Legislature(2009 - 2010)

2009-01-28 House Journal

Full Journal pdf

2009-01-28                     House Journal                      Page 0097
HB 91                                                                                                                         
HOUSE BILL NO. 91 by the House Rules Committee by request of                                                                    
the Governor, entitled:                                                                                                         
     "An Act relating to limitations on possessing, sending, shipping,                                                          
     transporting, or bringing alcoholic beverages to a local option area                                                       
     and to penalties for violations of those limitations; relating to                                                          
     probation for minor consuming or in possession or control of                                                               
     alcoholic beverages; relating to civil fines for liquor licensees                                                          
     whose agents or employees furnish alcoholic beverages to a                                                                 
     person under 21 years of age; and providing for an effective date."                                                        
was read the first time and referred to the Community & Regional                                                                
Affairs, Judiciary, and Finance Committees.                                                                                     
The following fiscal note(s) apply:                                                                                             
1.  Zero, Dept. of Public Safety                                                                                                
2.  Indeterminate, Dept. of Administration                                                                                      
3.  Indeterminate, Dept. of Administration                                                                                      
4.  Indeterminate, Dept. of Corrections                                                                                         
5.  Indeterminate, Dept. of Law                                                                                                 
The Governor's transmittal letter dated January 23, 2009, follows:                                                              
"Dear Speaker Chenault:                                                                                                         
Under the authority of article III, section 18, of the Alaska                                                                   
Constitution, I am transmitting a bill that would lower the amount of                                                           

2009-01-28                     House Journal                      Page 0098
alcoholic beverages that may be possessed in or imported into a local                                                           
option area and would levy civil fines for liquor licensees whose                                                               
agents or employees furnish alcoholic beverages to a person under 21                                                            
years of age. The bill will strengthen existing laws intended to reduce                                                         
the devastating economic, health, and social problems that arise from                                                           
alcohol abuse in both urban and rural Alaska.                                                                                   
People in rural Alaska communities have asked many times for help                                                               
from the state in addressing the problems caused by alcohol in their                                                            
communities.  By reducing the amount of alcohol allowed into those                                                              
communities that have chosen to restrict its use, the ability for                                                               
bootlegging activities can be decreased. This is one way to help                                                                
smaller communities address a serious problem of public safety and                                                              
Under current law, a person living in a "damp" area -- that is, one in                                                          
which a person may possess alcoholic beverages but not sell alcoholic                                                           
beverages -- may possess ten and one half liters or 14 "fifths" of                                                              
distilled spirits, 24 liters of wine or 32 bottles and 12 gallons of malt                                                       
beverage, without a legal presumption of intent to sell.  Current law                                                           
adopts the same limits on the amounts of alcohol package stores can                                                             
send to a person living in a local option area every calendar month.                                                            
The same threshold amount applies to the penalties for bootlegging; a                                                           
person convicted of bootlegging more than ten and one half liters of                                                            
distilled spirits under current law is subject to a class C felony.  A                                                          
person convicted of bootlegging ten and one half liters or less of                                                              
distilled spirits commits a class A misdemeanor.                                                                                
There is general agreement that under current law the amounts that                                                              
may be possessed by, imported by, or sent to an individual in a local                                                           
option area in one calendar month are very high.  The bill would                                                                
reduce the amount of distilled spirits by 75 percent and would reduce                                                           
the amount of wine and malt beverage by 50 percent.  Under the                                                                  
proposed bill a package store in Anchorage may send to a person                                                                 
living in a damp area, every month, three liters (or four "fifths") of                                                          
distilled spirits, 12 liters (or 16 bottles) of wine, and six gallons of                                                        
malt beverage.                                                                                                                  
Further, the bill would adopt a mandatory minimum term of                                                                       
imprisonment for a person convicted for the first time of felony                                                                

2009-01-28                     House Journal                      Page 0099
bootlegging.  The term is similar to the mandatory term for a person                                                            
convicted for the first time of felony drunk driving.                                                                           
Secondly, this bill provides an additional tool in the quest to limit                                                           
access to alcohol by our youth.  Studies show that the earlier a person                                                         
begins consuming alcohol, the greater their chances are of becoming                                                             
dependant. Curbing underage drinking is important to the well-being                                                             
of all Alaskans.                                                                                                                
Under the current law, a liquor licensee's agents or employees, such as                                                         
bartenders or package store clerks, may be charged with a class A                                                               
misdemeanor if they sell or serve alcoholic beverages to a person                                                               
under 21 years of age.  Most people who operate a liquor license are                                                            
highly responsible, and train their agents and employees to be diligent                                                         
in not serving underage youth.  Some licensees, however, do not                                                                 
emphasize the prohibition against serving alcoholic beverages to                                                                
minors.  Under current law there is no adverse consequence to the                                                               
licensee if the licensee's agent or employee has furnished alcoholic                                                            
beverages to a minor.                                                                                                           
The bill would adopt a civil fine for a licensee whose employee or                                                              
agent for the second or subsequent time is convicted of furnishing                                                              
alcoholic beverages to a minor on the licensee's premises.  A warning                                                           
for the first conviction would be sent to the licensee by the Alcoholic                                                         
Beverage Control Board.  The civil fine of $1,000 would be imposed                                                              
on a licensee for a second or subsequent conviction of an agent or                                                              
employee.  The fine would provide a greater incentive for licensees to                                                          
train and supervise agents and employees to avoid serving alcoholic                                                             
beverages to people under 21 years old.                                                                                         
The bill would also repair a minor drafting error in legislation passed                                                         
last session addressing probation for young persons who consume                                                                 
alcoholic beverages.  The bill clarifies that a person may be convicted                                                         
of repeat minor consuming for subsequent convictions.                                                                           
I urge your prompt and favorable consideration of this bill.                                                                    
                               Sarah Palin