
 with 10 years as a floor rather than a ceiling.  Alaska also has              
 the life-time registration for recidivists which is more serious              
 that federal requirements.                                                    
  SENATOR GREEN  was concerned that the state would be pulling people          
 into the system who have only been charged, but not convicted.                
 Number 556                                                                    
  ANNE   CARPENETI  thought that was a reading mistake because you only        
 have to register after conviction.                                            
  SENATOR GREEN  asked her to explain page 2, section 4.   ANNE                
 CARPENETI  explained that section addresses the criminal justice              
 information security system which is different than the Wetterling            
  CHAIRMAN WILKEN  asked what was challenged in court and then came            
 back in State law over the last couple of years.   ANNE   CARPENETI           
 replied that the ex-post facto issue, which means adopting a                  
 punishment that was not in affect when the act was committed was              
 challenged.  She found that no state or federal court has upheld              
 the challenge based and our case in Alaska has been dismissed.                
  CHAIRMAN WILKEN  said that SB 132 would be held for further                  
 discussion and adjourned the meeting at 9:56 a.m.                             

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