Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/06/2004 03:10 PM House HES

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
HB 381-CHILD ENDANGERMENT DRIVING OFFENSES                                                                                    
Number 1150                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WILSON announced  that the next order of  business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO. 381, "An Act relating to child endangerment."                                                                    
Number 1126                                                                                                                     
HEATH  HILYARD, Staff  to  Representative  Lesil McGuire,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature,  presented HB 381 on  behalf of Representative                                                               
McGuire,  sponsor.   He  read a  portion of  a  2004 report  from                                                               
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)  titled Every Child Deserves                                                             
a Designated Driver, as follows:                                                                                              
     Carly McDonald,  five years old, was  killed on January                                                                    
     1,  1998, by  her  intoxicated mother  who was  driving                                                                    
     with  a  blood alcohol  content  of  .22 percent,  over                                                                    
     twice the  legal limit.   Carly had been placed  in the                                                                    
     front  seat of  the car,  her unused  booster seat  was                                                                    
     found   in  the   back.     Carly's  mother   had  been                                                                    
     specifically court  ordered not  to consume  alcohol in                                                                    
     Carly's presence.  This was  not enough to save Carly's                                                                    
MR. HILYARD  went on  to say that  research statistics  that MADD                                                               
has  presented  both with  regard  to  child endangerment  as  it                                                               
pertains to driving  under the influence and  failure to restrain                                                               
showed that  of the children  who died  while riding in  the same                                                               
vehicle  with a  drinking driver  only 29  percent were  known to                                                               
have been restrained.   Although restraint used in  this group of                                                               
children  is unacceptably  low,  restraint use  has increased  in                                                               
recent  years.   The May  2000  Journal of  the American  Medical                                                             
Association  study found  that only  18 percent  of children  who                                                             
were riding with a drinking driver  at the time of the crash were                                                               
known to  be restrained.  Mr.  Hilyard said that the  increase in                                                               
restraint  use among  child passenger  deaths is  consistent with                                                               
the  increase of  child restraint  use over  time in  the general                                                               
population.   Strong enforcement  of child  safety seat  laws and                                                               
passage of primary enforcement seatbelt  laws in all states could                                                               
further reduce child passenger deaths.                                                                                          
Number 0983                                                                                                                     
MR.  HILYARD told  the members  that  studies from  the State  of                                                               
Alaska's  Advisory Board  on Alcoholism  and Drug  Abuse and  the                                                               
National   Transportation   Safety   Board  addresses   two   key                                                               
components of  HB 381.   He referred  to two  specific provisions                                                               
which will be  added to Alaska's child endangerment  laws on page                                                               
2, lines 8 through 12, as follows:                                                                                              
      (4) transports a child in a motor vehicle, aircraft,                                                                  
         or watercraft while under the influence of an                                                                      
     intoxicant; or                                                                                                         
     (5)  transports  a child  in  a  motor vehicle  without                                                                
     requiring  the  child  to use  the  seating  restraints                                                                
     required by law, and the  child suffers physical injury                                                                
     or dies.                                                                                                               
MR. HILYARD commented  that it is not the  sponsor's intention to                                                               
cause  a  felonious charge  for  simply  failing to  restrain  [a                                                               
child], but when  that failure to restrain leads to  an injury or                                                               
death  of a  child it  is  believed that  warrants an  additional                                                               
MR. HILYARD  pointed out  that the  Advisory Board  on Alcoholism                                                               
and Drug  Abuse states  that Alaska leads  the nation  on alcohol                                                               
abuse;  the rate  of dependence  is twice  the national  average;                                                               
most  crime  in Alaska  is  alcohol  related;  and more  than  80                                                               
percent of  the problems that  are faced with regard  to children                                                               
have a  direct correlation to  alcohol [abuse].  He  said alcohol                                                               
abuse results in  roughly $453 million in costs to  the state and                                                               
consumers annually.   No  small portion  of that  has to  do with                                                               
motor vehicle laws.                                                                                                             
Number 0876                                                                                                                     
MR. HILYARD  referred to a study  done this year by  the National                                                               
Transportation  Safety  Board   (NTSB)  called  Putting  Children                                                             
First.  This  report looked at a past eight-year  period in terms                                                             
of the importance of having  proper restraints for children.  The                                                               
intent is  two-fold, one  is to  strongly discourage  people from                                                               
driving with their child while  under the influence of alcohol or                                                               
some other intoxicant.   The second is to  strongly encourage the                                                               
proper  safety  restraints  for  their  children.    Mr.  Hilyard                                                               
commented that  the MADD report  suggests that there is  a strong                                                               
correlation  between the  two  points, in  that  many adults  who                                                               
drive  under  the influence  of  alcohol  also fail  to  properly                                                               
restrain their children.                                                                                                        
MR.  HILYARD said  that  the NTSB  did  a study  in  1996 of  180                                                               
restrained  children  and found  that  52  of the  children  used                                                               
vehicle  seatbelts when  the  child should  have  been placed  in                                                               
child  restraint  systems  with  booster seats.    Seatbelts  are                                                               
improper for many children under the  age of eight years old.  He                                                               
commented that  there will be  some variables suggested  based on                                                               
the  height and  weight  of  the child.    It  is essential  that                                                               
children  be  restrained properly.    If  a child  is  improperly                                                               
restrained and it  results in serious injury or death,  it is the                                                               
sponsor's  belief  that  should  result  in  additional  criminal                                                               
MR.   HILYARD  told   the  members   that  there   should  be   a                                                               
representative  from Mothers  Against  Drunk  Driving on-line  to                                                               
testify in support of HB 381.                                                                                                   
LINDA   WILSON,   Deputy   Director,  Public   Defender   Agency,                                                               
Department of  Administration, testified  on HB 381  and answered                                                               
questions  from the  members.    She told  the  members that  the                                                               
agency supports  protecting children,  but pointed out  that some                                                               
of the language  in the bill could  have unintended consequences.                                                               
She  referred to  page  2,  lines 8  and  9,  subsection (4),  as                                                               
      (4) transports a child in a motor vehicle, aircraft,                                                                  
         or watercraft while under the influence of an                                                                      
MS.  WILSON commented  that this  language makes  it a  felony to                                                               
transport a  child if  the driver  is under  the influence  of an                                                               
intoxicant.   She  pointed  out  that it  is  not  clear what  an                                                               
intoxicant can  be.  Ms.  Wilson said that the  sponsor statement                                                               
and the examples provided in  testimony referred to an individual                                                               
who is  above the  legal limit  of alcohol.   There is  a concern                                                               
that a person  could be charged with a felony  for transporting a                                                               
child whether  or not  above the  legal limit,  but be  under the                                                               
influence of  some sort of an  intoxicant.  One other  point that                                                               
is of  concern is that  a person is  facing a felony  charge when                                                               
there has been no resulting injury to the child.                                                                                
Number 0649                                                                                                                     
MS. WILSON referred  to [subsection(5), page 2,  lines 10 through                                                               
12] as follows:                                                                                                                 
     (5)  transports  a child  in  a  motor vehicle  without                                                                
     requiring  the  child  to use  the  seating  restraints                                                                
     required by law, and the  child suffers physical injury                                                                
     or dies.                                                                                                               
MS. WILSON pointed  out that this subsection refers  to the child                                                               
suffering  physical  injury  [or  death] and  the  level  of  the                                                               
penalty depends on the injury to the  child.  She said she is not                                                               
sure  whether there  should be  some changes  to the  language in                                                               
subsection (4) to address that as well.                                                                                         
MS. WILSON explained  that current law provides that  if a person                                                               
drives while intoxicated and a person  in the car is injured, the                                                               
individual could  be charged with reckless  endangerment which is                                                               
a class  A misdemeanor in AS  11.41.250.  There is  no definition                                                               
of the word "child" in this  bill.  Ms. Wilson questioned whether                                                               
there should  be a definition  or a narrowing of  the definition.                                                               
She commented that in many other  parts of Alaska statute a child                                                               
is a person  who is under the  age of 18 years old.   A companion                                                               
bill talks in  detail about endangering a minor under  the age of                                                               
10.  In  subsection (5) where it talks about  restraints it might                                                               
be appropriate  to look  at clarifying  language under  a certain                                                               
age, she added.                                                                                                                 
MS. WILSON summarized  that the motives for HB 381  are good, but                                                               
she is concerned about some of  the breadth of the language which                                                               
may pull more people in than is intended.                                                                                       
Number 0566                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WILSON pointed out that  the age limitation is addressed on                                                               
page 1, line  6, where it refers  to a child under the  age of 16                                                               
years of age.                                                                                                                   
MS. WILSON  thanked Chair  Wilson for  bringing that  language to                                                               
her attention.   She suggested that the committee  may still want                                                               
to look at additional clarifying language for a smaller child.                                                                  
CHAIR WILSON asked Ms. Wilson  what that suggested language would                                                               
MS. WILSON  replied that  in statute  that refers  to endangering                                                               
the welfare of a child, the age of  10 years old is used.  In the                                                               
seatbelt statute  which is  found in AS  28.05.095 there  are two                                                               
different age  levels; one group is  under four years of  age and                                                               
another  group is  from age  four to  sixteen years  of age,  she                                                               
Number 0481                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  asked Ms.  Wilson if the  word "intoxicant"                                                               
includes substances other than alcohol.                                                                                         
MS. WILSON  replied that  intoxicant as  defined in  AS 47.10.990                                                               
includes alcohol,  but other controlled substances  such as drugs                                                               
or  hazardous  volatile  materials  or inhalants  would  also  be                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  asked  if concentrated  over  the  counter                                                               
drugs  used for  the purpose  of getting  high would  be included                                                               
under this definition.                                                                                                          
MS.   WILSON  said   yes.     Intoxicants  are   substances  that                                                               
temporarily diminish  a person's control over  mental or physical                                                               
powers including alcohol.   She asked if  Representative Gatto is                                                               
referring to cold medicine.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  commented that  some youngsters  have tried                                                               
Sudafed in  an effort to  bring out just the  active ingredients,                                                               
concentrated it, and used it to get high.                                                                                       
MS.  WILSON responded  that Sudafed  probably  would be  included                                                               
under the definition of intoxicants in that instance.                                                                           
Number 0303                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON commented  that  about half  the over  the                                                               
counter  drugs  are labeled  with  a  warning  not to  operate  a                                                               
vehicle or not use while operating  heavy equipment.  He asked if                                                               
an  individual  were to  take  Sudafed  or  some other  over  the                                                               
counter drug as a cold medication  and were in an accident, could                                                               
the individual  be charged under  this legislation if it  were to                                                               
become law.                                                                                                                     
MS. WILSON replied yes.  She said  she told the members that is a                                                               
worrisome point.                                                                                                                
CHAIR  WILSON  told  the  members  that  the  next  committee  of                                                               
referral is  the House Judiciary  Standing Committee.   She asked                                                               
the members to  look at the bill  in terms of a  policy issue and                                                               
allow  the  House Judiciary  Standing  Committee  to address  the                                                               
legal aspects of the bill.                                                                                                      
MR. HILYARD  asked the members  to look  at the handout  in their                                                               
packets  from  the  National Conference  of  State  Legislatures,                                                               
Drunk Driving Child  Endangerment Laws, as of December  2003.  He                                                               
pointed  out that  this  comparative chart  shows  the number  of                                                               
first  time   offenses  in  other   states  when   driving  while                                                               
intoxicated with a child in the  vehicle.  A class C felony seems                                                               
somewhat high  compared to  other states, he  said.   Mr. Hilyard                                                               
assured the  committee that Representative  McGuire, as  chair of                                                               
the House  Judiciary Standing Committee, would  be comfortable in                                                               
dropping that  particular charge down  to a class  A misdemeanor.                                                               
He emphasized  that the overall  concern is  protecting children.                                                               
Mr. Hilyard reiterated that if  the committee wishes to make that                                                               
amendment he does not believe the sponsor would object.                                                                         
Number 0203                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WILSON shared that many  times she has observed individuals                                                               
out boating and felt concerned for  the kids because it was clear                                                               
the adults  were having a pretty  good time.  For  many people in                                                               
Alaska boats are  the only mode of transportation.   She said she                                                               
believes the  legislature needs to  raise the bar so  people will                                                               
realize that some actions by adults are not acceptable.                                                                         
MR. HILYARD commented  that just before coming to  the meeting he                                                               
printed out  a list  of bills currently  in the  legislature that                                                               
deal with  enhancing DUI  laws.   There were  quite a  number, he                                                               
TAPE 04-29, SIDE A                                                                                                            
Number 0026                                                                                                                     
MR.  HILYARD added  that  he  has great  respect  for the  public                                                               
defender's  position and  assured  the committee  that the  House                                                               
Judiciary Standing  Committee will amend  the bill to  change the                                                               
penalty to a class A misdemeanor.                                                                                               
Number 0047                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  told the  members that  for the  last year                                                               
and  a half  he  has  been working  with  Alaska  Safe Kids  with                                                               
respect  to  the problems  of  enforcement  of Alaska's  seatbelt                                                               
laws.    He  explained  that the  police  are  having  difficulty                                                               
enforcing  the law  because  it is  hard to  interpret  it.   Two                                                               
months ago  all the  police departments in  the state  received a                                                               
copy  of  the attorney  general's  opinion  which was  to  setout                                                               
exactly  what  the law  says.    Representative Seaton  told  the                                                               
members that  Alaska Safe  Kids is  still receiving  requests for                                                               
clarification from police departments.   Part of the confusion is                                                               
that Alaska's law  refers to the National  Highway Traffic Safety                                                               
Administration (NHTSA) site where it  refers to weight and height                                                               
parameters.    The   police  still  do  not  know   how  to  site                                                               
individuals  because they  are unclear  on  the requirements  for                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON pointed  out that  this bill  would impose                                                               
felony  convictions  on  individuals  who do  not  have  children                                                               
properly  restrained  when the  police  cannot  figure out  on  a                                                               
coordinated basis how to enforce the  law.  He emphasized that he                                                               
is  very concerned  with this  bill  because it  goes far  beyond                                                               
health and safety issues.  He  pointed out that parents will have                                                               
to  decipher what  is required  of  them [when  the police  still                                                               
Number 0185                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  explained  that  determining  the  proper                                                               
restraint is difficult because it  depends not only on the design                                                               
of the individual  car seat, but also how it  is installed in the                                                               
car, and the weight  and height of the child.   For example, if a                                                               
child is three  pounds over the weight requirement  for a booster                                                               
seat, that is illegal, he said.                                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  commented that  another concern he  has is                                                               
that individuals  are being penalized  for what happens  if there                                                               
is an accident,  and not for failure to use  seat restraints.  If                                                               
a child  is seriously hurt in  an accident or dies,  the parent's                                                               
action was exactly the same and  yet the penalty is based on what                                                               
happened  in the  car  at  the time  of  the  accident, he  said.                                                               
Representative Seaton  summarized that  he is  uncomfortable with                                                               
this part  of the  bill, and suggested  that the  House Judiciary                                                               
Standing Committee could deal with that point.                                                                                  
CHAIR  WILSON  agreed  with Representative  Seaton  on  the  seat                                                               
restraint  issue.   It would  be easy  to see  how a  child could                                                               
exceed weight or height capacity  and the parent might not notice                                                               
until the child does not fit.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON went on to say  that the seat may have been                                                               
fine  six  months ago,  but  now  is  not the  proper  restraint.                                                               
Alaska law  does not  specify exactly  what is  to be  used, just                                                               
that   proper  restraint   must  be   used.     Proper  restraint                                                               
requirements  are  changing and  so  are  the NHTSA  regulations.                                                               
That is the reason the Alaska statutes are not more specific.                                                                   
Number 0392                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE   CISSNA  asked   for   clarification  on   felony                                                               
convictions and the penalties associated with it.                                                                               
MR. HILYARD asked for her to restate her question.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA said  that  as she  understands  it if  an                                                               
individual is convicted of a  felony, he/she will not qualify for                                                               
certain jobs ever again.                                                                                                        
MR. HILYARD said that is correct.                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE CISSNA  said if  convicted these  individuals will                                                               
not be able to vote again.                                                                                                      
MR. HILYARD said that is correct.                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE   CISSNA   commented   that   in   many   of   the                                                               
neighborhoods in her  district there are very poor  people with a                                                               
higher  percentage of  individuals who  have felony  convictions.                                                               
Many  of them  do not  have jobs  that provide  health insurance.                                                               
The person  who was driving that  car and made that  mistake will                                                               
be a  very different kind  of parent than before  the conviction,                                                               
Representative Cissna stated.   She asked if that  is the message                                                               
the legislature wants to give.                                                                                                  
Number 0571                                                                                                                     
MR.  HILYARD responded  that Representative  Cissna  made a  good                                                               
point and  that is the reason  he told the committee  the sponsor                                                               
would not object to amending  the bill under subsection (4) which                                                               
refers to  transporting a child  while under the influence  of an                                                               
intoxicant to  a reduction in  penalty to a class  A misdemeanor.                                                               
There is a  big difference between the  penalties associated with                                                               
a class C felony and a class A misdemeanor, he commented.                                                                       
MR. HILYARD  said that  he believes that  the sponsor  would want                                                               
the  language  in subsection  (5)  which  relates to  failure  to                                                               
restrain as it relates directly to  physical injury or death.  He                                                               
pointed out that  there is a graduated level of  penalty, class B                                                               
felony if the  child dies, and class C felony  if serious injury.                                                               
He  offered that  Representative  McGuire may  consider in  House                                                               
Judiciary Standing  Committee lessening the penalties  to a class                                                               
A misdemeanor  and class B  felony.  Mr. Hilyard  emphasized that                                                               
he could  not commit to  that change without consulting  with the                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA  asked  if sentencing  requirements  would                                                               
allow  for alcohol  rehabilitation  as a  substitute [for  prison                                                               
time].   She  pointed  out that  an individual  who  have lost  a                                                               
child, may have other kids at  home.  This option might be better                                                               
for the rest of the family if the parent can stay sober.                                                                        
Number 0918                                                                                                                     
MR. HILYARD  asked for  clarification that  Representative Cissna                                                               
is asking if  judges have sentencing guidelines  which allow them                                                               
the option of offering alcohol treatment instead of jail time.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  CISSNA replied  that  she wonders  if the  felony                                                               
charge  could be  reduced [to  a misdemeanor]  if the  individual                                                               
goes  through a  mandated substance  abuse treatment  program and                                                               
that it is shown to be working.                                                                                                 
MR.  HILYARD  responded  that  what  he  believes  Representative                                                               
Cissna is  asking is if  after-the-fact a felony charge  could be                                                               
reduced if the  individual meets specific requirements.   He told                                                               
the members that it is his  understanding that is not the way the                                                               
judicial system works.   He commented that  the district attorney                                                               
could opt to plea  a case and reduce the charge  from a felony to                                                               
a  misdemeanor.   He  suggested that  the  public defender  could                                                               
better speak to this question.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  posed  a hypothetical  question  where  a                                                               
parent has a  couple of drinks, and then takes  his/her family on                                                               
a ferry from  one point to another.  In  that instance would this                                                               
individual  be guilty  of committing  a felony  since he/she  has                                                               
transported a child in a watercraft.   He noted that the language                                                               
does  not  specifically  say  the individual  would  have  to  be                                                               
operating the watercraft.                                                                                                       
MR.  HILYARD emphasized  that the  point where  the parent  would                                                               
actually be  guilty of committing  a felony is while  operating a                                                               
motor vehicle  the parent transports  the child from home  to the                                                               
ferry.   He offered that in  Representative Seaton's hypothetical                                                               
question if  the parent  were to  have a  couple of  drinks, then                                                               
walk his/her  child to  the ferry and  accompany the  children on                                                               
the ferry,  he would say  the individual was probably  not guilty                                                               
of committing  a felony.  He  believes the individual must  be in                                                               
control  of  the motor  vehicle,  aircraft,  or watercraft.    He                                                               
emphasized that  is his opinion and  does not speak to  that with                                                               
absolute certainty.   Mr. Hilyard said  he would have to  look at                                                               
Alaska  statutes.     He  suggested   that  maybe   an  amendment                                                               
specifying  that the  individual  must be  "operating" the  motor                                                               
vehicle,  aircraft, or  watercraft.   Mr. Hilyard  commented that                                                               
the law  needs to  be reasonable and  often there  are unintended                                                               
consequences to  well-intentioned laws.   He offered to  bring an                                                               
amendment forward in House Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                        
Number 0980                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  suggested that  the words "transports  in a                                                               
motor vehicle" or "allows the child  to be transported in a motor                                                               
vehicle  operated  by  a  person  known  to  be  intoxicated"  be                                                               
inserted, so  that the bases  are covered.   He also  pointed out                                                               
that  in subsection  (4)  there is  reference  to motor  vehicle,                                                               
aircraft, or  watercraft, while in  subsection (5) there  is only                                                               
reference to  motor vehicles.   He commented that  he understands                                                               
that it is the sponsor's goal  to provide for child safety, so he                                                               
asked  that as  the  bill moves  on the  language  be changed  to                                                               
address some  of the points  raised by Representative  Seaton and                                                               
MR. HILYARD  clarified that Representative  Gatto would  like the                                                               
scope  of responsibility  to  expand from  not  only operating  a                                                               
motor vehicle,  aircraft, or  watercraft, but  allowing transport                                                               
of a child by someone known to be intoxicated.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO responded that is correct.                                                                                 
MR. HILYARD asked Representative Gatto  if he has a preference on                                                               
the sentencing requirements.                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO  replied he would  leave that to  the [House                                                               
Judiciary Standing Committee].                                                                                                  
Number 1074                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  WOLF moved  to adopt  Conceptual Amendment  1, as                                                               
     Page 2, line 8, after "(4) "                                                                                               
        Delete: "transports a child in a motor vehicle,                                                                         
     aircraft, or watercraft"                                                                                                   
       Insert: "operates the motor vehicle, aircraft, or                                                                        
     watercraft that transports a child"                                                                                        
     Page 2, line 10, after (5)                                                                                                 
     Delete: "transports a child in a motor vehicle"                                                                            
       Insert: " operates the motor vehicle, aircraft, or                                                                       
     watercraft that transports a child"                                                                                        
Number 1140                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GATTO objected.  He said  he would like to see the                                                               
scope  expanded  to  include  "allows to  be  transported".    He                                                               
offered a  conceptual amendment to Conceptual  Amendment 1, which                                                               
would  include  language that  covers  "allowing  a child  to  be                                                               
transported knowing  the operator  is under  the influence  of an                                                               
Number 1178                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON objected  to the  conceptual amendment  to                                                               
Conceptual Amendment 1.   He said he objects to  the terms "under                                                               
the influence  of intoxicant."   He told the members  he believes                                                               
the  term "intoxicant"  is so  broad and  there is  no definition                                                               
which clarifies the meaning in  this case.  Representative Seaton                                                               
said he is very concerned about the breadth of that term.                                                                       
CHAIR WILSON  asked Representative Seaton  if he is  objecting to                                                               
the amendment to [Conceptual Amendment 1].                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  pointed out  that  the  wording does  not                                                               
provide for  a standard such  as DUI.  It  does not say  that the                                                               
person is  intoxicated, just that  the individual  had something.                                                               
It could be cough medicine, he added.                                                                                           
CHAIR WILSON reminded Representative  Seaton of earlier testimony                                                               
that intoxicant is already defined in Alaska statutes.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON  replied  that  the  definition  was  very                                                               
Number 1269                                                                                                                     
MR. HILYARD read the statute as follows:                                                                                        
     Intoxicant   means   a   substance   that   temporarily                                                                    
     diminishes  a person's  control of  mental or  physical                                                                    
     powers, including alcohol,  controlled substances under                                                                    
     AS  11.71   and  hazardous   volatile  material   or  a                                                                    
     substance used by inhaling its vapors.                                                                                     
MR. HILYARD  suggested a potential  amendment on Section  4, Page                                                               
2, line  23 and 24, where  language could be inserted  to say "In                                                               
this  section under  the influence  means  as properly  reference                                                               
previously in statute."                                                                                                         
Number 1301                                                                                                                     
CHAIR  WILSON stated  that she  does  not believe  Representative                                                               
Seaton  is  really  objecting  to  the  amendment  to  Conceptual                                                               
Amendment  1.    She  assured   Representative  Seaton  that  the                                                               
committee will address his concerns.                                                                                            
Number 1311                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GATTO  restated   his  suggested  amendment  that                                                               
language  be inserted  that  would address  a  parent allowing  a                                                               
child to be transported.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON commented  that the  word "knowingly"  was                                                               
included in the amendment to the amendment.                                                                                     
CHAIR WILSON asked  if there are any objections  to the amendment                                                               
to Conceptual Amendment 1.                                                                                                      
Number 1375                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  COGHILL object.    He told  the  members that  he                                                               
needs to  see more  definitive language  before he  could support                                                               
the amendment to the amendment.                                                                                                 
A roll  call vote  was taken.   Representatives Gatto  and Wilson                                                               
voted  in  favor of  the  amendment  to Conceptual  Amendment  1.                                                               
Representatives  Wolf,  Coghill,  and Seaton  voted  against  it.                                                               
Therefore, the  amendment to Conceptual  Amendment 1 failed  by a                                                               
vote of 2-3.                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  WILSON  asked  if  there are  any  further  objections  to                                                               
Conceptual  Amendment 1.   There  being no  objection, Conceptual                                                               
Amendment 1 was adopted.                                                                                                        
Number 1477                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON moved Amendment 2, as follows:                                                                            
     Page 2, delete lines 10 through 12                                                                                         
Number 1483                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL objected for purposes of discussion.                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  commented that Representative  Coghill may                                                               
have missed  an earlier  discussion.  He  explained that  for the                                                               
last year and a  half he has worked with the  Alaska Safe Kids in                                                               
an effort to define what  the requirements are for individuals to                                                               
secure their  kids.  The  police could not  agree on how  to cite                                                               
individuals, he explained.   So about a month and  a half ago the                                                               
attorney general sent  out an opinion to  all police departments,                                                               
but comments  that have  come back  say that  there still  is not                                                               
enough   clarity    in   the   definition   to    do   citations.                                                               
Representative Seaton told  the members that it  is disturbing to                                                               
consider charging parents  with a felony for  not having children                                                               
in the proper  restraints when the police cannot  even figure out                                                               
how to  interpret the law.   That is his reason  for offering the                                                               
Number 1542                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE LESIL  McGUIRE, Alaska State  Legislature, sponsor                                                               
of HB 381, answered questions from  the committee.  She asked the                                                               
members to  consider a change  on page 2,  line 15, to  lower the                                                               
charge from a class C felony to  a class A misdemeanor.  It makes                                                               
sense  to give  people a  chance to  get use  to the  law without                                                               
making people felons, she added.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE  asked Representative Seaton to  allow the                                                               
bill to come  to the House Judiciary Standing  Committee and take                                                               
testimony  from  the Alaska  State  Troopers,  the Department  of                                                               
Motor Vehicles, and  review the attorney general's  opinion.  She                                                               
said  she would  try to  narrow it  down and  determine what  the                                                               
specific requirements  are.  She told  Representative Seaton that                                                               
if the changes made do not  meet with his satisfaction they could                                                               
talk about [further changes].                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  asked if this [violation]  isn't already a                                                               
class  A misdemeanor.   It  is already  a primary  offense to  be                                                               
transporting a child who is  not properly restrained.  He pointed                                                               
out that the  police cannot stop an individual for  not wearing a                                                               
seatbelt; however,  if there is  a child below  the age of  16 in                                                               
the  car who  is  not properly  restrained then  the  car can  be                                                               
stopped and the operator cited.   Representative Seaton commented                                                               
that he also has problems with  Section 3 which refers to class B                                                               
and class C felonies with  the difficult standard in knowing what                                                               
to enforce.                                                                                                                     
Number 1660                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE commented that  under the current law this                                                               
bill will  say that  this is  a primary  offense.   She explained                                                               
that  Section  4  and  5  draws  attention  to  those  who  would                                                               
transport a child while under  the influence.  She explained that                                                               
Mr.  Hilyard  had  expressed  that there  was  concern  from  the                                                               
committee  about a  felony.   Representative McGuire  assured the                                                               
committee  that  when  the  bill comes  to  the  House  Judiciary                                                               
Standing Committee the bill will  be reviewed as is done whenever                                                               
there  is  an  offense  involved.     She  pointed  out  that  if                                                               
Representative Seaton's amendment carries,  it will gut the bill.                                                               
The point of the bill says that  when a parent takes a child in a                                                               
car it is essential the child  be properly restrained.  This bill                                                               
is intended  to save lives.   Children are  not in a  position of                                                               
making that choice  for themselves.  They rely on  adults to make                                                               
those   decisions  for   them,   Representative  McGuire   added.                                                               
Removing reference  to the seating  restraints removes  the point                                                               
of the bill, she stated.                                                                                                        
REPRESENTATIVE  SEATON said  that he  agrees with  Representative                                                               
McGuire, but  pointed out that  it is already a  primary offense.                                                               
He said  he is  concerned in  the move to  make the  punishment a                                                               
Number 1768                                                                                                                     
CHAIR WILSON asked what are the steps in severity in punishment.                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE  replied  that  she does  not  have  that                                                               
information with her today.  She  added that she came prepared to                                                               
speak to the  health and safety issues associated  with the bill,                                                               
and offered  that the more  appropriate committee to  address the                                                               
legal issues is the House Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE explained that there  is a class A, B, and                                                               
C  felony.   The class  C felony  is the  lowest felony,  and the                                                               
highest felony is an unclassified felony.                                                                                       
CHAIR  WILSON  responded  that  earlier in  the  meeting  it  was                                                               
decided the House Health, Education  and Social Services Standing                                                               
Committee  would look  at the  social  and policy  aspect of  the                                                               
bill.     She  suggested   Representative  Seaton   withdraw  his                                                               
amendment  and allow  the House  Judiciary Standing  Committee to                                                               
deal  with this  aspect of  the bill.   The  largest problems  in                                                               
Alaska are  alcoholism and  problems associated  with alcoholism,                                                               
she stated.                                                                                                                     
Number 1849                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE SEATON  pointed out that  Section 5 does  not deal                                                               
with alcoholism.  It deals with  proper use of car restraints and                                                               
raises the  punishment for  a crime that  is already  against the                                                               
law.   He  emphasized  that  his concern  lies  with parents  and                                                               
police understanding what is the proper restraint for kids.                                                                     
CHAIR  WILSON replied  that Representative  Seaton  makes a  good                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE McGUIRE  agreed that  is a good  point.   She said                                                               
she  would   hope  no   one  would   disagree  with   Section  4.                                                               
Representative  Seaton  has  made   good  points  concerning  the                                                               
importance   of   defining   [proper   restraints],   she   said.                                                               
Representative McGuire added that if  the committee would be more                                                               
comfortable  in taking  that out,  then  when it  comes to  House                                                               
Judiciary  Standing Committee  she will  work to  fine tune  this                                                               
point.   She  said  she  would be  comfortable  with  that.   One                                                               
thought that  came to her  is the  idea of including  some mental                                                               
intent because  the parents  that the bill  is trying  to address                                                               
are those that are  making no effort at all.   The bill really is                                                               
not intended  to be  directed at  a parent who  is making  a good                                                               
faith effort and does not have exactly the right restraint.                                                                     
Number 1958                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE WOLF said  he appreciates Representative McGuire's                                                               
thoughts,  but believes  that in  the  real world  when a  police                                                               
officer  pulls a  car  over, it  will not  be  the mental  intent                                                               
he/she will be looking  at.  For example, he has  a nine year old                                                               
and a  ten year old and  cannot decide which restraints  his kids                                                               
should  be  in because  neither  one  of them  fits  in  it.   He                                                               
commented  that  his wife  knows  how  much  the kids  weigh  and                                                               
ensures the  kids are in  the right seats.   He told  the members                                                               
that his son is one pound under  the legal limit.  It takes a lot                                                               
of  stretching  and  pulling  to  get  him  into  the  restraint.                                                               
Representative  Wolf  added that  under  this  bill he  could  be                                                               
guilty of a class C felony.                                                                                                     
Number 2002                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  McGUIRE  explained  that  it is  simply  not  the                                                               
police  officer's word  that results  in a  charge of  a class  C                                                               
felony.  A prosecutor must charge  an individual.  In order to be                                                               
charged the individual  must meet all the elements  of the crime.                                                               
Even if an individual is charged  with a class C felony, there is                                                               
still the option of  a jury trial.  This bill  is not intended to                                                               
go after  people who are making  good faith efforts to  put their                                                               
children in proper  restraints, she reiterated.   The people that                                                               
this is  intended for are  those that make no  effort whatsoever,                                                               
she said.                                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE   WOLF   commented   that  he   understands   what                                                               
Representative  McGuire is  trying to  do, but  the result  still                                                               
remains that an  individual would have to hire  an attorney, take                                                               
time off  of work to  appear in court, and  it ties up  the court                                                               
Number 2077                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL removed his objection.                                                                                   
There being no further objection, Amendment 2 was adopted.                                                                      
Number 2086                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE COGHILL  moved to report  HB 381, as  amended, out                                                               
of   committee   with    individual   recommendations   and   the                                                               
accompanying  fiscal  notes.   There  being  no  objection,  CSHB
381(HES)  was reported  out of  the House  Health, Education  and                                                               
Social Services Standing Committee.                                                                                             

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