Legislature(2009 - 2010)BARNES 124

01/27/2010 03:15 PM House LABOR & COMMERCE

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03:21:56 PM Start
03:22:01 PM HB283
04:12:39 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved Out of Committee
             HB 283-PURCHASE/CONSUMPTION OF ALCOHOL                                                                         
3:22:01 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR OLSON announced that the only order of business would be                                                                  
HOUSE BILL  NO. 283, "An  Act relating  to the purchasing  of and                                                               
restrictions concerning alcoholic beverages."                                                                                   
3:23:04 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  HARRY CRAWFORD,  Alaska State  Legislature, began                                                               
his  testimony  by  identifying  alcohol  as  a  scourge  in  our                                                               
society.  It  causes so much heartache in this  state.  Alaska is                                                               
right at  the top of  the list  of states with  alcohol offenses.                                                               
He  started this  bill  process because  his wife  was  hit by  a                                                               
convicted drunk  driver.   The drunk driver  had been  ordered by                                                               
the  court not  to  buy,  consume, or  enter  the  premise of  an                                                               
establishment where alcohol is sold  for the purpose of buying or                                                               
consuming alcohol.   However, there  was not any way  to identify                                                               
the  drunk driver.   The  convicted driver  continued to  buy and                                                               
consume alcohol and endanger other Alaskans.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CRAWFORD  related that  this drunk driver  hit his                                                               
wife and also nearly  hit his son.  For several  days, he did not                                                               
know if  his wife  would live  or die.   At the  time he  was not                                                               
concerned whether  the driver was  apprehended or  punished, only                                                               
with his  wife's condition, hoping  that she would survive.   She                                                               
is the center and core of his family, he stated.                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  CRAWFORD related  that he  wanted to  prevent the                                                               
drunk  drivers from  continuing to  harm innocent  people.   This                                                               
bill  would  amend the  current  law  concerning people  who  are                                                               
restricted  from  the  purchase   and  consumption  of  alcoholic                                                               
beverages.     Last   legislature,  House   Bill  90   imposed  a                                                               
requirement  that  a stripe  be  placed  on the  Alaska  driver's                                                               
license for  those drivers  with a  felony convicted  for driving                                                               
under the  influence (DUI),  and also  imposed a  thousand dollar                                                               
fine  against  the business  that  sold  the alcohol  since  many                                                               
businesses do not check licenses.                                                                                               
3:26:21 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CRAWFORD  explained that  the initial  bill, House                                                               
Bill  90 [25th  Legislature]  did not  make  the fine  mandatory.                                                               
This bill, HB 283, would double  the fine to $2,000, and a letter                                                               
of intent is  attached that would share $1,000 to  the clerk that                                                               
confiscated the red-striped license at  the time of the attempted                                                               
purchase  of alcohol.    This  would serve  as  an incentive  for                                                               
clerks to check drivers' licenses,  especially for people who are                                                               
known  chronic  offenders.   Many  people,  especially  in  small                                                               
communities, are aware of the offenders, he stated.                                                                             
3:27:07 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CRAWFORD explained this  bill has been expanded to                                                               
affect third time  offenders in cases where alcohol  is used when                                                               
committing  a crime.    He related  that HB  283  is intended  to                                                               
target  chronic  inebriates.   He  pointed  out he  received  two                                                               
fiscal notes today,  which he hopes the departments  will be able                                                               
explain.   As a result  of House Bill  90, the Division  of Motor                                                               
Vehicles (DMV)  charges an additional  $50, which is paid  by the                                                               
offender.    He did  not  anticipate  this  bill would  cause  an                                                               
additional expense  to the DMV,  and thus, he did  not understand                                                               
the $40,000 fiscal impact, in the DMV fiscal note.                                                                              
3:29:12 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR OLSON noted Whitney Brewster is on line.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE CRAWFORD  related this  is the initial  hearing on                                                               
this bill.                                                                                                                      
REPRESENTATIVE BUCH  agreed to wait  to hear from  the department                                                               
on the fiscal impact.                                                                                                           
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN related  that he would like  to cosponsor the                                                               
3:31:00 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE T. WILSON  asked for the impact HB  283 would have                                                               
on drivers when the DUI occurred in another state.                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE CRAWFORD said he  thought the offenses would begin                                                               
to be counted in Alaska.                                                                                                        
3:32:20 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN  empathized with  Representative Crawford's                                                               
family concerns.   He expressed  concern over  government control                                                               
in families'  lives.  This  is currently  a crime, and  this bill                                                               
creates  a  crime  for  committing  a crime.    He  reviewed  the                                                               
penalties for  DUI such  that the offender  must forfeit  a motor                                                               
vehicle,  weapon, or  other valuable.   He  related that  the few                                                               
ruin it for  the many.  Some people are  inconsiderate or unfair,                                                               
but all the laws in the world cannot stop the behavior.                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE   NEUMAN  also   expressed  concern   with  adding                                                               
additional responsibility  for store clerks.   He highlighted his                                                               
libertarian view with respect to  adding another layer of law for                                                               
the offense.  He understood  the department would need additional                                                               
employees to  oversee the provisions in  the law.  If  a law does                                                               
not  stop a  person from  committing  a crime,  he asked  whether                                                               
another law would stop the activity.                                                                                            
3:38:01 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CRAWFORD  responded that  the law does  not change                                                               
the  sentencing provisions.   The  idea of  ordering a  person to                                                               
refrain from being on the premise  where alcohol is served is not                                                               
a new law.  However, the  system did not previously have a method                                                               
of identifying the  DUI offender.  The prior  bill identified the                                                               
person, but  HB 283 offers  intent language to provide  a portion                                                               
of  the fine  to the  clerk as  an incentive,  since the  clerk's                                                               
normally will check  licenses of anyone under the age  of 30.  He                                                               
recalled   that   at    Costco   clerks   automatically   require                                                               
identification at the  time of sale, regardless of age.   Had the                                                               
clerk    checked   Laurie    Phillip's   driver's    license   or                                                               
identification,  she  may  have been  prevented  from  purchasing                                                               
alcohol  that led  to  drunk driving.   She  later  drove on  the                                                               
Seward Highway  and during an  alcohol -induced blackout  was not                                                               
even aware that she killed someone.                                                                                             
3:40:31 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  CRAWFORD recalled  a recent  DUI death,  in which                                                               
the offender  blacked out and  did not  recall the incident.   In                                                               
the instances in which alcohol is  taken out of the equation, the                                                               
offender might  get his/her life  straightened out and  this bill                                                               
might help  provide a tool.   He suggested that he  does not want                                                               
to intrude in people's lives, but  at the same time would like to                                                               
prevent unnecessary deaths.                                                                                                     
3:41:40 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   OLSON   related   Shirley   Gifford's   law   enforcement                                                               
3:42:36 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   NEUMAN  asked   whether  laws   prevent  chronic                                                               
alcoholics from breaking the law.                                                                                               
SHIRLEY  GIFFORD,  Director,  Alcoholic  Beverage  Control  Board                                                               
(ABC), Department  of Public Safety  (DPS), began by  stating she                                                               
has 28 years  of law enforcement experience.   Alcohol has caused                                                               
a lot of  heartache in the state.   She characterized enforcement                                                               
as  a critically  important  part  of the  equation,  as well  as                                                               
recognizing   the   important   components   of   education   and                                                               
prevention.   The ABC  Board regulates  the licensees.   It  is a                                                               
huge problem, but  agreed with the bill sponsor that  it can be a                                                               
3:45:08 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE NEUMAN  did not disagree.   He related that  it is                                                               
more of  a philosophical issue  for him with respect  to creating                                                               
an additional law.                                                                                                              
3:45:41 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  offered his belief  that this bill  is about                                                               
keeping convicted drunk  drivers off the street and  is not about                                                               
curing alcoholism.   Medical intervention may help  but this bill                                                               
is designed to keep drunk drivers off the street.                                                                               
WHITNEY  BREWSTER, Director,  Division of  Motor Vehicles  (DMV),                                                               
Department of Administration (DOA),  explained that currently the                                                               
DMV identifies  and restricts a  person from  purchasing alcohol,                                                               
as a condition  of sentencing for a DUI, by  placing a bright red                                                               
stripe across their  Alaska driver's license.   Estimates for the                                                               
fiscal  note  were  based  on   the  Alaska  Justice  Statistical                                                               
Analysis Center  (AJSAC), but unfortunately  it was  difficult to                                                               
determine the  number of  alcohol related  incidents.   The AJSAC                                                               
has a relational data base that  is comprised of merged data from                                                               
the  Alaska  Court  System,  the   DPS,  and  the  Department  of                                                               
Corrections.    In 2007,  104,256  instances  were identified  in                                                               
which  alcohol   was  suspected   as  a  factor,   not  including                                                               
bootlegging  or selling  substances,  but someone  was under  the                                                               
influence during the time the crime  was committed.  The DMV took                                                               
approximately 40  percent of the incidents,  which is represented                                                               
in the  fiscal note.   The number could  be higher or  lower, but                                                               
absent data this is a starting point.                                                                                           
3:49:42 PM                                                                                                                    
MS.  BREWSTER  explained the  process  the  DMV uses  to  process                                                               
license restrictions  imposed by the  court.  The DMV  receives a                                                               
hard-copy  paper  judgment  from   the  court  with  the  alcohol                                                               
restriction  hand written  on the  document.   The DMV  and court                                                               
records  are not  automatically linked.   Thus,  when someone  is                                                               
convicted of a  crime and an alcohol restriction  is imposed, the                                                               
DMV  receives the  judgment, and  must ascertain  the restriction                                                               
and  manually  enter  the  data  into  the  record.    Additional                                                               
resources would be  needed if the volume is high,  at least until                                                               
electronic  data  is  available.    She  emphasized  that  absent                                                               
electronic  submission of  the records,  the courts  do not  have                                                               
method to mesh with the DMV's data system, which is antiquated.                                                                 
3:51:06 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN understood  that the law is  already in place                                                               
that requires the red stripe  be applied to the driver's license,                                                               
for conviction  of a  felony alcohol offense.   This  bill simply                                                               
doubles the fine,  but the person has already  been identified in                                                               
the system.  The warning banner  is already in place.  Nothing in                                                               
the bill  requires the DMV  to do anything additional,  since the                                                               
bill creates  an incentive  for clerks to  check the  license and                                                               
seize the license.                                                                                                              
3:52:19 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BREWSTER  responded that  the bill  broadens the  offenses to                                                               
any third offense of alcohol-related  crimes.  Currently, the DMV                                                               
only restricts DUI offenders, but  under the bill any crime where                                                               
alcohol is a contributing factor would require a restriction.                                                                   
3:52:56 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE HOLMES referred to page  3, lines 21-31 of HB 283,                                                               
that  broadens  the  offenders  covered  under  this  bill.    It                                                               
basically adds two  situations.  She pointed out that  on page 3,                                                               
line  25, that  if a  person is  convicted of  a felony,  and the                                                               
court finds by clear and  convincing evidence that the defendants                                                               
conduct constituting the offense  was substantially influenced by                                                               
the  consumption of  alcoholic beverages;  or in  subsection (b),                                                               
must  be convicted  of a  misdemeanor,  but must  have two  prior                                                               
misdemeanors, and  using the  fairly high  standard of  clear and                                                               
convincing  evidence,  that  there  is  reason  to  believe  that                                                               
imposing  the   requirement  that  the  defendant   refrain  from                                                               
consuming  alcoholic  beverages  is   necessary  to  protect  the                                                               
public.    She  offered  that  as a  pretty  high  burden.    She                                                               
understood the  challenges of  the DMV since  the state  does not                                                               
know how  many cases  this would involve.   However,  she thought                                                               
that a judge will not impose  this restriction in all cases so it                                                               
seems that a 40 percent rate  is an overly generous prediction of                                                               
the frequency.                                                                                                                  
3:54:53 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE CRAWFORD understood that only  about 100 to 200 of                                                               
the frequent offenders  take up a great percentage  of police law                                                               
enforcement  efforts.   Once the  driver's license  is issued  it                                                               
does  not need  to  be reissued.   He  could  not imagine  40,000                                                               
Alaskans have committed a felony  or repeat misdemeanor each year                                                               
or a high percentage of  the population of 680,000 Alaskans would                                                               
be involved.  He offered his  belief that the number is far less.                                                               
He asked how many licenses have  been issued to date, and whether                                                               
there is a deficit for the DMV since it receives a $50 fee.                                                                     
3:57:04 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. BREWSTER offered that currently  the DMV has 2,133 restricted                                                               
Alaska Drivers' licenses on file.                                                                                               
3:57:23 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  CRAWFORD, in  response to  Representative Neuman,                                                               
related that  once the DMV  issues a  license, the red  stripe is                                                               
there, and the license is not reissued.                                                                                         
REPRESENTATIVE  NEUMAN  expressed  concern with  $2  million  DMV                                                               
fiscal note.   It seemed to him  that $2 million would  go a long                                                               
way to help with prevention.                                                                                                    
MS. GIFFORD  responded that is a  tough question.  She  stands on                                                               
the  belief that  law enforcement,  prevention, and  programs are                                                               
all necessary.   We  are always  trying to find  ways to  make it                                                               
easier  to  apprehend the  few  people  who  commit most  of  the                                                               
crimes.   She related that  catching perpetrators is her  job, so                                                               
she  has  a  bias  towards  implementing  laws  that  assist  law                                                               
enforcement.     This  bill  also   provides  an   incentive  for                                                               
employees.   She  said  she  can say  that  since the  restricted                                                               
license  law  went  into  effect,  anecdotally,  other  forms  of                                                               
identification are  being presented  such as passports  and other                                                               
forms  of identification  such as  military identification.   She                                                               
speculated that given  the 2,133 restricted licenses,  there is a                                                               
good  chance  that some  users  are  attempting to  us  alternate                                                               
identification.   She thought HB  283 gives enforcement  a little                                                               
4:02:22 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  NEUMAN remarked  that $2  million in  enforcement                                                               
could also help.                                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE CRAWFORD  explained the  fiscal note for  the DMV.                                                               
He related that the fiscal note  is for $140,000 in expenses, and                                                               
$2 million  in revenue.   He stressed  that he could  not imagine                                                               
40,000  restricted licenses  would be  issued, but  the increased                                                               
licenses would also be a positive revenue flow for the DMV.                                                                     
4:03:39 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN  asked about out-of-state drivers.   He asked                                                               
whether people disclose DUIs from other states.                                                                                 
MS. BREWSTER answered no.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN related perhaps that  could be addressed in a                                                               
future bill.                                                                                                                    
MS. BREWSTER remarked that would likely be helpful.                                                                             
4:04:53 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE T. WILSON  asked whether the $50 fee  to cover the                                                               
restricted driver's license  is enough or if a  higher fee should                                                               
be considered.                                                                                                                  
MS.  BREWSTER  answered  that  the fee  was  established  by  the                                                               
legislature and  a typical fee to  issue a driver's license  is a                                                               
fee, but the fees are deposited to the GF and not the DMV.                                                                      
4:06:09 PM                                                                                                                    
BONNIE HAYS  stated that she  is an  Anchorage resident and  is a                                                               
convicted  drunk driver.   She  said she  has an  Alaska Driver's                                                               
License with a  red stripe across its face.   First, this license                                                               
does not  stop her  from buying  alcohol as  clerks will  sell to                                                               
her.   When she first got  her restricted license she  showed the                                                               
license to clerks  at the stores she usually shopped  at and they                                                               
will  no longer  sell to  her.   She said  when she  relapsed she                                                               
sought out  other liquor stores  and was not  asked as she  is 45                                                               
years old,  looks like a  professional and  does not look  like a                                                               
drunk  driver.   She said,  "This law  is a  good law."   She  is                                                               
typical of  most alcoholics that  she slowly went from  an abuser                                                               
of  alcohol to  an  alcoholic addict.   She  said  that has  been                                                               
through  treatment, attends  Alcoholics  Anonymous (AA)  meeting,                                                               
and  has counselors.    She has  researched  and found  treatment                                                               
works in  four percent of the  population.  She is  in school, is                                                               
studying prevention  and education of substance  abuse.  However,                                                               
she is  in and out of  recovery and in  and out of relapse.   She                                                               
said she has  had many years of sobriety, but  when she relapses,                                                               
she drinks.                                                                                                                     
4:08:04 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. HAYS said:                                                                                                                  
     I cannot  handle my alcohol.   I have one drink  and it                                                                    
     leads  to   another.     The  cravings   sometimes  are                                                                    
     insatiable.   I was  in Wal-Mart just  last week  ... I                                                                    
     saw  the   liquor  store  in  Wal-Mart   and  something                                                                    
     triggered and I actually went  in there.  They wouldn't                                                                    
     sell to  me because I  would not show them  my [Alaska]                                                                    
     driver's license  with the  red stripe.   And  I walked                                                                    
     out and  I stayed sober.   It's so easy to  ask me, "Do                                                                    
     you have a  driver's license; do you  have ID?" because                                                                    
     most of them  do.  And when they ask  me that, I simply                                                                    
     walk away  and I don't drink.   And I don't  get behind                                                                    
     the wheel of the car.   But when I relapse, and it will                                                                    
     happen; I can  only guarantee that I'm  sober right now                                                                    
     and I'm  sober today.   I can't guarantee that  I'm not                                                                    
     going to drink  next week.  I can't  guarantee that I'm                                                                    
     not going  to drink and  get behind  a wheel of  my car                                                                    
     and kill somebody.   For those of you  that have family                                                                    
     here in  Anchorage, you should  be worried  because I'm                                                                    
     typical.   I don't want  to be  an alcoholic.   I don't                                                                    
     want this.  I struggle with  it daily.  And most of the                                                                    
     time, I  win; ...  I go to  my AA meetings  or I  go to                                                                    
     treatment, or I  go talk to my counselor  and I'm okay.                                                                    
     But sometimes  this disease just  kicks my butt  and it                                                                    
     just gets the better of me.                                                                                                
4:09:25 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. HAYS recalled hearing a comment that the few ruin it for the                                                                
many.  She then said:                                                                                                           
     We're  not  talking  about  riding  a  four-wheeler  on                                                                    
     someone's  lawn.   We're talking  about getting  behind                                                                    
     the  wheel of  a car  and killing  someone like  Laurie                                                                    
     Phillips did.  I'm ashamed  to tell you this, but three                                                                    
     days  after Laurie  Phillips did  this -  and this  has                                                                    
     nothing to do with Laurie Phillips  - I drove drunk.  I                                                                    
     drove in  a blackout.   I had to  be told the  next day                                                                    
     where I  actually drove my  car.  And it's  because I'm                                                                    
     an  alcoholic and  I  have a  disease.   And  I was  in                                                                    
     relapse.  And  again, I'm very typical.   They say, and                                                                    
     this is a cliché, it takes  a village to raise a child.                                                                    
     Well, you know  what:  it takes a village  and it takes                                                                    
     a community to  stop drunk drivers.  If  only 4 percent                                                                    
     of  people successfully  complete a  recovery treatment                                                                    
     and stay  sober, then maybe  we should spend  the other                                                                    
     96 percent  and focus on prevention  because prevention                                                                    
     does work.   If  you can prevent  me from  drinking I'm                                                                    
     not going  to get drunk.   I'm not going to  get behind                                                                    
     the  wheel.   I'm  actually taking  a  class right  now                                                                    
     called substance  abuse, prevention, and education.   I                                                                    
     showed  them my  license  last week.    We're having  a                                                                    
     discussion  about this  because  prevention does  work.                                                                    
     There is  a gal in  my class  and she lost  her license                                                                    
     and she'll  be getting it  back, here, next year.   She                                                                    
     didn't know  about this red  stripe and I showed  it to                                                                    
     her and I told her.  I  said this stops me, most of the                                                                    
     time, from buying  alcohol and drinking.   And her face                                                                    
     lit  up.   She said:   "I'm  going to  have that  on my                                                                    
     license, won't  I?"  And I  said: "You will."   And she                                                                    
     was  happy because  of the  same reason  when I  got my                                                                    
     license I  was so  happy ... I  showed it  to everybody                                                                    
     because I  knew that this  is just one more  tool; this                                                                    
     is  one more  thing that  was going  to keep  me sober.                                                                    
     And  if I  drink I'm  going  to die;  alcoholics if  we                                                                    
     don't  stop  drinking, we  die  and  sometimes we  take                                                                    
     other people along with us.                                                                                                
4:11:25 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR OLSON commented that she gave the most compelling                                                                         
testimony he has heard.                                                                                                         
4:11:40 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN agreed.                                                                                                     
REPRESENTATIVE CRAWFORD thanked Ms. Hays.                                                                                       
4:11:48 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR OLSON, after first determining no one else wished to                                                                      
testify, closed public testimony on HB 283.                                                                                     
4:12:04 PM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE LYNN moved to report HB 283, out of the House                                                                    
Labor   and   Commerce   Standing   Committee   with   individual                                                               
recommendations and the accompanying fiscal notes.                                                                              

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
01 HB283 Ver E.pdf HJUD 2/11/2010 1:00:00 PM
HL&C 1/27/2010 3:15:00 PM
HB 283
02 HB283 Sponsor Statement.pdf HJUD 2/11/2010 1:00:00 PM
HL&C 1/27/2010 3:15:00 PM
HB 283
03 HB283 Sectional Analysis.pdf HJUD 2/11/2010 1:00:00 PM
HL&C 1/27/2010 3:15:00 PM
HB 283
04 HB283-DOA-DMV-01-26-10.pdf HJUD 2/11/2010 1:00:00 PM
HL&C 1/27/2010 3:15:00 PM
HB 283
05 HB283-LAW-CRIM-01-26-10.pdf HJUD 2/11/2010 1:00:00 PM
HL&C 1/27/2010 3:15:00 PM
HB 283
06 HB283-DHSS-ASAP-01-26-2010.pdf HJUD 2/11/2010 1:00:00 PM
HL&C 1/27/2010 3:15:00 PM
HB 283