Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 106

03/31/2015 08:00 AM House STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved SCR 6 Out of Committee
Heard & Held
Moved CSHB 117(STA) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
             HB 117-SEXUAL ASSAULT EXAMINATION KITS                                                                         
9:02:29 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE  CHAIR KELLER  announced  that the  last  order of  business                                                               
would  be HOUSE  BILL  NO. 117,  "An Act  requiring  a report  on                                                               
untested sexual  assault examination  kits; and providing  for an                                                               
effective date."                                                                                                                
9:03:04 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES  moved  to adopt  the  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute  (CS)   for  HB  117,  Version   29-LS0386\E,  Martin,                                                               
3/27/15,  as the  working document.   There  being no  objection,                                                               
Version E was before the committee.                                                                                             
9:03:25 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 9:03 a.m. to 9:04 a.m.                                                                       
9:04:54 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE   GARRAN  TARR,   Alaska  State   Legislature,  in                                                               
response to  Representative Gruenberg, advised that  the previous                                                               
version was W.                                                                                                                  
9:06:25 AM                                                                                                                    
RAY FRIEDLANDER, Staff, Representative  Gerran Tarr, Alaska State                                                               
Legislature, advised that the changes  in Version E include: page                                                               
1, line 7,  changed date from July 1, 2015  to September 1, 2015;                                                               
page  1, line  13, changed  date  from September  to November  1,                                                               
2015; page  2, lines  10-16, the  definition of  "untested sexual                                                               
assault kit" was  expanded to include the  phrase "with evidence"                                                               
(line 11)  in order  to ascertain the  audit is  specifically for                                                               
kits with evidence, as opposed to  kits not utilized by local law                                                               
enforcement agencies and state departments.   In addition to that                                                               
change,  she   said,  the  sponsor  further   elaborated  on  the                                                               
definition to include not only  kits that have been collected and                                                               
not submitted to the lab, but  also collected kits that have been                                                               
submitted  to  the  lab  and   not  yet  processed  with  DNA  or                                                               
serological testing.   She reiterated this is to  ensure that the                                                               
audit only includes kits with  evidence, and the expansion of the                                                               
definition to encompass the crime lab.                                                                                          
9:09:07 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE  CHAIR  KELLER  requested  the history  of  where  the  kits                                                               
originated as credit is due,  and assumed the motivation was that                                                               
the  kits would  be  a  tool readily  available  for medical  and                                                               
enforcement to ensure the rape was properly investigated.                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE TARR responded  that this idea was  brought to her                                                               
attention  by  a  national organization  working  throughout  the                                                               
country in  addressing the  backlog of untested  rape kits.   The                                                               
motivation,  she  offered,  is regarding  the  violent  criminals                                                               
still on  the streets due  to untested  kits and the  DNA results                                                               
not  entered  into  a  database associating  them  with  rape  or                                                               
another  crime.   She  expressed  surprise that  there  is not  a                                                               
uniform protocol  for the 150  law enforcement  agencies involved                                                               
in the process.  She  described the legislation as an opportunity                                                               
to  get everyone  on  the  same page,  coordinating  the work  to                                                               
ensure  a  better understanding  of  what  is happening  in  this                                                               
state,  and  allowing  the  state  to  possibly  seek  additional                                                               
resources.  She  referred to Mr. Orin Dym's  testimony during the                                                               
previous   meeting,  who   advised  that   currently  there   are                                                               
approximately 170  untested rape kits  at the crime lab  and, she                                                               
stated,  the audit  could  reveal a  process  of seeking  outside                                                               
funds in  addressing the backlog.   Representative  Tarr referred                                                               
to Ms. Brown's  earlier testimony that it can be  difficult for a                                                               
victim to participate  in the ongoing criminal  procedures due to                                                               
the length of time taken to process cases, and thereby being re-                                                                
victimized on a continual basis by reliving the traumatic event.                                                                
9:13:21 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE  CHAIR KELLER  stated that  the rape  kits are  different in                                                               
every state  and are not  standardized.  Currently, the  kits are                                                               
available as  a voluntary tool and  that parts of the  kit can be                                                               
used  [for   other  incomplete  kits]   and,  he   asked  whether                                                               
Representative Tarr  had considered that formalizing  the process                                                               
may  have an  unintended consequence.    He posed  a scenario  of                                                               
medical staff  not using parts  of the  kit due to  the paperwork                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE TARR advised that  there is a standardized process                                                               
once a  kit is  open and  medical staff  collects evidence.   She                                                               
related that there  is not a standard process as  to what happens                                                               
next in terms of whether the kit  is put on an evidence shelf and                                                               
sits  there for  a  long  period of  time  until  the case  moves                                                               
forward, or whether  the kit is always sent in  for testing.  The                                                               
audit   will  identify   best  practices   and  provide   a  more                                                               
standardized  process and,  in  the event  a  piece hindered  the                                                               
process, she opined  that the public safety  people are available                                                               
to avoid that from happening.                                                                                                   
9:15:18 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR KELLER  referred to the term "collected"  in the bill,                                                               
and  noted that  within  the  audit process  it  must be  decided                                                               
whether or not  "collected" means that is it  there for evidence,                                                               
or whatever.   He pointed  out that  the audit will  force things                                                               
such as  that, and noted the  term "collected" is not  defined in                                                               
the  bill and  suggested  that possibly  it  should be  included,                                                               
rather than using it as a lever for reform.                                                                                     
MS.  FRIEDLANDER replied,  with regard  to the  term "collected,"                                                               
Legislative Legal  and Research Service  expanded on it  with the                                                               
phrase "with evidence."  She explained  it is a kit that has been                                                               
collected with evidence.                                                                                                        
VICE CHAIR KELLER  related that as he read the  definition it was                                                               
not clear,  "with evidence," although, if  the definition stopped                                                               
there  he would  understand  it.   He  said that  parts  1 and  2                                                               
discuss, "that  have been collected  ... and have  been collected                                                               
and submitted,"  and asked whether  that language  is sufficient.                                                               
He offered  that possibly it is  enough to put it  on the record,                                                               
and wanted to be sure it was on the table.                                                                                      
9:17:15 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR advised  that Dean  Williams, Department  of                                                               
Public Safety, is available to address Chair Keller's concerns.                                                                 
VICE  CHAIR KELLER  restated  his question  and  asked whether  a                                                               
definition  of "collected,"  is necessary,  or whether  to define                                                               
the nexus between "what is evidence and what is collected."                                                                     
9:18:06 AM                                                                                                                    
ORIN DYM,  Forensic Laboratory  Manager, Alaska  Scientific Crime                                                               
Detection Laboratory, Department of  Public Safety, answered that                                                               
with regard to  the term "'collected,' once a  sexual assault kit                                                               
is  used for  the  collection  of evidence,  I  find the  meaning                                                               
clear" as  they are counting kits  once the seals are  broken and                                                               
evidence is collected.                                                                                                          
VICE CHAIR KELLER  surmised that once the hospital uses  a kit it                                                               
is automatically evidence as far as Mr. Dym is concerned.                                                                       
MR.  DYM  answered correct,  in  that  once  it is  collected  it                                                               
becomes evidence.                                                                                                               
VICE CHAIR  KELLER asked whether  that is a new  definition here.                                                               
He  noted, from  the  previous hearing,  there  are cases  within                                                               
enforcement where  a piece  may have  used out of  a kit  and the                                                               
alleged  victim decided  not  to proceed.    Therefore, there  is                                                               
collected  evidence that  hasn't been  processed properly  by the                                                               
state  and,   thereby,  perhaps   exacerbated  the   problem  the                                                               
committee is trying to fix, he suggested.                                                                                       
MR. DYM said  whether or not a case is  prosecuted doesn't change                                                               
the fact that  it is still evidence,  and whether or not  it is a                                                               
prosecutable cases  has no bearing on  the fact that it  is still                                                               
evidence collected from a crime scene.                                                                                          
9:20:04 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE  CHAIR  KELLER  restated his  question,  and  asked  whether                                                               
currently  there  is  evidence   that  is  not  being  considered                                                               
evidence because it was not forwarded.   He pointed out that if a                                                               
piece of the kit  is used, that is evidence as far  as Mr. Dym is                                                               
concerned, which means the Department  of Public Safety must keep                                                               
the kit  and warehouse it  forever.  He  opined that that  is not                                                               
how the kits are really being used, but he could be wrong.                                                                      
MR.  DYM said  he was  trying to  understand [the  question], and                                                               
remarked  that  if  a  kit  is  utilized  to  collect  biological                                                               
material, that  kit is evidence.   In the event a  partial kit is                                                               
utilized,  he explained,  that  is still  evidence.   Within  the                                                               
process of identifying  kits that have not been  submitted to the                                                               
laboratory (kits  utilized in  the collection  of evidence)  if a                                                               
piece of the kit has been  utilized in evidence collection and is                                                               
removed from  the kit that may  be difficult to identify,  and he                                                               
does not have an answer for that question.                                                                                      
VICE   CHAIR  KELLER   asked  Mr.   Dean  Williams   whether  his                                                               
understanding of evidence is correct.                                                                                           
9:22:03 AM                                                                                                                    
DEAN  WILLIAMS, Special  Assistant, Office  of the  Commissioner,                                                               
Department of Public Safety, responded  that from the perspective                                                               
of the Department  of Public Safety (DPS), the  language is clear                                                               
in terms  of what is  being counted.  He  described it as  a good                                                               
effort because  DPS does not know  to what extent there  may be a                                                               
problem but  if there  is one,  even a small  one, DPS  should be                                                               
aware and develop a plan.  He  remarked that DPS knows what it is                                                               
dealing with in terms of untested  kits, and if there is evidence                                                               
in a kit there  may be a good reason why the  kit was not tested,                                                               
but DPS should  perform a hand count  and audit.  He  said DPS is                                                               
supportive of the efforts for these reasons.                                                                                    
9:23:13 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR KELLER  surmised that Mr. Williams  was discussing the                                                               
entire  bill, and  asked whether  he was  specifically discussing                                                               
the new definition in Version E,  Section 1, page 2, lines 10-16,                                                               
which read [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                     
       (d) In this section, "untested sexual examination                                                                        
        kit" means a sexual assault examination kit with                                                                        
     evidence that                                                                                                              
               (1) has been collected but that has not been                                                                     
     submitted to  a laboratory operated or  approved by the                                                                    
     Department of  Public Safety  for either  a serological                                                                    
     or DNA test; or                                                                                                            
               (2) has been collected and submitted to a                                                                        
     laboratory operated  or approved  by the  Department of                                                                    
     Public Safety  but that  has not  had a  serological or                                                                    
     DNA test conducted on the evidence.                                                                                        
MR.  WILLIAMS  answered  that  he   discussed  the  changes  with                                                               
Representative Tarr  and is comfortable  with the  definition and                                                               
that DPS has a good sense of what it means.                                                                                     
9:24:03 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG referred to Section  1, page 2, lines 7-                                                               
9, which read [original punctuation provided]:                                                                                  
          (c) The Department of Public Safety shall deliver                                                                     
     a  copy  of  the  report prepared  under  (b)  of  this                                                                    
     section to the senate secretary  and the chief clerk of                                                                    
     the   house   of   representatives   and   notify   the                                                                    
     legislature that the report is available.                                                                                  
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  pointed out that subsection  (c) is not                                                               
necessary in that  a few additional words  included in subsection                                                               
(b) would suffice and would eliminate verbiage.                                                                                 
9:24:20 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  TARR, in  response to  Chair Keller,  stated that                                                               
the  bill  has  two  additional committee  referrals,  the  House                                                               
Judiciary Standing Committee and the House Finance Committee.                                                                   
VICE CHAIR KELLER noted that  he and Representative Gruenberg can                                                               
work on the  bill within the House  Judiciary Standing Committee,                                                               
should he choose to move the bill.                                                                                              
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG suggested considering an amendment.                                                                    
VICE CHAIR KELLER opened public testimony.                                                                                      
9:25:13 AM                                                                                                                    
JESSICA CLER, Manager, Alaska  Public Affairs, Planned Parenthood                                                               
Votes Northwest, said  she is a lifelong resident  of Alaska, and                                                               
currently lives  in Anchorage.   She stated she is  testifying in                                                               
support of  CSHB 117, on  behalf of the sexual  assault survivors                                                               
in Alaska awaiting closure and  justice.  There are approximately                                                               
400,000-500,000 untested  sexual assault examination  kits within                                                               
the United  States, which  not only  means that  sexual predators                                                               
can evade  justice and  re-offend, but  also leaves  thousands of                                                               
sexual  assault  survivors without  closure.    In a  state  with                                                               
tragically high  sexual assault rape  numbers it is  crucial that                                                               
all  rape kits  are  collected, submitted,  and  tested within  a                                                               
timely manner.  She highlighted  that CSHB 117 begins the process                                                               
of addressing  the backlog  because the state  needs to  know the                                                               
number  of kits  sitting on  shelves waiting  for analysis.   She                                                               
pointed out that  this bill gives law enforcement  and the public                                                               
the information necessary  to tackle the amount  of untested rape                                                               
kits in  Alaska.  The cities  and states addressing the  issue of                                                               
their backlog  of untested kits  have noted significant  gains in                                                               
that  the  analysis  has identified  perpetrators  and  they  are                                                               
making gains in  prosecuting these individuals.   Alaska needs to                                                               
follow their lead, she emphasized.                                                                                              
9:27:45 AM                                                                                                                    
NANCY PORTO stated that this  Easter marks a two-year time period                                                               
from the moment she experienced  a sexual assault.  Although, she                                                               
went  to   a  hospital  and   fully  consented  to  a   rape  kit                                                               
examination, the  kit has not  been processed and she  is waiting                                                               
on  the  biological  DNA  evidence  portion of  her  exam.    She                                                               
expressed that the  event was traumatic as she  was asleep before                                                               
it happened,  and was intoxicated  with a narcotic in  her system                                                               
that she  did not knowingly  ingest.   She stressed she  does not                                                               
know exactly what  happened other than she woke  terrified to the                                                               
feeling of  being touched.   She  called the  police, and  at the                                                               
hospital was  informed of a drug  in her system that  she did not                                                               
take.  On  top of that, she explained, the  man was and continues                                                               
to be  her sister's boyfriend and  that she was living  with them                                                               
at  the  time.   She  expressed  that  this event  destroyed  her                                                               
family,  she  experiences  extreme difficulty  with  her  college                                                               
education,  and she  was forced  into a  position of  having more                                                               
responsibility  than she  could handle  alone at  the time.   She                                                               
related  that she  knows many  other women  who have  experienced                                                               
assault, and  in addition to the  assault, she is haunted  by the                                                               
reasons  she has  to believe  that he  may have  committed crimes                                                               
with others  in his past.   Please  support CSHB 117,  because it                                                               
can truly be  a step in the right direction  and give many others                                                               
closure, she expressed.                                                                                                         
VICE  CHAIR KELLER  closed  public  testimony after  ascertaining                                                               
that no one further wished to testify.                                                                                          
9:30:07 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  moved to  report CSHB 117,  labeled 29-                                                               
LS0386\E,  Martin,  3/27/15,  out of  committee  with  individual                                                               
recommendations and  the accompanying fiscal notes.   There being                                                               
no objection,  CSHB 117(STA)  was reported  from the  House State                                                               
Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                                     
VICE CHAIR KELLER returned the gavel to Chair Lynn.                                                                             
9:30:30 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 9:30 a.m. to 9:33 a.m.                                                                       
9:33:06 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN  remarked that due to  the importance of this  bill he                                                               
suggested the committee craft a  letter to the Legislative Budget                                                               
and Audit  Committee regarding  earlier expressed  concerns [that                                                               
fall  under  the purview  of  the  Legislative Budget  and  Audit                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ   stated  that  she   and  Representative                                                               
Gruenberg [no longer in the room]  support the efforts to be made                                                               
regarding HB  117, as amended,  which is  the audit of  the crime                                                               
CHAIR LYNN  stated he is glad  the bill passed out  of committee,                                                               
but more must be done.                                                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
01 SCR 6 Sexual Assault Awareness v.W.pdf HSTA 3/31/2015 8:00:00 AM
02 SCR 6 Sponsor Statement CORRECTED.pdf HSTA 3/31/2015 8:00:00 AM
03 SCR 6 Fiscal Note (S)STA.pdf HSTA 3/31/2015 8:00:00 AM
04 SCR 6 DVSA_Dashboard_2014.pdf HSTA 3/31/2015 8:00:00 AM
05 SCR 6 CDVSA Annua lReport2014.pdf HSTA 3/31/2015 8:00:00 AM
01 HB160 ver A.PDF HSTA 3/31/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 160
02 HB160 Sponsor Statement.pdf HSTA 3/31/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 160
03 HB160 Updated Sectional Analysis Version A.pdf HSTA 3/31/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 160
04 HB160 Alaska Statutes AS 35.27 Art Works in Public Buildings and Facilities.PDF HSTA 3/31/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 160
05 HB160 Alaska Statutes AS 44.27.050 and AS 44.27.060.PDF HSTA 3/31/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 160
06 HB160 Alaska Statutes AS 44.27.052. Powers of council.PDF HSTA 3/31/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 160
07 HB160 Background Information on Art in Public Places Fund.PDF HSTA 3/31/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 160
08 HB160 Legislative Research Repor 14-134m.pdf HSTA 3/31/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 160
09 HB160 Legislative Research Report 14-124m.pdf HSTA 3/31/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 160
10 HB160-DOA-DGS-03-27-15.pdf HSTA 3/31/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 160
11 HB160-DOT-CO-3-27-15.pdf HSTA 3/31/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 160
12 HB160-EED-ASCA-3-27-15.pdf HSTA 3/31/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 160
18aUPDATED HB117CS(STA)-LAW-CRIM-03-27-15.pdf HSTA 3/31/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 117
23 CSHB117 v.E.pdf HSTA 3/31/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 117
24 HB117 Supporting Documents-Email Dean Williams 03-24-2015.pdf HSTA 3/31/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 117
25 HB117 Supporting Documents-Email Orin Dym 03-24-2015.pdf HSTA 3/31/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 117
01a HB 160 Legislation Work Draft Version H.pdf HSTA 3/31/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 160
02a HB 160 Sponsor Statement Work Draft v.H.pdf HSTA 3/31/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 160
2b HB 160 Explanation of Changes Work Draft v.H.pdf HSTA 3/31/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 160
3a HB 160 Sectional Analysis Work Draft v.H.pdf HSTA 3/31/2015 8:00:00 AM
HB 160