Legislature(2003 - 2004)

02/19/2003 01:39 PM Senate JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
              SENATE JUDICIARY STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                             
                       February 19, 2003                                                                                        
                           1:39 p.m.                                                                                            
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Ralph Seekins, Chair                                                                                                    
Senator Scott Ogan, Vice Chair                                                                                                  
Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                            
Senator Hollis French                                                                                                           
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Gene Therriault                                                                                                         
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
SENATE BILL NO. 58                                                                                                              
"An  Act  relating  to permanent  fund  dividend  program  notice                                                               
requirements  and   to  the  ineligibility  for   permanent  fund                                                               
dividends  of  certain  persons sentenced  for  crimes  involving                                                               
mandatory motor vehicle liability insurance."                                                                                   
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
SENATE BILL NO. 59                                                                                                              
"An  Act  relating  to permanent  fund  dividend  program  notice                                                               
requirements  and   to  the  ineligibility  for   permanent  fund                                                               
dividends of  certain persons sentenced  for driving  while under                                                               
the influence  of an alcoholic beverage,  inhalant, or controlled                                                               
substance, or for refusal to submit to a chemical test."                                                                        
     HEARD AND HELD                                                                                                             
PREVIOUS ACTION                                                                                                               
SB 58 - No previous action to record.                                                                                           
SB 59 - No previous action to record.                                                                                           
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
Senator John Cowdery                                                                                                            
Alaska State Capitol, Room 101                                                                                                  
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Sponsor of SB 58 and SB 59                                                                                
Crystal Moore                                                                                                                   
Alaska State Capitol, Room 101                                                                                                  
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Introduced SB 58 and SB 59                                                                                
Linda Wilson                                                                                                                    
Deputy Director, Public Defender Agency                                                                                         
Department of Law                                                                                                               
PO Box 110300                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0300                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 58 and SB 59                                                                              
Diane Wendlandt                                                                                                                 
Assistant Attorney General,                                                                                                     
Collections and Support Section                                                                                                 
Department of Law                                                                                                               
PO Box 110300                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0300                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 58 and SB 59                                                                              
Larry Persily                                                                                                                   
Deputy Commissioner                                                                                                             
Department of Revenue                                                                                                           
PO Box 110400                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0400                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 58 and SB 59                                                                              
Marti Greeson                                                                                                                   
Director, Anchorage Chapter MADD                                                                                                
Anchorage, AK 99510                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 58 and SB 59                                                                              
John Main                                                                                                                       
Director, Child Support Enforcement                                                                                             
Department of Revenue                                                                                                           
PO Box 110400                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0400                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 58 and SB 59                                                                              
Al Near                                                                                                                         
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 59                                                                                        
Jessica Paris                                                                                                                   
Juneau representative, MADD                                                                                                     
Juneau, AK 99801                                                                                                                
POSITION STATEMENT: Testified on SB 59                                                                                        
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 03-4, SIDE A                                                                                                             
CHAIR  RALPH   SEEKINS  called  the  Senate   Judiciary  Standing                                                             
Committee meeting  to order  at 1:39  p.m. Senators  French, Ogan                                                               
and Chair  Seekins were present  to constitute a  quorum. Senator                                                               
Ellis arrived momentarily.                                                                                                      
He announced the committee would  consider two bills sponsored by                                                               
Senator Cowdery,  SB 58 and  SB 59.  He asked Senator  Cowdery to                                                               
introduce  his  staff  member who  would  give  the  introductory                                                               
        SB 58-PFD INELIGIBILITY/MOTOR VEHICLE INSURANCE                                                                     
           SB 59-PERMANENT FUND INELIGIBILITY FOR DUI                                                                       
SENATOR  JOHN COWDERY,  sponsor of  SB 58  and SB  59, introduced                                                               
Crystal Moore and said she would present the bills.                                                                             
CRYSTAL MOORE,  staff to Senator  Cowdery, described SB 58  as an                                                               
act  relating  to  the  Permanent   Fund  Dividend  Program  that                                                               
involves uninsured motorists. Following is her presentation.                                                                    
     Each  year,   hundreds  of  Alaskans  fall   victim  to                                                                    
     uninsured drivers  and the state law  is clear: drivers                                                                    
     must maintain a minimum  amount of liability insurance.                                                                    
     Unfortunately, there  is no way  to keep track  of that                                                                    
     unless an  accident occurs. This bill  requires that if                                                                    
     you are  caught without  insurance you have  a one-year                                                                    
     suspension of your permanent fund  dividend [PFD] for a                                                                    
     first offense. For  a second offense it is  a five year                                                                    
     suspension of your PFD. It  makes you ineligible, which                                                                    
     means you  do not have  a dividend. You do  not qualify                                                                    
     so  there  is   no  money  coming  to   you,  no  money                                                                    
     necessarily that any other  department can take either.                                                                    
     Nobody  can garnish  those wages  because  they do  not                                                                    
     exist. Because the permanent fund  dividend is a right,                                                                    
     not a privilege, these penalties  fall above and beyond                                                                    
     all other penalties that are  currently provided by for                                                                    
     the law.                                                                                                                   
CHAIR SEEKINS asked whether members had questions for Ms. Moore.                                                                
SENATOR  HOLLIS FRENCH  asked about  a statement  in the  sponsor                                                               
statement  that reads,  "...hundreds of  Alaskans fall  victim to                                                               
uninsured drivers." Although he  didn't dispute the statement, he                                                               
noted he  would be  "out of  luck" if  he didn't  carry uninsured                                                               
motorist insurance and his car  was hit by an uninsured motorist.                                                               
As the  victim, he would  like to be  able to sue  that uninsured                                                               
motorist  for all  or part  of  his or  her PFD  because that  is                                                               
frequently the only asset a lower income individual has.                                                                        
MS. MOORE said she understands  Senator French's reaction but the                                                               
intent of the  bill is to make uninsured motorists  aware that it                                                               
is unacceptable to be uninsured.                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  advised the current criminal  penalty for driving                                                               
while  uninsured is  up  to 90  days  in jail,  a  $500 fine  and                                                               
revocation of the driver's license.  He asked whether more people                                                               
couldn't be  discouraged from driving  without insurance  if they                                                               
were aware it could result in jail time.                                                                                        
SENATOR COWDERY  agreed individuals  could be encouraged,  but if                                                               
people do the math they'd learn  that by spending $400 or $500 to                                                               
buy  liability insurance  they wouldn't  jeopardize their  $1,500                                                               
dividend.  He thought incentive was built into the bill.                                                                        
SENATOR SCOTT OGAN said Senator  French brought up an interesting                                                               
point and  is probably correct in  that the dividend is  the only                                                               
asset some individuals have. He  wondered whether the state could                                                               
stand second in line.                                                                                                           
SENATOR  COWDERY  explained the  way  the  bill is  written,  the                                                               
entitlement  is gone  and the  uninsured motorist  doesn't get  a                                                               
PFD. The  victim would have to  "go after" any assets  the driver                                                               
or the  owner of the car  might have. He asked  attorneys present                                                               
whether  he  was correct  to  say  the  car owner  is  ultimately                                                               
responsible for the driver.                                                                                                     
SENATOR FRENCH  replied children could  be sued if  their parents                                                               
have engaged in negligent entrustment.  "That is if you give your                                                               
car over  to someone  who isn't licensed,"  he explained.  In the                                                               
drug underworld,  it's not  uncommon for someone  to steal  a car                                                               
then claim  to have loaned  it to someone  else. In this  type of                                                               
instance, the  individual that  runs into  you has  no insurance,                                                               
doesn't own the car and has  no assets. His concern with the bill                                                               
is that individuals  with no money don't buy  insurance but still                                                               
drive for  a variety  of legitimate reasons,  such as  getting to                                                               
work or  taking children to  the doctor  or going to  the grocery                                                               
store.  If  those individuals  lose  their  PFD when  busted  for                                                               
driving without a  license, they're less likely  to buy insurance                                                               
in  the  future.  It's  also  less likely  that  the  victim  who                                                               
suffered   a  modest   amount  of   damage   would  receive   any                                                               
CHAIR SEEKINS commented he's been  in the automobile business for                                                               
quite awhile  and has frequently  been in the situation  in which                                                               
he  or his  companies owned  a vehicle  that was  involved in  an                                                               
accident and  were named in  lawsuits under  vicarious liability,                                                               
negligent entrustment and other theories of law.                                                                                
SENATOR  COWDERY said  5,500 Alaskans  were convicted  of DUI  in                                                               
1999. When  he assumed a  dividend of $1,500, and  that one-third                                                               
of  the  5,500  offenders  would   become  second  offenders,  he                                                               
calculated that  between $160 and  $180 million could be  left in                                                               
the fund at the end of ten years.                                                                                               
SENATOR FRENCH asked if this was the DUI portion of the bill.                                                                   
SENATOR COWDERY said that was in SB 59.                                                                                         
CHAIR SEEKINS  said the bills  are similar but  address different                                                               
offenses.   He  asked   for  verification   that  the   convicted                                                               
individual  would not  be eligible  for a  PFD, which  would mean                                                               
that asset  [PFD] could not  be attached  by the state  or anyone                                                               
because it  wouldn't exist.  That money would  "stay in  the pot"                                                               
and be  split among  the people  that are  eligible to  receive a                                                               
1:50 p.m.                                                                                                                     
SENATOR  COWDERY  announced  he  had "a  command  call  from  the                                                               
Governor's office" and had to leave the meeting.                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  advised  the committee  would  continue  to  take                                                               
testimony  and would  take action  at another  meeting. If  there                                                               
were  many changes,  they would  prepare  a committee  substitute                                                               
(CS) for consideration.                                                                                                         
He  then  asked  Ms.  Moore  to  confirm  retroactivity  was  not                                                               
intended; everyone would begin with a "clean slate."                                                                            
MS.  MOORE   replied  they  did   not  intend  the  bill   to  be                                                               
CHAIR SEEKINS  opined the  language might need  to be  changed to                                                               
clarify that point.                                                                                                             
SENATOR OGAN asked whether anyone  from the Department of Law was                                                               
present to testify.                                                                                                             
CHAIR  SEEKINS  asked  whether  Linda  Wilson  was  available  on                                                               
LINDA WILSON, Deputy Director,  Public Defender Agency, testified                                                               
via teleconference and  advised she was more  prepared to testify                                                               
on SB  59, but  she had submitted  the indeterminate  fiscal note                                                               
for SB  58 and was available  to answer questions on  that fiscal                                                               
She explained  that although the  agency doesn't have  many cases                                                               
in which  an individual is  charged with one of  three identified                                                               
misdemeanors  in  Title  28,  the  comments  made  previously  by                                                               
committee members echo her concerns.  The PFD is a primary source                                                               
of income  for indigent individuals  and making  them potentially                                                               
ineligible for one to five years  takes away a pool of money that                                                               
is often  attached and used  for restitution and  other financial                                                               
obligations, including child support.                                                                                           
SENATOR   OGAN  asked   for  clarification   that  the   affected                                                               
individuals would be those charged with not having insurance.                                                                   
MS. MOORE said that is correct.                                                                                                 
SENATOR OGAN  asked if  there would be  an additional  jury trial                                                               
expense to take away the PFD.                                                                                                   
MS. MOORE thought all court fees would be combined.                                                                             
SENATOR OGAN asked for legal concurrence.                                                                                       
CHAIR SEEKINS called Diane Wendlandt to respond.                                                                                
DIANE  WENDLANDT,  Assistant  Attorney General,  Collections  and                                                               
Support Section,  testified via teleconference and  asked for the                                                               
question to be restated.                                                                                                        
SENATOR  OGAN asked  if a  separate  trial would  be required  to                                                               
eliminate the dividend.                                                                                                         
ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL  WENDLANDT explained her understanding                                                               
is   a  criminal   judgment  would   be   entered,  which   would                                                               
automatically disqualify  the individual from receiving  the PFD;                                                               
it  would  not have  to  be  included  in  an order.  Her  office                                                               
collects  criminal   fines,  the   cost  of   incarceration  and,                                                               
restitution on behalf  of DUI victims.  When  the agency receives                                                               
criminal  judgments,   collections  are   made  through   a  cost                                                               
effective,   electronic  PFD   attachment.   The  judgments   are                                                               
generally  small,  ranging from  $50  to  $2,000, so  traditional                                                               
collection  methods, such  as garnishing  income, cost  more than                                                               
the judgment.  The exception is  the PFD; because  the collection                                                               
is done electronically, the per-judgment cost is very small.                                                                    
SENATOR   FRENCH  commented   it   might   have  the   unintended                                                               
consequence of forcing more cases  to trial if the permanent fund                                                               
dividend was at stake on top of the criminal penalties.                                                                         
SENATOR OGAN  noted his  question was  whether elimination  of an                                                               
individual's PFD  would be adjudicated  in the same trial  as the                                                               
criminal   proceedings:  Would   this  happen   automatically  on                                                               
SENATOR  FRENCH interpreted  it to  mean the  criminal conviction                                                               
would  be  transmitted  to  the permanent  fund  office  and  the                                                               
individual would become ineligible for a dividend.                                                                              
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked whether  anyone from  the Department  of Law                                                               
was on line.                                                                                                                    
MR. LARRY  PERSILY, Deputy  Commissioner, Department  of Revenue,                                                               
informed   the  committee   that   the   Department  of   Revenue                                                               
administers  the Permanent  Fund Dividend  program. According  to                                                               
current law,  an individual convicted  of, or serving time  for a                                                               
felony, a third  misdemeanor or a misdemeanor on  a prior felony,                                                               
becomes  ineligible for  the PFD  for the  following year.  Every                                                               
year the Departments  of Public Safety and  Corrections submit an                                                               
electronic  database  of  individuals meeting  the  ineligibility                                                               
criteria. The Department of Revenue  matches the database against                                                               
past dividend  application data back  to 1988.  Although somewhat                                                               
arbitrary,  the assumption  is that  individuals  who would  have                                                               
qualified in past  years would qualify in the current  year if it                                                               
weren't  for  the  prohibition  in  state  law  that  makes  them                                                               
ineligible. Statute  requires PFDs  that would  have gone  to the                                                               
individuals deemed  ineligible to go  to the Council  on Domestic                                                               
Violence  and  Sexual  Assault,  Legislative  Office  of  Victims                                                               
Rights, Violent Crimes Compensation  Board, and the Department of                                                               
Corrections  for  offender   treatment  programs.  The  dividends                                                               
replace general fund money in those budget categories.                                                                          
In October  2002 data  matches were  found for  8,270 individuals                                                               
who  met  the  statutory  criteria   for  ineligibility  who  had                                                               
received  past  dividends.  If each  dividend  is  calculated  at                                                               
$1,500, $12.74  million will  be available  to those  programs in                                                               
the  FY04   budget.  Each  year   the  money   is  electronically                                                               
transferred from the dividend fund  to those programs through the                                                               
appropriation process.                                                                                                          
In response  to Senator  Ogan's question  he explained  that most                                                               
individuals  who  are  ineligible  for  a  dividend  due  to  the                                                               
statutory prohibition don't apply for  one because they know they                                                               
won't receive  one. If they apply  and are denied, they  have the                                                               
right to  a formal  hearing. If  denied at  that level,  they may                                                               
appeal  to superior  court. A  prioritization  list for  dividend                                                               
garnishment and  collection is set  in statute: child  support is                                                               
first, court  ordered restitution is second,  state student loans                                                               
are  third, court  ordered fines  are  fourth, judgments  against                                                               
minors come next,  followed by other state debt  and then private                                                               
He said he was available for  questions and someone from CSED was                                                               
on  line from  Anchorage  and available  to  answer questions  as                                                               
2:00 p.m.                                                                                                                     
SENATOR OGAN  observed the methods for  garnishing dividends that                                                               
weren't applied for are creative.                                                                                               
DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER PERSILY  agreed  the state  is taking  those                                                               
dividends as  though the individuals  had applied, but  he didn't                                                               
write the law he is simply  carrying it out. Money is budgeted to                                                               
the  programs that  are impacted  by the  crimes the  individuals                                                               
SENATOR OGAN said, "The way this  bill is written, they don't get                                                               
one, period,  so you couldn't  really take it for  anything else.                                                               
Yes, no?"                                                                                                                       
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER  PERSILY replied, "This  just adds it  to the                                                               
list." Individuals who  are denied eligibility for  the next year                                                               
because  of DUI  or driving  without insurance  would have  their                                                               
dividends go  into the  pool and  provide more  money to  pay for                                                               
those programs.                                                                                                                 
CHAIR  SEEKINS   said  statute  sets  forth   specific  uses  and                                                               
directional   flow  for   dividends  of   statutorily  ineligible                                                               
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER PERSILY agreed.                                                                                             
CHAIR  SEEKINS questioned  whether the  definition of  ineligible                                                               
"starts it down this  course, so if we didn't want  it to do that                                                               
we'd have to address the other statute?"                                                                                        
DEPUTY  COMMISSIONER  PERSILY replied  that  is  correct; if  the                                                               
committee wants the money for  those deemed ineligible to stay in                                                               
the  dividend fund,  other  statutory changes  would  need to  be                                                               
MS. MOORE  explained the bill  states the  money can stay  in the                                                               
permanent fund  unless the  Legislature approves  that it  be put                                                               
into the programs mentioned previously.                                                                                         
SENATOR  FRENCH asked  for confirmation  that the  bill says  the                                                               
money in question can stay in  the dividend fund and doesn't have                                                               
to move with the other ineligible funds.                                                                                        
MS. MOORE said that was correct.                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  asked which portion  of the bill  addresses where                                                               
the money can go.                                                                                                               
MS. MOORE referred him to page  3, lines 13 through 26 and added:                                                               
"The funds  that are collected from  this, from SB 58  and SB 59,                                                               
they stay in the permanent fund dividend division."                                                                             
SENATOR  FRENCH  asked for  verification  they  would be  treated                                                               
differently from all other ineligible  PFD recipients and whether                                                               
that  was  spelled  out  in  subsection (C)  on  page  3  and  in                                                               
paragraphs (5) (A) and (B) on that page.                                                                                        
MS. MOORE said that was correct.                                                                                                
2:08 p.m.                                                                                                                     
SENATOR JOHNNY  ELLIS asked what  happens to creditors  who might                                                               
otherwise benefit from the PFDs if this becomes law.                                                                            
MS. MOORE replied  this bill says that  convicted individuals are                                                               
ineligible. She stated they don't have  a PFD, "there is no money                                                               
there that  can be  given to  any other  department, that  can be                                                               
taken for any reason."                                                                                                          
SENATOR ELLIS asked what the social benefit would be.                                                                           
MS. MOORE  replied the  intention is  to leave  the money  in the                                                               
fund for the rest of Alaska's citizens.                                                                                         
SENATOR ELLIS asked  if that is because everyone  would receive a                                                               
larger dividend.                                                                                                                
MS. MOORE replied  she could look into that further  and get back                                                               
to him.                                                                                                                         
CHAIR  SEEKINS  thought  the  intent  was  to  add  incentive  to                                                               
purchase  automobile  insurance  as  required  by  state  law  by                                                               
imposing a penalty of losing eligibility.                                                                                       
MS. MOORE replied that is true.                                                                                                 
SENATOR OGAN asked if legislation  passed last year that makes it                                                               
a misdemeanor  for not  carrying insurance  on vehicles  that are                                                               
SENATOR  ELLIS  asked  whether someone  from  the  Child  Support                                                               
Enforcement Agency was available to answer questions.                                                                           
CHAIR SEEKINS called Marti Greeson to testify.                                                                                  
MARTI  GREESON,  Director of  the  Anchorage  chapter of  Mothers                                                               
Against Drunk  Drivers (MADD),  testified via  teleconference and                                                               
expressed  gratitude for  the work  that went  into drafting  the                                                               
bill.  She said  that MADD  works with  victims of  motor vehicle                                                               
accidents  and   does  not   see  the   need  to   increase  each                                                               
individual's permanent  fund dividend.  However, MADD  would like                                                               
financial assistance to  be more readily available  to victims of                                                               
uninsured motorist and/or alcohol related accidents.                                                                            
SENATOR  OGAN  said  he  wasn't  clear on  her  position  on  the                                                               
MS. GREESON  replied MADD  supports the bill,  but would  like to                                                               
hear continuing discussion about whether  the money would go back                                                               
into  the permanent  fund or  go  with other  forfeited money  to                                                               
support  programs,  such as  one  for  victims of  motor  vehicle                                                               
SENATOR OGAN asked her if she was referring to SB 58.                                                                           
MS. GREESON  replied she was  referring to  SB 58, the  bill that                                                               
deals with driving without insurance.                                                                                           
CHAIR SEEKINS asked whether the  committee could assume she had a                                                               
position on SB 59 as well.                                                                                                      
MS. GREESON agreed she did.                                                                                                     
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked whether there were  any additional questions                                                               
for Ms. Greeson regarding SB 58.                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS  asked whether  the Chair  would take  testimony on                                                               
both bills.                                                                                                                     
CHAIR SEEKINS  replied that  was correct,  but testimony  was not                                                               
all inclusive at that time.                                                                                                     
SENATOR ELLIS asked Ms. Greeson  for specific written suggestions                                                               
relating to the use of the  dividends in the battle against drunk                                                               
driving and the after effects.                                                                                                  
MS. GREESON agreed to do so.                                                                                                    
MR.  JOHN  MAIN,  Director  of   the  Child  Support  Enforcement                                                               
Division   (CSED),   Department   of   Revenue,   testified   via                                                               
teleconference  to advise  members his  division had  submitted a                                                               
fiscal note,  but did  not take  a position on  the bill  at this                                                               
SENATOR COWDERY  stated, with regard  to the fiscal note,  no one                                                               
can know  how many  children might  be involved.  He said  he was                                                               
sure CSED  has attached  a number  of dividends  from individuals                                                               
who  might become  ineligible in  the future  because of  DUI and                                                               
driving without insurance convictions. The  intent of the bill is                                                               
that those individuals lose their dividends.                                                                                    
SENATOR OGAN  asked about the  fiscal note from CSED,  which says                                                               
by  statute   child  support  takes   priority  over   all  other                                                               
garnishments against  a dividend  and noted this  bill eliminates                                                               
rather than garnishes  the dividend. Because of  the large number                                                               
of delinquent  child support cases,  he wondered  whether Senator                                                               
Cowdery would consider  language to allow child  support to stand                                                               
first in line.                                                                                                                  
SENATOR  COWDERY  stated  the  individuals  whose  dividends  are                                                               
garnished   for  child   support  would   receive  no   dividend.                                                               
Therefore,  if they  were convicted  for  driving without  having                                                               
insurance  on  their  vehicle,  there would  be  no  dividend  to                                                               
garnish. He pointed out, "This  should give them incentive to get                                                               
insurance.  You can  get insurance  for a  lot less  than at  the                                                               
present day dividend."                                                                                                          
SENATOR  OGAN  said  he  understood that,  but  this  bill  would                                                               
penalize the children because they  would no longer receive child                                                               
support from the garnished dividend.                                                                                            
SENATOR COWDERY asked Ms. Moore  to explain the reasoning for the                                                               
MS. MOORE  explained the  child would  still get  his or  her own                                                               
2:17 p.m.                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  SEEKINS  restated  Senator   Ogan's  concern  that  if  an                                                               
individual's  PFD was  already garnished  for child  support, and                                                               
that  person  became  ineligible   to  receive  a  dividend,  the                                                               
dependent child would be the one who would lose the support.                                                                    
SENATOR OGAN agreed that was his concern.                                                                                       
SENATOR COWDERY replied,  "But they're eligible now  if they live                                                               
CHAIR  SEEKINS advised  care should  be  taken to  ensure that  a                                                               
third  and possibly  innocent party  isn't  diminished because  a                                                               
parent didn't buy insurance.                                                                                                    
SENATOR COWDERY  replied he  understood the  concern and  said "I                                                               
put some thought into it when I eliminated it."                                                                                 
CHAIR SEEKINS said he appreciated the point.                                                                                    
SENATOR ELLIS commented  they could be confusing  the Division of                                                               
Family  and  Youth Services  and  the  Child Support  Enforcement                                                               
Division. He remembered  that CSED has always  opposed bills that                                                               
diminish the  ability to recover  for dependent  children through                                                               
child support.  He asked  Mr. Main  to comment  on the  change in                                                               
policy on this bill.                                                                                                            
MR.  MAIN replied  CSED hasn't  had a  change in  policy, but  it                                                               
might have to  live with this change. If  the legislation passes,                                                               
the children will feel the impact.                                                                                              
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked for an  estimate of the number  of dividends                                                               
that are currently garnished for child support.                                                                                 
MR.  MAIN replied  about 16  percent of  CSED's collections  came                                                               
from garnished dividends.                                                                                                       
CHAIR  SEEKINS then  asked what  percentage of  those people  are                                                               
MR. MAIN replied CSED doesn't have that information.                                                                            
CHAIR  SEEKINS asked  if  individuals didn't  pay  and had  their                                                               
dividend  garnished because  they were  indigent or  because they                                                               
were obstinate.                                                                                                                 
MR. MAIN laughed and said it's  because they don't pay or because                                                               
they  are  in arrears.  Anytime  parents  are in  arrears,  their                                                               
dividend is collected.                                                                                                          
CHAIR   SEEKINS  noted   that  just   as  the   fiscal  note   is                                                               
indeterminate, the impact of this bill is indeterminate as well.                                                                
MR. MAIN said last year CSED  estimated roughly 36 percent of the                                                               
corrections population  was affected by dividend  collections. He                                                               
thought this amounted to about 5,400 individuals.                                                                               
CHAIR SEEKINS asked if anyone else wanted to testify.                                                                           
SENATOR COWDERY  asked whether convicted felons  were entitled to                                                               
a PFD because he thought felons lost that right.                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS advised ineligibility  follows a felony conviction.                                                               
There  are formulas  by which  individuals  lose eligibility  and                                                               
this legislation adds  to the formula. He  noted information from                                                               
the  Department of  Corrections and  the public  defenders office                                                               
categorizes 80 percent of the people in jail as indigent.                                                                       
SENATOR OGAN asked  Mr. Main whether there is any  way to collect                                                               
a felon's dividend for child support purposes.                                                                                  
MR. MAIN replied there was no way.                                                                                              
SENATOR  COWDERY   commented  the   dividend  is  likely   to  be                                                               
diminished in the future.                                                                                                       
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked whether there was  further testimony. [There                                                               
was none.]                                                                                                                      
SENATOR COWDERY  said the first  offense referred to in  the bill                                                               
carries only a one-year penalty.                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS replied they understand.                                                                                          
He held SB 58 in committee.                                                                                                     
           SB 59-PERMANENT FUND INELIGIBILITY FOR DUI                                                                       
CHAIR SEEKINS asked Ms. Moore to introduce SB 59.                                                                               
MS. CRYSTAL  MOORE, staff to  Senator Cowdery, sponsor of  SB 59,                                                               
explained  that it  addresses  permanent  fund ineligibility  for                                                               
driving under  the influence (DUI) [of  alcohol]. An individual's                                                               
dividend would be suspended for one  year if convicted on a first                                                               
offense and  for five years  after a  second offense. This  is in                                                               
addition to  any penalties  already set  forth for  driving while                                                               
SENATOR OGAN commented all the  questions asked about SB 58 would                                                               
probably apply to this bill.                                                                                                    
CHAIR  SEEKINS  agreed  committee  members would  have  the  same                                                               
concerns. He  asked Marti Greeson  if her testimony would  be the                                                               
same in content for SB 59 as it was for SB 58.                                                                                  
MARTI  GREESON,  representative  from the  Anchorage  chapter  of                                                               
MADD, replied her testimony was the same.                                                                                       
CHAIR SEEKINS asked Mr. Main the same question.                                                                                 
MR. JOHN MAIN, Director of  Child Support Enforcement, Department                                                               
of Revenue, replied  he did have some  information regarding DUI.                                                               
Of the  5,800 DUI's  from last year,  CSED estimates  about 2,400                                                               
would have child support collections.                                                                                           
CHAIR  SEEKINS  asked Ms.  Wendlandt  whether  her testimony  was                                                               
similar to that given for SB 58.                                                                                                
MS.  DIANE WENDLANDT,  Department of  Law, replied  it is  fairly                                                               
similar;  her main  point is  this  money would  otherwise go  to                                                               
collect criminal fines, criminal judgments and restitutions.                                                                    
CHAIR SEEKINS asked Ms. Wilson the same question.                                                                               
MS.  LINDA  WILSON,  Deputy  Director,  Public  Defender  Agency,                                                               
replied she had  a few additional comments. The  bill might cause                                                               
more  people  to choose  to  go  to  trial  when faced  with  the                                                               
additional penalty for  conviction of a DUI or  refusal to submit                                                               
to a chemical  test and this would increase the  workload for the                                                               
agency. The rest of her comments were the same.                                                                                 
SENATOR OGAN  referred to page 3,  lines 12, 13 and  21 and asked                                                               
the sponsor  to explain the  inserted language, "in  this state."                                                               
He wondered if  individuals lose their PFD if  they are convicted                                                               
of  a felony  in  any state  or  just convicted  of  a felony  in                                                               
SENATOR COWDERY  replied his  intention is for  this to  apply to                                                               
felony  convictions in  the state  to "commingle  city ordinances                                                               
and city laws with state law."                                                                                                  
CHAIR SEEKINS  said the sponsor's  intention is that  the penalty                                                               
is the same  whether the individual is convicted  under state law                                                               
or municipal law.                                                                                                               
SENATOR OGAN again asked whether  an individual who was convicted                                                               
of a felony in another state would lose their PFD.                                                                              
SENATOR COWDERY  said he  didn't believe so,  but he  didn't know                                                               
the law.                                                                                                                        
CHAIR SEEKINS informed Senator Ogan  he interpreted the bill that                                                               
way; ineligibility would follow a  felony conviction in the State                                                               
of Alaska.                                                                                                                      
SENATOR FRENCH expressed concern  regarding where the money would                                                               
go  because  the  Department of  Revenue  fiscal  note  indicates                                                               
dividend collections  are diverted  to various programs,  but the                                                               
bill  doesn't  address a  different  routing  mechanism for  that                                                               
CHAIR SEEKINS  advised the  sponsor he  reviewed AS  43.25.05 (D)                                                               
and 43.23.028  (A) and it  appears that if an  individual becomes                                                               
ineligible under  the law, those  funds would be diverted  to the                                                               
Department  of  Corrections,  the  Department  of  Public  Safety                                                               
Council  on  Domestic  Violence and  Sexual  Assault,  the  Crime                                                               
Victim's  Compensation  Fund,  and   the  Legislative  Office  of                                                               
Victim's Rights.  If the  sponsor intends  to reroute  the money,                                                               
language  would   have  to  be   added  to  each  of   the  bills                                                               
specifically stating ineligibility as defined  by SB 58 and SB 59                                                               
means the money isn't diverted from the fund.                                                                                   
CHAIR SEEKINS asked whether there was additional testimony.                                                                     
MR.  MAIN estimated  that  if  SB 59  were  approved, the  amount                                                               
collected  for  child  support  would  be  reduced  by  about  $1                                                               
million, a one  million dollar loss to the children  of the State                                                               
of Alaska.                                                                                                                      
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked Mr. Main  to forward the information  to his                                                               
office  and he  would  direct  it to  committee  members and  the                                                               
sponsor. [See bill file.]                                                                                                       
He  asked  Ms.  Greeson  to forward  her  written  testimony  for                                                               
distribution. [See bill file.]                                                                                                  
SENATOR COWDERY asked  Mr. Main to include information  as to how                                                               
CSED estimates the number of future violators.                                                                                  
CHAIR SEEKINS asked whether there was additional testimony.                                                                     
AL NEAR testified from the Fairbanks  LIO in support of SB 59 and                                                               
SB 58. He said he didn't  think the money should be rerouted. The                                                               
dividends from individuals made ineligible  under SB 58 and SB 59                                                               
should  be distributed  as currently  set forth  in statute  with                                                               
victim compensation of primary importance.                                                                                      
JESSICA PARIS,  Juneau MADD representative,  spoke in  support of                                                               
SB 59.                                                                                                                          
CHAIR SEEKINS announced SB 59 would be held in committee.                                                                       
There being  no further  business to  come before  the committee,                                                               
Chair Seekins adjourned the meeting at 2:42 p.m.                                                                                

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