Legislature(2003 - 2004)

03/23/2004 01:45 PM FIN

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HOUSE BILL NO. 514                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     An  Act  relating  to  child  support  modification  and                                                                   
     enforcement,  to the establishment  of paternity  by the                                                                   
     child support  enforcement agency, and to  the crimes of                                                                   
     criminal nonsupport  and aiding the nonpayment  of child                                                                   
     support;  amending  Rule  90.3, Alaska  Rules  of  Civil                                                                   
     Procedure; and providing for an effective date.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Harris   MOVED  to   ADOPT  work  draft   committee                                                                   
substitute #23-LS1639\W, Mischel,  3/23/04, as the version of                                                                   
the  legislation  before  the  Committee.    There  being  NO                                                                   
OBJECTION, it was adopted.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
PETE ECKLUND, STAFF, REPRESENTATIVE  BILL WILLIAMS, discussed                                                                   
the  committee  substitute,  noting  the changes.    It  will                                                                   
remove  the  peace  officer  classification   for  the  Child                                                                   
Support  Enforcement   Division  (CSED)  investigators.   The                                                                   
committee statute  deletes language "and  unreasonable", Page                                                                   
3, Line 20 of the House Judiciary version.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
In  response  to  a question  by  Representative  Croft,  Mr.                                                                   
Ecklund explained  that the  changes were  made to  the House                                                                   
Judiciary version, inclusion of  the pilot project located in                                                                   
Section 12.   Mr. Ecklund advised that it was  different from                                                                   
the previous, unadopted work draft.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Croft  MOVED  to ADOPT  Amendment  #1,  which                                                                   
would add  "and unreasonably" on Page  3, Line 21.   (Copy on                                                                   
File).    Co-Chair  Williams  OBJECTED  for  the  purpose  of                                                                   
discussion.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
ANNE CARPENETI,  ASSISTANT ATTORNEY  GENERAL, LEGAL  SERVICES                                                                   
SECTION,  CRIMINAL  DIVISION,  DEPARTMENT  OF  LAW,  provided                                                                   
information  on Amendment  #1. She noted  that the  amendment                                                                   
could  cause  concern, as  it  would  provide an  element  of                                                                   
defense that would have to be  proven.  The Department of Law                                                                   
receives  information   under  Paragraph  A   from  employers                                                                   
regarding  other statutory  relationships,  and the  language                                                                   
could make it  unreasonably modified.  She  observed that the                                                                   
Department could draft an amendment  addressing the statutory                                                                   
duty to report.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative Croft  felt that it  should not be  a criminal                                                                   
act for  a person to  refuse to talk to  a CSED officer.   He                                                                   
stressed that  in no other area,  would it be a  criminal act                                                                   
to  refuse  to  talk  about  a subject.    He  added  if  the                                                                   
Department of Law  does not approve of Amendment  #1, then he                                                                   
would MOVE to strike Section #A.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Ms. Carpeneti  agreed with  Representative Croft  that people                                                                   
should have the  right to say that they do not  want to talk.                                                                   
However, Paragraph B only applies  to employers regarding the                                                                   
information  about  health benefits.    It  would not  be  an                                                                   
"across the  board duty"  of the employers  to report  to the                                                                   
Department of Labor  & Workforce Development when  there is a                                                                   
new hire.  She recommended that it be adjusted.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Representative Croft WITHDREW Amendment #1.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
TAPE HFC 04 - 65, Side A                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Croft  MOVED to ADOPT Amendment #2.   (Copy on                                                                   
File).    Co-Chair  Williams  OBJECTED  for  the  purpose  of                                                                   
discussion.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Representative Croft  stated that the amendment  would delete                                                                   
all material on Page 4, Lines  16-28 and add a new section to                                                                   
read:    "AS  12.55.139  is repealed".    He  explained  that                                                                   
federal law  requires the taking  of the hunting  and fishing                                                                   
license as  a sanction.   Amendment #2  would remove it  as a                                                                   
sanction for the misdemeanor and  keeps it as a sanction only                                                                   
for a felony.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
JOHN  MAIN, STAFF,  REPESENTATIVE  SPEAKER  PETT KOTT,  noted                                                                   
that  when the  license issue  was mandated  for the  states,                                                                   
Alaska  choose  the  proposed  way  to  address  hunting  and                                                                   
fishing  licenses.   There is  no vehicle in  which they  can                                                                   
deny a  hunting or fishing  license.  Federal  government was                                                                   
not pleased  that it was placed  in those two statutes.   Mr.                                                                   
Main feared that  if it was removed from a  misdemeanor area,                                                                   
the  federal government  might state  that Alaska  is not  in                                                                   
compliance with the plan and the  State could face penalties.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
In  response to  a question  by  Representative Stoltze,  Mr.                                                                   
Main stated that he did not know  if any states had failed to                                                                   
comply  with the  federal requirements  to take  recreational                                                                   
licenses for failure in providing child support.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
Representative Stoltze commented  on the similarities between                                                                   
this and the  federal helmet laws.  He stressed  that hunting                                                                   
and fishing licenses are more  than recreational pleasures in                                                                   
Alaska.  He voiced his support for the amendment.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
In response to  a query by Representative Chenault,  Mr. Main                                                                   
pointed out that  only 2-5 people have been  convicted in the                                                                   
past two years  and that he did  not know how many  had their                                                                   
recreational licenses removed.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
JOHN   MALLONEE,  (TESTIFIED   VIA  TELECONFERENCE),   ACTING                                                                   
DIRECTOR, CHILD  SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT DIVISION,  DEPARTMENT OF                                                                   
REVENUE, ANCHORAGE, provided information  on the legislation.                                                                   
He did  not recall any  cases being revoked  in the  past two                                                                   
years, noting that  only twenty cases had been  prosecuted in                                                                   
the past four years.  Mr. Main  pointed out that the language                                                                   
uses "may", which is more permissive.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Croft testified in  support of Amendment  #2.                                                                   
He stressed that the connection  with subsistence hunting and                                                                   
fishing,  maintaining that  licenses should  only be  revoked                                                                   
for serious felony  cases.  He did not feel  that the federal                                                                   
government  would   withhold  funds,  but  argued   that  the                                                                   
decision should be  made to flow through the  correct course,                                                                   
regardless.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Harris noted  that the  amendment  would repeal  AS                                                                   
12.55.139.  Representative Croft  explained that the deletion                                                                   
of  the  statute  would  only  remove  the  ability  to  take                                                                   
recreational  licenses  in  a  misdemeanor  case.    Co-Chair                                                                   
Williams  interjected  that nonpayment  of  child support  is                                                                   
close to being a felony.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Stoltze  reminded   members  that  there  are                                                                   
"cashless  economies" in rural  Alaska. He  did not  want the                                                                   
federal government to deter the  adoption of a rational State                                                                   
policy.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
Representative  Hawker stated that  any refusal to  pay child                                                                   
support  is an  egregious act.   He  noted that  recreational                                                                   
licenses are of value as a non-monetary  item and valuable to                                                                   
the perpetrator; whereas, great  monetary fines would further                                                                   
restrict their ability to pay.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
In  response to  Vice  Chair Meyer,  Mr.  Main observed  that                                                                   
discussions had  occurred in  the House Judiciary  Committee,                                                                   
and that the felony level had been increased.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
A roll call vote was taken on the motion.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
IN FAVOR:      Stoltze, Croft, Fate, Foster, Joule                                                                              
OPPOSED:       Chenault, Hawker, Meyer, Williams, Harris                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
Representative Moses was not present for the vote.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
The MOTION FAILED (5-5).                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SPEAKER PETE  KOTT distributed a  handout in response  to the                                                                   
testimony  provided   by  Landa  Baily,   Special  Assistant,                                                                   
                                 th                                                                                             
Department  of Revenue,  March  8,  2004  letter.   (Copy  on                                                                   
File).  [It was not discussed].                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
Co-Chair  Harris MOVED  to  report  CS HB  514  (FIN) out  of                                                                   
Committee  with  individual  recommendations   and  with  the                                                                   
accompanying fiscal notes.  There  being NO OBJECTION, it was                                                                   
so ordered.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CS  HB  514   (FIN)  was  reported  out  of   Committee  with                                                                   
"individual recommendations"  and with  a new fiscal  note by                                                                   
the Department of  Revenue, a zero note by  the Department of                                                                   
Public  Safety,   two  zero  notes   by  the   Department  of                                                                   
Administration,  indeterminate note  #2 by  the Alaska  Court                                                                   
System and indeterminate note #3 by the Department of Law.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                

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