Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

02/07/2018 01:00 PM JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Delayed to 1:45 PM --
Moved HB 312 Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
          HB 312-CRIMES AGAINST MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS                                                                       
1:54:00 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
HOUSE BILL NO. 312, "An Act  relating to arrest without a warrant                                                               
for assault in  the fourth degree at a health  care facility; and                                                               
relating  to an  aggravating factor  at sentencing  for a  felony                                                               
offense  against   a  medical  professional  at   a  health  care                                                               
CHAIR CLAMAN recapped that during  the 2/5/18 meeting, as members                                                               
reviewed the bill  and heard public testimony.   Since that time,                                                               
he  advised that  the Department  of Health  and Social  Services                                                               
(DHSS) submitted  an amended  Alaska Psychiatric  Institute (API)                                                               
zero fiscal note.                                                                                                               
CHAIR CLAMAN, in response to the  questions as to why the Pioneer                                                               
Homes and the  Alaska Veterans Home was excluded  from the health                                                               
care  facility  definition,  he explained  that  there  are  many                                                               
different  statutes  defining  health   care  facility.    (Audio                                                               
difficulties)  past the  deadline, "I've  ruled and  we won't  be                                                               
taking it up in the committee," he said.                                                                                        
1:57:37 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  asked Chair Claman to  re-state his answer                                                               
as to the Pioneer Homes and the Alaska Veterans Home.                                                                           
CHAIR CLAMAN explained that in  reviewing the statutes, there are                                                               
many  different definitions  as  to health  care  facility.   The                                                               
sponsors  did  not  include  the Pioneer  Homes  and  the  Alaska                                                               
Veterans  Home  because  those entities  are  primarily  assisted                                                               
living   homes  and   senior  living   facilities.     While,  he                                                               
acknowledged, these  entities provide  medical care  services, it                                                               
is  not their  primary duty  to  provide medical  care for  those                                                               
people coming in and seeking medical care.                                                                                      
CHAIR CLAMAN further  explained that within the  reports heard by                                                               
this  committee  as  to  where these  abuses  are  issues,  those                                                               
reports  did not  come from  these  two entities.   The  sponsors                                                               
tried  to narrowly  tailor the  legislation to  the concerns  the                                                               
community brought to the sponsors, he said.                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  surmised that  the legislature  would wait                                                               
until the Pioneer  Homes or the Alaska  Veterans Home communities                                                               
comes in with  a problem, and the legislature will  just add that                                                               
to one more of the exceptions.                                                                                                  
CHAIR  CLAMAN opined  that that  would be  one approach,  and the                                                               
committee  can  certainly  continue discussions  after  finishing                                                               
with the  bill.   In the  event there  was a  sense the  body was                                                               
interested in  that type of  change, it  could be amended  on the                                                               
floor of the House of Representatives, he offered.                                                                              
1:58:14 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LEDOUX  pointed  out   that  there  are  so  many                                                               
exceptions,  perhaps it  is time  to actually  revisit the  whole                                                               
CHAIR  CLAMAN said  that  Representative  LeDoux's concerns  were                                                               
well noted.                                                                                                                     
1:58:30 PM                                                                                                                    
[CHAIR   CLAMAN  and   Representative   Reinbold  discussed   the                                                               
amendment process.]                                                                                                             
1:59:27 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   KREISS-TOMKINS   related   that   after   public                                                               
testimony,  discovery,   and  the  committee's   questions,  this                                                               
legislation appears  to be on point  and that he now  has greater                                                               
awareness of some  of the negative externalities of  the drug and                                                               
alcohol problems ravaging many of  Alaska's communities.  He said                                                               
that  he has  enhanced curiosity  about the  relationship between                                                               
law  enforcement  and  the  response  to  these  social  economic                                                               
problems in the  health care system and the role  the health care                                                               
system is  being drafted  into, to  some extent.   He said  he is                                                               
excited to support HB 312.                                                                                                      
2:00:58 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE REINBOLD  related that this bill  is important and                                                               
that it  is sad post-Senate  Bill 91 [passed in  the Twenty-Ninth                                                               
Alaska  State  Legislature]  that   there  has  been  a  dramatic                                                               
increase  in assaults  to health  care workers.   She  noted that                                                               
"many  other states"  have felony  fourth-degree assault  against                                                               
health care  workers in a health  care facility.  It  is critical                                                               
to address  the issues in the  bill, which is a  good first step,                                                               
but something is missing, she said.                                                                                             
2:01:54 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  EASTMAN commented  on  the discussion  procedure.                                                               
He  then noted  that  the committee  heard  from law  enforcement                                                               
regarding a desire for the  ability to arrest someone engaging in                                                               
abusive behavior  at the  hospital, a  soup kitchen,  or wherever                                                               
that assault might take place.   In his opinion, he said, assault                                                               
is assault no  matter where it takes place because  the victim is                                                               
just  as injured,  and  the public  is just  as  violated by  the                                                               
crime.   He offered an interest  in an amendment that  would deal                                                               
with the assault  itself and give law enforcement  the ability to                                                               
arrest someone,  if necessary, without  tailoring it  to specific                                                               
exceptions such as health care facilities.                                                                                      
2:04:05 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP  addressed  the comments  of  Representative                                                               
Eastman and  advised that  "speeding is speeding,"  it can  be 20                                                               
miles  outside of  Cantwell on  a 10-mile  stretch of  road or  a                                                               
person  speeding through  an elementary  zone  with 300  students                                                               
getting  onto the  bus, yet  those  circumstances are  especially                                                               
different.  This legislation is not  an attempt to remove all due                                                               
processes  from the  law, it  respects a  person's constitutional                                                               
right as  a high priority, thereby,  going out of its  way to not                                                               
remove due  process of arrest  warrants in all misdemeanors.   He                                                               
explained that  this legislation looks at  high risk environments                                                               
where  patients, health  care workers,  and visitors  of patients                                                               
absolutely need  to know they  are safe.  Health  care facilities                                                               
must  be a  place where  care can  be performed  safely, and  the                                                               
state must  recognize that health  care facilities are  much more                                                               
sensitive to  assaultive conduct  occurring within  the facility.                                                               
This legislation gives  law enforcement a tool to  "not just cite                                                               
and release" but to "hook and book," he said.                                                                                   
2:05:47 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE STUTES  commented that  having been in  the health                                                               
care  industry  many  years  ago,  she  could  not  be  any  more                                                               
supportive than  she is of this  bill.  She stressed  that, "This                                                               
is just a terrific bill,  it's really needed" because the state's                                                               
health  care workers  are at  risk enough  in other  manners that                                                               
they do not  need to be at  risk with assaults and  being beat up                                                               
by the people they are trying to help.                                                                                          
2:06:23 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR CLAMAN, in response to  the issues raised by Representative                                                               
Eastman,  remarked   that  he  takes  very   seriously  the  oath                                                               
legislators take  to uphold  the constitution.   Part of  that is                                                               
due to the  Constitution of the United  States and constitutional                                                               
rights, the  United States Bill  of Rights, and  the Constitution                                                               
of the  State of Alaska  and not being arrested  without probable                                                               
cause,  he  explained.    When  taking  a  step  to  loosen  that                                                               
requirement,  he said  that he  believes  it must  be taken  with                                                               
tremendous  caution  for  the same  reasons  Representative  Kopp                                                               
expressed, yet  he has heard  some police officers  indicate that                                                               
they would like  to have greater authority to  arrest for assault                                                               
without a  warrant under any  circumstance.  He pointed  out that                                                               
the Department  of Law (DOL) is  not here because, he  opined, if                                                               
asked,  the Department  of  Law  (DOL) would  advise  to go  very                                                               
cautiously when taking away a person's constitutional rights.                                                                   
For those reasons,  he advised, he will not  support an amendment                                                               
that broadens the authority to  arrest other than the narrow step                                                               
taken in this  legislation.  This legislation  is consistent with                                                               
the   legislature's   obligation   to   protect   the   important                                                               
constitutional rights of every single Alaskan, he stated.                                                                       
2:07:37 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LEDOUX  commented that this is  an important bill,                                                               
except  she is  concerned that  whenever the  legislature singles                                                               
out one group  of people, such as medical health  care workers or                                                               
any  other group,  and decides  that if  a person  assaults those                                                               
people then there  is an exception to  the presumptive sentencing                                                               
and the sentence moves higher.   Therefore, if the legislature is                                                               
willing  to  go higher  for  the  policeman, fireman,  nurse,  or                                                               
doctor, then the  legislature needs to revisit  the whole concept                                                               
of  the presumptive  sentencing, she  remarked.     In the  event                                                               
anyone  on the  committee was  assaulted or  their children  were                                                               
assaulted, she  opined that the  sentences should  conceivable be                                                               
as high as if a  doctor, nurse, or first-responder was assaulted.                                                               
That is her  concern, and she suggested possibly  doing away with                                                               
those presumptive maximums when it comes to everyone.                                                                           
2:09:49 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  KREISS-TOMKINS moved  to report  HB 312,  Version                                                               
30-LS1225\O out of committee  with individual recommendations and                                                               
the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN objected.                                                                                                
2:10:11 PM                                                                                                                    
A  roll  call vote  was  taken.   Representatives  Kopp,  Kreiss-                                                               
Tomkins, LeDoux, Stutes,  and Claman voted in favor  of moving HB
312,  Version  30-LS1225\O  out of  committee.    Representatives                                                               
Eastman and  Reinbold voted  against it.   Therefore, HB  312 was                                                               
reported out of the House  Judiciary Standing Committee by a vote                                                               
of 5-2.                                                                                                                         
          HB 312-CRIMES AGAINST MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS                                                                       
2:37:56 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  CLAMAN,  in  granting Representative  Reinbold's  request,                                                               
allowed the committee to return to HB 312.                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE REINBOLD  noted that she  wanted to make  it clear                                                               
to this committee that she  absolutely supports the bill and will                                                               
be a yes-vote.   She said that  she wanted it on  the record that                                                               
she supports  this bill and was  a no-vote due to  the amendment.                                                               
Whether the  amendment passed or  not is irrelevant,  she pointed                                                               
out, but  having the  minority voice heard  is important  to her,                                                               
and that is why she was a no-vote.                                                                                              

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB312 ver O 2.5.18.PDF HJUD 2/5/2018 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 2/7/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 312
HB312 Supporting Document-SEARHC Letter 2.7.18.pdf HJUD 2/7/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 312
HB312 Public Comment-Supporting 2.7.18.pdf HJUD 2/7/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 312
HB312 Updated Fiscal Note DHSS-API 2.7.18.pdf HJUD 2/7/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 312
HB129 ver D 1.29.18.pdf HJUD 2/5/2018 1:30:00 PM
HJUD 2/7/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 2/9/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 129
Representative Reinbold Document Offered to HJUD Committee- Recidivism Definition 2.7.18.pdf HJUD 2/7/2018 1:00:00 PM