Legislature(2015 - 2016)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

03/24/2015 03:30 PM COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS

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Audio Topic
03:30:30 PM Start
03:31:12 PM SB13
03:50:31 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+= SB 13 WARRANTLESS SEARCH OF ELECTRONIC DATA TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
          SB 13-WARRANTLESS SEARCH OF ELECTRONIC DATA                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:31:12 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  BISHOP announced  the consideration  of SB  13. [CSSB  13,                                                               
labeled 29-LS0006\W, was before the committee.]                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:31:28 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BILL  WIELECHOWSKI,  Alaska State  Legislature,  Juneau,                                                               
Alaska, explained  that he  made a  presentation regarding  SB 13                                                               
during the previous week. He  reiterated that SB 13 will prohibit                                                               
state, local  municipalities, or communities from  assisting what                                                               
is  defined  as  a  "federal  data  collection  and  surveillance                                                               
agency" in  collecting certain  telephone records  and electronic                                                               
data without  a warrant.  He explained that  the bill  stems from                                                               
concerns voiced by  Alaskans and people across  the country about                                                               
inappropriate  collection,  eavesdropping,   and  spying  by  the                                                               
National  Security Agency  (NSA) on  American citizens.  He noted                                                               
that both  support and  concerns were  addressed at  the previous                                                               
committee meeting.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI said  some  law  enforcement agencies  have                                                               
submitted letters of opposition. He  divulged that his office has                                                               
contacted  some  of  the  law   enforcement  agencies  since  the                                                               
previous  meetings   in  addition   to  a  discussion   with  the                                                               
Department of  Law. He  revealed that  the bill  does not  have a                                                               
consensus from  law enforcement  and he opined  that he  does not                                                               
ever expect to have consensus from law enforcement.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
He  remarked that  he  does  not think  the  bill  does what  law                                                               
enforcement  thinks  it  does.  He  reiterated  that  he  has  no                                                               
intention to  prohibit law enforcement from  working with federal                                                               
agencies  in  child pornography  cases  or  other legitimate  law                                                               
enforcement activities.  He explained  that the bill's  intent is                                                               
to  stop  federal  surveillance  agencies,  like  the  NSA,  from                                                               
conducting    inappropriate,   illegal,    and   unconstitutional                                                               
activities that the state should not be supporting at all.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
He pointed out  that the definition for  the federal surveillance                                                               
agency was taken  from similar legislation taken up  in Texas and                                                               
Utah. He  noted that similar  legislation is being pursued  in 17                                                               
different states. He noted that  the bill has another referral in                                                               
the Senate Judiciary  Committee that he is a member  of and added                                                               
that  he would  be  happy to  work with  law  enforcement in  the                                                               
committee to tighten the federal agency definition even more.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
He opined that the dispute really  is the definition of what is a                                                               
federal  data collection  and  surveillance  agency. He  revealed                                                               
that other states have had  the same definition fight in Montana,                                                               
Utah,  and Texas.  He said  ultimately the  decision is  a policy                                                               
call.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:32:46 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR STEDMAN joined the committee.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
3:35:09 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  BISHOP  announced  that the  committee  will  take  public                                                               
comment.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
3:35:38 PM                                                                                                                    
STUART  THOMPSON,  representing  himself, Meadow  Lakes,  Alaska,                                                               
stated   that  he   supports   SB  13.   He   pointed  out   that                                                               
constitutional   conflicts   exist   between   surveillance   and                                                               
investigatory procedures.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:39:38 PM                                                                                                                    
KRIS  SELL, Vice  President,  Alaska  Peace Officers  Association                                                               
(APOA), Juneau,  Alaska, said the  APOA board opposes SB  13. She                                                               
specified that  APOA considered SB  13 and came to  the consensus                                                               
not  to support  it. She  said local  law enforcement  works very                                                               
closely  with  its federal  partners  and  noted that  their  FBI                                                               
partners are often on the  perimeter for drug calls. She detailed                                                               
that  local  law enforcement  works  side  by side  with  federal                                                               
agencies in cases that involve  drugs, sex trafficking, and child                                                               
pornography.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
She said  APOA believes SB  13 potentially drives  an unnecessary                                                               
wedge  between local  law enforcement  and federal  agencies that                                                               
include the FBI, NOAA, and  the U.S. Forest Service. She remarked                                                               
that she  might not  be able  to share a  text message  or e-mail                                                               
with a federal  agent because the agency does not  have a warrant                                                               
and she  could not share  her legally obtained information  for a                                                               
federal prosecution,  something that  could potentially  hurt the                                                               
public.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
She asked that  the committee consider what the  bill is actually                                                               
saying.  She  noted   that  the  bill's  sponsor   has  said  the                                                               
legislation is  about the CIA  and NSA, but potentially  the bill                                                               
could harm  Alaska law enforcement because  local law enforcement                                                               
works so closely with its federal counterparts.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
3:42:22 PM                                                                                                                    
RODNEY  DIAL, Lieutenant,  Alaska State  Troopers, Department  of                                                               
Public Safety (DPS),  Ketchikan, Alaska, said DPS  opposes SB 13.                                                               
He said the  department certainly appreciates the  changes to the                                                               
bill that  narrowed the scope;  however, the department  has some                                                               
concerns and  prefers that  the legislation  specify by  name the                                                               
agencies to  exclude or  the agencies  that are  not part  of the                                                               
legislation.  He  explained  that most  federal  law  enforcement                                                               
agencies can obtain some electronic  data with a subpoena and not                                                               
a  warrant. He  summarized that  DPS is  concerned that  the bill                                                               
would   limit   its   ability  to   assist   in   complex   joint                                                               
investigations.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  STEDMAN  said  he was  not  interested  in  jeopardizing                                                               
Alaska's  children  any  more  than   they  already  have  to  be                                                               
subjected  to. He  asserted  that  he is  not  very favorable  on                                                               
loosening  restrictions if  the result  makes it  easier for  the                                                               
child  pornography folks  to function  and get  around. He  noted                                                               
that  several arrests  have been  made in  his district  the last                                                               
several years  and one  involved a past  mayor in  Ketchikan that                                                               
went on for years, an act  that the community found appalling. He                                                               
stated that society  is better off when  tighter restrictions are                                                               
placed on issues like child  pornography. He pointed out that law                                                               
enforcement agencies throughout Southeast  Alaska have been doing                                                               
a very good job the last  few years ratcheting up the pressure on                                                               
the drug  industry and have  had several big busts.  He expressed                                                               
that he  does not want  to see  law enforcement's hands  tied and                                                               
asked to make  sure they are on board as  the bill moves forward.                                                               
He  summarized that  he  does not  like  eavesdropping more  than                                                               
anybody else,  but he  noted that he  would like  law enforcement                                                               
agencies to  have access to data  in order to deal  with internet                                                               
cyber-crime.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:46:13 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP asked Mr. Dial to  verify that DPS would like to see                                                               
the bill's definitions tightened up to a specific agency name.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR.  DIAL   answered  that  the  department   discussed  possible                                                               
implications from the  bill and noted that DPS receives  15 to 30                                                               
requests  for information  per month  from  federal agencies.  He                                                               
reiterated that DPS suggests that  SB 13 be designed specifically                                                               
to  prevent eavesdropping  with  agencies specified  by name.  He                                                               
explained  that  specifying  agencies  would make  it  easier  to                                                               
determine if  information about a  suspect was gathered  by means                                                               
other than a search warrant.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
3:47:27 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
3:47:49 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  BISHOP  called  the  committee back  to  order.  He  asked                                                               
Senator  Wielechowski to  work on  language with  law enforcement                                                               
before the committee moves the bill forward.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI opined that there  probably was a reason why                                                               
legislation similar to  SB 13 has not passed in  any state in the                                                               
country yet.  He explained that the  core issue is how  to define                                                               
what the  federal agency is in  a way that includes  the NSA, but                                                               
does  not include  the FBI  and some  of the  other organizations                                                               
that work with local law  enforcement. He noted requests from law                                                               
enforcement  about   naming  the  agencies,  but   remarked  that                                                               
agencies  other  than  the  NSA  could  be  involved  and  naming                                                               
organizations can be legally tricky and unrealistic.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
He asserted that SB 13 does  not cover child pornography and does                                                               
not change the  collection of text messages and  e-mails. He said                                                               
he will be happy to work  with law enforcement, but conceded that                                                               
he  does not  know  if  getting a  product  that law  enforcement                                                               
agrees with  is possible because  there has never been  a product                                                               
that law enforcement has agreed with  in any state in the country                                                               
that he is aware of on a bill like SB 13.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
3:49:44 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP closed public comment.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
3:50:03 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR BISHOP announced that SB 13 will be held in committee.                                                                    

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