Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/06/2004 03:40 PM Senate STA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                    ALASKA STATE LEGISLATURE                                                                                  
            SENATE STATE AFFAIRS STANDING COMMITTEE                                                                           
                         April 6, 2004                                                                                          
                           3:40 p.m.                                                                                            
TAPE (S) 04-26                                                                                                             
MEMBERS PRESENT                                                                                                               
Senator Gary Stevens, Chair                                                                                                     
Senator John Cowdery, Vice Chair                                                                                                
Senator Bert Stedman                                                                                                            
Senator Gretchen Guess                                                                                                          
MEMBERS ABSENT                                                                                                                
Senator Lyman Hoffman                                                                                                           
COMMITTEE CALENDAR                                                                                                            
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 494(FIN) am                                                                                               
"An Act relating  to the methods of disbursement of  money by the                                                               
state, including employment  compensation, unemployment payments,                                                               
and  permanent  fund  dividends,  and  to  bank  investments  and                                                               
deposits by the state; and providing for an effective date."                                                                    
     MOVED CSHB 494(FIN) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 30                                                                                                  
Urging  the United  States Congress  to amend  the No  Child Left                                                               
Behind Act of 2001.                                                                                                             
     MOVED SJR 30 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
SENATE BILL NO. 219                                                                                                             
"An Act relating to offenses against unborn children."                                                                          
     MOVED SB 219 OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                              
HOUSE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION NO. 29 am                                                                                           
Relating  to support  for therapeutic  courts for  repeat driving                                                               
while under the influence offenders.                                                                                            
     MOVED HCR 29 am OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                           
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 447(JUD)                                                                                                  
"An Act  making corrective amendments  to the Alaska  Statutes as                                                               
recommended  by the  revisor of  statutes; and  providing for  an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
     MOVED CSHB 447(JUD) OUT OF COMMITTEE                                                                                       
PREVIOUS COMMITTEE ACTION                                                                                                     
BILL: HB 494                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: ELECTRONIC PAYMENT FOR STATE BUSINESS                                                                              
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) KOTT                                                                                              
02/16/04       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/16/04       (H)       FIN                                                                                                    
03/04/04       (H)       FIN AT 1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
03/04/04       (H)       Heard & Held                                                                                           
03/04/04       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
03/19/04       (H)       FIN AT 1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
03/19/04       (H)       -- Meeting Canceled --                                                                                 
03/22/04       (H)       FIN AT 1:30 PM HOUSE FINANCE 519                                                                       
03/22/04       (H)       Moved CSHB 494(FIN) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/22/04       (H)       MINUTE(FIN)                                                                                            
03/24/04       (H)       FIN RPT CS(FIN) 8DP 1NR                                                                                
03/24/04       (H)       DP: MEYER, HAWKER, MOSES, CHENAULT,                                                                    
03/24/04       (H)       FATE, FOSTER, HARRIS, WILLIAMS;                                                                        
03/24/04       (H)       NR: JOULE                                                                                              
03/24/04       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
03/24/04       (H)       VERSION: CSHB 494(FIN) AM                                                                              
03/26/04       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/26/04       (S)       STA, FIN                                                                                               
04/06/04       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
BILL: SJR 30                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: AMEND & FUND  NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT                                                                             
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) ELLIS                                                                                                    
02/16/04       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/16/04       (S)       STA, HES                                                                                               
04/01/04       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
04/01/04       (S)       Scheduled But Not Heard                                                                                
04/06/04       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
BILL: SB 219                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: OFFENSES AGAINST UNBORN CHILDREN                                                                                   
SPONSOR(s): SENATOR(s) DYSON                                                                                                    
05/11/03       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
05/11/03       (S)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
04/06/04       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
BILL: HCR 29                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: SUPPORT THERAPEUTIC COURTS                                                                                         
SPONSOR(s): REPRESENTATIVE(s) HEINZE                                                                                            
02/16/04       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/16/04       (H)       JUD                                                                                                    
03/01/04       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
03/01/04       (H)       Moved Out of Committee                                                                                 
03/01/04       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/03/04       (H)       JUD RPT 6DP 1NR                                                                                        
03/03/04       (H)       DP: GARA, HOLM, GRUENBERG, OGG,                                                                        
03/03/04       (H)       ANDERSON, MCGUIRE; NR: SAMUELS                                                                         
03/22/04       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
03/22/04       (H)       VERSION: HCR 29 AM                                                                                     
03/24/04       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/24/04       (S)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
04/06/04       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
BILL: HB 447                                                                                                                  
SHORT TITLE: 2004 REVISOR'S BILL                                                                                                
SPONSOR(s): RULES BY REQUEST OF LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL                                                                             
02/09/04       (H)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
02/09/04       (H)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
02/24/04       (H)       STA AT 8:00 AM CAPITOL 102                                                                             
02/24/04       (H)       Moved CSHB 447(STA) Out of Committee                                                                   
02/24/04       (H)       MINUTE(STA)                                                                                            
02/26/04       (H)       STA RPT CS(STA) 4DP 1NR                                                                                
02/26/04       (H)       DP: HOLM, LYNN, COGHILL, WEYHRAUCH;                                                                    
02/26/04       (H)       NR: BERKOWITZ                                                                                          
03/18/04       (H)       JUD AT 1:00 PM CAPITOL 120                                                                             
03/18/04       (H)       Moved CSHB 447(JUD) Out of Committee                                                                   
03/18/04       (H)       MINUTE(JUD)                                                                                            
03/22/04       (H)       JUD RPT CS(JUD) 5DP                                                                                    
03/22/04       (H)       DP: ANDERSON, GRUENBERG, SAMUELS,                                                                      
03/22/04       (H)       GARA, MCGUIRE                                                                                          
03/24/04       (H)       TRANSMITTED TO (S)                                                                                     
03/24/04       (H)       VERSION: CSHB 447(JUD)                                                                                 
03/26/04       (S)       READ THE FIRST TIME - REFERRALS                                                                        
03/26/04       (S)       STA, JUD                                                                                               
04/06/04       (S)       STA AT 3:30 PM BELTZ 211                                                                               
WITNESS REGISTER                                                                                                              
Sue Stancliff                                                                                                                   
Aide to Speaker Pete Kott                                                                                                       
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced HB 494                                                                                        
Kim Garnero                                                                                                                     
Director, Division of Finance                                                                                                   
Department of Administration                                                                                                    
PO Box 110200                                                                                                                   
Juneau, AK  99811-0200                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on HB 494                                                                                      
Dana Owen                                                                                                                       
Staff to Senator Johnny Ellis                                                                                                   
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced SJR 30 for sponsor                                                                            
Senator Fred Dyson                                                                                                              
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor SB 219                                                                                           
Wes Keller                                                                                                                      
Staff to Senator Dyson                                                                                                          
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Answered questions on SB 219                                                                             
Karen VosBerg                                                                                                                   
Alaska Right to Life                                                                                                            
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 219                                                                                      
Cassandra Johnson                                                                                                               
Executive Officer, Alaska Pro Choice Alliance                                                                                   
Anchorage, AK 99513                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 219                                                                                      
Pauline Utter                                                                                                                   
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Opposes SB 219                                                                                           
Kevin Clarkson                                                                                                                  
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports SB 219                                                                                          
Robin Smith                                                                                                                     
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Opposes SB 219                                                                                           
Vicki Halcro                                                                                                                    
Anchorage Director of Public Marketing                                                                                          
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Opposes SB 219                                                                                           
Regina Manteufel                                                                                                                
Regina's Rooming House                                                                                                          
No address provided                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Opposes SB 219                                                                                           
Jennifer Rudinger                                                                                                               
Executive Officer                                                                                                               
P.O. Box 201844                                                                                                                 
Anchorage, AK 99520                                                                                                             
POSITION STATEMENT:  Testified on SB 219                                                                                      
Representative Bob Lynn                                                                                                         
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Supports SB 219                                                                                          
Jon Bittner                                                                                                                     
Staff to Representative Cheryll Heinze                                                                                          
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced HCR 29 for the sponsor                                                                        
Cheryll Heinze                                                                                                                  
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Sponsor of HCR 29                                                                                        
Pamela Finley                                                                                                                   
Revisor of Statutes                                                                                                             
Legal and Research Services Division                                                                                            
Legislative Affairs Agency                                                                                                      
Alaska State Capitol                                                                                                            
Juneau, AK  99801-1182                                                                                                          
POSITION STATEMENT:  Introduced CSHB 447(JUD)                                                                                 
ACTION NARRATIVE                                                                                                              
TAPE 04-26, SIDE A                                                                                                            
CHAIR GARY STEVENS called the Senate State Affairs Standing                                                                   
Committee meeting to order at 3:40 p.m. Present were Senators                                                                   
Cowdery, Stedman and Chair Gary Stevens.                                                                                        
      CSHB 494(FIN)-ELECTRONIC PAYMENT FOR STATE BUSINESS                                                                   
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS  announced  CSHB   494(FIN)  to  be  up  for                                                               
SUE STANCLIFF,  staff to Speaker Kott,  paraphrased the following                                                               
sponsor statement:                                                                                                              
     CSHB 494(FIN)  makes necessary  changes to  the methods                                                                    
     of  how  the  State  of Alaska  disburses  funds.  This                                                                    
     change will save the state  costs of issuing checks and                                                                    
     warrants  and  resolve  issues pertaining  to  time  of                                                                    
     disbursement and undistributed collections.                                                                                
     Currently,  the   state  issues   approximately  96,500                                                                    
     checks and warrants per month.                                                                                             
          Unemployment Insurance Benefits:   28,000                                                                             
          Division of Finance to                                                                                                
          vendors & non-venders:             50,000                                                                             
          Child Support recipients:          13,000                                                                             
          PERS & TRS Retirees:                2,500                                                                             
          Payroll- active employees           3,000                                                                             
     This legislation has the potential  of saving the State                                                                    
     of  Alaska considerable  funds  when  factoring in  the                                                                    
     reduction of  check fraud, reissuing of  lost or stolen                                                                    
     checks,  postage,  check  printing cost,  reduced  bank                                                                    
     service fees, and reduced labor cost.                                                                                      
     In   addition,  this   would  benefit   businesses  and                                                                    
     citizens that receive funds via  direct deposit or mail                                                                    
     delivery.  There would  be no  check  cashing fees,  it                                                                    
     would reduce  liability of  check fraud,  and customers                                                                    
     could use debit or credit cards at businesses.                                                                             
She said  it's worth noting  that since 1994,  the administration                                                               
has gone  from no direct  deposits to 89 percent  direct deposits                                                               
in  2003. This  is  a  considerable change,  but  there are  more                                                               
savings  to  be  had.  For  instance,  the  Division  of  Finance                                                               
currently works  with 50,000  venders and just  500 of  those are                                                               
set  up to  handle  electronic transfers.  That  number could  be                                                               
improved and  there are a number  of other areas such  as Workers                                                               
Compensation that are ready for review.                                                                                         
CHAIR GARY STEVENS  asked her to speak to the  issue of fraud and                                                               
electronic transfers.                                                                                                           
MS. STANCLIFF  opined that  check fraud is  already an  issue and                                                               
electronic transfers would eliminate that.                                                                                      
SENATOR STEDMAN  referred to  page 6, line  18 and  asked whether                                                               
people  that aren't  comfortable with  electronic transfer  could                                                               
opt out of electronic transfer and have a warrant issued.                                                                       
MS. STANCLIFF said that would be an option.                                                                                     
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS  asked  Kim  Garnero  whether  she  had  any                                                               
KIM  GARNERO,  Director, Division  of  Finance,  stated that  the                                                               
State  of Alaska  is enthusiastic  about this  business procedure                                                               
and noted that the 500  venders that receive electronic transfers                                                               
will receive over $1 billion from the State this year.                                                                          
They are  in the process of  making it possible for  consumers to                                                               
use  electronic  transfers  as   well.  The  rules  are  somewhat                                                               
different  than  the  ones  for business,  but  the  Division  of                                                               
Finance expects to  have that capability by the end  of the year.                                                               
However,  there are  exceptions and  risk management  has advised                                                               
that  they   don't  favor   electronic  transfers   for  Worker's                                                               
Compensation because it may be a disincentive to return to work.                                                                
Currently they are  in the process of  updating their procurement                                                               
boilerplate and  although they can't impose  it retroactively, it                                                               
will  be a  requirement  for new  agreements.  Finally, they  are                                                               
looking at a statewide debit card.                                                                                              
SENATOR COWDERY  asked how difficult  it would  be to opt  out of                                                               
electronic payments in favor of a warrant.                                                                                      
MS. GARNERO said  it's optional at this point  and the Department                                                               
of Law has  advised that a hardship waiver would  be necessary if                                                               
electronic payments became mandatory.                                                                                           
CHAIR GARY STEVENS asked for a motion.                                                                                          
SENATOR  COWDERY motioned  to move  CSHB 494(FIN)  from committee                                                               
with  individual recommendations  and  attached  fiscal note.  He                                                               
also asked  for unanimous consent.  There being no  objection, it                                                               
was so ordered.                                                                                                                 
         SJR 30-AMEND & FUND  NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND ACT                                                                      
CHAIR GARY STEVENS announced SJR 30 to be up for consideration.                                                                 
DANA OWEN, staff to Senator Johnny Ellis, sponsor, explained                                                                    
that SJR 30 asks Congress to revisit the No Child Left Behind                                                                   
Act. He read the following sponsor statement:                                                                                   
     School  districts  across  Alaska and  the  nation  are                                                                    
     increasingly  discovering  that  the federal  No  Child                                                                    
     Left  Behind  Act  of  2001,   the  most  far  reaching                                                                    
     intrusion  of federal  control  into  education in  the                                                                    
     nation's history, imposes mandates  that are awkward at                                                                    
     best  and counterproductive  at worst.  Moreover, these                                                                    
     federal  mandates are  under funded,  further burdening                                                                    
     already strained budgets.                                                                                                  
     Much of  the problem  lies in the  act's one-size-fits-                                                                    
     all approach.  Policies that  may appear  workable from                                                                    
     the  vantage  of  Washington,  D.C.,  turn  out  to  be                                                                    
     obstacles to  success in  practice. For  example, under                                                                    
     the  act many  excellent  teachers  would be  prevented                                                                    
     from  teaching  subjects   they  fully  understand.  An                                                                    
     advanced  degree  in  economics or  physics  would  not                                                                    
     qualify   a  teacher   to   teach  basic   mathematics,                                                                    
     presenting a  serious problem  in small  Alaska schools                                                                    
     where a  single person  typically teaches  all sciences                                                                    
     and math.                                                                                                                  
     Schools  are  also  required  to  demonstrate  adequate                                                                    
     yearly progress  as defined  by the  act, not  just for                                                                    
     the  majority  of  students,   but  for  each  subgroup                                                                    
     defined  in the  act. Under  this provision,  many very                                                                    
     successful  schools  can  find  themselves  labeled  as                                                                    
     failing.  Each  year  of  failure  brings  increasingly                                                                    
     harsh  sanctions  that  would  significantly  drive  up                                                                    
     costs for school districts.                                                                                                
     Passage of  SJR 30  would add  Alaska's voice  to those                                                                    
     nationwide that  are speaking  out about  problems with                                                                    
     the  No Child  Left Behind  Act. States  as diverse  as                                                                    
     Arizona, Vermont,  Hawaii, Virginia and Utah  have seen                                                                    
     legislative  efforts protesting  the burdens  placed on                                                                    
     them by the  act. Some states and  school districts are                                                                    
     even  considering  opting   out  of  federal  oversight                                                                    
     altogether.  While  such  a  drastic  step  would  mean                                                                    
     losing  federal  education  grants  and  perhaps  other                                                                    
     monies, these states and  school districts believe that                                                                    
     the cost  of complying  with the  act would  be greater                                                                    
     than the federal dollars they receive.                                                                                     
     SJR 30  recognizes that Alaska  had taken  strong steps                                                                    
     to improve  school performance  even before  passage of                                                                    
     the  federal law  and asks  that  Congress give  states                                                                    
     more  flexibility  and  greater  financial  support  in                                                                    
     meeting the act's mandates.                                                                                                
SENATOR  STEDMAN referred  to page  2,  line 25  and asked  which                                                               
changes they'd like to see Congress make.                                                                                       
MR. OWEN  noted that there are  a number of suggested  changes in                                                               
the  packets,  but they  aren't  endorsing  any specific  changes                                                               
because they recognize that the  complaints regarding the act are                                                               
so strong  and diverse  that it  would be a  huge effort  for the                                                               
Alaska Legislature  to outline specific  changes. It's  better to                                                               
send  the legislation  back  to  the drafters.  It  was a  strong                                                               
bipartisan Congressional  effort that  produced the bill  and the                                                               
original authors are best suited to address changes.                                                                            
Many states  have outlined suggestions and  the sponsor statement                                                               
highlighted a very few.                                                                                                         
SENATOR STEDMAN asked for confirmation  that the resolution would                                                               
go unattached in that case.                                                                                                     
MR. OWEN said that's correct.                                                                                                   
CHAIR  GARY  STEVENS  remarked that  it's  problematic  in  small                                                               
communities where  teachers teach  multiple subjects  even though                                                               
they don't  have advanced degrees  in those subjects and  may not                                                               
meet  the requirements.  The  fact  that they  may  be very  fine                                                               
teachers wouldn't be taken into account.                                                                                        
MR. OWEN agreed that is one of  the main failures of the act. The                                                               
sciences are an  excellent example. Someone may  have an advanced                                                               
degree in physics or economics  but they wouldn't be qualified to                                                               
teach  mathematics. That's  a huge  burden in  small schools,  he                                                               
CHAIR GARY  STEVENS repeated that  this is  a problem and  a good                                                               
reason  to ask  for  relief. He  asked for  the  pleasure of  the                                                               
SENATOR STEDMAN motioned  to move SJR 30 from  committee with the                                                               
attached fiscal note and  individual recommendations. There being                                                               
no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                                
            SB 219-OFFENSES AGAINST UNBORN CHILDREN                                                                         
CHAIR GARY STEVENS announced SB 219 to be up for consideration.                                                                 
SENATOR  FRED DYSON,  sponsor, explained  that  this bill  models                                                               
other  legislation enacted  in other  states. It  says that  if a                                                               
perpetrator  murders  or assaults  a  pregnant  woman and  causes                                                               
damage or death  to the unborn child then the  perpetrator may be                                                               
charged with two crimes.                                                                                                        
AS 11.41 is  amended to accommodate the  model legislation adding                                                               
manslaughter  and  criminally  negligent homicide  of  an  unborn                                                               
child.  An abortion  or other  customary and  standard procedures                                                               
are specifically exempted from penalty under this law.                                                                          
CHAIR GARY STEVENS asked for a comparison to the federal law.                                                                   
SENATOR  DYSON  replied  they  are similar  in  wording,  but  he                                                               
introduced  this because  the federal  law goes  forward only  in                                                               
federal jurisdictions or in the commission of a federal crime.                                                                  
SENATOR STEDMAN referred to page 1,  lines 6, 8, and 12 and asked                                                               
why line  12 didn't include  the words  "with intent" as  lines 6                                                               
and 8 do.                                                                                                                       
SENATOR  DYSON  explained  that  arson,  kidnapping,  and  sexual                                                               
assault  are hard  to  infer that  there is  intent  to harm  the                                                               
unborn child.                                                                                                                   
WES  KELLER,  staff  to  Senator  Dyson,  pointed  out  that  the                                                               
operational clause is found on page 2, line 4.                                                                                  
SENATOR STEDMAN referred  to page 2, line 27 and  asked about the                                                               
selection of the  verbage "unborn child" rather  than "fetus" and                                                               
whether the selection might not cause problems.                                                                                 
MR. KELLER  said the language  is purposeful. He could  show case                                                               
law  from other  states  indicating that  the terminology  didn't                                                               
make any difference in how the  court ruled. It's just that Fetus                                                               
is Latin  and he prefers to  use plain language so  the layperson                                                               
is able to understand.                                                                                                          
SENATOR STEDMAN  restated the intent  and said he assumes  it's a                                                               
direct   result   of   the  well-publicized   and   reprehensible                                                               
California case.                                                                                                                
SENATOR DYSON agreed.                                                                                                           
KAREN VOSBERG, executive director,  AK Right to Life, distributed                                                               
copies of  a petition that  was signed  by over 1,000  people, at                                                               
the  Palmer  State Fair  stating  that  they  believe that  if  a                                                               
pregnant  woman is  murdered there  are two  victims rather  than                                                               
CHAIR GARY STEVENS wanted to  clarify that the people that signed                                                               
the petition were in support of the bill.                                                                                       
MS. VOSBERG agreed then said the  federal law was signed into law                                                               
April  1, 2004.  Prior  to  this act,  an  unborn  child was  not                                                               
recognized as a  victim of a violent crime. To  date more than 29                                                               
states have  signed similar legislation,  which has no  affect on                                                               
legal abortion, she said. She urged passage of the bill.                                                                        
CASSANDRA  JOHNSON,  executive  director  of  the  AK  Pro-Choice                                                               
Alliance  testified  via teleconference  to  say  that this  bill                                                               
isn't  about   protecting  pregnant  women  because   it  doesn't                                                               
increase the  charges for assaulting  pregnant women.  Also there                                                               
is  no exemption  in the  bill  for the  woman who  inadvertently                                                               
causes harm  to her fetus due  to alcohol use, poor  nutrition or                                                               
attempted  suicide. This  is the  wrong approach,  she said,  and                                                               
urged the committee not to pass the bill.                                                                                       
PAULINE  UTTER  testified via  teleconference  to  urge that  the                                                               
committee not pass  the bill and read a letter  from Anna Quinlan                                                               
stating the same.                                                                                                               
KEVIN  CLARKSON,   attorney,  testified  via   teleconference  in                                                               
support  of the  bill. The  purpose of  the act  is to  extend to                                                               
unborn children,  the same  protection of  the criminal  law that                                                               
applies to those who have been born alive.                                                                                      
Referring  to Senator  Stedman's  earlier  question regarding  no                                                               
intent language in  subsection 3, he stated that  is because that                                                               
is the typical felony murder  provision and the intent is already                                                               
provided by the underlying felony offense.                                                                                      
He gave examples of voids in the  law that the bill seeks to fill                                                               
and  stated that  the  bill doesn't  involve  abortion. He  urged                                                               
passage of the bill.                                                                                                            
4:20 p.m.                                                                                                                     
CHAIR GARY STEVENS asked whether  he would comment on the concern                                                               
that there  is no exemption in  the bill in cases  of alcoholism,                                                               
attempted suicide or if a woman didn't know she was pregnant.                                                                   
MR. CLARKSON  replied there are  intent requirements in  the bill                                                               
that  must  be   met  before  the  charge  can   be  levied.  The                                                               
opportunity for the  act to be applied against a  woman who wants                                                               
her child, but is negligent in  causing the death of her child is                                                               
a stretch, he opined.                                                                                                           
ROBIN SMITH testified via teleconference  from Anchorage that the                                                               
bill is  the latest  attempt by the  Alaska Legislature  to limit                                                               
reproductive freedom. She said the  language in the bill makes it                                                               
clear  that it  is not  about  protecting pregnant  women. It  is                                                               
about  giving  separate,  legal   rights  to  the  fetus  thereby                                                               
undermining a  woman's right to  reproductive freedom.  She urged                                                               
the committee to hold the bill.                                                                                                 
VICKI HALCRO, Anchorage director  of public affairs and marketing                                                               
for Planned  Parenthood of  Alaska, testified  via teleconference                                                               
in opposition to SB 219.                                                                                                        
4:30 p.m.                                                                                                                     
TAPE 04-26, SIDE B                                                                                                            
She said that the dangerous reality  of the bill is that it vests                                                               
a  fetus with  the rights  of the  pregnant woman,  which is  the                                                               
first step in  eroding a woman's right to choose.  Nowhere in the                                                               
legislation  is  harm  to  a pregnant  woman  resulting  from  an                                                               
involuntary  termination of  her  pregnancy  mentioned. In  fact,                                                               
women are not  mentioned at all in the bill  yet violence against                                                               
women continues to  be a huge problem in Alaska.  The bill shifts                                                               
the  focus away  from the  women who  are really  the victims  of                                                               
these crimes. She urged the committee to hold the bill.                                                                         
REGINA MONTEUFEL  testified via teleconference from  Anchorage in                                                               
opposition to  the bill.  She runs a  rooming house  in Anchorage                                                               
and  has  lost  track  of  the number  of  women  that  have  had                                                               
abortions in her rooming house.  The stories are all tragic. It's                                                               
sad  that this  is  a state  that doesn't  spend  more effort  on                                                               
preventing abortions and addressing domestic violence.                                                                          
CHAIR GARY STEVENS asked her to speak to the bill.                                                                              
MS.MONTEUFEL said she is against the bill.                                                                                      
JENNIFER  RUDINGER,  executive  director   of  the  Alaska  Civil                                                               
Liberties Union,  testified via  teleconference and said  most of                                                               
the points  she was going to  cover were covered by  Robin Smith,                                                               
Vicky Halcro, Cassandra  Johnson and Pauline Utter.  She said she                                                               
couldn't  find  the  language  Mr.   Clarkson  said  was  present                                                               
exempting a pregnant woman from  prosecution from harming her own                                                               
fetus. If that's the intent of  the bill, then the bill should be                                                               
amended, she suggested.  She said she would like to  go on record                                                               
in opposition to SB 219 because  the bill is misguided. There are                                                               
better  ways  to  prosecute  people  who  commit  violent  crimes                                                               
against pregnant women.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE BOB  LYNN testified  in support  of SB  219 saying                                                               
there is a similar bill in the House.                                                                                           
There was no further testimony.                                                                                                 
SENATOR COWDERY  made a motion  to move SB 219  with accompanying                                                               
fiscal  notes  and  asked   for  individual  recommendations  and                                                               
unanimous consent. There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                 
              HCR 29-SUPPORT THERAPEUTIC COURTS am                                                                          
CHAIR GARY STEVENS announced HCR 29 to be up for consideration.                                                                 
JON BITTNER,  staff to  Representative Cheryll  Heinze, explained                                                               
that alcoholism  in Alaska is  a serious  problem and one  of the                                                               
ways  to  combat it  is  through  the therapeutic  court  system.                                                               
Therapeutic   courts  have   a  proven   success  rate   and  are                                                               
significantly cheaper for the state.                                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  CHERYLL HEINZE,  sponsor,  added  that the  daily                                                               
cost of the wellness court program  is about $22 per day or about                                                               
$11,000 over an 18 month  period. In comparison, the average cost                                                               
of  traditional   incarceration  is   $113  per  day.   That's  a                                                               
difference of $50,000 per offender.                                                                                             
Currently the largest supplier of  mental health treatment in the                                                               
country  is  the  correctional  system.  This  is  expensive  and                                                               
ineffective. People  with substance abuse problems  aren't helped                                                               
when they  are locked  away without  any treatment  options. When                                                               
released from prison,  those people are simply  dried drunks. The                                                               
addiction  has not  been  addressed and  it's  likely that  those                                                               
individuals will re-offend as a result of their addiction.                                                                      
She  pointed  out  that  the  recidivism  rate  for  incarcerated                                                               
alcohol and  drug abusers is  around 67 percent  nationwide while                                                               
the recidivism rate for wellness  court is around 25 percent. The                                                               
disparity  in  the success  rate  is  attributed  to the  use  of                                                               
Naltrexone, a  drug that inhibits alcohol  cravings, coupled with                                                               
community  based  treatment  programs  and  cognitive  behavioral                                                               
therapy. To treat  someone with an addiction, you  must treat the                                                               
cause, she said.                                                                                                                
HCR  29  am  asks  that  the Legislature  show  its  support  for                                                               
therapeutic courts,  particularly in regard to  crimes related to                                                               
driving under  the influence.  (DUI). It  asks the  Department of                                                               
Law and  the Public  Defender agency  to actively  participate in                                                               
the startup  of therapeutic courts  in areas with  high incidents                                                               
of  DUI offenses  and strong  local support.  "Therapeutic courts                                                               
are effective, they're inexpensive, and they work," she said.                                                                   
CHAIR GARY STEVENS asked for  a brief description of what happens                                                               
in a therapeutic court for alcohol abuse.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE HEINZE  explained that  the program  is voluntary.                                                               
The individual  must agree  to participate and  to take  the drug                                                               
Naltrexone and  to maintain contact  with and report back  to the                                                               
SENATOR BERT STEDMAN asked if this  is for first time or multiple                                                               
offenders and noted  that after three DUIs you  lose your driving                                                               
privilege so it's too late.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  HEINZE  replied  it's for  repeat  offenders  and                                                               
although it may be too late for  the person to drive it's not too                                                               
late for them as a person.                                                                                                      
SENATOR STEDMAN asked  for assurance that this  wouldn't take the                                                               
teeth out of the DUI laws.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE HEINZE assured him it would not.                                                                                 
SENATOR   JOHN   COWDERY   asked  whether   she   believes   that                                                               
incarceration has an effect on an alcoholic.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HEINZE opined it exacerbates the problem.                                                                        
CHAIR GARY STEVENS said a  person in the therapeutic court system                                                               
might live  at home and maintain  their job as compared  with the                                                               
individual  that is  incarcerated  and isolated  from family  and                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  HEINZE agreed.  An individual  that is  under the                                                               
auspices  of the  therapeutic court  is able  to be  a productive                                                               
citizen over the course of the 18 month program.                                                                                
SENATOR  COWDERY asked  if the  individual  takes Naltrexone  for                                                               
four months.                                                                                                                    
4:40 p.m.                                                                                                                     
Senator Guess joined the meeting.                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  HEINZE  replied the  program  is  18 months,  but                                                               
she'd get back  to him with regard to how  long participants take                                                               
SENATOR COWDERY  asked why the  participants don't pay  all costs                                                               
rather than just a portion.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE HEINZE didn't have an answer.                                                                                    
SENATOR COWDERY recounted an anecdotal story.                                                                                   
CHAIR GARY STEVENS  noted that the fiscal note is  from the court                                                               
system indicating no fiscal impact.                                                                                             
There being no further questions, he asked for a motion.                                                                        
SENATOR STEDMAN  made a motion to  move HCR 29 am  from committee                                                               
with attached fiscal notes  and individual recommendations. There                                                               
being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                                          
               CSHB 447(JUD)-2004 REVISOR'S BILL                                                                            
PAMELA FINLEY,  revisor of statutes,  stated for the  record that                                                               
the purpose of  the revisor bill is to clean  up the statutes and                                                               
remove errors.  She advised  that there  is a  sectional analysis                                                               
accompanying  the bill  that explains  each change.  Many of  the                                                               
changes are  clean ups  from the Executive  Orders (EO)  from the                                                               
previous session. A  copy of the sectional analysis  may be found                                                               
in the bill file.                                                                                                               
SENATOR  JOHN  COWDERY recalled  that  she  had come  before  him                                                               
previously with revisions and asked when that was.                                                                              
MS. FINLEY explained that there is a revisor bill each year.                                                                    
CHAIR GARY STEVENS  noted that this is quite  an undertaking each                                                               
MS. FINLEY explained that there are  a number of ways to find the                                                               
errors.  When  bills are  prepared  errors  are noted,  sometimes                                                               
members of the public draw  attention to errors, and the Attorney                                                               
General's Office  and other line agencies  sometimes note errors.                                                               
In  addition to  that, each  year  her office  examines in  depth                                                               
between  six and  eight titles  in  statute and  they often  find                                                               
errors that way.                                                                                                                
SENATOR COWDERY  asked whether her  office pays attention  to the                                                               
intent behind bills.                                                                                                            
MS. FINLEY replied that they do keep the intent in mind.                                                                        
There were no further questions.                                                                                                
SENATOR  STEDMAN  made  a  motion  to  move  CSHB  447(JUD)  from                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations  and attached  fiscal                                                               
notes. There being no objection, it was so ordered.                                                                             
CHAIR GARY STEVENS adjourned the meeting at 5:00 pm.                                                                            

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