Legislature(2003 - 2004)

02/18/2004 01:34 PM Senate CRA

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
        SB 269-PARENT ACCESS TO CHILD'S LIBRARY RECORDS                                                                     
CHAIR BERT  STEDMAN reconvened the  meeting and announced  SB 269                                                               
to be  up for  consideration. The bill  was previously  heard and                                                               
relates  to parental  access to  children's  library records.  He                                                               
noted  there was  a committee  substitute  (CS) and  asked for  a                                                               
motion to adopt it as the working document.                                                                                     
SENATOR THOMAN WAGONER made a motion  to adopt the CS for SB 269,                                                               
\I version, as the working document.                                                                                            
SENATOR GEORGIANNA LINCOLN objected for discussion purposes.                                                                    
CHAIR STEDMAN asked the sponsor to explain the changes.                                                                         
SENATOR LYDA GREEN, sponsor of  SB 269, said Jacqueline Tupou had                                                               
done  most of  the  research on  the bill  and  she could  better                                                               
explain the changes.                                                                                                            
JACQUELINE  TUPOU,   staff  to  Senator  Green,   referenced  the                                                               
discussion at the  last meeting regarding age  limit for parental                                                               
access  and said  she  found  out more  about  FERPA, the  Family                                                               
Educational  Rights  and Privacy  Act.  She  read from  the  U.S.                                                               
Department of Education web site:                                                                                               
     FERPA  gives parents  certain  rights  with respect  to                                                                    
     their   children's  education   record.  These   rights                                                                    
     transfer to the student when  he or she reaches the age                                                                    
     of  18  or attends  a  school  beyond the  high  school                                                                    
In addition to that, there is a provision in statute that says:                                                                 
      No funds under any applicable program shall be made                                                                       
       available to any state agency that has a policy of                                                                       
     denying,  or  effectively   prevents,  the  parents  of                                                                    
     students the right to inspect  and review the education                                                                    
     records  maintained  by  the   state  agency  on  their                                                                    
     children  who have  been attendants  in  any school  or                                                                    
     educational agency  or institution  that is  subject to                                                                    
     the provision of this section.                                                                                             
Federal law  clearly says that  parents have the right  of access                                                               
until the child  reaches 18, and also denies  federal funding for                                                               
education  programs  and  institutions   such  as  libraries  for                                                               
MS. TUPOU  said they  drew up  a CS relating  to age  limit after                                                               
learning about  those two  points. Page 1,  line 13  identifies a                                                               
child under 18 years of age.                                                                                                    
CHAIR  STEDMAN  asked  Senator Lincoln  if  the  explanation  was                                                               
SENATOR LINCOLN withdrew her objection  to adopting the CS as the                                                               
working  document, but  advised  that she  had  questions on  the                                                               
SENATOR ELTON wanted clarification before  the CS was adopted. He                                                               
noted that  the quote  from FERPA  referred to  state educational                                                               
agencies and asked  whether that would mean a  school district or                                                               
the Department of Education.                                                                                                    
MS.  TUPOU  replied she  discussed  that  point with  legislative                                                               
legal  and  "they have  decided  that  this  would apply  to  the                                                               
legislation that  you currently  have before  you and  that's why                                                               
we've made this change accordingly."                                                                                            
SENATOR ELTON wasn't  sure he understood her answer  and asked if                                                               
a  school district  is a  state education  agency that  the FERPA                                                               
language  would apply  to  or  would it  apply  only  to a  state                                                               
education agency such as the Department of Education.                                                                           
MS. TUPOU said her understanding is  that it does apply to school                                                               
districts  and "those  people that  are receiving  federal monies                                                               
for their education program."                                                                                                   
SENATOR ELTON followed up by asking  if this applies to the state                                                               
library  as  well  since  it  is a  part  of  the  Department  of                                                               
MS.  TUPOU  reread  the  statutory   provision,  "any  school  or                                                               
educational agency or institution"  and said she understands that                                                               
to  mean that  the term  "institution" would  apply to  the state                                                               
SENATOR  GARY STEVENS  interpreted the  language as  reference to                                                               
educational records  and not  library books and  asked if  he was                                                               
missing  the   point.  He  asked   her  to  comment   on  whether                                                               
educational records would include checking out library books.                                                                   
MS. TUPOU  said SB  269 speaks  to the  statute that  talks about                                                               
public records.  In addition to  the special provisions  that say                                                               
that  libraries  will  be  private,   there  is  also  a  special                                                               
provision that  says where parental  access is allowed  for those                                                               
private records. "That's what we're  talking about currently here                                                               
today is the records themselves," she said.                                                                                     
SENATOR  GARY  STEVENS  asked  whether  libraries  actually  keep                                                               
records of who checks out a particular book.                                                                                    
MS. TUPOU replied that point  isn't addressed in the legislation.                                                               
The state archivist could answer  the question about the schedule                                                               
for retention of records.                                                                                                       
SENATOR GARY  STEVENS said  he was  asking whether  those records                                                               
are kept at all.                                                                                                                
MS. TUPOU  said she understands  that records are kept  for three                                                               
years at the state library and  there is a suggested schedule for                                                               
local governments.  Also, certain  municipalities have  their own                                                               
schedule for  record retention so  it varies. She  maintained the                                                               
bill doesn't address that so she hadn't researched it further.                                                                  
SENATOR  LINCOLN said  she needed  to  ask the  same question  in                                                               
another way because the bill  talks about library records and the                                                               
quote  refers   to  educational   records.  She   questioned  how                                                               
educational records relate to library records.                                                                                  
MS. TUPOU  said, "Our  legislation specifically  makes provisions                                                               
for  including   public  libraries  as  well   as  public  school                                                               
libraries." She made the point  that legislative legal holds that                                                               
it could  be construed to  mean all libraries  and even if  it is                                                               
applicable to  just public  school libraries,  SB 269  levels the                                                               
playing  field  and  makes  it   clear  that  all  libraries  are                                                               
SENATOR   GARY  STEVENS   confessed  he   needed  more   specific                                                               
clarification  on what  they  were trying  to  correct. He  asked                                                               
whether they were trying to make  it possible for parents to pick                                                               
up library books for their  children as someone testified or were                                                               
they trying to correct another issue.                                                                                           
SENATOR GREEN reviewed the discussion  from the previous hearing.                                                               
She introduced the  legislation because two friends  of hers were                                                               
unable to get  information on their child's  library records. One                                                               
issue related to  an overdue book and the other  was about a book                                                               
on hold. In the second  instance, the librarian wouldn't tell the                                                               
parent  the title  of  the  book their  child  had  on hold.  She                                                               
asserted it is  an outrageous that a parent isn't  able to access                                                               
their  child's  library records  when  the  parent is  ultimately                                                               
responsible for  the books  their child checks  out or  the fines                                                               
they incur. She assured members she  was not delving in the areas                                                               
of  confidentiality  rights  or   censorship.  She  simply  wants                                                               
parents to  have access to  their child's public  library records                                                               
just as they already have  to their child's public school library                                                               
CHAIR STEDMAN  noted for the  record that  the \I version  CS was                                                               
the working document before the committee.                                                                                      
SENATOR  ELTON asked  if the  parent in  the second  instance was                                                               
able to pick up the book.                                                                                                       
SENATOR  GREEN replied  the parent  had  to take  the child  with                                                               
SENATOR  ELTON  smiled and  said  he  was  reluctant to  ask  the                                                               
conservative question, but  this appeared to be  a large paradigm                                                               
shift. Why  would we want to  do this, he questioned.  This would                                                               
be a state  mandate to community and  nonprofit libraries telling                                                               
them how they must operate.  Why shouldn't communities make their                                                               
own decisions and rules on this type of issue, he asked.                                                                        
SENATOR GREEN  laughed and replied  she assumes that  many people                                                               
believe  that  the  original   statutory  language  included  all                                                               
MS. TUPOU  opined the conservative  question is the  reverse. Why                                                               
does state  law dictate to  public libraries that they  can't let                                                               
parents access their children's records?                                                                                        
SENATOR  ELTON admitted  he  was puzzled.  Clearly,  he said,  AS                                                               
40.25.140(b) applies to public  elementary and secondary schools,                                                               
but right  now a  local assembly  or council  may craft  rules to                                                               
apply to  their municipal  libraries. This  would take  away that                                                               
ability so  he couldn't  understand the claim  that SB  269 would                                                               
give municipal libraries more latitude.                                                                                         
MS. TUPOU  said section 1  (a) talks about library  records being                                                               
confidential.  She continued,  "Unless  we make  an exemption  in                                                               
statute, those aren't  confidential records so we  had to dictate                                                               
to the library what their policy will be."                                                                                      
SENATOR  LINCOLN  told Senator  Green  that  after she  left  the                                                               
hearing last  week, someone from  the Alaska  Library Association                                                               
testified  that the  issue of  child abuse  is a  reason for  not                                                               
giving  a parent  access  to  a child's  records.  She asked  the                                                               
sponsor to  respond to the  claim that  an abused child  might be                                                               
subjected to further  harm if an abusing parent  learned that the                                                               
child was seeking information and help.                                                                                         
SENATOR GREEN replied, " The  issue of confidentiality of records                                                               
of  children   is  far  broader  than   library  information  and                                                               
different agencies handle it differently....  This seems to be so                                                               
confined an  issue I  do not  see that as  being germane  to what                                                               
we're talking about."                                                                                                           
SENATOR  GARY STEVENS  said  he thought  he  understood what  the                                                               
sponsor  was trying  to accomplish,  but he  was still  concerned                                                               
about  the age  issue. He  reflected  that as  a retired  college                                                               
professor, he  had a number  of 18-year-old high  school students                                                               
who took his classes and  this legislation could include them. He                                                               
opined  they might  be overreaching  when  they include  18-year-                                                               
SENATOR GREEN replied  she didn't establish an  age initially; it                                                               
is FERPA that set  the age of 18 and under.  She said, "It really                                                               
wouldn't matter  whether or not  we pass this.  Their requirement                                                               
is a federal law."                                                                                                              
SENATOR ELTON followed  up on Senator Gary  Steven's question and                                                               
said  FERPA  applies  only  to school  libraries  and  he  didn't                                                               
believe it was necessarily appropriate  to apply FERPA provisions                                                               
to  public libraries  when  FERPA only  applies  to libraries  of                                                               
educational institutions.                                                                                                       
SENATOR GREEN told  him that was his judgment  and their decision                                                               
was to use under 18 years of age.                                                                                               
SENATOR ELTON asked  if there is any provision in  state law that                                                               
prohibits a  child from waiving confidentiality  to their library                                                               
SENATOR GREEN thought that was mentioned in FERPA.                                                                              
MS. TUPOU explained  that FERPA says that parents  have access to                                                               
their child's records.                                                                                                          
SENATOR ELTON said  he understands how FERPA applies  and whom it                                                               
applies to.  FERPA doesn't  apply to a  public library  he stated                                                               
emphatically.  Again,  he  asked  whether any  provision  of  law                                                               
prohibits a child from waiving  their confidentiality rights at a                                                               
public library.                                                                                                                 
MS. TUPOU  replied that  is a technical  legal question  and they                                                               
would have to consult legislative legal for the answer.                                                                         
SENATOR ELTON asked whether someone  from the library association                                                               
would provide testimony.                                                                                                        
CHAIR STEDMAN said he was planning on that.                                                                                     
MS.  TUPOU  added that  when  they  gave legislative  legal  some                                                               
anecdotal  stories about  policies  around the  state, they  were                                                               
told  that libraries  that  have chosen  to  give out  children's                                                               
records are noncompliant with state law.                                                                                        
CHAIR STEDMAN called Lynn Shepherd to testify.                                                                                  
LYNN SHEPHERD, government relations  chair for the Alaska Library                                                               
Association (AkLA), read from her prepared testimony:                                                                           
     It appears that the proposed amendment to AS 40.25.140                                                                     
     is intended to solve two problems:                                                                                         
        · Parents needing to pay fines for materials                                                                            
          checked out by their children but not being aware                                                                     
          of the items on loan                                                                                                  
        · Parents wanting to pick up library materials for                                                                      
          their children who cannot be present at the time                                                                      
          of checkout                                                                                                           
     Last week, AkLA presented reasons for opposing                                                                             
     the proposed wording of the amendment.                                                                                     
     We have examined the statutes of 49 states with                                                                            
     regard to the confidentiality of library records.                                                                          
     Only 8  states allow  parental inspection  of both                                                                         
     school and  public library records of  their minor                                                                         
     children: AL LA UT GA WV OH WY SD                                                                                          
     Just 1  state, in addition to  AK, allows parental                                                                         
     inspection  of  school  library records  of  minor                                                                         
     children. NM                                                                                                               
     40 states  protect the confidentiality  of library                                                                         
     records for all users except:                                                                                              
          23 states specify  that a library patron                                                                              
          may give  permission for the  release of                                                                              
          his/her records                                                                                                       
          6  states  specify  that a  library  may                                                                              
          make  public the  information pertaining                                                                              
          to  overdue  materials   and  10  others                                                                              
          specify  such records  may be  disclosed                                                                              
          "for  the  orderly   management  of  the                                                                              
          library"  -  probably referring  to  the                                                                              
          status  of  overdue, lost,  and  damaged                                                                              
     In  only 2  states, do  the statutes  specifically                                                                         
     include   academic   and  state   libraries   with                                                                         
     parental rights.                                                                                                           
     In  summary, approximately  85  percent of  states                                                                         
     provide  for the  confidentiality  of the  library                                                                         
     records  of minors.  And some  of these  (e.g. SC,                                                                         
     AR) even  specify that school library  records are                                                                         
     included among those records that are protected.                                                                           
     AkLA leadership  has discussed the  various issues                                                                         
     involved  -  parental rights,  children's  rights,                                                                         
     library   staff   rights,  and   public   property                                                                         
MS. SHEPHERD  said the  association has  several suggestions                                                                    
to clarify  the issue while  still protecting the  rights of                                                                    
children.  They  believe  that library  records  related  to                                                                    
overdue,  lost,  and  damaged library  materials  should  be                                                                    
available  to parents  provided  that  the child's  personal                                                                    
identifying information  is not released. She  observed that                                                                    
is how educational records and Department of Transportation                                                                     
records are handled in Alaska Statutes.                                                                                         
Also, reserved library material  for children under 16 years                                                                    
of age should  be released to a parent  or guardian provided                                                                    
that the child gives signed  written consent at the time the                                                                    
materials are released.                                                                                                         
She  said  the  association  believes that  this  solves  several                                                               
problems. It  would permit parents to  keep track of and  pick up                                                               
material their child checks out;  it would protect minors who are                                                               
responsible  borrowers and  who  want or  need privacy  regarding                                                               
library material they use; it  would protect personal identifying                                                               
information that  can be  in a library  record; it  would protect                                                               
library staff  who would have  written proof of  authorization to                                                               
release information to a parent.                                                                                                
The association also recommends  eliminating mention of the state                                                               
and  the University  of Alaska  libraries in  section 2  (c). She                                                               
said  she  has  an  interpretation   of  FERPA  that  says,  "the                                                               
permission or consent required of  and the right supported to the                                                               
parents of the student shall,  thereafter only be required of and                                                               
accorded   to  the   student   attending   that  institution   of                                                               
postsecondary education. Their reading  of FERPA is that although                                                               
there are  some exceptions,  the student  must always  give their                                                               
written consent.                                                                                                                
SENATOR  LINCOLN   asked  who  belongs  to   the  Alaska  Library                                                               
MS.  SHEPHERD replied  the  membership  consists of  professional                                                               
librarians,  library administrators,  library  staff and  library                                                               
trustees for all types of libraries.                                                                                            
SENATOR LINCOLN  asked why they suggest  eliminating reference to                                                               
state and university libraries.                                                                                                 
MS. SHEPHERD  said it is  the conflict  with FERPA and  she isn't                                                               
sure  that  the   records  of  a  university   student  would  be                                                               
accessible in any case without written consent.                                                                                 
SENATOR LINCOLN asked if the  association worked with the sponsor                                                               
to craft a proposed amendment.                                                                                                  
MS. SHEPHERD spoke of tight schedules.                                                                                          
SENATOR WAGONER commented  that the problem he  has with dropping                                                               
reference to  the university  library is that  in the  Kenai area                                                               
there  is   a  multiple  use   arrangement  between   the  school                                                               
libraries, the  municipal library  and the university  library to                                                               
make better use of limited resources.                                                                                           
SENATOR  ELTON observed  that they  heard testimony  that alleged                                                               
that  under FERPA  you  are  denied federal  funds  if you  don't                                                               
provide access to educational records.                                                                                          
MS. SHEPHERD said she didn't  have a copy of their interpretation                                                               
of FERPA  in front  of her, but  it is just  the reverse  of that                                                               
statement.  She advised  the association's  reading  is that,  "A                                                               
parent does  not have access  and if  that is violated,  then the                                                               
institution doesn't get funding."                                                                                               
SENATOR ELTON referred to FERPA, section 1232g (B) and read,                                                                    
     No  funds under  any applicable  program shall  be made                                                                    
     available to  and state educational agency  (whether or                                                                    
     not   that  agency   is   an   educational  agency   or                                                                    
     institution under  this section)  that has a  policy of                                                                    
     denying,  or  effectively   prevents,  the  parents  of                                                                    
     students the right to inspect  and review the education                                                                    
He  then  compared  that  section   of  FERPA  with  the  library                                                               
association   handout   that   says   40   states   protect   the                                                               
confidentiality of  library records  for all users.  He commented                                                               
that the data is confusing, but  it seems as though 40 states are                                                               
not compliant with FERPA.                                                                                                       
SIDE B                                                                                                                        
2:22 pm                                                                                                                       
SENATOR ELTON  continued to  say that  he was  uncomfortable with                                                               
what the  committee was told  about the application of  FERPA if,                                                               
in fact, 40 states are out of compliance.                                                                                       
CHAIR STEDMAN called on June Pinnell-Stephens to give testimony.                                                                
JUNE PINNELL-STEPHENS,  Alaska Civil Liberties Union  (ACLU) past                                                               
president and current board  member, testified via teleconference                                                               
from Fairbanks.  She told the  committee, "I do not  support this                                                               
amendment to confidentiality of library records."                                                                               
She  made  the  point  that parents  are  responsible  for  their                                                               
children's  use and  abuse of  library materials  whether or  not                                                               
they  agree with  them  or even  know about  them.  Also, once  a                                                               
library card  is issued, anyone who  has the card can  use it and                                                               
it's not  uncommon for parents  to do  so. She asserted  that the                                                               
library records  could be released  under the  proposed amendment                                                               
and information might  be divulged to a divorced  spouse that may                                                               
or may not have custody of the child.                                                                                           
MS.  PINNELL-STEPHENS said  that most  libraries send  notices to                                                               
alert users  that they  have overdue  material and  those notices                                                               
provide  parents  sufficient  information  to  track  down  their                                                               
children's material.                                                                                                            
She  stated that  there are  two possible  reasons for  the bill.                                                               
First  is to  help parents  avoid minor  inconvenience associated                                                               
with  handling  their  children's library  transactions.  Twenty-                                                               
three other states  provide a solution to that  issue by allowing                                                               
any  user to  authorize release  of  their records  and the  ACLU                                                               
would support such an amendment.                                                                                                
The second  reason for the  bill is  to help parents  control the                                                               
books their  children read.  The right  to privacy  is guaranteed                                                               
under  the   state  constitution  and   is  the  basis   for  the                                                               
confidentiality  statute,   she  asserted.  That  right   is  not                                                               
restricted by age. Furthermore,  without the guarantee of privacy                                                               
and confidentiality, there can be no freedom of inquiry.                                                                        
She encouraged parents to guide their  own children in the use of                                                               
the library, but  made the point that children should  be able to                                                               
use the  library without fear  of punishment. In  conclusion, she                                                               
urged  the  committee  to support  the  constitutional  right  to                                                               
privacy as represented in the original law.                                                                                     
CHAIR  STEDMAN thanked  Ms.  Pinnell-Stephens  for her  testimony                                                               
then called Andrea McLeod to testify.                                                                                           
ANDREA McLEOD  testified via  teleconference from  Anchorage. She                                                               
reported that she  is the parent of  a 21 year old  and she fully                                                               
supports SB 269. She stated that  she was appalled to learn about                                                               
the two instances that precipitated  the bill and charged that it                                                               
is acrimonious public policy that  is adversarial to parents with                                                               
children  under  18  years  of  age.  "Parents  are  legally  and                                                               
absolutely responsible for  their children until they  reach 18 -                                                               
the age of  majority. At the very least, parents  do not need any                                                               
publicly  funded  librarian  encroaching on  their  inherent  and                                                               
absolute parental rights," she said.                                                                                            
CHAIR STEDMAN thanked Ms. McLeod  and brought the discussion back                                                               
before the committee.                                                                                                           
SENATOR  ELTON asked  whether the  state  library director  would                                                               
answer a few questions.                                                                                                         
GEORGE  SMITH,  acting director  or  the  Division of  Libraries,                                                               
Archives  &  Museums,  sat  down  and  said  he  would  entertain                                                               
SENATOR ELTON asked whether he had read the FERPA material.                                                                     
MR. SMITH  said FERPA isn't  relevant in  his work and  he didn't                                                               
consider himself to be an  expert on that federal legislation. He                                                               
added  that   he  too  was  perplexed   because  the  information                                                               
presented leads to  the conclusion that either 40  states are out                                                               
of compliance or  FERPA doesn't apply to a library.  "It's got to                                                               
be one or the other," he said.                                                                                                  
SENATOR ELTON remarked  that he might be inferring  too much, but                                                               
he assumes that  the provisions of FERPA have  never been applied                                                               
to state libraries.                                                                                                             
MR. SMITH said that is correct  and added, "I think it's strictly                                                               
within the  educational environment and  in this case,  the state                                                               
library would not be included even  though we are in a department                                                               
of education.  Not all state  libraries are in the  Department of                                                               
Education [and Early Development]."                                                                                             
SENATOR LINCOLN  asked if he had  ever denied a parent  access to                                                               
MR. SMITH  explained he has been  in state libraries most  of his                                                               
career. Twice  he was director  of a  public library and  once he                                                               
was director  of an academic  library and he said,  "Personally I                                                               
am surprised  that a public  library director - and  I'm assuming                                                               
these were public  library directors in Alaska -  denied a parent                                                               
access to the  child's records when the child  gave permission. "                                                               
He continued  to say that  he might have  broken the law,  but he                                                               
probably would have given the parent the information.                                                                           
He  said he  finds  it interesting  that  23 states  specifically                                                               
address authorizing  the release  of patron's library  records in                                                               
their confidentiality law.  "It's clear that half  our states see                                                               
this  as problematic  if you  don't  address it  directly in  the                                                               
law," he argued.                                                                                                                
The  other  issue is  what  happens  when library  materials  are                                                               
overdue and  a parent is unable  to access the records.  He noted                                                               
that, "either  directly or  indirectly a third  of our  states do                                                               
address  that  in  their  law   in  that  they  do  release  that                                                               
information to  the parent." Also,  he knew of  several instances                                                               
in Alaska where a public library  received legal advice that if a                                                               
child  has  overdue  library  material  they  have  broken  their                                                               
contract with the library and  it's acceptable for the library to                                                               
release the information to the parent.                                                                                          
SENATOR  LINCOLN stated  she wants  to protect  a child  that has                                                               
been  abused and  who doesn't  want a  parent to  have access  to                                                               
their records,  but she  also wants  to protect  parental rights.                                                               
Having said  that, she made the  that point that an  abused child                                                               
would probably  sign any permission  slip their parent  told them                                                               
to sign whether they wanted that parent to have access or not.                                                                  
MR.  SMITH  acknowledged  that is  an  unfortunate  but  probably                                                               
accurate observation. Sadly,  he didn't know of a  way to legally                                                               
address that situation.                                                                                                         
SENATOR  WAGONER  asked  whether  it  isn't  the  parent  who  is                                                               
ultimately responsible for paying library fines.                                                                                
MR.  SMITH  said   his  understanding  is  that   the  parent  is                                                               
financially  responsible until  the  child  reaches majority  and                                                               
that  is  age 18  in  Alaska  and he  thought  it  would be  very                                                               
appropriate to address that in law.                                                                                             
SENATOR WAGONER  opined it is a  stretch to think that  an abused                                                               
child would turn  to the library when looking  for answers. Child                                                               
abuse is  beyond what this  legislation is trying to  correct, he                                                               
SENATOR GARY STEVENS noted that  a child can use library material                                                               
without checking  anything out and  that is  never a part  of any                                                               
record.  He remarked  that having  raised three  children he  has                                                               
paid  a small  fortune  in overdue  library  books. However,  his                                                               
library sends  postcard notices advising  patrons when  they have                                                               
overdue materials so he knows exactly which books are overdue.                                                                  
MR.  SMITH  said  different  libraries  have  different  ways  of                                                               
notifying patrons of overdue materials.                                                                                         
SENATOR ELTON read  section 1 (a) of the bill  and stated that it                                                               
seems   to   prohibit   libraries  from   releasing   information                                                               
identifying  a   patron,  but   it  doesn't   prohibit  releasing                                                               
information about what  that patron is reading.  He asked whether                                                               
any other  provision of law prohibits  releasing information such                                                               
as the title of a book.                                                                                                         
MR.  SMITH said  no,  this  is the  only  statute that  addresses                                                               
library records. He  thought that was an interesting  way to read                                                               
the  law, but  didn't  disagree with  the interpretation.  Having                                                               
read  the confidentiality  laws for  all 50  states he  explained                                                               
that  most states  include library  material itself  as being  an                                                               
identifying part of the record.                                                                                                 
SENATOR ELTON remarked that he  believes it would be difficult to                                                               
construe  that  his  checking  out  a book  on  Darwin  would  be                                                               
personally identifying  information because lots of  people check                                                               
out books on Darwin.                                                                                                            
MR. SMITH agreed with that statement.                                                                                           
SENATOR  ELTON  stated  that until  the  question  regarding  his                                                               
reading  of section  1 (a)  is answered,  the bill  might not  be                                                               
necessary because  there may be no  prohibition against releasing                                                               
titles to parents.                                                                                                              
MR. SMITH  explained he arrived  in Alaska shortly after  the law                                                               
was passed  in 1985 and he  has been the one  who interpreted the                                                               
law  for  school   and  public  libraries  over   the  years.  He                                                               
maintained  that   it  has  always  been   assumed  that  library                                                               
materials are  considered part  of the  record. He  conceded that                                                               
the statute might not have  been written properly, but the intent                                                               
is that books that patrons check are part of the record.                                                                        
CHAIR STEDMAN closed public testimony and asked for a motion.                                                                   
SENATOR WAGONER made a motion to  move \I version, CSSB 269 (CRA)                                                               
from committee  with individual recommendations  and accompanying                                                               
fiscal note.                                                                                                                    
SENATOR ELTON objected and said:                                                                                                
     Aside  from  the  point  that   the  bill  may  not  be                                                                    
     necessary, I  think that  we're trying  to take  a very                                                                    
     broad  approach   to  solve  two   relatively  discrete                                                                    
     situations  and I'm  not clear  in my  mind whether  we                                                                    
     need  a  change  in  law  to do  that  or  if  in  fact                                                                    
     libraries have  the ability to  ask of any  patron that                                                                    
     they waive their confidentiality  to the materials that                                                                    
     are being  checked out of the  library. I'm sympathetic                                                                    
     to the  notion that people, especially  families, ought                                                                    
     to  have some  control  over the  materials that  young                                                                    
     people have access to. Having  said that, I think there                                                                    
     are  many situations  that  when we  try  to apply  the                                                                    
     broad scope  of law to  ensure that that  happens there                                                                    
     are many situations that are  caught up and that create                                                                    
     real  problems  within  a   family.  The  Senator  from                                                                    
     Rampart has mentioned some of those.                                                                                       
     It  also seems  to  me that  what we  may  be doing  is                                                                    
     trying to fix a problem  that really doesn't get to the                                                                    
     root  of it.  Right now,  young  people can  go on  the                                                                    
     computer  and get  access to  any  kind of  information                                                                    
     they  want with  no ability  for a  parent or  a family                                                                    
     member  to find  out what  kind of  information they're                                                                    
     I tend to think that  when you have information that is                                                                    
     available   through   libraries   that   are   run   by                                                                    
     professional  librarians, that  we ought  to give  them                                                                    
     the  latitude, under  existing law,  to make  decisions                                                                    
     that best  works for them,  best works for  the patrons                                                                    
     and best  works for the  communities in which  they are                                                                    
     operating   rather   than   having   relatively   broad                                                                    
     prohibitions that are established at the state level.                                                                      
     For all of those reasons,  Mr. Chair, I'm going to vote                                                                    
CHAIR STEDMAN asked whether there were any other comments.                                                                      
SENATOR GARY STEVENS asked where  the bill would go after leaving                                                               
this committee.                                                                                                                 
CHAIR STEDMAN  replied it  would go to  the Health  Education and                                                               
Social Services Committee next.                                                                                                 
CHAIR STEDMAN called for a roll  call vote. The motion to move \I                                                               
version,  CSSB  269 (CRA)  from  committee  passed with  Senators                                                               
Elton and Lincoln  voting no and Senators  Wagoner, Gary Stevens,                                                               
and Chair Stedman voting yes.                                                                                                   

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