Legislature(2015 - 2016)CAPITOL 106

02/02/2016 08:00 AM House STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CS HB 217(STA) Out of Committee
Moved HCS SB 9(STA) Out of Committee
Moved CS HB 243(STA) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
        HB 243-CRIM. CONV. OVERTURNED: RECEIVE PAST PFD                                                                     
8:30:32 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR LYNN  announced that the  final order of business  would be                                                               
HOUSE  BILL NO.  243,  "An  Act relating  to  the permanent  fund                                                               
dividend;  and  relating to  a  permanent  fund dividend  for  an                                                               
individual  whose  conviction  has  been  vacated,  reversed,  or                                                               
dismissed or for  an individual who has been  pardoned because of                                                               
innocence and wrongful conviction."                                                                                             
[CHAIR LYNN passed the gavel to Vice Chair Keller.]                                                                             
8:31:05 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES  moved  to adopt  the  proposed  committee                                                               
substitute  (CS)   for  HB  243,  Version   29-LS1279\F,  Martin,                                                               
1/29/16, as a work draft.                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  objected  for  discussion.    He  then                                                               
withdrew  the  objection.   [There  being  no further  objection,                                                               
Version F was before the committee as a work draft.]                                                                            
CHAIR LYNN, as prime sponsor,  expressed the importance of HB 243                                                               
and asked staff to present the bill.                                                                                            
8:32:21 AM                                                                                                                    
DENEEN  TUCK,  Staff,  Representative   Bob  Lynn,  Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature, presented  HB 243 on behalf  of Representative Lynn,                                                               
prime sponsor.   She explained that the only change  to HB 243 in                                                               
Version F  was modification to the  title.  As background  to the                                                               
proposed legislation,  Ms. Tuck relayed that  when "the Fairbanks                                                               
Four"  were released,  Chair  Lynn noticed  an  injustice on  the                                                               
books.   There was  no follow  up for an  Alaskan convicted  of a                                                               
felony, if the conviction was  overturned, for recourse in filing                                                               
for   the  permanent   fund  dividend   (PFD).     This  proposed                                                               
legislation  allows  all  Alaskans,  who  have  experienced  that                                                               
injustice, to apply for the PFD.                                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG said that at  the last hearing, a number                                                               
of issues were  raised, and after talking to  Mr. Burnett [Deputy                                                               
Commissioner, Department of  Revenue (DOR)], he was  able to have                                                               
many of his questions answered.   He repeated a question asked by                                                               
Representative  Talerico [during  the  previous  bill hearing  on                                                               
1/26/16],  regarding how  the  proposed  legislation addresses  a                                                               
situation in  which a person  convicted of multiple  offenses has                                                               
only one [conviction] reversed.                                                                                                 
8:34:49 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  TUCK stated  that in  the committee  packet is  a memorandum                                                               
("memo")  from  Legislative  Legal and  Research  Services  dated                                                               
January 29,  2016, and that  question is  addressed on page  2 of                                                               
the memo where it is labeled question number 3.                                                                                 
8:35:09 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee  took an  at-ease from  8:35 a.m.  to 8:37  a.m. to                                                               
review the memo.                                                                                                                
8:37:24 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  observed that  the memo answered  the five                                                               
questions posed at the last meeting.                                                                                            
8:37:55 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG expressed  his  appreciation for  these                                                               
answers and acknowledged Ms. Tuck's observation.                                                                                
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG referred  to the  last sentence  of the                                                               
answer to  question 4 in the  memo, which read as  follows: "If a                                                               
person receives  a dividend after  being released,  that dividend                                                               
is subject to  garnishment."  He asserted his  concern that there                                                               
is nothing to  entice the obligor to  apply for a PFD  if it will                                                               
be taken for taxes and child support.   He asked what can be done                                                               
so that the needy parent can get that "back child support."                                                                     
8:40:59 AM                                                                                                                    
SARA   RACE,   Director,   Permanent  Fund   Dividend   Division,                                                               
Department of Revenue (DOR), replied  that [this situation] would                                                               
be similar  to any other  garnishment type.  She  maintained that                                                               
because the  PFD is  a voluntary  program, the  way in  which the                                                               
division explains it to individuals  is that [the garnishment] is                                                               
an amount of money that is going toward a debt that they owe.                                                                   
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG asked  if  there was  any mechanism  in                                                               
state law to allow the  Child Support Enforcement Division (CSED)                                                               
or another entity to be subrogated  to the obligor's right to get                                                               
the  dividend and  allow [CSED]  to  apply through  an agency  or                                                               
another method.                                                                                                                 
MS. RACE asked  Representative Gruenberg if he was  asking if the                                                               
Child  Support Division  could require  that the  individual file                                                               
for the dividend  so that the funds would be  available for child                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  replied either that [scenario]  or some                                                               
mechanism that  would allow the  CSED to  apply on behalf  of the                                                               
recalcitrant obligor.                                                                                                           
MS. RACE responded  that she was not aware of  any such provision                                                               
but could check into it.                                                                                                        
8:42:31 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE KELLER  offered that  [the issue] was  outside the                                                               
scope  of  the proposed  legislation  and  may require  different                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG referred  to  page 1,  lines 10-13,  of                                                               
Version F,  reading, "if the  individual's conviction  is vacated                                                               
or  reversed, and  (1) the  charges on  which the  conviction was                                                               
based are later  dismissed; or (2) the individual  is retried and                                                               
found not guilty."  In  stating his question, regarding the final                                                               
disposition  of  the  case,   Representative  Gruenberg  said  he                                                               
realized he had answered his own question.                                                                                      
8:44:34 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  paraphrased the  last paragraph  of the                                                               
proposed  legislation   under  "transition"  which   states  that                                                               
notwithstanding  the  normal  time  limit   for  applying  for  a                                                               
dividend,  an  individual  who is  eligible  under  the  proposed                                                               
legislation must  apply for  a dividend not  later than  120 days                                                               
after the  effective date of  the Act.   He contended that  it is                                                               
clear  to  him that  the  intent  is  to  allow people  to  apply                                                               
regardless  of  when they  were  exonerated  or when  they  died.                                                               
However, he added that the answer  to question 2 in the memo says                                                               
another provision of the law might  bar them from doing that: "If                                                               
a person dies  after the time limit has already  passed, [the 120                                                               
day time  limit under AS  43.23.005(j)], the estate would  not be                                                               
able to apply  for the dividends."  He alleged  that this relates                                                               
to HB 243, from page 1, line 14,  to the top of page 2.  He asked                                                               
Ms.  Race if  the proposed  legislation eliminates  the right  of                                                               
certain  estates of  people  who had  been  wrongly convicted  to                                                               
apply for the dividend.                                                                                                         
MS. RACE explained that with  a regular estate application, there                                                               
a  limit of  one  year from  the  time of  death  for the  estate                                                               
representative  to be  able to  apply.   She further  stated that                                                               
"this [provision]  would be somewhat  extending that  time period                                                               
if the person passed within the year and 120 days."                                                                             
8:49:07 AM                                                                                                                    
HILARY MARTIN,  Attorney at Law,  Legislative Legal  and Research                                                               
Services, Legislative Affairs Agency,  responded that the 120-day                                                               
time limit  in the memo refers  to both people under  Section one                                                               
of the  bill - those  whose conviction gets overturned  after the                                                               
effective  date  of  the  act and  anyone  who's  conviction  was                                                               
overturned years ago - and under  HB 243 they would have 120 days                                                               
after  the effective  date to  apply.   In  either situation  the                                                               
estate would  have 120 days,  just the same  as a person  who was                                                               
not deceased.                                                                                                                   
8:49:47 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG focused on  the people whose convictions                                                               
were overturned prior  to the effective date of the  bill, and he                                                               
asked if in these cases where  the estates would have been closed                                                               
some time  ago there was a  mechanism by which these  estates can                                                               
be reopened to allow them to receive these dividends.                                                                           
MS. MARTIN  admitted that she  is not well-versed in  estates and                                                               
probate,  but said  she knows  that  the provision  in Section  3                                                               
gives  an  additional   120  days  to  apply   for  anyone  whose                                                               
conviction was before the effective date of the Act.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG  opined  that   this  could  involve  a                                                               
substantial amount  of money  for a  small estate,  especially if                                                               
child support is involved.  He  asked if a closed estate could be                                                               
reopened to  allow an  application under the  bill.   He affirmed                                                               
that he did not  want to hold up the bill,  but offered that this                                                               
was something that could have a real effect.                                                                                    
8:51:55 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR KELLER  said he thinks that this issue  is beyond this                                                               
proposed legislation and an additive  thing, and he would like to                                                               
press on.                                                                                                                       
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  advised that this constitutes  a policy                                                               
decision, and  he recommended  the committee  be aware  of making                                                               
that policy decision in case the issue comes up in the future.                                                                  
VICE CHAIR  KELLER expressed his appreciation  for Representative                                                               
Gruenberg's comments and putting them on the record.                                                                            
8:52:54 AM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR KELLER,  after ascertaining no one  wished to testify,                                                               
closed public testimony on HB 243.                                                                                              
8:53:41 AM                                                                                                                    
The committee took an at-ease from 8:53 a.m. to 8:54 a.m.                                                                       
8:54:37 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG  asked Vice Chair Keller  if Nancy Meade                                                               
could go on record to respond to his previous questions.                                                                        
VICE CHAIR KELLER reopened public testimony on HB 243.                                                                          
REPRESENTATIVE GRUENBERG restated his question.                                                                                 
8:55:35 AM                                                                                                                    
MS.  MEADE, Administrative  Staff, Office  of the  Administrative                                                               
Director, Alaska Court  System, responded that she,  too, was not                                                               
well versed in  probate law; therefore, her  response wouldn't be                                                               
definitive.    She said  that  she  sees  no barrier  to  someone                                                               
applying for  a PFD  on a  deceased person's  behalf, and  HB 243                                                               
would give the  person [applying], and therefore  the estate, the                                                               
right to  collect the PFD.   She  stated her assumption  that the                                                               
[Permanent  Fund  Dividend]  would  accept  an  application  from                                                               
somebody on behalf of a deceased individual.                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  GRUENBERG clarified  that  his  question was  not                                                               
whether the PFD  application would be accepted  but whether there                                                               
is a mechanism for reopening a closed estate.                                                                                   
8:57:12 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. MEADE  replied that she did  not have a definitive  answer to                                                               
the question.                                                                                                                   
VICE CHAIR KELLER closed public testimony on HB 243.                                                                            
REPRESENTATIVE   KREISS-TOMKINS  said   he  liked   the  proposed                                                               
8:57:43 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  STUTES  moved to  report  CSHB  243, Version  29-                                                               
LS1279\F,  Martin,  1/29/16,  out of  committee  with  individual                                                               
recommendations and  the accompanying fiscal notes.   There being                                                               
no objection, CSHB  243(STA) was reported out of  the House State                                                               
Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                                                     

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
13 HB217 Updated fiscalNote Motor Vehicles.php.pdf HSTA 2/2/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 217
8 HB 243 F version.pdf HSTA 2/2/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 243
9 HB 243 Explanation of Changes v.G to F.pdf HSTA 2/2/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 243
10 HB243 Legal Memo - Hillary Martin 1-29-2016.pdf HSTA 2/2/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 243
15 SB9 v.N Blank CS.pdf HSTA 2/2/2016 8:00:00 AM
SB 9
11 HB243 Fiscal Note DOR PFD.pdf HSTA 2/2/2016 8:00:00 AM
HB 243