Legislature(1997 - 1998)

02/26/1998 03:35 PM Senate STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
            SENATE STATE AFFAIRS COMMITTEE                                     
                  February 26, 1998                                            
                      3:35 p.m.                                                
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                
Senator Lyda Green, Chairman                                                   
Senator Jerry Ward, Vice-Chairman                                              
Senator Jerry Mackie                                                           
Senator Mike Miller                                                            
Senator Jim Duncan                                                             
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                 
All members present                                                            
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                             
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 334(FIN) am                                              
"An Act relating to waiver of tuition and fees for certain family              
members of a peace officer or a fire fighter killed in the line of             
duty; and providing for an effective date."                                    
     - MOVED SCS CSHB 334(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                
SENATE BILL NO. 309                                                            
"An Act relating to the use of force by peace officers and                     
correctional officers."                                                        
     - MOVED CSSB 309(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                    
SENATE RESOLUTION NO. 1                                                        
Relating to compensation of Holocaust victims and survivors, their             
heirs, and Jewish communities by the government of Switzerland and             
the Swiss banking industry.                                                    
     - MOVED SR 1 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                             
SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 22                                            
Relating to promotion of Kids Voting Alaska programs.                          
     - MOVED CSSCR 22(STA) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                    
PREVIOUS SENATE COMMITTEE ACTION                                               
HB 334 - See State Affairs minutes dated 2/19/98, 2/24/98.                     
SB 309 - No previous action to record.                                         
SR   1 - No previous action to record.                                         
SCR 22 - No previous action to record.                                         
WITNESS REGISTER                                                               
Craig Johnson, Staff to Senator Jerry Ward                                     
State Capitol                                                                  
Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Presented overview on SB 309                            
Bill Parker, Deputy Commissioner                                               
Department of Corrections                                                      
4500 Diplomacy Drive, Suite 207                                                
Anchorage, AK 99508-5918                                                       
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified in support of SB 309 with                     
                     suggested amendment                                       
Senator Dave Donley                                                            
State Capitol                                                                  
Juneau, AK 99801-1182                                                          
  POSITION STATEMENT:  Prime Sponsor of SR 1                                   
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                               
TAPE 98-10, SIDE A                                                             
Number 001                                                                     
CHAIRMAN GREEN called the Senate State Affairs Committee to order              
at 3:35 p.m., and noted all members were present.                              
     CSHB 334(FIN) am - TUITION WAIVER FOR POLICE WIDOW/CHILD                  
CHAIRMAN GREEN brought CSHB 334(FIN) am before the committee as the            
first order of business.  She directed attention to a proposed                 
amendment to page 2, lines 25 through 27.  She explained the new               
language addresses a concern raised in a previous hearing that the             
current wording on those lines implied that the person had to have             
lived in Alaska for  one year before being hired.  Therefore,                  
someone who maybe had moved to the state and lived in the state 11             
months and then worked for 25 years would not be eligible for this             
SENATOR MILLER said he would support the amendment, but he pointed             
out that the rewording will raise the fiscal note.  He also                    
questioned if the bill raises an equal protection problem by                   
creating two classes of citizens differently, and he suggested it              
is  a question that needs to be looked at in the next committee of             
CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if there was any objection to the adoption of             
Amendment No. 1, and hearing none, she stated the following                    
amendment was adopted to be incorporated into a State Affairs SCS.             
Amendment No. 1                                                                
Page 2, line 25-27:                                                            
     Delete "one year before serving in the armed services, in a               
fire department, or as a peace officer and who lists Alaska as the             
home state for purposes of military records or state,                          
municipal, or fire department employment records:"                             
     Insert "one year before serving in the armed services and who             
lists Alaska as the home state for purposes of military records, or            
a person who was employed as a peace officer in this state or was              
a member of a fire department located in this state:"                          
Number 085                                                                     
SENATOR MACKIE moved that SCS CSHB 334(STA) and the accompanying               
fiscal notes be passed out of committee with individual                        
recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.                     
Number 100                                                                     
         SB 309 - USE OF NONLETHAL AND DEFENSIVE WEAPONS                       
CHAIRMAN GREEN brought SB 309 before the committee as the next                 
order of business.                                                             
SENATOR WARD, prime sponsor of SB 309, informed the committee that             
his son-in-law is a member of the SWAT team in Anchorage and that's            
how he became interested in the use of nonlethal firearms.                     
CRAIG JOHNSON, staff to Senator Ward, explained that the bill will             
basically indemnify an officer who, while acting under his training            
and within the rules of engagement, fires what is known as a                   
nonlethal projectile or a less lethal projectile which is designed             
to incapacitate but not kill an individual.  As the law stands                 
today, a police officer acting under instructions who fires this               
weapon and causes bodily harm is subject to liability.                         
Mr. Johnson said SB 309 is patterned after a law in Iowa, and it               
has been crafted with the attorney from the Anchorage Police                   
Officers Association.  He said many of the state's law enforcement             
branches have indicated their support, in concept, for  the                    
legislation and they will have formal support once they have had               
the opportunity to review the bill.                                            
Mr. Johnson directed attention to an article in the members' backup            
from the Anchorage Daily News relating to an incident in Anchorage             
where a beanbag round was used successfully to keep a woman from               
committing suicide.  He added that there have been cases where                 
these weapons don't work as designed and beanbags have been the                
cause of at least five deaths in the U.S., and SB 309 keeps the                
police officer from being responsible for using deadly force.                  
Number 155                                                                     
SENATOR MACKIE commented that read the article in the Anchorage                
Daily news, and having that having been a police officer, he                   
thought that in that instance it was a pretty good use of nonlethal            
force, but he asked if that currently was not allowable.  MR.                  
JOHNSON replied that it's allowable to use the weapon, but Alaska              
law does not protect the officer from liability in the event the               
lady decides to file a lawsuit against him . This was a projectile             
launched from a weapon capable of being lethal and under Alaska law            
that is lethal force.  SB 209 makes it a nonlethal use of a                    
potentially lethal weapon.                                                     
SENATOR MACKIE asked if an officer shoots somebody with a                      
"nonlethal weapon' and it kills them, is it correct that the                   
officer can't be sued for using a lethal weapon because it was                 
supposed to be nonlethal even though it killed the individual.  MR.            
JOHNSON responded that would be correct at long as the officer was             
acting within the training under the guidelines of the police                  
SENATOR WARD noted police officers have to undergo training in                 
order to become certified to use these weapons and right now only              
30 out of 350 police officers in Anchorage are qualified to use                
Number 215                                                                     
CHAIRMAN GREEN commented that a bigger concern might be the chance             
of someone being injured rather than being killed, and then filing             
an action against a police officer.                                            
Number 300                                                                     
BILL PARKER, Deputy Commissioner, Department of Corrections, voiced            
the department's support for SB 309.  He noted that the                        
correctional officers preferred to be called "officers" not                    
"guards' as they are referred in two places in the bill.                       
Number 320                                                                     
SENATOR MACKIE moved the following amendment to SB 309:                        
Amendment No. 1                                                                
Page 1, lines 5 and 7:  Delete "guards" and "guard" and replace                
                        with "correctional officers" and                       
                        correctional officers"                                 
Hearing no objection, the amendment was adopted.                               
CRAIG JOHNSON pointed out that according to the legal department               
"guard" is a recognized statutory term throughout the statutes.                
However, SENATOR DUNCAN and SENATOR MACKIE thought that could be               
addressed by the revisor of statutes.                                          
SENATOR WARD moved SB 309, as amended, and the accompanying zero               
fiscal note be passed out of committee with individual                         
recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so ordered.                     
Number 352                                                                     
            SR   1 - SWISS COMP OF HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS                         
CHAIRMAN GREEN brought SR 1 before the committee as the next order             
of business.                                                                   
SENATOR DAVE DONLEY, prime sponsor of SR 1, explained the                      
resolution is in support of the current effort being made by other             
states and the U.S. government to encourage Switzerland and the                
Swiss banking industry to continue to cooperate with the families              
and survivors of the Holocaust in identifying their assets that                
were held in Swiss banks during that tragic episode in history.                
Senator Donley said his office has been working with the World                 
Jewish Restitution Organization which is an international                      
organization formed in 1993 by Jewish organizations from 80                    
countries internationally to facilitate this effort.  He noted the             
Swiss have begun to cooperate, and in January of this year, the                
World Jewish Congress adopted the position of asking people to take            
the course of action as is presented in SR 1.                                  
CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if "The Holocaust Victims Redress Act" has                
been passed by both bodies of Congress and signed into law, and it             
was acknowledged that it has.                                                  
SENATOR MILLER expressed his wholehearted support for SR 1.  He                
noted, however, that there are still some people living in the                 
Fairbanks area who believe that the Holocaust never happened.                  
There being no further testimony or questions on SR 1, CHAIRMAN                
GREEN asked for the pleasure of the committee.                                 
SENATOR MACKIE moved SR 1 be passed out of committee with                      
individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so                   
Number 396                                                                     
               SCR 22 - KIDS VOTING ALASKA PROGRAMS                            
CHAIRMAN GREEN brought SCR 22 before the committee as the final                
order of business.                                                             
SENATOR MILLER, prime sponsor of SCR 22, said the Kids Voting                  
Alaska Program has done well in the state, and Alaska was the first            
state in the nation to provide municipal election voting experience            
to its youth.  He expressed his appreciation to Carrs, National                
Bank of Alaska, and Alyeska Pipeline Service Co. for the major                 
contribution they have made to the program.                                    
SENATOR DUNCAN suggested adding the Alaska Association of School               
Administrators and  NEA Alaska to the list of who will be receiving            
copies of the resolution, and SENATOR MILLER agreed it was a good              
CHAIRMAN GREEN asked if there was any objection to adding the                  
Alaska Association of School Administrators and NEA Alaska to page             
2, line 27 of the resolution.  Hearing no objection, the amendment             
was adopted to be incorporated into a State Affairs CS.                        
SENATOR MACKIE moved CSSCR 22(STA) be passed out of committee with             
individual recommendations.  Hearing no objection, it was so                   
There being no further business to come before the committee, the              
meeting adjourned at 4:07 p.m.                                                 

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