Legislature(2015 - 2016)GRUENBERG 120

04/12/2016 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 --
<Bill Hearing Canceled>
-- Public & Invited Testimony --
Moved CSHB 200(HSS) Out of Committee
-- Public & Invited Testimony --
Moved CSSB 180(JUD) Out of Committee
-- Public & Invited Testimony --
Moved HB 334 Out of Committee
-- Public & Invited Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        HB 334-CHILD CUSTODY; DOM. VIOLENCE; CHILD ABUSE                                                                    
3:00:56 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE  CHAIR KELLER  announced  that the  next  order of  business                                                               
would be HOUSE  BILL NO. 334, "An Act relating  to visitation and                                                               
child custody."                                                                                                                 
[Before the committee was HB 334, Version 29-LS1409/I.]                                                                         
3:01:05 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  MILLETT  moved  to  adopt  HB  334,  Version  29-                                                               
LS1409/H  as the  working document.   There  being no  objection,                                                               
Version H was before the committee as the working document.                                                                     
3:01:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CRYSTAL  KOENEMAN,  Staff,  Representative  Cathy  Munoz,  Alaska                                                               
State Legislature, said Version H  is the original version of the                                                               
bill introduced  by Representative Munoz modifying  visitation in                                                               
child custody  statutes.   Currently, AS  25.24.150 allows  for a                                                               
rebuttable presumption  to be utilized  if there is a  history of                                                               
domestic violence.   She advised  that history is defined  as one                                                               
serious incident, or more than  one incident of domestic violence                                                               
as identified  by the  judge.  This  legislation seeks  to change                                                               
that  language  from  "a  history of  domestic  violence"  to  "a                                                               
conviction of domestic violence," she said.                                                                                     
VICE CHAIR KELLER opened public testimony.                                                                                      
3:02:50 PM                                                                                                                    
REBECCA SHIELDS, Executive Director,  Kodiak Women's Resource and                                                               
Crisis  Center, said  she has  worked  in the  field of  domestic                                                               
violence  and  sexual  assault  for  25  years,  and  within  her                                                               
experiences,  has come  to  learn that  domestic  violence is  an                                                               
isolated  and secretive  crime that  happens behind  closed doors                                                               
and is; therefore,  hard to prove in a court  of law.  Currently,                                                               
with the  state's budget crisis, its  district attorney's office,                                                               
law  enforcement offices,  and courts  are suffering  from budget                                                               
cuts and  understaffed with  reduced working  hours.   The threat                                                               
most often heard  from victims is that their abuser  told them if                                                               
they leave  the relationship, the  abusive partner will  take the                                                               
children, or  sue for custody.   She  related that the  threat is                                                               
already  all  too  real  for   victims,  because  the  abuser  is                                                               
oftentimes the main  wage earner in the household  with the money                                                               
to fight  for custody.  She  said that victims stay  or return to                                                               
their violent  relationship because,  in their  minds, it  is the                                                               
only  way to  keep  custody  and protect  their  children.   This                                                               
legislation will validate the victims'  greatest fears, to not be                                                               
able  to protect  their children  in court  protected or  custody                                                               
cases,  would  be  realized.   The  most  undeserved  victims  of                                                               
domestic violence  incurring the  greatest harm are  children who                                                               
grow up  in violent  homes.   Alaska has  1.4 times  the national                                                               
rate in child  abuse, and this legislation  disregards the rights                                                               
of children's safety  as priority.  The consequence of  HB 334 is                                                               
that children would be sentenced  to living in violent households                                                               
either as  witness to,  or direct recipients  of, violence.   The                                                               
Alaska Network  on Domestic Violence and  Sexual Assault (ANDVSA)                                                               
worked hard with  the legislature to pass  the current rebuttable                                                               
presumptive  law  in  2004  to protect  Alaskan  children.    She                                                               
explained that under the law  prior to 2004, parents and children                                                               
were  killed  during custody  disputes,  that  current law  saved                                                               
lives,  and the  legislature  should  not mess  with  that.   She                                                               
advised  she  is  strongly  opposed  to HB  334,  and  urged  the                                                               
committee to not move the bill forward.                                                                                         
3:06:30 PM                                                                                                                    
PAUL GRANT, Attorney,  said he has practiced law  in the domestic                                                               
violence  and  sexual  assault  field  over 25  years.    In  his                                                               
experience,  he  related,  the current  law  frequently  destroys                                                               
relationships between  children and parents who  are not violent,                                                               
and  have not  committed any  physical violence  or psychological                                                               
violence  against the  children.   Under  current  law, once  the                                                               
court is  forced to impose  supervised visitation there  are many                                                               
barriers to  supervised visitation  being effective contact.   He                                                               
explained that those barriers  can include, costs, unavailability                                                               
of  a   batterer's  programs  in  remote   communities,  lack  of                                                               
qualified  supervisors,   and  any   number  of  problems.     He                                                               
expressed,  current  law  needs  to  change,  and  addressed  the                                                               
differences  between  the  original  bill (Version  H),  and  the                                                               
committee  substitute   (Version  I),  and  noted   his  personal                                                               
preference for  Version I.   He explained  there are two  ways to                                                               
approach  the problem,  but they  both come  down to  making sure                                                               
that  the  people  subjected  to   a  presumption  or  supervised                                                               
visitation,  are people  who are  causing harm  to children.   He                                                               
said,  often   there  are  technical   violations,  such   as  an                                                               
accidental  encounter  in  a  grocery store,  which  leads  to  a                                                               
violation  of  a  protective  order,   which  then  triggers  the                                                               
presumption,  and  from  there   all  of  the  consequences  roll                                                               
3:09:17 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. GRANT  suggested requiring a  conviction of the  crime before                                                               
imposing the presumption, which  makes clear this person actually                                                               
committed some act  of violence that caused harm  to the children                                                               
of  that  marriage.    The   committee  substitute  approach  was                                                               
different  in that  it  establishes the  highest  civil level  of                                                               
proof, clear and  convincing, in order for there to  be a history                                                               
of domestic violence.  In the  event there was an act of domestic                                                               
violence,  the court  must take  that into  consideration in  the                                                               
custody  determination.    Or,   he  said,  under  the  committee                                                               
substitute, "conviction of a crime."   He explained there are two                                                               
ways  to get  to  the history  of domestic  violence.   The  most                                                               
beneficial aspect  of the committee  substitute is that  it gives                                                               
the court discretion.                                                                                                           
MR. GRANT  pointed to Sec. 2,  AS 25.20.061, page 1,  lines 13-15                                                               
and page 2, lines 1-4, which read:                                                                                              
          If visitation is awarded to a parent who the                                                                      
     court  finds by  clear  and convincing  evidence has  a                                                            
     history of  perpetrating [COMMITTED A  CRIME INVOLVING]                                                                
     domestic  violence   or  been  convicted  of   a  crime                                                                
     involving domestic violence,  against the other parent,                                                            
     [OR] a child, or a  domestic living partner [OF THE TWO                                                                
     PARENTS],  within five  years  preceding  the award  of                                                                    
        visitation, the court may set conditions for the                                                                        
     visitation, including                                                                                                      
MR.  GRANT explained  that  it  gives the  court  a checklist  of                                                               
[conditions it can  set] to protect the child in  a case where it                                                               
has found  domestic violence.   He explained that when  the court                                                               
finds there is domestic violence  committed by the accused, there                                                               
are  then eight  different  protections the  court  can put  into                                                               
place  in  that   particular  case.    The   conditions  do  not,                                                               
necessarily,  involve   removing  the  child  from   the  parent,                                                               
whereas, under current  law the court really has no  choice.  For                                                               
example, he  said, if  there is a  finding of  domestic violence,                                                               
the  conditions can  include: supervised  visitation; possibility                                                               
of   a  batterer's   program  if   available;  alcohol   or  drug                                                               
restrictions; paying  the costs  of supervised visitation;  and a                                                               
number of other conditions.                                                                                                     
3:12:28 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. GRANT opined,  the most important factor is  giving the trial                                                               
courts the  discretion to make  reasoned decisions as  to whether                                                               
this person  is a danger to  these children.  Under  current law,                                                               
under the  presumption, that  [discretion] does  not happen.   He                                                               
explained  that the  court does  not have  a choice  to determine                                                               
whether this  person is  a danger to  these children,  and opined                                                               
that the court does not  want to destroy the relationship between                                                               
a child and  their parent.  He said his  preference is taking the                                                               
presumption out and  making it a clear and  convincing finding by                                                               
the court,  which would  then trigger  the protections  the court                                                               
can impose.   He  pointed out  that either  version gets  the law                                                               
moving  in  the   right  direction,  which  is   to  not  destroy                                                               
relationships between  parents and children  in the absence  of a                                                               
concrete showing of harm to the child involved.                                                                                 
3:14:08 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  asked  how often  the  rebuttable                                                               
presumption  has been  invoked  in these  custody  cases, in  Mr.                                                               
Grant's experience.                                                                                                             
MR. GRANT  opined, it is  invoked approximately 10-15  percent of                                                               
the time, wherein possibly 20 percent  of the time there would be                                                               
a couple  of incidents of  domestic violence when  discussing the                                                               
entire universe of  custody cases.  Another problem,  he said, is                                                               
that  due  to the  way  the  law  is  structured, if  the  parent                                                               
contemplating suing  for divorce wants  to obtain custody  of the                                                               
children, and  that parent  is able to  convince the  court there                                                               
were two  incidents of  domestic violence,  then that  parent has                                                               
immediately put  their ball in  the five  yard line of  the other                                                               
team.   He advised he has  often seen the tactic  of invoking the                                                               
rebuttable presumption used in cases  where there is no danger to                                                               
the  child.   The presumption  is invoked  because it  gives that                                                               
parent  an advantage  in the  unfolding custody  litigation.   He                                                               
opined that he  could not offer a statistical  number, other than                                                               
it is pretty substantial, but he  could say there are a number of                                                               
cases in which he has seen the tool applied.                                                                                    
3:16:40 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 3:16 p.m. to 3:17p.m.                                                                        
3:17:05 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR KELLER advised that  Chair LeDoux had returned, but he                                                               
would continue  as chair  through the  conclusion of  Mr. Grant's                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  asked Mr.  Grant, as a  family law                                                               
attorney, which side of these cases he finds himself on.                                                                        
MR.  GRANT  responded that  he  has  represented both  parties  a                                                               
relatively equal amount of time.   He pointed out that it is more                                                               
common  the  mother  invokes the  presumption;  however,  he  has                                                               
recently been involved  in a couple of cases in  which the mother                                                               
was the perpetrator.   Although, he related, it  certainly is not                                                               
a gender exclusive phenomenon and  he finds himself on both sides                                                               
of the issue, and both sides of parents of both genders.                                                                        
3:18:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS referred to  the court finding that                                                               
the domestic  violence had occurred and  the presumption attached                                                               
with  the  notion  of  a   technical  violation,  and  asked  how                                                               
technical a  technical violation  can be.   He further  asked Mr.                                                               
Grant  to  illustrate two  technical  violations  from his  prior                                                               
cases, how  uncommon it  can be  that someone  who, in  his view,                                                               
does  not  pose  a  danger  to  a  child  can  be  found  of  two                                                               
infractions of domestic violence,  and the presumption be invoked                                                               
upon them.                                                                                                                      
3:20:01 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. GRANT  offered the  example he  presented within  his written                                                               
testimony for the previous committee,  and advised that the facts                                                               
were  modified  slightly  so  the  people  involved  couldn't  be                                                               
identified.  During an argument the  father slammed a door in the                                                               
house and  broke the door frame,  and the police were  called but                                                               
never did  anything about that.   Although,  technically speaking                                                               
that  is malicious  destruction of  property or  some sort  of an                                                               
assault.    The   court  found,  on  request   for  a  short-term                                                               
restraining order, that incident  constituted enough of a showing                                                               
to  obtain a  short-term  restraining order.   Subsequently,  the                                                               
father ran into  the mother in the grocery store,  and not having                                                               
consulted  with counsel  yet,  asked the  mother  what they  were                                                               
doing, can't  they stop this,  and figure  out some other  way to                                                               
work it  out.  At  some point the  conversation got a  bit heated                                                               
and  the father  finally  walked  away.   The  mother called  the                                                               
police,  he was  arrested for  violating the  20 day  restraining                                                               
order,  supervised visitation  followed,  and he  didn't see  his                                                               
children for a long  time.  He pointed out that  that is the type                                                               
of case  that concerns  him.   An argument can  be made  that the                                                               
father is  a perpetrator because  he slammed the door  during the                                                               
argument and  the child  heard it,  and that's  domestic violence                                                               
that  children are  exposed to.    He opined  that no  reasonable                                                               
person would say  that is a situation where a  father should lose                                                               
his  relationship with  his children,  and  that is  the type  of                                                               
issue the bill needs to address  in whichever version is taken up                                                               
by the committee.                                                                                                               
3:22:36 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN   offered  that   several  of   the  folks                                                               
previously  testifying  discussed   the  challenges  in  domestic                                                               
violence cases, and that reporting is  a large issue.  He pointed                                                               
out that  this discussion is not  the slamming of doors  in anger                                                               
cases, but  rather cases wherein people  are physically assaulted                                                               
and those  children put in  danger.   He also pointed  out, there                                                               
are domestic  violence orders not  resulting in  prosecutions for                                                               
any number  of reasons.   Previous testimony indicated  that this                                                               
legislation makes  it harder  to reverse  the trends  in domestic                                                               
violence  cases if  the legislature  changes  how these  domestic                                                               
violence orders are managed.  He  asked how Mr. Grant responds to                                                               
that critic  of both  versions of  the bill,  not focused  on the                                                               
slamming  of  the  door scenario  where  people  are  potentially                                                               
abusing  the  domestic violence  protective  order  statute.   He                                                               
asked Mr. Grant how he balances  those issues due to the issue of                                                               
domestic violence in this state.                                                                                                
3:24:38 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  GRANT  responded  that  the  problem  Representative  Claman                                                               
posited  is that  it  is  an "either  or"  situation, either  the                                                               
perpetrator  gets away  with it,  or potentially  the protections                                                               
are abused.  He opined,  the solution is judicial discretion, the                                                               
judge's ability to look down at  these parties and relate what he                                                               
believes  happened,  and  what   should  happen  to  protect  the                                                               
children  or the  other spouse.   Thereby,  giving the  judge the                                                               
ability  to prevent  destruction of  a parent-child  relationship                                                               
unnecessarily, and  [Version I] does  that.  Although,  he noted,                                                               
at the end of  the day there probably will be  hard cases where a                                                               
choice  has to  be  made  as to  the  unnecessary destruction  of                                                               
parent-child relationships.   The  criminal system  is set  up to                                                               
provide those kinds  of protections, he remarked,  and whether it                                                               
does so, or not, he couldn't  speak to how often prosecutors roll                                                               
over on  a case that  should be  prosecuted.  He  suggested there                                                               
are  other   things  to   do  about   that,  such   as  educating                                                               
prosecutors,  make referrals  to  prosecution  easier, and  other                                                               
ways to  approach that.   He conceded  there is a  tension there,                                                               
and  [Version I]  probably  addresses that  better  by making  it                                                               
either  a conviction  of a  domestic  violence, or  a finding  of                                                               
domestic violence.                                                                                                              
[VICE CHAIR KELLER passed the gavel back to Chair LeDoux.]                                                                      
3:27:44 PM                                                                                                                    
The committee took a short at ease.                                                                                             
3:27:57 PM                                                                                                                    
SARALYN  TABACHNICK, Executive  Director, Aiding  Women in  Abuse                                                               
and Rape Emergencies  (AWARE), said she has worked  at the Aiding                                                               
Women in Abuse and Rape  Emergencies (AWARE) Center for 29 years,                                                               
and  during  that   time  has  worked  with   children  who  have                                                               
experienced  domestic violence  or sexual  abuse.   She clarified                                                               
that a slammed door doesn't,  necessarily, mean that these people                                                               
are a domestic violence offender.   She pointed out that she does                                                               
not want to minimize what  domestic violence is, and described it                                                               
as an ongoing pattern of behavior  wherein people live in fear of                                                               
an intimate partner in their  home abusing power and control over                                                               
them.  She offered that children  live in fear and slamming doors                                                               
can  be  very  fearful,  it's  not an  isolated  incident.    She                                                               
clarified,  this is  not about  destroying relationships  between                                                               
parents and children, it's about  keeping children safer, and the                                                               
legislation  does  not keep  children  safer.    In order  for  a                                                               
conviction  to occur,  someone has  to  call the  police, and  in                                                               
order for someone to call the  police, they have to not be afraid                                                               
of  calling  the  police  and   not  be  afraid  of  getting  the                                                               
perpetrator in  trouble.  The  [victims] must be willing  to take                                                               
that step.   She continued that there  has to be an  arrest and a                                                               
conviction.     It   is  uncommon   that  there   are  consistent                                                               
convictions  in domestic  violence, because  quite often  charges                                                               
are  pled  down to  disorderly  conduct,  and  then there  is  no                                                               
domestic violence.                                                                                                              
3:30:51 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  TABACHNICK  related  that   under  current  law,  rebuttable                                                               
presumption  requires  a judge  to  find  a history  of  domestic                                                               
violence.   She referred to  previous testimony as to  leaving it                                                               
to the judge's discretion, and  advised that current law protects                                                               
Alaska's  children  exposed  to domestic  violence  by  requiring                                                               
courts to  consider that.   The presumption is  rebuttable, which                                                               
means an  accused domestic violence offender  has the opportunity                                                               
to come forward and contest it.   She related that knowing all of                                                               
this,  the  rebuttable presumption  law  puts  faith in  Alaska's                                                               
judges to  rely on collateral  sources to determine a  finding of                                                               
domestic violence.   In the event  a history is found,  the court                                                               
has  discretion to  decide whether  unsupervised, or  supervised,                                                               
visitation  is  best,  and require  the  perpetrating  parent  to                                                               
participate  in some  sort of  programming.   She explained  that                                                               
this does not mean an  offending parent can't see their children,                                                               
and when  people say the  father hasn't  seen his children  for a                                                               
year,  that  is  not  because  the court  didn't  allow  it,  she                                                               
remarked.  She  stated, it means the parent made  a choice to not                                                               
see  their   children,  because  the  court   requires  [certain'                                                               
conditions to  keep a  child safe,  generally a  supervisor being                                                               
present.   She pointed  out that  this has  also been  helpful in                                                               
assisting parents  to get  help, and Alaskan  judges do  not take                                                               
that  responsibility lightly.   She  urged the  committee to  let                                                               
judge's do what they do best  and what Alaskans trust them to do,                                                               
look at all of the evidence,  and make an informed decision about                                                               
domestic violence in a given  relationship.  Current law is based                                                               
upon language from  a model code drafted by  the National Council                                                               
on Juvenile  and Family Court  Judges.   She said that  Alaska is                                                               
one  of  twenty-four  states to  have  a  rebuttable  presumption                                                               
against  giving custody  to parents  with a  history of  domestic                                                               
violence,  and that  is something  to  be proud  of, rather  than                                                               
looking to change.                                                                                                              
3:32:56 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. TABACHNICK advised, more often  than a rebuttable presumption                                                               
protecting children, AWARE sees children  ordered by the court to                                                               
spend unsupervised  time with  an abusive  parent, a  parent they                                                               
have seen be  hurtful to their mothers, a parent  they are afraid                                                               
of, and  a parent who  may be directly  abusive to them  as well.                                                               
More  often than  a rebuttable  presumption protecting  children,                                                               
AWARE  hears mothers  trying to  protect their  children, mothers                                                               
whose  hearts are  wrenched put  as  they send  their crying  and                                                               
pleading  children to  be with  a parent  they are  terrified of.                                                               
Then,  she  stressed,  when  their  children  return,  they  have                                                               
nightmares, are  angry or anxious  or bed wetting for  days until                                                               
they are able to be soothed  and calmed only to have this pattern                                                               
repeated  the next  weekend.   She  said that  Alaska is  raising                                                               
children who  are learning  that their  needs and  feelings don't                                                               
matter,  that   their  boundaries   are  not  to   be  respected.                                                               
Therefore,  she said,  they learn  that they  are not  allowed to                                                               
have  boundaries  and  thus  have no  skills  in  either  setting                                                               
boundaries or believing they have  rights to boundaries.  Alaska,                                                               
as a  society, set up the  most vulnerable children to  be harmed                                                               
again and again.  She related that  she finds HB 334 to be one of                                                               
the most  disheartening bills she  has ever  spoken to in  her 27                                                               
years  at AWARE.   If  anything, Alaska  needs laws  that further                                                               
protect children,  not laws that  make it more difficult  to keep                                                               
them safe, she related.                                                                                                         
3:34:58 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS  asked  what  kind  of  supervised                                                               
visitation  programs exist  in a  community such  as Juneau,  how                                                               
available  are those  kinds  of programs  in  different parts  of                                                               
Alaska, and what  cost would they have to  the supervised parent.                                                               
He  asked her  to provide  her  perspective on  the realities  of                                                               
supervised visitation.                                                                                                          
MS.  TABACHNICK responded,  there  is one  local agency  offering                                                               
supervised visits, and  she was unsure whether  other venues were                                                               
available or arrangements  could be made with the  court in terms                                                               
of finding  a supervisor that is  agreeable to all.   She advised                                                               
that when she  hears about parents not seeing  their children for                                                               
a year,  she stated that it  is not because they  couldn't find a                                                               
supervisor or couldn't afford to pay  for one, it is because they                                                               
don't want to  be told by the  court or anyone that  there has to                                                               
be  a   supervisor,  and  they   put  that  in  front   of  their                                                               
relationship  with their  children.   She said  that is  also not                                                               
unusual  to  see when  domestic  violence  has occurred  and  the                                                               
problem  is not  the presumption.   She  remarked that  she hoped                                                               
people  would look  more at  justice than  [using the  rebuttable                                                               
presumption as a tool and] winning.                                                                                             
3:37:51 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS surmised  that  in situations  Ms.                                                               
Tabachnick has  seen, indignation and righteousness  is a barrier                                                               
for the parent seeing the  child and not necessarily the external                                                               
barriers, such as cost or lack of services.                                                                                     
MS. TABACHNICK agreed.                                                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE  CLAMAN  clarified  that  Mr. Grant  said  he  had                                                               
considered  using  it as  a  tool  but  never actually  done  so,                                                               
although he may have misheard him.                                                                                              
MS.  TABACHNICK  thanked  Representative Claman  because  she  is                                                               
happy and relieved to be corrected on that.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE CLAMAN related that  doesn't mean that others, not                                                               
represented, may not use it in  that way.  He referred people who                                                               
may  use slamming  a  door as  a basis  for  a domestic  violence                                                               
petition,  and the  court may  or may  not approve  the ex  parte                                                               
petition.   He  said those  are contrasted  with cases  involving                                                               
horrific instances  of domestic violence that  anyone would agree                                                               
was awful  by anyone's approach.   He asked whether she  has seen                                                               
cases  where it  appears someone  is using  a single  incident to                                                               
push forward their  domestic violence petition.   He offered that                                                               
he was  trying to get the  breadth of her experience  in what she                                                               
sees coming into the shelters.                                                                                                  
MS. TABACHNICK  answered that  she does  not do  a lot  of direct                                                               
service,  and she  does not  believe AWARE  receives many  people                                                               
coming  in just  to  look  for a  protection  order, because  the                                                               
AWARE center  looks for certain  elements necessary to  receive a                                                               
protection  order.    Therefore,   AWARE  is  looking  for  those                                                               
elements and not  looking to abuse or use the  system, but it may                                                               
ask  someone why  they are  coming  for AWARE's  services if  the                                                               
issue is not one that puts them in fear.                                                                                        
CHAIR  LEDOUX advised  that Fred  Triem is  next and  pointed out                                                               
that she normally  does not allow people to  testify under public                                                               
testimony  twice, and  she is  making an  exception in  this case                                                               
because the  bill being  heard today is  different than  the bill                                                               
heard a couple of days ago.                                                                                                     
3:41:15 PM                                                                                                                    
FRED TRIEM, Attorney, advised that  the task before the committee                                                               
is a task  of legislative drafting, and that it  is better to use                                                               
a precise  word or term in  preference to a vague,  amorphous, or                                                               
uncertain  term.   He explained,  this bill  does a  good job  of                                                               
replacing  vague,  amorphous,  and  imprecise  terms  with  exact                                                               
precise language.  For example, under  Version H, page 1, line 5,                                                               
and the phrase  "committed" as in committed a  crime, is replaced                                                               
with the  phrase "been  convicted of  a crime."   He  pointed out                                                               
that when  reviewing the second,  third, and fourth pages  of the                                                               
bill this  legislation is improved  in eight different  places by                                                               
replacing the vague phrase of  "a history of perpetrating" with a                                                               
precise phrase "convicted."   He described this as  the best bill                                                               
he has  seen because it will  improve Alaska's law, it  will save                                                               
the court system  a lot of time,  and it will eliminate  a lot of                                                               
expensive hearings.                                                                                                             
MR. TRIEM referred  to judicial discretion, and  pointed out that                                                               
the problem is  that it requires time, requires a  hearing, and a                                                               
trial.    The  language  of  the bill  eliminates  the  need  for                                                               
judicial discretion  because discretion took place  in an earlier                                                               
proceeding  wherein a  defendant  had their  trial and  exercised                                                               
their due process  rights.  He remarked, this bill  will not give                                                               
free  rein  to  child  abuses  as  it  simply  protects  Alaska's                                                               
judicial  system,  the  people  involved  in  domestic  violence,                                                               
streamlines  the  process  by  requiring  precise  language,  and                                                               
eliminates time  consuming and expensive proceedings.   Given the                                                               
late date  of the session, he  suggested that a good  bill now is                                                               
better than a perfect bill weeks and weeks from now.                                                                            
3:46:23 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS asked  whether he supports changing                                                               
the  eighth  criteria  listed  on  page  5,  lines  [1-7],  to  a                                                               
conviction  of drug  use or  drug  abuse to  similarly achieve  a                                                               
precise  and clear  definition that  the court  does not  need to                                                               
exercise discretion.                                                                                                            
MR. TRIEM responded, he is not  advocating a court should not use                                                               
discretion.   The  language contained  in Sec.  8, addresses  the                                                               
topic of different  programs, some of which are  not available in                                                               
small towns.   He  stated he  is not  advocating doing  away with                                                               
discretion  for a  court to  determine whether  the defendant  is                                                               
abusing alcohol or psychoactive drugs.   He reiterated that those                                                               
are the kinds  of conduct that have already  been adjudicated and                                                               
determined in  a fair  judicial proceeding.   If a  defendant has                                                               
been convicted of abusing alcohol  or using psychoactive drugs, a                                                               
person can go to CourtView to  determine whether there has been a                                                               
conviction.   He  described it  as  a precise  process wherein  a                                                               
determination is easily made, as  opposed to having days and days                                                               
of hearings  to determine whether  the person does, or  does not,                                                               
have a history of this misconduct.                                                                                              
3:48:19 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KREISS-TOMKINS  surmised that Mr. Triem  is saying                                                               
he wants to see a conviction  of domestic violence, and asked why                                                               
he does not want to see  a conviction for drug possession or drug                                                               
use also.                                                                                                                       
MR.  TRIEM replied  he is  not  saying he  does not  want to  see                                                               
convictions.  He  explained that a conviction of  misconduct is a                                                               
result of  a judicial process in  which the defendant has  had an                                                               
opportunity  to  present  his defenses  in  an  orderly  process,                                                               
usually with a  jury trial.  Whereas, these cases  that go before                                                               
district courts and superior courts  without a jury do not afford                                                               
the accused  the full range of  their constitutional protections.                                                               
In his  experience, it is almost  invariably a male who  is being                                                               
excluded by  this process,  because it is  almost always  men who                                                               
lose  custody  of their  children  because  they are  accused  of                                                               
having a history of domestic violence, he said.                                                                                 
3:49:45 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. KOENEMAN pointed  to Representative Kreiss-Tomkins's question                                                               
regarding substance  abuse, and whether  or not there  is support                                                               
for conviction.   She offered, the language in the  bill, both in                                                               
current  statute  and Version  H,  doesn't  contain a  rebuttable                                                               
presumption  language regarding  substance  abuse,  like it  does                                                               
with domestic  violence.  There  is specific language,  "if there                                                               
is a  history, they are  guilty until proven innocent,"  which is                                                               
why the sponsor  hasn't addressed that issue, or  why there isn't                                                               
clear  and convincing  evidence regarding  substance abuse.   She                                                               
explained that it  is a factor the judge can  consider, but there                                                               
is not  an automatic  loss of the  person's children  unless they                                                               
complete  a   batterer's  program  or  alcohol   treatment  abuse                                                               
MS.  KOENEMAN  pointed  to  a   question  related  to  supervised                                                               
visitations.   She explained  that she  has found  seven programs                                                               
across the entire state for  supervised visitation.  The cost for                                                               
one  program in  Palmer, is  a $35  orientation fee  and $50  per                                                               
hour.   There was a  2011 Alaska  Judicial Council report  on the                                                               
batterer's intervention  programs that  went through some  of the                                                               
stakeholder  observations.    She  referred  to  the  report  and                                                               
advised  she would  get copies  of the  report should  members so                                                               
desire.   Ms. Koeneman said  that page  6 of "that  report" talks                                                               
about  barriers to  referral, enrollment,  and completion  of the                                                               
batterer's   intervention  programs,   which  she   said  states,                                                               
"enrollment   programs  was   often   hindered  by   a  lack   of                                                               
transportation, lack of money to  pay for programs, and defendant                                                               
transiency."   She  said the  report  further lists  suggestions,                                                               
such as "examine the need  for more programs statewide; look into                                                               
ways  to  use  technology  to   broaden  the  programs  to  rural                                                               
locations,  to women,  and to  ease transportation  difficulties;                                                               
examine ways to  lower program costs, and  to communicate payment                                                               
options to offenders  at the time of the  referral; develop state                                                               
protocols   for    transferring   offenders    from   [Batterers'                                                               
Intervention Program]  BIPs to another  in a  different location;                                                               
consider  ways   to  promote  batterer's   intervention  programs                                                               
completion by teaching  offenders life skills as part  of the BIP                                                               
course prior to entry."                                                                                                         
MS. KOENEMAN  pointed to the  comment there are  people attending                                                               
batterer's intervention  programs, or  people who  don't complete                                                               
it,  or people  who choose  not to.   She  opined there  are many                                                               
other  reasons why,  and she  said, "I  don't think  it's just  a                                                               
sheer,  'I don't  want to  see my  kids and  I wanna  fight,' you                                                               
know, and 'I don't  think I need to go.'"    She opined there are                                                               
true  reasons as  to  why  people are  unable  to complete  those                                                               
programs, as outlined by the Alaska Judicial Council.                                                                           
3:54:02 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KELLER  moved  to  report  HB  334,  Version  29-                                                               
LS1409/H  out of  committee with  individual recommendations  and                                                               
the accompanying fiscal notes.   There being no objection, HB 334                                                               
moved from the House Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                              

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 174 - Sponsor Statement.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 174
SB 174 - Sectional Analysis ver G.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 174
SB 174 - CS ver G (FIN).PDF HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 174
SB 174 - Summary of Changes ver N to ver G.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 174
SB 174 - CS ver N (EDC).PDF HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 174
SB 174 - Version H (original).PDF HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 174
SB 174 - Fiscal Note-SFIN-UA-4-04-16.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 174
SB 174 - Supporting Documents - Alaska Constitution Article I, Section 19.PDF HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 174
SB 174 - Supporting Documents - AS 29.35.145 Municipal Regulation of Firearms and Knives.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 174
SB 174 - Supporting Documents - Dept. of Public Safety - Concealed Weapons Info.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 174
SB 174 - Supporting Documents - Dept. of Public Safety - Firearm Ownership, Possession Info.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 174
SB 174 - Supporting Documents - LAA Legal Memo - Immunity from civil liability (Feb. 17, 2016).pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 174
SB 174 - Supporting Documents - NCSL Guns on Campus Overview (February 12, 2016).pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 174
SB 174 - Supporting Documents - News Articles.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 174
SB 174 - Supporting Documents - UA Board of Regents Concealed Carry Position Paper (Feb. 12, 2016).pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 174
SB 174 - Supporting Documents - UA General Counsel Memo - Immunity Provision (Feb. 23, 2016).pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 174
SB 174 - Supporting Documents - UA Population by Age, Academic Organization.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 174
SB 174 - Supporting Documents - UAF, UAS, UAA Campus Crime Statistics.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 174
SB 174 - Letters of Opposition.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 174
SB 174 - Letters of Support.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 174
SB 180 - Sponsor Statement ver I.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 180
SB 180 - Sectional Analysis ver I.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 180
SB 180 - CS Version I (JUD).pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 180
SB 180 - Summary of Changes - Version W to Version I.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 180
SB 180 - Version W.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 180
SB 180 - Fiscal Note - DHSS-FLSW-2-20-16.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 180
SB 180 - Supporting Documents - ADN Commentary 2-3-16 Walker-Carmody.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 180
SB 180 - Supporting Documents - ADN Commentary 2-13-16 Demer.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 180
SB 180 - Supporting Documents - Letter of Support AIC.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 180
SB 180 - Supporting Documents - Letter of Support AK Childrens Trust.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 180
SB 180 - Supporting Documents - Letter of Support AYFN.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 180
SB 180 - Supporting Documents - Letter of Support Beacon Hill.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 180
SB 180 - Supporting Documents - Letter of Support Brian Schaeffer.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 180
SB 180 - Supporting Documents - Safe Families One-Pager.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 180
SB 174 - Supporting Documents - UA Regent's Policy 02.09 Public Safety.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 174
HB 334 - Version H.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 334
HB 334 - Letter of Opposition - AWARE 04.09.16.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 334
HB 334 - Emails of Opposition - Received by 04.12.16.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 334
HB 200 - Letter of Support - Melanie Fredericks.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 200
HB 200 - Letter of Support - Kerry Gray.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 200
SB 174 - Opposing Documents - UA Analysis of CSSB174(FIN) 04.12.16.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 174
SB 174 - Fiscal Note-UA-SYSBRA-4-11-16.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
SB 174
HB 200 - Letter of Support - Traci McGarry, Kawerak Inc..pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 200
HB 200 - Letter of Support - Cheryl Offt, Association of Village Council Presidents.pdf HJUD 4/12/2016 1:00:00 PM
HB 200