Legislature(2017 - 2018)GRUENBERG 120

03/14/2018 01:00 PM JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
-- Delayed to 3:00 pm --
+= HB 75 GUN VIOLENCE PROTECTIVE ORDERS TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
+ HB 355 FIRE;FOREST LAND; CRIMES;FIRE PREVENTION TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        HB 355-FIRE;FOREST LAND; CRIMES;FIRE PREVENTION                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:20:29 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN announced that the  first order of business would be                                                               
CS FOR HOUSE BILL NO. 355(RES),  "An Act relating to the crime of                                                               
criminally negligent burning; relating  to protection of and fire                                                               
management  on forested  land; relating  to  prohibited acts  and                                                               
penalties  for prohibited  acts on  forested land;  requiring the                                                               
Alaska Supreme Court to establish  a bail schedule; and providing                                                               
for an effective date."                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
[Before  the  committee was  the  working  draft, CSHB  355(RES),                                                               
labeled 30-LS1382\J.]                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:20:59 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  DAVID   GUTTENBERG,  Alaska   State  Legislature,                                                               
explained that  HB 355 upgrades  how the state deals  with forest                                                               
fires,  and  clarifies language.    He  remarked that  the  state                                                               
cannot continue  to have forest  fires the  size of the  State of                                                               
Delaware  year,   after  year,   after  year.     [Representative                                                               
Guttenberg  then paraphrased  from  the  document titled  "HB-355                                                               
Fire  Prevention and  Crimes on  Forested Land.]  He pointed  out                                                               
that  the some  of  the  fires included:  the  Sockeye Fire  that                                                               
caused $10 million  in damages and was started by  a human due to                                                               
careless  open burning;  the  Card Street  Fire  in Soldotna  was                                                               
human caused;  the Funny River Fire  was human caused and  it was                                                               
in  close proximity  to the  Card Street  Fire from  the previous                                                               
year;  the Fairbanks  Rex Bridge  Fire near  Clear was  caused by                                                               
lightening; and  the 2017 McHugh  fire was started by  a campfire                                                               
left behind  by a hiker in  Chugach State Park.   The Division of                                                               
Forestry is trying  to reduce the incidents of fire  and set up a                                                               
schedule where  people who simply  do not  have a burn  barrel is                                                               
one thing,  but someone  who lets  a fire get  out of  control is                                                               
something  else, and  someone that  intentionally  sets a  forest                                                               
fire  is another  classification.   Portions of  this legislation                                                               
deal  with more  fire prevention  programs, "and  going down  the                                                               
road  and doing  that stuff.   Smokey  the Bear  kind of  world."                                                               
This  legislation includes  some  changes in  statute to  reflect                                                               
that the names have changed "so  that the Division of Forestry is                                                               
actually  what  is referred  to  now  where fire  suppression  is                                                               
actually  what  they're doing  because  those  names change  over                                                               
time," he said."                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:23:58 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP asked whether  the intent of this legislation                                                               
is to  update Title  41 statutes related  to burning  because the                                                               
statutes had not been reviewed in approximately 60 years.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GUTTENBERG responded  that Representative Kopp was                                                               
correct.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP  asked whether  anyone  could  speak to  the                                                               
changes in the different sections of HB 355.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:25:09 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JOHN  "CHRIS"  MAISCH, Director  &  State  Forester, Division  of                                                               
Forestry,  Department of  Natural Resources  (DNR), advised  that                                                               
the last  time these statutes were  addressed was in 1961,  and a                                                               
large portion  of this bill  updates the language for  format and                                                               
the  outdated style  of  writing and  outdated  terminology.   He                                                               
paraphrased from  the Sectional Analysis for  Version J [included                                                               
in  the  members'  packets],  which  read  as  follows  [original                                                               
punctuation provided]:                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Section   1.  Amends   AS  11.46.427(a)(2)   by  adding                                                                  
     references  to  AS  41.15.060  -41.15.120  to  make  it                                                                    
     easier  for  agencies   to  coordinate  enforcement  of                                                                    
     similar  statutes that  appear in  different Titles  of                                                                    
     law.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Section  2.  Amends  AS  41.15.010   to  add  the  word                                                                  
     forested land  to the intent language  of this statute.                                                                    
     Forested land  is already defined  in AS  41.15.170 and                                                                    
     brings   consistency  to   terminology   used  in   the                                                                    
     statutes.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Section 3. Amends AS  41.15.040 by updating terminology                                                                  
     by  deleting   the  "division   of  land"   and  adding                                                                    
     "division of  forestry". Clarifies  the right  of entry                                                                    
     to public  or privately-owned  land for the  purpose of                                                                    
     preventing,  suppressing,  and controlling  a  wildland                                                                    
     fire to include for  the purpose of "investigating" and                                                                    
     "when responding  to a wildland fire  or suspected fire                                                                    
     or administering the provisions of this chapter."                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:27:05 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAISCH  explained that  the words "at  any time"  were struck                                                               
because it  was believed  that "any  time" was  too broad  and by                                                               
listing these out, it provided  more specificity to that right of                                                               
entry piece.   The prior  statute read  "preventing, suppression,                                                               
and control  of wildland fire"  and the term  "investigating" was                                                               
added  because  the 1961  prevention  was  a holistic  term  that                                                               
included fire investigation for cause and determination.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Section 4.  Adds a new  subsection (b) to  AS 41.15.040                                                                  
     that clarifies that a person  may not interfere with or                                                                    
     prohibit access  authorized under (a) of  this section,                                                                    
     which is the right to enter for the purposes stated.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAISCH  explained that the  intent was  to make clear  to the                                                               
lay  reader  especially,  that "investigating"  was  one  of  the                                                               
reasons the state had the right  to enter the property.  Clearly,                                                               
he advised, during  an emergency that is one thing,  but after an                                                               
emergency,  if the  division does  not have  permission from  the                                                               
landowner to  enter, it  must seek a  search warrant  because the                                                               
landowner   has   standard    protections   under   criminal   or                                                               
constitutional law.   He related that his  prevention officers do                                                               
not  carry badges  or guns,  they  are peace  officers, which  is                                                               
defined later  in the section.   This language is solely  for the                                                               
purposes of  this chapter,  and wildland  and fire  prevention is                                                               
related to the narrow definition of peace officer, he explained.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Section  5. Amends  AS 41.15.050  Fire Season  to allow                                                                  
     the  commissioner   the  ability  to   designate  other                                                                    
     periods as  fire season at  any time in order  to allow                                                                    
     open  burning  only  by  permit  or  to  prohibit  open                                                                    
     burning.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Section  6. Amends  AS 41.15.060.  Permits. To  include                                                                  
     obtaining  a  permit  for  setting  of  fires,  use  of                                                                    
     burning devices,  and other activities and  use of land                                                                    
     that increases fire danger.  This would include burning                                                                    
     devices such as  bum barrels, a common  source of urban                                                                    
     interface ignitions.  This section  is also  amended to                                                                    
     remove the type of offense  a violation of this section                                                                    
     would  be and  relies  on a  new  section to  establish                                                                    
     types of violations.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:28:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAISCH  explained that  the language is  more specific  as to                                                               
why  the person  is obtaining  that permit.   The  current permit                                                               
system is only  in place during fire season, which  is the period                                                               
of  time  that  is  statutorily  designated.    The  process,  he                                                               
explained, is that a person can  go online to self-issue a permit                                                               
which  includes   educational  information  about   safe  burning                                                               
practices  and the  things they  must have  on hand  if they  are                                                               
going to  burn.   Each day,  the Division  of Forestry  opens and                                                               
closes burning  based on conditions,  he related, which  could be                                                               
fire  weather,  availability  of   resources  to  respond  to  an                                                               
incident  if it  is  already  tied up  with  other wildland  fire                                                               
activities,  and it  outlines  the  things a  person  must do  to                                                               
safely use best practices to  burn.  Most importantly, the person                                                               
is to call in every day to determine  whether it is a safe day to                                                               
burn, he advised.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Section  7.  Adds  a new  subsection  to  AS  41.15.060                                                                  
     stating  that  a  person may  not  participate  in  any                                                                    
     activities that  increase fire danger without  a permit                                                                    
     as prescribed by the commissioner in regulation.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Section  8. Amends  AS  41.15.70.  Disposal of  burning                                                                  
     materials  to   read  "may  not  discard   ...  burning                                                                    
     materials on  forested land."  Repeals language  on the                                                                    
     type of violation  this offense would be  and relies on                                                                    
     amendments in Section  13 of this bill  that provides a                                                                    
     new range  of violations.  It also removes  a reference                                                                    
     to  the  "fire  season"  as the  period  of  time  this                                                                    
     section applies  and removes a reference  to "public or                                                                    
     private land".                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Section  9. Amends  AS 41.15.090.  Building or  leaving                                                                  
     fires. To read  " ... may not start a  fire ... without                                                                    
     first clearing the  ground." The type of  offense for a                                                                    
     violation of  this section is  removed and relies  on a                                                                    
     new section to establish types of violations.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Sections  10.  Amends  AS 41.15.090  by  adding  a  new                                                                  
     subsection (b)  A person who  starts a fire in  or near                                                                    
     forested  land may  not leave  the fire  before totally                                                                    
     extinguishing  the  fire.  This change  makes  it  very                                                                    
     clear  that leaving  a fire  unattended will  result in                                                                    
     consequences.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Section  11.  Clarifies   AS  41.15.100  Setting  fires                                                                  
     without consent.  Updates language  to "may not  set on                                                                    
     fire  forested   land  ...  "  to   make  this  section                                                                    
     consistent  with terminology  and intent.  The type  of                                                                    
     offense  for a  violation of  this section  is repealed                                                                    
     and  relies on  a  new section  to  establish types  of                                                                    
     violations.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Section 12. Amends AS  41.15.110 Uncontrolled spread of                                                                  
     fire; leaving  a fire unattended by  repealing the type                                                                    
     of offense for  a violation of this  section and relies                                                                    
     on  a new  section  to establish  types of  violations.                                                                    
     Subsection  (b)   has  verbiage  change  to   shall,  a                                                                    
     positive  action  as  opposed to  the  deleted  current                                                                    
     language "who  neglects to." New  language is  added to                                                                    
     make  it clear  that  a  person may  not  leave a  fire                                                                    
     unattended and the  type of offense for  a violation of                                                                    
     this section is removed and  relies on a new section to                                                                    
     establish types  of violations. Subsection  (c) updates                                                                    
     terminology and  makes it clear in  any criminal action                                                                    
     brought under  this section that  the escape of  a fire                                                                    
     may be  evidence that the person  acted knowingly. This                                                                    
     change helps define mental state.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     Section 13.  Amends AS 41.15.120 by  including the term                                                                  
     investigate as one of the  criteria for when an officer                                                                    
     or employee  of the United  States or the state  who is                                                                    
     authorized  to prevent  and  suppress  fire requests  a                                                                    
     person to  assist with such  efforts. It also  adds the                                                                    
     word shall as  opposed to "fails to"  in determining if                                                                    
     a person  is in violation  of the statute. The  type of                                                                    
     offense for a violation of  this section is removed and                                                                    
     relies  on   a  new  section  to   establish  types  of                                                                    
     violations.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Section  14. Amends  AS 41.15.130  Backfires. Adds  the                                                                  
     terminology  and  burnouts  to allow  fire  suppression                                                                    
     activity as "directed by an  officer or employee of the                                                                    
     U.S.  or state  who is  authorized ...  " and  makes it                                                                    
     clear that  AS 41  .15.045 (Civil immunity)  applies to                                                                    
     the activities under this section.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:31:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAISCH  explained that Section  14 updates  some terminology,                                                               
and "backfires" is  the term used when the  division lights fires                                                               
to fight  fire, but the more  common term is "burnout,"  which is                                                               
similar to a  backfire, except backfire is a  more outdated term.                                                               
When  speaking with  firefighters these  days, they  would rarely                                                               
use  that language,  firefighters refer  to using  fire to  fight                                                               
fire as  a burnout  operation.  The  specific statutes  are cited                                                               
and  it makes  some clarification  as to  when fire  is used,  as                                                               
opposed to the general term backfire.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Section  15.  Repeals  and  reenacts  AS  41.15.140  to                                                                  
     establish  a   range  of  violations  and   fines  that                                                                    
     increase  with the  seriousness  of  the offense.  This                                                                    
     section also links to the  criminal statutes to improve                                                                    
     the understanding  and consistency  between enforcement                                                                    
     agencies and the courts.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Subsection (a)  makes it  clear that  if AS  41. 15.150                                                                  
     applies,  a felony  charge, the  following sections  do                                                                    
     not apply.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Subsection  (a)(l) establishes  a  class A  misdemeanor                                                                  
     offense for violations of AS  41.15.010- 41.15 .130 for                                                                    
     persons who knowingly violate this section.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Subsection   (a)(2)  establishes   a  fine   amount  in                                                                  
     accordance with AS 12.55                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     Section  16. Amends  AS 41.15.150  to provide  specific                                                                  
     criteria for  criminal burning in  the first  degree if                                                                    
     (a)(l)  the person  violates AS  41.15.155,  and (2)  a                                                                    
     provision  of   41.15.010-41.15.130  or   a  regulation                                                                    
     adopted under AS 41.15.010-41.15.130                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Subsection  (b) provides  for a  class B  felony if  in                                                                    
     violation  of subsection  (a) of  this  section and  is                                                                    
     punishable as  provided in AS 12.55  the Sentencing and                                                                    
     Probation Chapter of Title 12.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Section  17.  Amends  AS  41.15.150  by  adding  a  new                                                                  
     section  to  provide  specific  criteria  for  criminal                                                                    
     burning  in  the second  degree  if  the person  (a)(l)                                                                    
     knowingly sets  a fire,  (2) with  criminal negligence,                                                                    
     the person  (a) permits the  fire to spread  beyond the                                                                    
     person's control  or (b)fails to prevent  the fire from                                                                    
     spreading to forested land  or other flammable material                                                                    
     and (3)  as a result,  the fire burns forested  land or                                                                    
     other  flammable material  located or  growing on  land                                                                    
     that  is  not owned,  possessed  or  controlled by  the                                                                    
     person.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Subsection  (b) provides  for a  class C  felony if  in                                                                  
     violation  of subsection  (a) of  this  section and  is                                                                    
     punishable as  provided in AS 12.55  the Sentencing and                                                                    
     Probation Chapter of Title 12.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     Subsection (d)  provides for an upgrading  violation to                                                                  
     a class B felony if the  initial setting of the fire is                                                                    
     in  violation  of  AS  41.15.010  -  41.15.  130  or  a                                                                    
     regulation adopted under AS 41.15.010 - 41.15.130.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Section  18. Amends  AS 41.150.160.  Double damages  in                                                                  
     civil actions  to clarify applicable statutes  for this                                                                    
     provision.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     Section 19.  Amends AS 41.15.170  to add  paragraph (5)                                                                  
     "knowingly" which  has the meaning in  AS 11.81.900 and                                                                    
     adds paragraph ( 6) "recklessly"  which has the meaning                                                                    
     given in AS 11.81 .900.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     Section 20.  Amends AS  41.15.950 to  add (b)(4)  a new                                                                  
     subsection  to  provide  clear  authority  to  issue  a                                                                    
     citation to  a person  who violates  a provision  of AS                                                                    
     41.15.010  - 41.15.170  or a  regulation adopted  under                                                                    
     this chapter.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Section 21.  Adds a new section  AS 41.15.960 directing                                                                  
     the  supreme court  to establish  a  bail schedule  for                                                                    
     violations of statute specified in this bill.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Section 22.  Repeals AS 41.15.080  which was  a section                                                                  
     on equipment and notice requirement  for operators of a                                                                    
     conveyance  on or  above forested  land to  be equipped                                                                    
     with  a   receptacle  for   the  disposal   of  burning                                                                    
     material, shall post or display  a copy of AS 41.15.050                                                                    
     -   .080  and   41.15.140  in   a  conspicuous   place.                                                                    
     Additionally,  an operator  of  a  milling, logging  or                                                                    
     commercial  operation shall  also  post  and display  a                                                                    
     copy of  the statute per  the previous notation  and if                                                                    
     found  in violation  of this  section, is  guilty of  a                                                                    
     misdemeanor.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     Section 23. Amends  the uncodified law of  the State of                                                                  
     Alaska  by adding  a new  section to  read: TRANSITION:                                                                    
     REGULATIONS.  The Department  of Natural  Resources may                                                                    
     adopt  regulation necessary  to  implement the  changes                                                                    
     made by this  Act. The regulation take  effect under AS                                                                    
     44.62  (Administrative Procedure  Act), but  not before                                                                    
     the  effective  date  of the  law  implemented  by  the                                                                    
     regulation.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
     Section 24. Provides courts 120  days to establish bail                                                                  
     schedule required by Section 21.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     Section 25. Sections 23 and  24 take effect immediately                                                                  
     under AS 01.10.070 (c)                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
     Section 26. Except as provided  in Section 25, this Act                                                                  
     takes effect July 1, 2018.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:32:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAISCH offered that the whole  purpose behind HB 355 is about                                                               
fire  education  and  preventing   human-caused  wildfires.    He                                                               
pointed to  the document on  the committee table titled,  "HB 355                                                               
Fire Prevention  and Crimes  on Forested  Land" and  advised that                                                               
approximately 80  percent of the  fires in Alaska are  the result                                                               
of  humans, especially  around communities.   He  pointed to  the                                                               
examples of five  different wildfires in the last  few years that                                                               
have cost the general fund, $20  million in one case, $10 million                                                               
in another case,  and significant loss of  structures for primary                                                               
residents.  He  related that even if one of  those fires could be                                                               
prevented, it  saves the state  significant general  fund monies,                                                               
and significant damage to private individuals.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
3:33:33 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP referred  to Sec. 2, [AS  41.15.010], page 2,                                                               
lines 4-7, which read as follows:                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
          It is  the intent of  AS 41.15.010 -  41.15.170 to                                                                    
     provide  protection   from  wildland  fire   and  other                                                                    
     destructive  agents, commensurate  with  the values  at                                                                    
     risk, on forested land that  is owned privately, by the                                                                
     state, or by a municipality.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE KOPP  offered a  scenario of a  fire, such  as the                                                               
Sockeye Fire, that  would sweep through a forested  land and then                                                               
move through a residential area that  is solely made up of homes.                                                               
He asked whether the statutes that  come into play to address the                                                               
negligent burning  go over  to Title  11 in  those areas  and the                                                               
Title  41  offenses,  or if  it  is  all  the  same event  as  to                                                               
enforcement.   The state  has these mirror  sets of  laws between                                                               
Titles 11 and 41, and he said that  he would like to have an idea                                                               
of the interplay between the two statutes.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MAISCH  responded  that  in  Title  41,  the  definition  of                                                               
forested  land  is  broad  as  it  includes,  brush,  grass,  and                                                               
basically any flammable organic  material.  Therefore, it doesn't                                                               
matter where  the fire occurs  on the  landscape, it is  what the                                                               
division calls  the "urban interface" which  would be communities                                                               
and subdivisions, small villages, or  in the true wildlands which                                                               
would  be more  like forest  land.   The Title  41 statute  would                                                               
apply whether it  is in an urban  or rural setting as  far as the                                                               
enforcement  of  the  burning  statutes.   He  explained  that  a                                                               
portion of this bill does  cross-reference the criminal part over                                                               
to the criminal  code.  Currently, the only  ability the division                                                               
has is to issue a violation  for the violation of these statutes,                                                               
which is  a mandatory  court appearance  as well  as coordination                                                               
with  the  District Attorney's  Office.    It  is rare  that  the                                                               
division takes  that that action because  it has to be  a serious                                                               
case  as the  courts  are  already tied  up  with more  important                                                               
matters.   This legislation  would offer the  division more  of a                                                               
range  of  options  in  dealing  with  infractions  of  the  burn                                                               
regulations, he explained.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:35:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  KOPP   surmised  that  there  are   solely  civil                                                               
violations  here,  and  there  are offenses  here  that  are  not                                                               
misdemeanors.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MAISCH  answered  that  the division  is  proposing  a  bail                                                               
schedule  similar to  a traffic  ticket,  to be  approved by  the                                                               
Alaska Supreme Court.  He said,  "Not a maximum of $500, but they                                                               
would establish the  amounts based on the type of  offense in the                                                               
regulations, a class  A misdemeanor offense, and  then two felony                                                               
offenses that are both  at a class B and C level.   He noted that                                                               
this  is a  scaled approach  to enforcement  and as  the type  of                                                               
offenses committed  become more  serious, potentially there  is a                                                               
greater punishment, and  that is the criminal  phase.  Currently,                                                               
he advised, the division has the  ability to recover costs on the                                                               
civil  side, and  that is  oftentimes how  the division  recovers                                                               
costs.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
3:36:55 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD asked  whether Mr.  Maisch was  familiar                                                               
with "Firewise?"                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAISCH responded  that Firewise is a program  the division is                                                               
actively promoting,  it offers education,  and it  works directly                                                               
with the homeowners and communities.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD advised  that  she  has participated  in                                                               
Firewise  and  it  provides excellent  programs.    Firewise  has                                                               
helped out  with private  property and it  also helps  with trail                                                               
building efforts to  decrease the amount of  debris and materials                                                               
that would stimulate  fires.  She asked whether  Mr. Maisch works                                                               
with the "Hot Shots?"                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAISCH answered that the division  is the "Hot Shots," and he                                                               
would  be  happy  to  talk  about  the  crews  because  they  are                                                               
important  resources to  the  division and  are  equivalent to  a                                                               
"smoke  jumper"   in  terms   of  the   level  of   training  and                                                               
professionalism.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE   REINBOLD  advised   that  she   has  tried   for                                                               
approximately five  years to  get them  into her  area but  it is                                                               
competitive"  because they  are in  high demand.   She  commented                                                               
that they  are extremely well  trained and professional,  but she                                                               
ended up using  prisoners to help clear the debris  to reduce the                                                               
fire  hazards  in  her  area  and "they  were  awesome  with  the                                                               
chainsaw."                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
3:38:56 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE REINBOLD referred to  Sec. 5. [AS 41.15.050], page                                                               
2,  lines 21-30,  and  asked  whether there  are  any changes  in                                                               
permitting.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAISCH replied  that there are no changes  to permitting, and                                                               
that  Section   5  clarifies  that   the  commissioner   has  the                                                               
authority, at any time, to extend the fire season based on need.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
3:39:27 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD referred  to  Sec.  10. [AS  41.15.100],                                                               
page 3, lines 22-23, which read as follows:                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
           (b) A person who starts a fire in or near                                                                            
      forested land may not leave the fire before totally                                                                       
     extinguishing the fire.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE REINBOLD  asked whether  there is a  definition of                                                               
"totally extinguishing the fire."                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAISCH responded  that the division points out  that a person                                                               
must be  able to  touch it  with their hand.   He  explained that                                                               
"cold and out" is the common  way in which firefighters will look                                                               
when performing mop up on a fire  to make sure a hot ember is not                                                               
covered  in   ash.     Smokey  Bear,   the  most   iconic  figure                                                               
internationally,  offers the  good message  of, "stir  the fire."                                                               
The fire must  be dead-out and the best way  to determine whether                                                               
a fire is  dead-out is by touch.  He  offered that the division's                                                               
education programs focus  on that, it offers  school programs, it                                                               
is at  the fairs  around the  state, and it  is at  all community                                                               
events  where it  has an  opportunity to  see and  meet a  lot of                                                               
people.   The division's prevention officer  teaches safe burning                                                               
practices, including how to properly  extinguish a campfire to be                                                               
certain it is dead-out, he remarked.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:40:52 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD  asked  whether the  division  runs  the                                                               
Smokey Bear program.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAISCH  answered that  the United  States Forest  Service has                                                               
the copyright for Smokey the Bear,  but yes, the division has its                                                               
own Smokey the  Bear costumes in every area office,  and they are                                                               
active with Smokey the Bear type of issues.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
3:41:12 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD referred  to  Sec.  18. [AS  41.15.160],                                                               
page 5, lines  26-31 and page 6, lines 1-3,  and paraphrased that                                                               
"you can  double the damages  in civil  actions."  She  asked Mr.                                                               
Maisch to elaborate.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAISCH replied  that double damages is  the standard starting                                                               
point of civil  recovery, and there are many reasons  for a fire,                                                               
such  as  accidental  and  negligent,  negligent,  or  a  lot  of                                                               
different standards that  the division is reviewing.   He pointed                                                               
out that double  damages is the standard starting  point for cost                                                               
recovery and  it typically  gets the attention  of the  party the                                                               
entity is  trying to  recover costs  from, typically  they settle                                                               
for  insurance  limits,  depending   upon  the  situation.    The                                                               
division is not out to bankrupt  an individual or a business, but                                                               
it depends on how egregious the offense, he offered.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:42:24 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
ANNE   NELSON,  Senior   Assistant   Attorney  General,   Natural                                                               
Resources  Section,  Civil  Division (Anchorage),  Department  of                                                               
Law, explained that the double  damages provision is available to                                                               
any person, as well as  governmental entities, that have incurred                                                               
suppression costs.   She  described that it  is a  mechanism that                                                               
functions not only  as a deterrent, but also as  a method for the                                                               
state,  in this  case the  Division  of Forestry,  to recoup  the                                                               
costs of  fighting a fire.   This provision is also  available to                                                               
property owners  who may  have lost property  during a  fire, she                                                               
offered.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:42:48 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  REINBOLD asked  whether the  double damages  only                                                               
include  the  suppression  costs,  or does  it  include  property                                                               
damage to the private landowner.                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAISCH  answered that for  the division, it is  simply trying                                                               
to  recover its  costs  of  preventing the  fire.   Although,  he                                                               
offered,  sometimes  when  there  are  not  sufficient  insurance                                                               
proceeds, the division will subordinate  itself and first let the                                                               
damaged homeowner  be made  whole for  the damages  they suffered                                                               
before  the   state  will  then   step  in  and   recover  costs.                                                               
Typically, the division  does not go for the value  of the timber                                                               
or the land, it is just the suppression costs, he said.                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:43:47 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE REINBOLD  referred to  Secs. 21  and 24  and noted                                                               
that they  go hand-in-hand with  regard to the bail  schedule and                                                               
asked  whether  the division  has  120  days  to develop  a  bail                                                               
schedule.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS. NELSON responded  that the Alaska Supreme Court  must adopt a                                                               
bail schedule.   Under this bill, the Division  of Forestry would                                                               
adopt  regulations implementing  these  statutes  and create  the                                                               
bailable  offenses, which  are  essentially non-criminal  tickets                                                               
that  can  be satisfied  without  a  court appearance  by  simply                                                               
paying  the fine.   Once  the regulations  have been  through the                                                               
public  comment  period  and  are   properly  adopted  under  the                                                               
Administrative Procedures  Act (APA), those regulations  would be                                                               
sent to the Alaska Supreme  Court with a suggested bail schedule,                                                               
she explained.   The Alaska  Supreme Court would then  review the                                                               
regulations  and,  she  opined,   it  would  publish  them  under                                                               
Administrative Rule 43.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:45:08 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN opened public testimony on HB 355.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:45:51 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
BRENDA AHLBERG,  Kenai Peninsula Borough, advised  that on behalf                                                               
of Mayor  Charlie Pierce  and the  Kenai Peninsula  Borough, they                                                               
support  the enactment  of  HB  355.   As  the Kenai  Peninsula's                                                               
population continues  to grow, so  too does the  expectation that                                                               
wildfires must be reduced using  combined strategies.  Too often,                                                               
she pointed out  that people quickly lose the  sense of awareness                                                               
or fail  to practice prevention  after the response  to wildfires                                                               
and costly  rehabilitation measures  have been completed  for the                                                               
season.   This bill creates  an updated framework  that addresses                                                               
fire prevention  and enforcement actions aimed  at reducing risk,                                                               
educating  the  public  through  outreach,  and  recognizing  the                                                               
movement  toward  establishing  fire adapted  communities.    She                                                               
commented, "Let's  face it, we  live in the trees,  the wildland-                                                               
urban interface (WUI) and fuels  reduction projects on private or                                                               
public   landholding  should   compliment  fire   as  a   natural                                                               
occurrence on  the landscape."   Approximately 98 percent  of all                                                               
fire starts on  the Kenai Peninsula are human caused  and that is                                                               
not  acceptable.    As  the WUI  continues  to  intermingle  with                                                               
forested  land, and  as people  continue  to live  in the  trees,                                                               
there is a  need to recognize that minimizing wildfire  risk is a                                                               
shared responsibility among all landowners, she remarked.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:47:39 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
JAMES SQURYES  noted his appreciation  for the  amendment process                                                               
that took place during the  last committee of referral, but there                                                               
is still  work to be  accomplished on HB 355.   He noted  that he                                                               
has been concerned for some time  with AS 42.15.  He offered hope                                                               
that  legislators   use  this  opportunity  to   make  additional                                                               
amendments to  this bill to bring  the statutes in line  with the                                                               
constitutional elements  that legislators  swore to  uphold under                                                               
Article 12, Sec.  5, of the Constitution of the  State of Alaska.                                                               
In particular,  Sec. 3 of  the bill  refers to AS  41.15.040, the                                                               
right  of  entry to  control  and  suppress  fires, needs  to  be                                                               
realigned with Article  1, Section 14 of the  Constitution of the                                                               
State of Alaska, and the  Fourth Amendment of the Constitution of                                                               
the United States against unreasonable  searches when it comes to                                                               
private property.   (Indisc.) wants  the Division of  Forestry to                                                               
charge in  and control  and suppress  wildfire even  if it  is on                                                               
private property,  that is not  the question here.   He commented                                                               
that Alaska  is a huge state  and there is not  that much private                                                               
property, even less  when backing out urban  from rural privately                                                               
owned forested  land.  He noted  that what is in  question is the                                                               
current  prevention terminology  in  statute that  can be  easily                                                               
abused by virtually  any employee in the Division  of Forestry to                                                               
enter private  property when  there is no  probable cause  that a                                                               
crime  is being  committed.   Currently, a  Division of  Forestry                                                               
employee is  considered a  peace officer  under AS  41.15.950 and                                                               
may climb  over a rock and  posted gate and walk  down a person's                                                               
driveway,   where   the   homeowner   clearly   expressed   their                                                               
expectation of  privacy, without probable  cause that a  crime is                                                               
being committed  to prevent, not  just a wildfire, but  any fire.                                                               
Many  Alaskans, like  himself, currently  have smoke  rolling out                                                               
the top of their chimneys as  he presents his testimony.  None of                                                               
the people  have a problem  [rising to] probable cause,  yet they                                                               
know that Article  1, Section 22 indicates that the  right of the                                                               
people to  privacy is recognized  and shall not be  infringed, he                                                               
said.  AS 41.15.040 could be  cleaned up by a simple amendment on                                                               
page 2,  line 14,  adding the word  "wildland" between  the words                                                               
"suspected  fire;" and  on page  2,  line 16,  removing the  word                                                               
"preventing."  The  title of this section could  be modernized by                                                               
changing it to  "AS 41.15.040, Authority of entry  to control and                                                               
suppress ...                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN  advised Mr. Squryes that  he had gone over  his two                                                               
minutes and asked that he conclude his remarks.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SQURYES said  he wanted  to address  the situation  of peace                                                               
officers under  AS 41.15.950  being applied  to the  employees of                                                               
the Division of Forestry who are not trained as peace officers.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:50:19 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE EASTMAN  asked about  his concerns with  regard to                                                               
peace officers in this bill.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  SQURYES  explained  that AS  11.61.220  involves  misconduct                                                               
involving  weapons  in  the  fifth  degree,  whereby  an  Alaskan                                                               
carrying a concealed  firearm, even on his  own private property,                                                               
has a  duty to immediately notify  a peace officer that  they are                                                               
carrying  a concealed  firearm,  and the  peace  officer has  the                                                               
right  to secure  the  deadly  weapon.   He  described that  this                                                               
procedure, wherein  someone on  the fire crew  is not  trained in                                                               
performing,  opens  the  pandora's  box  to  the  possibility  of                                                               
undesirable outcomes.   In revising  the statute, it is  time for                                                               
this issue to be addressed, he said.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
3:51:32 PM                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR CLAMAN, after  ascertaining that no one  wished to testify,                                                               
closed public testimony on HB 355.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
[HB 355 was held over.]                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB355 ver J 3.14.18.PDF HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/19/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/26/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/2/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/2/2018 7:00:00 PM
HB 355
HB355 Sponsor Statement 3.14.18.pdf HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/26/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/2/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 4/2/2018 7:00:00 PM
HB 355
HB355 Sectional Analysis ver J 3.14.18.pdf HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 355
HB355 Explanation of Changes ver D to J 3.14.18.pdf HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 355
HB355 Supporting Document-Expanded One Pager 3.14.18.pdf HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 355
HB355 Supporting Document-Alaska Fire Chiefs Support Letter 3.14.18.pdf HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 355
HB355 Fiscal Note LAW-CRIM 3.14.18.pdf HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 355
HB355 Fiscal Note DNR-FSP 3.14.18.pdf HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 355
HB075 ver D 2.28.18.pdf HJUD 2/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 7:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/19/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 75
HB075 Sectional Analysis 2.28.18.pdf HJUD 2/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 7:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 75
HB075 Sponsor Statement 2.28.18.pdf HJUD 2/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 7:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 75
HB075 Supporting Document-Washington Post Article - Five States Allow Gun Seizures 2.28.18.pdf HJUD 2/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 7:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 75
HB075 Supporting Document-Washington Post Article - Missouri Case 2.28.18.pdf HJUD 2/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 7:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 75
HB075 Supporting Document-The Trace Article - ERPOs Reduce Suicides 2.28.18.pdf HJUD 2/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 7:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 75
HB075 Supporting Document-Sandy Hook Promise Letter 2.28.18.pdf HJUD 2/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 7:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 75
HB075 Supporting Document-Sandy Hook Promise Letters (Part 1) 2.28.18.pdf HJUD 2/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 7:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 75
HB075 Supporting Document-Public Comment (Part 1) 2.28.18.pdf HJUD 2/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 7:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/19/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 75
HB075 Fact Sheet 2.28.18.pdf HJUD 2/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 7:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/19/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 75
HB075 Fiscal Note DHSS-EPI 2.28.18.pdf HJUD 2/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 7:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 75
HB075 Fiscal Note LAW-CRIM 2.28.18.pdf HJUD 2/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 7:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 75
HB075 Fiscal Note DPS-CJISP 2.28.18.pdf HJUD 2/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 7:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 75
HB075 Fiscal Note DPS-DET 2.28.18.pdf HJUD 2/28/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 7:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 75
HB075 Fiscal Note JUD-ACS 3.12.18.pdf HJUD 3/12/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 75
HB075 Opposing Document-Public Comment (Part 1) 3.12.18.pdf HJUD 3/12/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 7:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/19/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 75
HB075 Supporting Document-Public Comment (Part 3) 3.14.18.pdf HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 75
HB075 Supporting Document-NYT Opinion - Mental Health System Can't Stop Mass Shooters 3.12.18.pdf HJUD 3/12/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 7:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 75
HB075 Supporting Document-Public Comment (Part 2) 3.12.18.pdf HJUD 3/12/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/12/2018 7:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/19/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 75
HB075 Supporting Document-Sandy Hook Promise Letters (Part 2) 3.14.18.pdf HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 75
HB075 Opposing Document-Public Comment (Part 2) 3.14.18.pdf HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/16/2018 1:00:00 PM
HJUD 3/19/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 75
HB355 Supporting Document-Alaska Fire Chiefs Letter 3.14.18.pdf HJUD 3/14/2018 1:00:00 PM
HB 355