Legislature(1995 - 1996)

03/27/1996 01:30 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
         HB 446 NUISANCE INJUNCTION BY HOME RULE MUNI                         
 SHIRLEY ARMSTRONG, aide to Representative Rokeberg, sponsor of HB             
 446, gave the following summary of the bill.  HB 446 was requested            
 by Mayor Mystrom as it will help municipalities suppress nuisances            
 and provide a mechanism for civil abatement of premises.  It would            
 enjoin nuisances within the jurisdictions of municipalities when              
 real property is being used for illegal activity, such as drugs,              
 gambling or prostitution, and is an attempt to assist                         
 municipalities to close down crack houses or similar enterprises              
 when the landlord ignores repeated notices or citations.  Current             
 law mandates the Attorney General to enjoin the properties, but if            
 that office is not inclined to do so due to lack of funding or                
 unwillingness to enforce the statute, the public can enjoin a piece           
 of property, however most people do not have the financial                    
 resources or legal talent to pursue such action.                              
 SENATOR TAYLOR commented injunctive relief is available in Title 9.           
 SENATOR ELLIS expressed strong support of HB 446 but questioned               
 where in the process the word "shall" was changed to "may."  MS.              
 ARMSTRONG answered that change was made on the House floor in                 
 response to concerns made by small municipalities who rely on the             
 state to enjoin the nuisance.  Currently a municipality that wants            
 to pursue such a situation independently must get power of attorney           
 from the state. The process is complicated and cumbersome.                    
 SENATOR ELLIS stated he understood that language was changed                  
 because one complaint was received from the City of Ketchikan.  He            
 objected to the House accommodating that request.  He moved to                
 return the word "may" to "shall" because otherwise the aggressive             
 action necessary to rid neighborhoods of crackhouses will not take            
 Number 554                                                                    
 MS. ARMSTRONG pointed out the Municipality of Anchorage is awaiting           
 passage of this legislation to pursue 22 nuisances.  She referred             
 to an article in the Alaska Star about the Polar Bear Bar in the              
 Spenard area.                                                                 
 SENATOR ELLIS agreed that situation will get immediate attention.             
 He repeated his motion to change the bill back to its original                
 language.  SENATOR TAYLOR objected because the word "shall" will              
 require two entities to take action, both the state and                       
 municipality, and no entity will have priority.                               
 SENATOR ELLIS reminded Senator Taylor of other situations in which            
 the state was given the power to act but could not do so due to               
 limited resources.  He repeated that the legislation needs to have            
 more teeth.                                                                   
 MS. ARMSTRONG noted the Municipality of Anchorage agreed to the               
 language change because some areas of the state prosecute these               
 types of problems under state statute.  SENATOR TAYLOR stated if              
 the word "shall" was used, the state would be shifting the burden             
 to the municipalities without providing the resources to do so.               
 The motion to change the word "may" to "shall" on line 8 failed               
 with Senators Ellis and Adams voting "yea" and Senators Taylor,               
 Green and Miller voting "nay."                                                
 SENATOR ADAMS felt the committee made a mistake by not passing the            
 amendment, as it would give local control back to municipalities.             
 SENATOR TAYLOR pointed out the subjects covered within the bill are           
 prostitution, illegal activity involving a place of prostitution,             
 and illegal activity involving alcoholic beverages, a controlled              
 substance, an imitation controlled substance, or gambling or                  
 promoting gambling.                                                           
 SENATOR GREEN moved HB 446am out of committee with individual                 
 recommendations.  There being no objection, the motion carried.               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects