Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/09/2003 01:45 PM House FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE BILL NO. 49                                                                                                             
     An Act relating to the DNA identification registration                                                                     
     system; and providing for an effective date.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  TOM ANDERSON  noted that  HB 49 would  expand                                                                   
the  Alaska State  database  of DNA  samples  to include  all                                                                   
persons convicted  of a crime against a person  or any felony                                                                   
under  Alaska's criminal  code.   It would  also require  the                                                                   
collection of  DNA samples  from those juveniles  adjudicated                                                                   
as a delinquent  for the same  offense.  Additionally,  HB 49                                                                   
makes  provisions  for  volunteer  and  anonymous  donations.                                                                   
Persons  required  registering,  as sex  offenders  are  also                                                                   
required  to submit  DNA  into  the database.    HB 49  would                                                                   
require that all offenders and  minors currently incarcerated                                                                   
on State supervised parole for  felony convictions or certain                                                                   
sexual   misdemeanor   offenses   provide  samples   to   the                                                                   
Department of Public Safety.                                                                                                    
Representative Anderson  stated that expanding  the databases                                                                   
to  include  all  convicted  offenders  would  have  multiple                                                                   
 · Solves crimes - DNA collection from all convicted                                                                            
     felons, rather than just  sex offenders and perpetrators                                                                   
     of  serious violent  crimes,  which would  result in  an                                                                   
     increase  in  the  amount   of  violent  crimes  solved.                                                                   
     Offenders who are required  to submit DNA when convicted                                                                   
     of  non-violent  felonies would  be  identified as  they                                                                   
     leave DNA behind at a rape and/or murder scene.                                                                            
 · Prevents crimes, helps solving a crime, and solving it                                                                       
     quickly,  which  has  a   direct  effect  on  preventing                                                                   
     additional crimes by the  same perpetrator.  An offender                                                                   
     who is not  apprehended in a timely manner  remains free                                                                   
     to commit more crimes.                                                                                                     
 · Exonerates the innocent - Increases the DNA database to                                                                      
     those  convicted of  non-violent  offenses, which  would                                                                   
     reduce  the  occurrence   of  innocent  people  who  are                                                                   
     wrongly  suspected,  arrested  and convicted  of  crimes                                                                   
     they  did not commit.   Two  common scenarios  exemplify                                                                   
     how  a  larger  DNA  database   protects  such  innocent                                                                   
     people,  one  where  the  guilty  party  is  listed  and                                                                   
     secondly, where the innocent party is in the database.                                                                     
 · Increases Cost Efficiencies - According to a study                                                                           
     completed by the National  Institute of Justice, rape is                                                                   
     the costliest  crime in America,  in which  victim costs                                                                   
     can  total  up  to  $127 billion  dollars.    The  study                                                                   
     estimated  that  when all  factors  are considered,  the                                                                   
     estimated cost  of rape per  victim is $87,000.   If the                                                                   
     average rapist  commits eight rapes, but  a DNA databank                                                                   
     stops  the offender  half  way through  the spree,  then                                                                   
     four rapes are prevented  creating a savings of $348,000                                                                   
Representative  Anderson  identified  the  numerous  agencies                                                                   
indicating support  and letters  of endorsement  ranging from                                                                   
the Chief of Police Association  to the Alaska Peace Officers                                                                   
Association.  The fiscal note  indicates zero because federal                                                                   
funding is concurrent  with the program.  President  Bush has                                                                   
indicated that he intends to supplement  this cause with over                                                                   
$1 billion dollars  of continuous funding for  the program to                                                                   
make it state and nationwide.                                                                                                   
Representative Croft  referenced Page 3, Lines 27  & 28, "law                                                                   
enforcement  cases including".   He  asked if  there was  any                                                                   
limitation  on  the  law  enforcement.    He  stated  he  was                                                                   
concerned about how broad that language was.                                                                                    
Representative  Anderson explained  that  language was  taken                                                                   
from original  law.  He  assumed that the federal  government                                                                   
and the Federal  Bureau of Investigation (FBI)  has different                                                                   
regulations, however, they would  be able to utilize the same                                                                   
information through the coded system.                                                                                           
Representative  Croft  mentioned   the  "parameters"  of  the                                                                   
language.   He questioned the  basic protections in  the bill                                                                   
from misuse.  Representative Anderson  referred that question                                                                   
to  Ms.  Carpeneti   from  the  Attorney   General's  Office,                                                                   
Department of Law.                                                                                                              
Co-Chair  Harris  referenced the  indeterminate  fiscal  note                                                                   
from  the  Department  of  Administration,   Public  Defender                                                                   
Agency.  He asked  what would happen if that  note was zeroed                                                                   
LINDA WILSON,  (TESTIFIED VIA TELECONFERENCE),  DEPUTY PUBLIC                                                                   
DEFENDER  AGENCY,  ANCHORAGE,  commented  that  their  agency                                                                   
cannot predict  what the fiscal impact  is going to  be.  Ms.                                                                   
Wilson  claimed  that  the  legislation  would  significantly                                                                   
increase the number of cases for  the number of crimes, which                                                                   
a person  may have to submit  a sample.  There  currently are                                                                   
32 offenses  and the legislation  would add over 80  more for                                                                   
which a  person must  submit a DNA  sample.  The  legislation                                                                   
would include those  on probation or parole  on the effective                                                                   
date.  That  creates a very broad  reach.  Ms. Wilson  had no                                                                   
idea how  many cases it would  include.  She  reiterated that                                                                   
the note  was indeterminate because  there is no way  for the                                                                   
Agency to predict the impact.                                                                                                   
Co-Chair Harris  inquired if the  Public Defender  Agency had                                                                   
received  a  supplemental  request  this year.    Ms.  Wilson                                                                   
acknowledged that they had.                                                                                                     
CHRIS  BEHEIM,  (TESTIFIED  VIA   TELECONFERENCE),  DIRECTOR,                                                                   
STATE CRIME LAB,  ANCHORAGE, testified that the  DNA database                                                                   
has had a positive  impact on law enforcement.   It has aided                                                                   
34 different  investigations this  past year.   The  State of                                                                   
Alaska  has  one of  the  more  successful databases  in  the                                                                   
country.    He  added  that the  State  could  do  better  by                                                                   
collecting the DNA from all felons  and individuals convicted                                                                   
of sex offenses.  Mr. Beheim reiterated  that the legislation                                                                   
could enhance the current system even more.                                                                                     
At this time, there are approximately  140 unsolved homicides                                                                   
and sexual assault  cases and with an expanded  database, the                                                                   
number of unsolved crimes could  increase.  He concluded that                                                                   
this is an extremely important  tool for law enforcement that                                                                   
is cost effective.                                                                                                              
BRUCE  RICHTER,   (TESTIFIED  VIA  TELECONFERENCE),   PROGRAM                                                                   
MANAGER,   NATIOANL   LAW   ENFORCEMENT    AND   CORRECTIONAL                                                                   
TECHNOLOGY  CENTER, ANCHORAGE,  stated  that the  legislation                                                                   
would be the  single most cost effective tool  that the State                                                                   
could give law  enforcement for expanding their  reach of the                                                                   
database.  The success of other  states could be reflected in                                                                   
what will  happen in  Alaska.  Mr.  Richter trusted  that the                                                                   
down-stream federal funding would come.                                                                                         
Representative  Croft  inquired  about  the  Alaskan  success                                                                   
stories.     Mr.   Beheim  listed   various  sexual   assault                                                                   
situations that  have occurred  throughout the State  and how                                                                   
the DNA technology helped solve  those crimes.  He elaborated                                                                   
that this  indicates the power  of DNA to both  exonerate and                                                                   
bring people to justice.                                                                                                        
JENNIFER  ESTERAL, (TESTIFIED  VIA TELECONFERENCE),  AMERICAN                                                                   
CIVIL LIBERTIES  UNION (ACLU),  ANCHORAGE, voiced  opposition                                                                   
to the proposed  bill.  She noted  that ACLU urges  an end to                                                                   
the progressive expansion of the  collection of the DNA.  She                                                                   
stressed that  this is not  only fingerprinting and  that DNA                                                                   
provides  the government  control over  personal and  private                                                                   
information.    Ms.  Esteral   stressed  that  the  laws  are                                                                   
becoming  progressively more  inclusive.   DNA  is now  being                                                                   
collected before the crime has happened.                                                                                        
Ms. Esteral  pointed out  that the ACLU  supports the  use of                                                                   
DNA database  for positive medical, scientific,  and forensic                                                                   
purposes;  however, she  stressed  that  there is  tremendous                                                                   
potential  for abuse  and  that  HB 49  does  not create  any                                                                   
Representative Joule asked if  there had been cases of misuse                                                                   
from  the DNA  collection base.   Mr.  Beheim responded  that                                                                   
there has  never been  a case where  the DNA database  sample                                                                   
was  misused.    He added  that  there  are  many  safeguards                                                                   
involved.   It can  be used only  for identification  and law                                                                   
enforcement identification purposes.                                                                                            
Mr.  Richter added  that once  that  the crime  lab has  made                                                                   
confirmation  of identification,  that information  serves as                                                                   
the application  base for  a search  warrant.  He  emphasized                                                                   
that there  are checks  and balances  built into the  current                                                                   
ANNE CARPENETI,  ASSISTANT ATTORNEY  GENERAL, LEGAL  SERVICES                                                                   
SECTION,  CRIMINAL DIVISION,  DEPARTMENT OF  LAW, voiced  the                                                                   
Department's  support  for the  bill  and offered  to  answer                                                                   
questions of the Committee.                                                                                                     
Representative  Croft  questioned  if  there  should  be  any                                                                   
constraints placed  on law enforcement use of the  DNA.   Ms.                                                                   
Carpeneti explained  the language referenced currently  is in                                                                   
existing law.  She pointed out  that the word "including" was                                                                   
added because  law enforcement attempted to  identify missing                                                                   
body parts  from victims.   That language has  been effective                                                                   
since  the DNA  concern was  enacted.   She interjected  that                                                                   
there have  been no problems to  date and that the  bill does                                                                   
contain protections.                                                                                                            
Representative   Whitaker    commented   on    the   possible                                                                   
elimination  of  federal  funding and  that  the  Legislature                                                                   
should  recognize the  potential  costs  associated with  the                                                                   
bill.  He voiced his support.                                                                                                   
Representative Foster  MOVED to report CS HB 49  (JUD) out of                                                                   
Committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  with  the                                                                   
accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                                                      
There being NO OBJECTION, it was so ordered.                                                                                    
CS  HB 49  (JUD) was  reported out  of Committee  with a  "do                                                                   
pass"  recommendation and  with zero  fiscal note  #1 by  the                                                                   
Department  of Public  Safety,  zero fiscal  note  #2 by  the                                                                   
Department of  Law, and fiscal  note #3 by the  Department of                                                                   

Document Name Date/Time Subjects