Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 120

02/01/2016 01:00 PM House JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Heard & Held
-- Public & Invited Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Moved HB 221 Out of Committee
           HB 147-ANIMALS: PROTECTION/RELEASE/CUSTODY                                                                       
1:10:33 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LEDOUX announced  that the final order of  business would be                                                              
HOUSE  BILL NO.  147, "An  Act relating  to  the investigation  of                                                              
cruelty  to  animals  complaints;   relating  to  the  seizure  of                                                              
animals; relating  to the  destruction of  animals; relating  to a                                                              
bond  or security  posted for  the costs  of care  for an  animal;                                                              
relating to the  inclusion of an animal in a protective  order and                                                              
the crimes  and arrests for  violating that protective  order; and                                                              
relating  to   the  ownership  of   an  animal  upon   divorce  or                                                              
dissolution of marriage."                                                                                                       
1:10:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LYNN   moved  to  adopt  CSHB  147,   labeled  29-                                                              
LS0302\D, Wallace, 1/27/16 as the working document.                                                                             
CHAIR LEDOUX objected.                                                                                                          
1:11:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LEDOUX informed  the committee she was using  the electronic                                                              
witness system for first time.                                                                                                  
1:11:57 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  presented HB  147,  Version  D, as  co-                                                              
sponsor  and  noted that  many  co-sponsors  are attached  to  the                                                              
bill.    He said  that  Representative  Liz  Vazquez and  he  were                                                              
prepared  to  discuss  the differences  between  [Version  Y]  and                                                              
Version D, together  with the major issues.  He  advised the title                                                              
has  been  changed   "in  some  cases"  to  conform   to  the  new                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  referred to Section 1 and  advised it is                                                              
a new section that  provides that a peace officer  may apply for a                                                              
search warrant,  etcetera.   He pointed  to the change,  replacing                                                              
the word  "take" with the word  "seize" throughout the  first part                                                              
of  the  bill,   and  advised  that  if  the   government  "takes"                                                              
something that  is illegal, or in  this case not being  cared for,                                                              
it is technically a "seizure."                                                                                                  
CHAIR  LEDOUX  asked  Representative   Gruenberg  to  explain  the                                                              
difference between taking something and seizing something.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG  replied   that   seizure  is   usually                                                              
performed by  the government,  and he opined  that seizure  is the                                                              
current and more accurate term.                                                                                                 
1:14:55 PM                                                                                                                    
NICOLI BAILEY,  Staff, Representative Max Gruenberg,  Alaska State                                                              
Legislature,  explained  that  within  this  part  of  the  animal                                                              
cruelty bill,  it is  usually the government  that will  seize the                                                              
animals if neglected or treated cruelly.                                                                                        
1:15:21 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN  opined there has been much  litigation over                                                              
"takings" in  recent years, he  asked whether the  seizure concept                                                              
suggests some  temporary nature to  the "taking" in  that "taking"                                                              
appears more permanent.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG answered yes,  because generally,  as in                                                              
Title 3,  the animal  is seized  with a  right to  a hearing.   He                                                              
said there  are provisions  within the first  section of  the bill                                                              
to  modernize  the  provisions  so that  the  seizing  entity,  or                                                              
custodian humane  society, can  recompense the  cost of care.   He                                                              
explained that there  are three parts to the bill:  the first part                                                              
modernizes Title 3,  the seizure of animals and cost  of care; the                                                              
second  deals  with  domestic violence  statutes;  and  the  third                                                              
deals with family law and a few other things.                                                                                   
1:16:36 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  referred   to  page  2,  and  said  the                                                              
definition is removed  because all of the definitions  are located                                                              
at the  end of the  animal seizure  section of Title  3.   He then                                                              
referred  to Sec. 3,  page 2  and advised  that those  definitions                                                              
are found later in the bill.                                                                                                    
CHAIR LEDOUX  referred to  AS 03.55.120  "Seizure of the  animals"                                                              
and  pointed  to  "seize"  in place  of  "removing."    She  asked                                                              
whether Representative  Gruenberg actually wants to  have removing                                                              
here   because  seizing   offers   the  impression   that  it   is                                                              
contraband, or  the like, being  seized where, actually,  the goal                                                              
is to remove the animals from a dangerous situation.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  noted that  Chair  LeDoux  made a  good                                                              
point  and said  he had  asked  the bill  drafter  to conform  the                                                              
bill, and opined  that it conforms.  He referred  to page 2, lines                                                              
20-25, which read:                                                                                                              
          Sec. 03.55.120. Seizure of animals. (a) A peace                                                                     
     officer  shall place  an  animal in  protective  custody                                                                   
     before seizing  [REMOVING] the animal from  the location                                                               
     where  it   was  found.     If  the  animal   is  seized                                                               
     [REMOVED],  the peace  officer  shall  place the  animal                                                                   
     with a  veterinarian licensed  under AS  08.98 or,  if a                                                                   
     veterinarian   is   not  readily   available,   with   a                                                                   
     responsible   public   or   private  custodian   to   be                                                                   
     sheltered,  care  for, and  provided  necessary  medical                                                                   
1:18:43 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG referred  to  page 3,  lines 1-3,  which                                                              
               (1) the animal shall be considered a stray                                                                   
     or abandoned; and                                                                                                      
               (2) the notice required in (b) of this                                                                       
     section shall  be conspicuously  posted at the  premises                                                               
     from which the animal was seized.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  said that was included to  give an owner                                                              
as much  notice as possible.   He then  referred to page  3, lines                                                              
23-24, which read:                                                                                                              
               (d) ... An owner or custodian may prevent                                                                    
     the animal's adoption or destruction by                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  explained that  an  owner or  custodian                                                              
will have  standing to petition  the court  in that the  owner may                                                              
have  left the  animal in  a custodian's  care  and the  custodian                                                              
would want to file a petition.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG said  they modernized  this entire  part                                                              
of the  law by  deleting the language  from page  3, line  27, and                                                              
inserting  it into a  new section,  Sec. 7  of the  bill.   In the                                                              
event an owner contests  the seizure of the animal,  upon a motion                                                              
the court will  be able to enter  an order for the actual  cost of                                                              
care  of  the  animal,  he  explained.     [Seizure]  can  involve                                                              
numerous  animals and a  long period  of time  for care  which, he                                                              
pointed  out,  is  a  financial  problem  for  municipalities  and                                                              
shelters around the state.                                                                                                      
1:20:56 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LEDOUX  noted that he  had deleted  the posting of  the bond                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  explained that the requirement  moved to                                                              
Sec.  7 of  the  bill.   He  said that  the  order  may include  a                                                              
requirement  that the  owner  post  a bond  or  other security  to                                                              
cover the cost of  care [page 4, lines 5-8].   He paraphrased page                                                              
4,  lines 8-9,  as follows:  "If, without  justifiable cause,  the                                                              
owner fails  to comply with  the order,  the court may  order that                                                              
the animal be forfeited."   He noted the animal could  then be put                                                              
up for adoption or other actions.                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG referred  to Sec.  8, [AS  03.55.130(f)]                                                              
page 4, lines 11-15, which read:                                                                                                
               (f) The state may not be required to                                                                             
     reimburse a  public or private agency,  organization, or                                                                   
     person  that  voluntarily  assist with  the  seizure  [A                                                               
     REMOVAL] of  an animal or receives custody  of an animal                                                                   
     seized  [REMOVED] under  this  section for  the cost  of                                                           
     care  [COSTS OF  SHELTER, CARE,  VETERINARY  ASSISTANCE,                                                               
     OR MEDICAL TREATMENT RENDERED TO] the animal.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  pointed to  line 14, and  explained that                                                              
rather than  define costs  of care there,  the definitions  are in                                                              
Sec. 10 of the bill.                                                                                                            
1:22:12 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER said,  does  it not  require the  use of  a                                                              
veterinarian and questioned whether page 4, line 10 ...                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG   interrupted   and   said   that   the                                                              
provisions  involving  veterinarians  are  unchanged  and  do  not                                                              
appear in the bill.                                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  continued  asking  his question  and  said                                                              
that  the state  may not  be required  to reimburse,  and yet  the                                                              
bill also requires the use of a veterinarian.                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG agreed  and said that  the state  is not                                                              
required to reimburse - that is in existing law and unchanged.                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER requested  of Chair  LeDoux that no  action                                                              
be  taken  on HB  147  today,  thereby  allowing time  to  [review                                                              
Version D].                                                                                                                     
CHAIR LEDOUX advised that she intends to hold HB 147.                                                                           
1:23:26 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LIZ VAZQUEZ,  Alaska  State Legislature,  restated                                                              
Representative  Keller's question  and asked  whether his  concern                                                              
was  regarding   the  present  law   as  stated  in  Sec.   8,  AS                                                              
03.55.130(f), page 4,  line 11, "the state may not  be required to                                                              
reimburse a public  or private agency."  She  quiered whether that                                                              
was his concern, and noted that it is in present law.                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  responded  that  he  had  not  thought  it                                                              
through that  well, and advised  that he saw the  inconsistency in                                                              
Sec.  2, [AS  03.55.110(c),  page 2,  [lines  3-6], regarding  the                                                              
requirement  of  a  veterinarian,  and  he then  read  that  there                                                              
cannot  be reimbursements.    He said  he  saw the  inconsistency,                                                              
raised it, and hadn't gone any further than that.                                                                               
1:24:30 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG referred  to [Sec.  9, AS  03.55.130(g),                                                              
page 4, lines 17-18], which read:                                                                                               
        (g) Nothing in (d) or (e) of this section shall                                                                         
       shift the burden of proof from the party who would                                                                       
     otherwise have that burden.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  offered that the government  seizing the                                                              
animal has  the burden  of proof,  as in  any other similar  case.                                                              
He pointed  out that  the sponsors  wanted it  clear that  nothing                                                              
would be construed to the contrary.                                                                                             
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  referred to [Sec. 2, AS  03.55.110(c), page                                                              
2,  lines 13-18],  and  asked  the  significance of  deleting  the                                                              
definition of  peace officer and  reinserting it on page  4, lines                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  asked  Megan  Wallace,  Legislative  Legal                                                              
Counsel,  to explain  the ramifications  and  significance of  the                                                              
deletion of  the definition  of "peace officer"  on page  2, lines                                                              
13-18, and  the implications of  the reinsertion on page  4, lines                                                              
1:27:15 PM                                                                                                                    
MEGAN WALLACE,  Attorney, Legislative  Legal Counsel,  Legislative                                                              
Legal  and   Research  Services,  Legislative   Affairs  Services,                                                              
responded  that  the  term  "peace   officer"  is  currently  only                                                              
defined  in the  bill in  AS 03.55.110(c),  and the  term is  also                                                              
used  in AS  03.55.120  and 03.55.130.   She  said  in moving  the                                                              
definition from AS  03.55.110 to the definitions  in AS 03.55.190,                                                              
the same  definition for "peace  officer" will apply to  all three                                                              
sections.   She summarized that  definition is clarified  to apply                                                              
to  sections  AS 03.55.110  -  03.55.130  as  opposed to  just  AS                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  moved to Sec. 11, [AS  11.56.740(a)] and                                                              
described it  as a  grammatical clean-up  of language  in criminal                                                              
law that  deals with  violating a protective  order.   He referred                                                              
to  a 12/24/15  memorandum from  Megan  Wallace to  Representative                                                              
Max  Gruenberg  which  stated  there is  a  possibility  that  the                                                              
inclusion  of this  section may  violate the  single subject  rule                                                              
because it does  not deal directly with animals.   He advised that                                                              
the  sponsors  discussed   this  issue  and  the   possibility  of                                                              
excising  this  and  inserting   it  in  a  different  bill.    He                                                              
explained his  desire to  retain the provision  in HB  147 because                                                              
it  is not  uncommon  for a  legislator  to receive  a  memorandum                                                              
advising  that  a  certain bill  [drafting]  violates  the  single                                                              
subject rule.  He  further explained that it is  seldom the Alaska                                                              
Supreme  Court actually  uses  that and  holds  that something  is                                                              
unconstitutional.   In this particular  case, he argued,  it would                                                              
be very unlikely  that it would be  raised in that it  is simply a                                                              
stylistic  change.   Also,  he opined,  it  does  not violate  the                                                              
single subject  rule, and  referred the  committee to  the 1/21/16                                                              
memorandum  directed to "Other  Legislators" from  Representatives                                                              
Vazquez and Gruenberg contained with committee packets.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ   interjected  that  the   memorandum  was                                                              
signed by Representatives  Vazquez and Gruenberg  expressing their                                                              
opinions.   She  pointed out  that  they are  both attorneys,  and                                                              
members of the Alaska Bar Association.                                                                                          
1:31:09 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG   offered  that  it  is   the  sponsors'                                                              
opinion this  did not  add another subject,  but rather  cleans up                                                              
some language, and he characterized it as a technical change.                                                                   
The  remedy, he  further offered,  if something  does violate  the                                                              
single  subject rule  is  ... under  Title  1,  he paraphrased,  a                                                              
statute says  that "every  bill, unless  it says otherwise,  shall                                                              
be held to contain  a severability clause which says  that so much                                                              
of it as  ... does violate  the single subject rule,  or whatever,                                                              
is  just taken  out  of the  bill."   He  surmised  that the  only                                                              
remedy  would be  that this  provision  would be  deleted and  the                                                              
current  language  would remain  in.    He offered  the  sponsors'                                                              
belief  that  despite  the possibility  of  violating  the  single                                                              
subject rule  [contained within  Ms. Wallace's memorandum]  and in                                                              
using  this as  an  example, it  is  important  to establish  some                                                              
precedent.   He offered his intention  to state on the  floor that                                                              
this would  not be  a violation  [of the  single subject  rule] or                                                              
would  change  the bill.    He noted  he  would  like  to see  the                                                              
committee not shy  away as in some cases it would  require passing                                                              
a whole new bill.                                                                                                               
CHAIR  LEDOUX questioned  whether this  issue has  anything to  do                                                              
with  the bill  that the  committee heard  last year,  or is  this                                                              
trying to make the law in general a better thing.                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  responded that  he was not  exactly sure                                                              
when  it was  put in,  but  the intent  is  to help  make the  law                                                              
better  in dealing  with this  body of  law.  He  opined that  the                                                              
issue was at least  to have some precedent in this  area, and that                                                              
it can be removed.                                                                                                              
CHAIR  LEDOUX commented  that  most  people don't  Christmas  tree                                                              
their own bills, but if that is his desire.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG characterized it as "winterizing."                                                                     
1:33:44 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  expressed that the discussion  does open up                                                              
the possibility,  with that  section of  law open, that  something                                                              
can happen  in a  later committee  that  may not  be noticed.   He                                                              
described  it  as  significant  and stressed  that  he  likes  the                                                              
single subject  law, and wants  to keep  it as tight  as possible.                                                              
He indicated his discomfort in intentionally violating it.                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  answered  that  he would  be  the  last                                                              
person someone  would accuse  of letting  something slide  by, and                                                              
at some  point a committee  member may  want this as  a precedent.                                                              
He reiterated that it can be removed.                                                                                           
1:34:42 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT  said she  has  bills  she would  like  to                                                              
receive  Representatives  Gruenberg  and Vazquez'  legal  opinion.                                                              
She pointed  out that she "haven't  seen a bill come  through when                                                              
legal  opinions  from  the  attorneys within  our  body  as  legal                                                              
opinions  from the  legislature."    She described  it  as a  very                                                              
unique situation.                                                                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  reminded the committee that  a few years                                                              
ago the governor  tried to do "something with the  budget that was                                                              
very  strange,"   with  an  attorney  general's   opinion  on  the                                                              
subject.    He  noted  that  he  had  prepared  a  memorandum  and                                                              
ultimately the governor removed the "something strange."                                                                        
1:35:45 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   KELLER   referred   to   the  issue   of   paying                                                              
veterinarians  and noted that  when a  bill is open  it is  a good                                                              
time to clean up the act.                                                                                                       
He offered  the scenario  of his dog  barking, the neighbor  calls                                                              
the police,  and the police  come and orders  a veterinarian.   He                                                              
asked whether  he pays  under the existing  law, which  would mean                                                              
that a  neighbor can  incur a debt  for the  owner.  He  suggested                                                              
fixing that section of law while it is open.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  responded  "I  won't  comment  on  that                                                              
until I know what you're talking about."                                                                                        
1:36:28 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE    GRUENBERG    referred    to   Sec.    12,    [AS                                                              
11.61.140(a)(2), page 5, lines 19-21], which read:                                                                              
               (2) has a legal duty to care for the animal                                                                  
     and,  with criminal  negligence  fails  to care  for  an                                                               
     animal  and,  as  a  result, causes  the  death  of  the                                                                   
     animal  or  causes  severe physical  pain  or  prolonged                                                                   
     suffering to the animal;                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG advised  that  AS 11.61.140(a)(2)  deals                                                              
with  criminal  negligence and  whether  it  could apply  to  just                                                              
anyone.   For example,  a person notices  their neighbor's  dog is                                                              
starving  and  doesn't  do  anything about  it,  the  question  is                                                              
whether  the person  will  be criminalized.    He  advised that  a                                                              
recent  court of  appeals  decided that  the  legislature had  not                                                              
defined who was subject  to the law as it was not  in the statute.                                                              
The court  of appeals  took the  common law  approach and  decided                                                              
that it  would only apply  to a person with  a legal duty  to care                                                              
for the  animal - either  owning the  animal or someone  entrusted                                                              
with the  animal's care.   He opined,  this case involved  someone                                                              
in   the  Matanuska-Susitna   area   with  a   number  of   horses                                                              
"terrifically neglected,"  and the  sponsors believe it  should be                                                              
included within  the statute itself  and, thereby did  not require                                                              
researching a court of appeals opinion.                                                                                         
1:38:16 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  questioned whether determining  who has the                                                              
legal  duty is  something new  in  that it  isn't defined,  except                                                              
possibly by case law.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  commented that  there is a body  of case                                                              
law  "that does  this, it's  not a  new concept."   He  reiterated                                                              
that it includes  an owner or  someone entrusted with the  care of                                                              
the animal.                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER pointed  out  that if  it is  not in  there                                                              
now, by putting  this in there will that cause  more determination                                                              
on who has the legal duty.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  replied that  it  doesn't  seem to,  in                                                              
that it seems  to have been the  first case ... no other  case has                                                              
been cited  in Alaska that has  determined this, although  it does                                                              
cite a number of  cases from other jurisdictions.   He said, "This                                                              
is   clearly  the   majority   view."     He   characterized   the                                                              
legislature's work  on statutes as  cryptic, and said  the statute                                                              
is then interpreted and fleshed out by judges in the common law.                                                                
1:39:58 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LEDOUX  surmised that  this section  basically codifies  the                                                              
common law.                                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG agreed,  and  cited Sickel  v. State  of                                                            
Alaska, 363 P3d 115 (2015).                                                                                                   
CHAIR LEDOUX asked whether that was the subject of the case.                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG answered "Yes it was."                                                                                 
CHAIR  LEDOUX  questioned  whether   someone  was  prosecuted  for                                                              
failing ... when they had no legal ...                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  explained  that  a  person  owned  many                                                              
horses  and had  entrusted the  horses  to another  person.   That                                                              
person  was prosecuted,  who alleged  that  "I am  not within  the                                                              
ambit of  subsection (2) because  I didn't  own the horse  ... the                                                              
horses."   The court said no,  that the person was  entrusted with                                                              
the  horses, and;  therefore,  had  a legal  duty  not to  neglect                                                              
them.   He  expressed that  the situation  was so  bad the  horses                                                              
were  frozen to  the ground,  and  one horse  was not  saved.   He                                                              
remarked that the  proper person was prosecuted,  appealed on that                                                              
point, lost, and the conviction was affirmed.                                                                                   
1:41:52 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LEDOUX  referred to the  section "has  a legal duty  to care                                                              
for the animal" and said she was unsure what it does exactly.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG offered  that it  makes clear  to anyone                                                              
reading the statute,  such as an Alaska State Trooper  in the bush                                                              
or  a judge,  that the  law remains  the  same.   He explained  it                                                              
gives  public  notice of  an  important  holding,  and it  is  not                                                              
necessary to perform legal research "to get there."                                                                             
1:42:34 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER restated  that  a lot  of  court action  is                                                              
invited to  determine and define the  legal duty in caring  for an                                                              
animal.   He said  there is  nothing in  the bill that  references                                                              
the case  to make  that definition,  and questioned whether  there                                                              
should be a definition in statute.                                                                                              
1:43:05 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 1:43 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.                                                                       
1:45:53 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LEDOUX  asked the  sponsors to present  their bill  and take                                                              
questions at the end of the presentation.                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG referred to  Sec. 13, [AS  18.65.520(a),                                                              
page  6,  beginning   line  5]  and  said  it   involves  domestic                                                              
violence, and  various shelters  expressed concern.   Considerable                                                              
negotiation ensued,  he said, and  there is an email  stating that                                                              
they now support  what has been  done.  He explained that  Sec. 13                                                              
is  in Title  18,  and it  defines  "essential  personal items  to                                                              
include  pets, regardless  of the  ownership  of the  items."   In                                                              
that regard, he  said, they are not adjudicating who  will own the                                                              
animal, but  who will  have the  animal during  the period  of the                                                              
domestic  violence  order, which  includes  pets  in the  person's                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE    GRUENBERG    referred    to   [Sec.    13,    AS                                                              
18.65.520(a)(12), page 7, lines 28-31] which read:                                                                              
               (12) require your abuser to pay support for                                                                      
     you, [OR] a  minor child in your care, or a  pet in your                                                           
     care  if there  is an  independent  legal obligation  of                                                               
     your  abuser to  support  you, [OR]  the  child, or  the                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  explained that the provision  allows the                                                              
court  to  enter  an  order for  the  animal's  support  and,  for                                                              
example,  if the  animal is  being  abused the  order can  include                                                              
veterinarian bills.   He offered that the sponsors  taught a class                                                              
at  the  University  of  Alaska,  Anchorage  Justice  Center,  and                                                              
Assistant  Professor Kristin  Knudsen  asked  students to  suggest                                                              
amendments.   He noted  a student's suggestion  that if  the court                                                              
is allowed  to award an  order for possession  of the  animal, the                                                              
order should include support of the animal.                                                                                     
1:49:30 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  referred  to Sec.  14,  [AS  18.65.590,                                                              
page 8, lines 22-25], which read:                                                                                               
               (2) "pet" means a vertebrate living creature                                                                 
     maintained for  companionship or pleasure, but  does not                                                               
     include  dogs primarily  owned  for  participation in  a                                                               
     generally  accepted   mushing  or  pulling   contest  or                                                               
     practice  or animals primarily  owned for  participation                                                               
     in rodeos or stock contests.                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG explained  that  the "domestic  violence                                                              
folks" asked  that the term "pet"  be used in these  provision for                                                              
domestic violence  as opposed to "any animal"  because the current                                                              
police and court forms are limited to pets.                                                                                     
1:50:00 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG referred to  [Sec. 15, AS  18.66.100(c),                                                              
page  8, beginning  line  26], and  said  they  tracked AS  18.66,                                                              
which involves  stalking as a form  of domestic violence,  and the                                                              
same language  appears throughout  Sec. 15.   He pointed  out that                                                              
provision AS 18.66 is defined the same way in Sec. 17.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE    GRUENBERG    referred    to   Sec.    16,    [AS                                                              
18.66.990(3)(I), page 10, lines 30-31], which read:                                                                             
               (I)    cruelty    to    animals    under    AS                                                               
     11.61.140(a)(5)if the animal is a pet;                                                                                 
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG explained that  the added  provision was                                                              
suggested  by   [Anchorage  attorney]   Allen  Bailey  who   is  a                                                              
nationally  recognized   authority  on  domestic   violence.    He                                                              
referred AS 18.66.990(3), which read:                                                                                           
               (3) "domestic violence" and "crime involving                                                                     
     domestic  violence" mean  one or more  of the  following                                                                   
     offenses  or an  offense  under a  law  or ordinance  of                                                                   
     another  jurisdiction having  elements similar to  these                                                                   
     offenses,  or an  attempt to  commit the  offense, by  a                                                                   
     household member against another household member:                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG said  that Mr.  Bailey pointed  out that                                                              
AS 18.66.990(3)  which defines  the crimes, one  of which  must be                                                              
proven  in order to  be eligible  to receive  a domestic  violence                                                              
order,   did   not   include   cruelty   to   animals   under   AS                                                              
11.61.140(a)(5).   He said AS 11.61.140(5) discusses  torturing or                                                              
killing  an  animal to  terrorize  someone  else which  is  direct                                                              
domestic  violence.   The provision  is to protect  the human  and                                                              
animal victims, he related.                                                                                                     
1:51:47 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE    GRUENBERG    referred    to   Sec.    18,    [AS                                                              
22.15.030(a)(11), page 12, lines 3-4], which read:                                                                              
                    (11) over cases involving cruelty to or                                                                 
     seizure,  destruction,  adoption,  or  cost of  care  of                                                               
     animals under AS 03.55.100 - 03.55.190.                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  pointed out  that the district  court is                                                              
a court  of limited jurisdiction,  and that the current  VAWA does                                                              
not have  jurisdiction over cases  under AS 03.55.100-.190,  which                                                              
was dealt with  at the beginning  of the bill.  He  explained that                                                              
no superior  court is readily available  in areas of  Alaska where                                                              
this occurs.   Therefore, he pointed out, the  sponsors added that                                                              
a provision  that district courts  would be allowed to  hear these                                                              
cases.    Over  the last  20-30  years,  Alaska  has  consistently                                                              
expanded  the jurisdiction  of the  district court  and that  this                                                              
appears appropriate, he said.                                                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  related that  Sec. 19 and  the following                                                              
sections amend  the divorce  and dissolution  statutes to  allow a                                                              
court  to  enter   an  order.    He  referred  to   [Sec.  19,  AS                                                              
25.24.160(a)(I)(5), page 14, lines 5-6], which read:                                                                            
               (5) if an animal is owned, for the                                                                           
       ownership or joint ownership of the animal, taking                                                                   
     into consideration the well-being of the animal.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  explained that  an order can  be entered                                                              
for the  ownership of the animal  or joint ownership,  taking into                                                              
consideration the  animal's well-being.  Traditionally,  he noted,                                                              
this is not a  time consuming process and courts  are getting into                                                              
this because many  Alaskans have pets that are  considered members                                                              
of the family, but  it is a property.  He said there  is an Alaska                                                              
case  discussing a  type of  seisin  property -  a live  non-human                                                              
being, unlike ownership of a car.                                                                                               
1:53:58 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG advised  that  the continuing  sections,                                                              
generally  use the  same  language, and  track  it throughout  the                                                              
divorce and  dissolution statutes.   He referred  to Sec.  26, [AS                                                              
25.24.990, page 17, lines 20-21], which read:                                                                                   
             Section 25.24.990. Definition. In this                                                                           
      chapter, "animal" means a vertebrate living creature                                                                      
     not a human being.                                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  explained  that  it allows  any  animal                                                              
with a vertebrate to be the subject of such an order.                                                                           
1:54:40 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 1:54 p.m. to 1:56 p.m.                                                                       
1:56:33 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG called  the committee's  attention  to a                                                              
1/31/16  letter contained  within the  committee packet,  directed                                                              
to  Representative  Max  Gruenberg  from  Professor  David  Favre,                                                              
J.D.,  Professor of  Law, Michigan  State  University, College  of                                                              
Law,   East   Lansing,   Michigan,  who   complimented   HB   147.                                                              
Representative    Gruenberg   characterized   Professor    Favre's                                                              
comments as a "pretty good piece of work."                                                                                      
1:56:53 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  LEDOUX   asked  the  committee   whether  there   were  any                                                              
questions specifically  regarding HB 147,  Version D.   There were                                                              
no questions.                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  LEDOUX removed  her  objection, and  pointed  out that  she                                                              
will speak  with the sponsors before  the bill again  comes before                                                              
the committee.                                                                                                                  
CHAIR LEDOUX opened public testimony.                                                                                           
1:57:44 PM                                                                                                                    
RONNIE  ROSENBERG,   Commissioner,  Fairbanks   Northstar  Borough                                                              
Commission;  Fairbanks  Animal   Shelter  Fund,  advised  she  was                                                              
testifying as  a 20-year commissioner  on the Fairbanks  Northstar                                                              
Borough  Commission, and  as a  founding member  and president  of                                                              
the Fairbanks Animal  Shelter Fund which is the  support group for                                                              
the  Fairbanks Northstar  Borough  Animal  Shelter.   She  offered                                                              
that over the years  they have spent many thousands  of dollars on                                                              
seized animals  due to neglect and  domestic violence cases.   She                                                              
said  they very  much support  the  ability to  be reimbursed  for                                                              
monies expended  for veterinary care  and supplies for  abused and                                                              
neglected animals.   Moreover,  she pointed out,  in the  last six                                                              
months  the  Federal  Bureau  of   Investigation  (FBI)  considers                                                              
animal abuse  to be a high  priority and; therefore,  animal abuse                                                              
is moving  to a  federal focus.   She  said her organizations  may                                                              
see more  animals coming in  as a result of  this, and that  it is                                                              
necessary to receive  reimbursement at the time of  seizure and to                                                              
allow a judge to  order that the defendant reimburse.   She opined                                                              
that  having  been  a  lawyer  and  having  worked  with  domestic                                                              
violence  victims in  North Dakota  and Minnesota  it is  apparent                                                              
that perpetrators  will hold the animal  as a pawn either  to keep                                                              
or terrorize  the person.   Although, she  pointed out,  when that                                                              
can't  be  done they  will  inflict  injury  on  the animal  as  a                                                              
control mechanism,  which is not an exception.   She asserted that                                                              
it is unfortunate  Alaska law does not include  non-vertebrates in                                                              
its  animal protection  statutes as  many people  are attached  to                                                              
their reptiles and  fish.  She offered a case  wherein someone was                                                              
flushed  fish  down the  toilet  as  a  mechanism to  control  the                                                              
victim.   She  supports this  bill and  hopes it  passes with  bi-                                                              
partisan action, she stated.                                                                                                    
2:01:35 PM                                                                                                                    
TRACEY WOLLENBERG,  Deputy Director,  Appellate Division,  Central                                                              
Office,   Public    Defender   Agency    (PDA),   Department    of                                                              
Administration (DOA),  referred to Sec. 16,  [AS 18.66.990(3)(I)],                                                              
page 10, lines 30-31, which read:                                                                                               
                (I) cruelty to animals under AS                                                                             
     11.61.140(a)(5) if the animal is a pet;                                                                                
MS.  WOLLENBERG  pointed out  that  cruelty  to animals  under  AS                                                              
11.61.140(a)(5)  provides that a  person commits that  offense if,                                                              
with some  exceptions, the  person knowingly  kills or  injures an                                                              
animal  with the  intent  to  intimidate, threaten,  or  terrorize                                                              
another person.   Her concern, she stated, is  that including this                                                              
provision  wholesale  into  the   definition  of  crime  involving                                                              
domestic  violence, even  limited to situations  where the  animal                                                              
is  a   pet,  is  overly   broad  and   goes  beyond   the  common                                                              
understanding of  domestic violence.  Essentially,  she explained,                                                              
as   currently   written   the   persons   referred   to   in   AS                                                              
11.61.140(a)(5),  which  is  the   relevant  cruelty  to  animal's                                                              
provision, need not  be household members as that  term is defined                                                              
in  AS  18.66.990.   She  offered  a  scenario  that if  a  person                                                              
knowingly  injures  another's  pet,  for example  on  the  Coastal                                                              
Trail in  Anchorage, with the  intent to intimidate,  threaten, or                                                              
terrorize  that  other  person,   that  offense  would  constitute                                                              
cruelty to  animals under  AS 11.61.140(a)(5),  but it  would also                                                              
be  characterized  as  a  domestic  violence  offense  under  this                                                              
proposal  even though  the two  people  had never  met before  the                                                              
confrontation.   Essentially, she explained, the  proposal in Sec.                                                              
16 scoops  into the  definition of  domestic violence  persons who                                                              
commit a  certain type of  animal cruelty  in an effort  to harass                                                              
or  threaten others  even  if the  people  involved  have no  pre-                                                              
existing domestic  relationship.   She opined  that the  intent of                                                              
the provision;  however, was  primarily to  prevent a  person from                                                              
harming  a  pet  with  the  intent  to  intimidate,  threaten,  or                                                              
terrorize  another  person  with  whom  there  is  a  pre-existing                                                              
domestic relationship.   That intent can be clarified  not only by                                                              
limiting  animals as  pets but also  by limiting  the persons  who                                                              
are the  target of  the intimidation  or threatening to  household                                                              
members.   She added that household  member is also  defined under                                                              
the existing  statute AS  18.66.990(5).   She further  opined that                                                              
in  order to  effectuate what  she assumed  is the  intent of  the                                                              
committee, the provision  could define domestic violence  or crime                                                              
involving  domestic  violence  of  including  cruelty  to  animals                                                              
under AS  11.61.140(a)(5), not  only if the  animal is a  pet, but                                                              
also  if   the  person  who   is  the  subject   of  intimidation,                                                              
threatening,   or  terrorizing,  is   a  household   member  under                                                              
subsection (5).                                                                                                                 
2:05:48 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG indicated  that the  sponsors will  work                                                              
with Ms. Wollenberg  as their intent is to limit  it to the people                                                              
subject to domestic violence orders.                                                                                            
2:07:01 PM                                                                                                                    
LAUREE  MORTON,  Executive  Director, State  Council  on  Domestic                                                              
Violence  and Sexual  Assault, paraphrased  her written  testimony                                                              
as follows:                                                                                                                     
     Thank you  for hearing  the bill today.   My remarks  go                                                                   
     toward  the protective  order  provisions  of the  bill.                                                                   
     People who  choose to commit  acts of domestic  violence                                                                   
     use  whatever  they  perceive   as  effective  means  of                                                                   
     control to  coerce the people  they victimize.   All too                                                                   
     often  pet  abuse is  one  of  those  means.   They  may                                                                   
     refuse  to allow  the pet  to be  taken to  the vet  for                                                                   
     care, they  may threaten to  harm or kill the  pet, they                                                                   
     may  actually harm  or  kill the  pet,  they may  target                                                                   
     pets  of   family  or  friends,   they  may   blame  the                                                                   
     disappearance  of the family pet  on a victim  to create                                                                   
     a wedge  between her or him  and the children,  they may                                                                   
     file theft  charges if  the victim  leaves with pets  or                                                                   
     may  enter  into  custody  battles  over  pets.    Bonds                                                                   
     between   pets  and  their   owners  are  very   strong.                                                                   
     Sometimes  victims  are  hurt trying  to  protect  their                                                                   
     pets.  Sometimes  they wait to leave because  they don't                                                                   
     have anywhere  to go  with their  pets.  Sometimes  they                                                                   
     return  because  of the  fear  of  what will  happen  to                                                                   
     their pets.                                                                                                                
     In  a  national study,  over  71  percent of  women  who                                                                   
     sought  shelter ...  were concerned  with leaving  their                                                                   
     pets  at home,  or  whether  or not  they  would have  a                                                                   
     place  to   safely  take  them.     Animal   abuse  also                                                                   
     functions as  an indicator of high lethality.   Research                                                                   
     has  found  that  batterers  who  abuse  pets  are  more                                                                   
     dangerous than  those who don't.   In fact,  pet abusing                                                                   
     batterers  employ   more  controlling  behaviors,   more                                                                   
     sexual  assault, marital rape,  emotional violence,  and                                                                   
     stalking.   Other studies have  revealed that  a history                                                                   
     of threatened  or actual  pet abuse is  one of  the four                                                                   
     most significant  risk factors  for becoming a  domestic                                                                   
     violence abuser.   It is important to  offer protections                                                                   
     for pets  to increase  safety tools  for victims  to use                                                                   
     as  they  attempt  to  flee   the  violence  perpetrated                                                                   
     against  them.  In  Alaska, victims  who choose to  file                                                                   
     petitions  for protective  orders  may  include pets  in                                                                   
     the order  now.  There is  a general provision  to allow                                                                   
     any other kind  of order ... the relief  the court deems                                                                   
     necessary  in order  to further that  protection.   This                                                                   
     bill; however,  adds the specific  language of  pets and                                                                   
     I think  helps victims  and petitioners understand  that                                                                   
     that's  a  readily   available  remedy  to  them.     In                                                                   
     addition,  there are  shelters in  Alaska.   We fund  18                                                                   
     ... of those  programs.  Many of them are  able to offer                                                                   
     places  for pets  to stay  on the  premises, if  they're                                                                   
     not, they help  the petitioner or victim who  needs that                                                                   
     service  to find  other places  ...  safe places,  maybe                                                                   
     with  veterinarians.   One regional  shelter has  worked                                                                   
     with Safe  Homes so that the  pet can go into a  home of                                                                   
     a person who  would foster the pet, for example.   So we                                                                   
     appreciate  the opportunity  to  have  pets included  in                                                                   
     the  language for protection  orders  and think it  will                                                                   
     make  it  a  stronger protection  for  victims  as  they                                                                   
     escape violence.                                                                                                           
2:10:33 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. MORTON  referred to [Sec.  16], page  10, line 19,  and opined                                                              
that  the previous  speaker  may have  misunderstood  the list  of                                                              
crimes  involving domestic  violence.   She referred  to page  10,                                                              
line 19,  and said the offense  must be committed by  "a household                                                              
member  against another  household  member."   She further  opined                                                              
that  if the  previous  speaker's comments  were  correct in  that                                                              
sense, then none of these crimes would work right.                                                                              
2:11:39 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. WOLLENBERG  apologized  to the  committee and  said it  was an                                                              
oversight on  her part.   Her only concern,  she related,  is that                                                              
there  are two  potential  victims  under the  AS  11.61.140(a)(5)                                                              
crime.   She  said  that the  animal  is the  subject,  "knowingly                                                              
kills  or  injures  an  animal."    The  intent  provision  is  to                                                              
intimidate, threaten,  or terrorize another person.   She remarked                                                              
that she  would want  the legislative  history,  if that were  the                                                              
intent, language  to be clear that  the person referred  to in the                                                              
animal  cruelty   provision  is   really  the  household   members                                                              
discussed and not the pet.                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE   GRUENBERG  acknowledged,   it  was  not   a  fair                                                              
question  on his part.   He  then asked  "the two  of you"  to get                                                              
together with  his staff  to determine the  language and  bring it                                                              
back to the committee.                                                                                                          
2:13:21 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  offered a scenario  of a person having  a pet                                                              
and asked "is it  joint property ... the one who  acquires the cat                                                              
or dog and  brings it home."  In  the event a pet is  being abused                                                              
for  the purpose  of  intimidating the  other  member, can  either                                                              
person take the  cat or dog to a safe place  without permission of                                                              
the other,  he asked.   He said that at  the proper time  he would                                                              
appreciate clarification.                                                                                                       
2:14:22 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  asked that  a  law professor  from  the                                                              
Council for  the Humane  Society in New  York possibly  be allowed                                                              
to testify at some point.                                                                                                       
2:15:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LEDOUX  closed public testimony  after ascertaining  that no                                                              
further wished  to testify.   She added  that if there  is someone                                                              
in particular  the sponsors  would like to  invite to  testify, it                                                              
is something that can be discussed.                                                                                             
[CSHB 147 was held over.]                                                                                                       

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 147 - CS Version D.pdf HJUD 2/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 147
HB 147 - CS Version D - Sponsor Statement.pdf HJUD 2/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 147
HB 147 - CS Version D - Sectional Summary.pdf HJUD 2/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 147
HB 147 - Legal Memo RE Single Subject.pdf HJUD 2/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 147
HB 147 - Response to Legal Memo RE Single Subject.pdf HJUD 2/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 147
HB 147 - Fact Sheet from Humane Society.pdf HJUD 2/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 147
HB 147 - Support Letter - ANDVSA.pdf HJUD 2/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 147
HB 147 - Support Letter - Prof David Favre.pdf HJUD 2/1/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 147