Legislature(2015 - 2016)HOUSE FINANCE 519

03/24/2016 09:30 AM House FINANCE

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Please Note Time --
Moved CSHB 77(FIN) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Moved CSHB 231(FIN) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Moved CSHB 222(FIN) Out of Committee
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
HOUSE BILL NO. 77                                                                                                             
     "An  Act relating  to  training regarding  disabilities                                                                    
     for   police  officers,   probation  officers,   parole                                                                    
     officers,  correctional  officers, and  village  public                                                                    
     safety  officers; relating  to  guidelines for  drivers                                                                    
     when encountering or being stopped  by a peace officer;                                                                    
     relating   to   driver's  license   examinations;   and                                                                    
     relating  to a  voluntary disability  designation on  a                                                                    
    state identification card and a driver's license."                                                                          
Ms. Pierson read a portion of the Sponsor Statement:                                                                            
     The goal  of HB77 is to  improve communications between                                                                    
     law  enforcement  and   corrections  professionals  who                                                                    
     interact    with   people    who   have    non-apparent                                                                    
     disabilities,   whether   these  disabled   individuals                                                                    
     encounter  the  "systems"  as  victims,  witnesses,  or                                                                    
     alleged perpetrators.                                                                                                      
Ms.  Pierson  reported that  the  bill  had three  parts;  a                                                                    
training   component,  a   voluntary  option   to  have   an                                                                    
identifying mark  on a driver's license  denoting the driver                                                                    
had  a disability,  and  an added  section  in the  driver's                                                                    
manual  in  which  questions could  appear  on  the  written                                                                    
driver's test.                                                                                                                  
Co-Chair Thompson OPENED public testimony                                                                                       
10:17:13 AM                                                                                                                   
RICK  WEBB,  WALLBUSTERS,  FAIRBANKS  (via  teleconference),                                                                    
supported  the   bill.  He   believed  education   was  very                                                                    
important.  The  bill  would  help  to  change  preconceived                                                                    
ideas. He  noted that the bill  would not equate to  a "Get-                                                                    
out-of-jail-free" card.  He provided a personal  story about                                                                    
his friend in  a wheelchair who had been  arrested for drunk                                                                    
driving. He emphasized that the  legislation was about equal                                                                    
treatment not  special treatment.  He thanked  the committee                                                                    
for its time.                                                                                                                   
10:20:05 AM                                                                                                                   
JUANITA WEBB,  WALLBUSTERS, FAIRBANKS  (via teleconference),                                                                    
supported the  legislation and understood the  importance of                                                                    
the  bill. She  opined  that the  bill  was about  educating                                                                    
people.  She  thanked  the bill  sponsor  for  bringing  the                                                                    
legislation forward and urged  committee members to pass the                                                                    
bill along.                                                                                                                     
Co-Chair Thompson CLOSED public testimony.                                                                                      
10:21:44 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative  Wilson  supported  the bill.  She  expressed                                                                    
concerns  about  having  identification without  having  any                                                                    
backup  about the  type of  disability. She  wondered if  it                                                                    
would  be an  issue to  only see  that a  disability existed                                                                    
rather than specifying the disability type.                                                                                     
Co-Chair Thompson  commented that the intention  of the bill                                                                    
was not to highlight a  person's disabilities but to begin a                                                                    
conversation  between  an officer  and  the  person who  was                                                                    
10:22:30 AM                                                                                                                   
CHAD   GOEDEN,    ALASKA   STATE   TROOPERS,    SITKA   (via                                                                    
teleconference), understood  concerns around the  balance of                                                                    
privacy  and an  officer having  enough information  to make                                                                    
the  best decisions.  Since  it was  a  voluntary option  he                                                                    
suggested the  inclusion of a provision  that enabled people                                                                    
to  determine  how  much information  they  wanted  to  make                                                                    
available.  Information  could  be  added  to  the  dispatch                                                                    
system  rather than  on a  license so  that the  information                                                                    
could be provided to an officer upon calling into dispatch                                                                      
Representative  Wilson stated  that it  had been  brought to                                                                    
her attention  that even with  a designation there  had been                                                                    
issues with people getting nervous  and having difficulty in                                                                    
providing information.  She was  wondering if  the objective                                                                    
of the  legislation could  be accomplished  through changing                                                                    
regulation since it was voluntary.  She added that even with                                                                    
a simple  designation more information  could smooth  over a                                                                    
Representative  Gara thought  it would  be best  to make  it                                                                    
clear that  the person  had some  sort of  disability rather                                                                    
than specifically designating a  disability. It was an alert                                                                    
to  officers  that  there  was   an  issue  and  to  further                                                                    
investigate.  He  liked  the  way  the  bill  was  currently                                                                    
written and thought it struck a better balance.                                                                                 
10:25:39 AM                                                                                                                   
Vice-Chair Saddler was co-sponsoring  the bill. He expressed                                                                    
concerns  about  placing  too  much  responsibility  on  the                                                                    
police  to  have a  positive  outcome  between the  disabled                                                                    
person and  law enforcement.  He encouraged  disabled people                                                                    
to help  police knew of  the person's situation.  He thought                                                                    
meeting with  police officers and school  resource officers.                                                                    
He also  suggested the use  of identification  bracelets. He                                                                    
recommended that  parents review appropriate  responses when                                                                    
interacting with  police officers  such as  complying, being                                                                    
respectful,  and  answering  questions.  He  opined  that  a                                                                    
person could not legislate common sense.                                                                                        
Vice-Chair Saddler  continued that the responsibility  for a                                                                    
positive outcome  between anyone  and police officers  was a                                                                    
shared  responsibility.  He  believed that  the  legislation                                                                    
offered  police officers  additional information  and was  a                                                                    
good step that he would support.                                                                                                
Representative  Gattis  asked  Officer Goeden  to  walk  her                                                                    
through what would be included  in training if the bill were                                                                    
to  pass. Office  Goeden asked  whether she  meant what  the                                                                    
troopers would do  for training or what an  officer would do                                                                    
if  they came  in contact  with a  person with  the proposed                                                                    
mark on their license.                                                                                                          
Representative  Gattis  supposed  she meant  both  but  most                                                                    
importantly wondered  what a  law enforcement  officer would                                                                    
do  when stopping  someone with  a  disability. She  thought                                                                    
that an  officer would  have to  be trained.  Officer Goeden                                                                    
suggested  that  when  troopers made  a  traffic  stop  they                                                                    
positioned  their car  so  that  there was  a  safe lane  of                                                                    
travel  to  get  up  to the  vehicle.  The  law  enforcement                                                                    
vehicle would have overhead flashing  lights front and rear.                                                                    
Officers   would  try   to  be   aware  of   several  things                                                                    
simultaneously such  as oncoming  traffic, movements  in the                                                                    
car,  number of  people in  the car  being pulled  over, and                                                                    
what the passengers were doing.  The troopers would identify                                                                    
themselves, ask  the driver for identification  and proof of                                                                    
insurance,  ask  for any  legal  reason  for why  they  were                                                                    
stopped, and give  them a decision as to  whether a citation                                                                    
would be issued.                                                                                                                
10:28:42 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative  Gattis  asked  what  the  officer  would  do                                                                    
differently  than  the  standard protocol  when  stopping  a                                                                    
person  with  a  designation   on  their  driver's  license.                                                                    
Officer  Goeden replied  that it  would depend  on how  much                                                                    
detail  was provided  with the  designation.  It would  also                                                                    
depend on the  driver's behavior. For instance,  if a person                                                                    
was  acting unusual  or extremely  nervous an  officer might                                                                    
ask whether there  was anything they should be  aware of. It                                                                    
all hinged  on getting  to the point  where the  law officer                                                                    
was looking at a person's  driver's license to see a special                                                                    
Representative  Gattis  relayed   that  Officer  Goeden  had                                                                    
answered her question.                                                                                                          
10:30:38 AM                                                                                                                   
Representative Guttenberg liked the  bill because he thought                                                                    
it  addressed problems  from both  the side  of the  trained                                                                    
officer and the motorist. He  was very concerned with public                                                                    
safety  officers having  an adequate  level of  training. He                                                                    
asked if  there was specific  training to handle  stops made                                                                    
with vehicles having handicap license plates.                                                                                   
Officer Goeden  responded that  the academy's  recruits went                                                                    
through  an   8  hour  crisis  intervention   training.  The                                                                    
training covered  hidden and visible  disabilities including                                                                    
how to  recognize them  and how  to deal  with them.  He had                                                                    
never  specifically  spoken  with the  instructor  about  an                                                                    
approach  change  if  an  officer  saw  a  handicap  license                                                                    
placard. He  hoped that a  visual indicator would  provide a                                                                    
clue that the person might have a disability.                                                                                   
Co-Chair   Thompson  thanked   Officer   Goeden  for   being                                                                    
available for questions.                                                                                                        
Vice-Chair  Saddler  reviewed  the  zero  fiscal  note  from                                                                    
Department of Administration.                                                                                                   
Vice-Chair  Saddler MOVED  to report  CSHB 77  (FIN) out  of                                                                    
Committee   with   individual    recommendations   and   the                                                                    
accompanying fiscal note(s). There being NO OBJECTION, it                                                                       
was so ordered.                                                                                                                 
CSHB 77 (FIN) was REPORTED out of committee with a "do                                                                          
pass" recommendation and with a new zero fiscal note from                                                                       
the Department of Administration.                                                                                               
10:33:46 AM                                                                                                                   
AT EASE                                                                                                                         
10:35:54 AM                                                                                                                   
10:35:54 AM