Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/07/2004 08:09 AM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
                                                                                                                                
       SB 246-HATE CRIMES/DISCRIMINATION/TOLERANCE PROG                                                                     
                                                                                                                              
SENATOR  GEORGIANNA  LINCOLN,  sponsor   of  SB  246,  informed                                                                 
members that  the media  has reported  stories related  to hate                                                                 
crimes around the  state over the years, the  most recent being                                                                 
a  paintball attack  on  a  young woman  in  November of  2003.                                                                 
However, many other hate/bias motivated  crimes take place that                                                                 
go  unreported.  She pointed  to  a  chart  of hate  crimes  in                                                                 
members'  packets from  the  Anchorage  Police Department  that                                                                 
provides just  a sampling  of what  is going  on in  the state.                                                                 
Senator  Lincoln  said  SB  246  was  drafted  after  the  2001                                                                 
Governor's  Conference on  Tolerance prepared  recommendations.                                                                 
Between  1998 and  2002,  Anchorage had  67  reported cases  of                                                                 
hate/bias  motivated  incidences  with  only  17  arrests.  She                                                                 
indicated  the  Anchorage  Chief  of Police  was  available  to                                                                 
testify, as  were Juneau Douglas  High School students  who are                                                                 
representing   students   who    have   experienced   hate/bias                                                                 
incidences at school.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LINCOLN  explained that  a hate  crime is  any criminal                                                                 
offense  committed  against  a   person  or  property  that  is                                                                 
motivated  in whole  or  part by  the  offender's bias  against                                                                 
race,   religion,  ethnic   or  national   origin,  or   sexual                                                                 
orientation.   SB  246   was  modeled   after  national   model                                                                 
legislation   created  by   the  Anti-Defamation   League.  The                                                                 
League's legal  counsel has reviewed  the legislation  and will                                                                 
testify today. She pointed out  that Alaska and Wyoming are the                                                                 
only two  states that  have not  enacted a  law similar  to the                                                                 
Anti-Defamation League's model.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  LINCOLN  explained that  SB  246  expands the  state's                                                                 
penalty enhancement provision in  statute. The existing penalty                                                                 
enhancement  provision   only  applies  to   defendants  facing                                                                 
presumptive  sentences, which  are  usually  repeat felons.  It                                                                 
does not apply to anyone found  guilty of a misdemeanor or most                                                                 
first  time  felons.  SB 246  includes  those  crimes,  thereby                                                                 
making  them eligible  for  penalty  enhancement. For  example,                                                                 
under SB  246, a  class B  misdemeanor would  be elevated  to a                                                                 
class  A  misdemeanor  charge if  the  offender's  actions  are                                                                 
determined to be motivated by  prejudice, bias, or hate. If the                                                                 
crime  committed  were  a  class B  misdemeanor,  it  would  be                                                                 
elevated to  a class  C felony.  In the  case of  the paintball                                                                 
attack in  2001, one  man was  charged with  seven counts  of a                                                                 
class A  misdemeanor, which  amounted to a  slap on  the hands.                                                                 
Had that  man been prosecuted  under SB  246, a class  C felony                                                                 
charge would have been added.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  LINCOLN  pointed  out  the  majority  of  hate  crimes                                                                 
reported   in  Alaska   include   assault,  intimidation,   and                                                                 
harassment,  and would  therefore be  misdemeanors. Aggravating                                                                 
factors only apply to felonies;  and since most hate crimes are                                                                 
misdemeanors, the  majority of hate  crimes are outside  of the                                                                 
scope of aggravating  factors in law.  SB 246  also adds gender                                                                 
to  its  hate  crimes  legislation, which  sends  an  important                                                                 
message  that  gender-based  crimes   will  not  be  tolerated.                                                                 
Legislators around the country  have realized the importance of                                                                 
distinguishing race-based  and religion-based hate  crimes from                                                                 
gender-based crimes.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  LINCOLN maintained  that what  sets hate  crimes apart                                                                 
from other  acts of violence  is the psychological  damage they                                                                 
do.  The American  Psychological  Association (APA)  determined                                                                 
that  victims  of hate  crimes  suffer  the symptoms  of  post-                                                                 
traumatic   stress    disorder   and   social    and   economic                                                                 
ramifications. She  urged members to read  Dr. Langdon's letter                                                                 
concerning  the  psychological  damages that  occur.  She  then                                                                 
mentioned that  an elder  Yupik woman told  her of  an incident                                                                 
she recently experienced  at a Fred Meyers  store in Anchorage.                                                                 
The woman  placed her basket at  the side of the  aisle to look                                                                 
at  items on  the shelf.  After a  man bumped  her basket,  she                                                                 
turned  and said  excuse me  to him,  although she  was not  at                                                                 
fault.  As he  passed her,  he loudly  said watch  where you're                                                                 
going, slant eyes. The woman said  it broke her heart but said,                                                                 
God bless  you too,  because a  child was  with him.  The woman                                                                 
believes  it is  important to  feed children  words from  which                                                                 
children grow  spiritually and  she did not  want the  child to                                                                 
grow up adopting that man's attitude toward another race.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  LINCOLN concluded  by informing  members that  several                                                                 
people were available to testify and answer questions.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
8:30 a.m.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN  indicated that Senator  Lincoln's story  was very                                                                 
touching and  that the Yupik  woman's response  was impressive.                                                                 
He  then noted  when visiting  a  Native village  years ago,  a                                                                 
Native man warned  him that he shoots white men  and dumps them                                                                 
in the river  so [Senator Ogan] better get out  of the village.                                                                 
He commented that unfortunately, racism is not always "a one-                                                                   
way street."  Senator Ogan  said he  struggles with  creating a                                                                 
class distinction  in the crime  statutes because all  crime is                                                                 
hateful. He  questioned whether the legislature  will next have                                                                 
to  add  political parties  to  the  list  in case  a  Democrat                                                                 
commits a crime against a  Republican or vice versa because the                                                                 
crime was  politically motivated. He expressed  concern that SB
246 starts  a slippery  slope of creating  an unequal  class of                                                                 
people.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LINCOLN responded that SB 246  is not meant to apply to                                                                 
any one particular race; it applies to anyone. She stated:                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     It's the idea  that if somebody is so  intent, and it                                                                      
     has  to  be  a preponderance  of  evidence...it  just                                                                      
     can't be  somebody saying, somebody like  the lady in                                                                      
     Fred Meyers, you have to  prove - and certainly there                                                                      
     are lawyers here sitting on  your committee that know                                                                      
     more than  I on that  and the Department of  Law. But                                                                      
     you would have, I would  hope, so few cases that it's                                                                      
     not  simply somebody  saying somebody  said something                                                                      
     wrong  to  me, that  it  was  because I'm  a  certain                                                                      
     party. I hope  that we never get to  that point. But,                                                                      
     you  look  at these  young  men  that videotaped  the                                                                      
     paintball incident  that, you will recall,  that said                                                                      
     we're  out  looking  for Natives  -  that  particular                                                                      
     incident  -   and  we're  not  shooting   anyone  but                                                                      
     Natives. That's  all they were  looking for  and they                                                                      
     had  the  videotape  of  that.  That  should  not  be                                                                      
     allowed in  our society and we,  as lawmakers, should                                                                      
     do  everything we  can to  dissuade  folks like  that                                                                      
     from continuing.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  OGAN agreed  the [paintball  incident]  is a  horrible                                                                 
example  and was  an insult  to everyone  who engages  in civil                                                                 
behavior.  He   noted  the  outrage  from   the  community  was                                                                 
appropriate  and  believes  the   offenders  had  no  idea  the                                                                 
community  reaction  would  be  so  intense.  He  offered  that                                                                 
shooting a  person with a  paintball is not a  terribly serious                                                                 
crime  and the  offenders  probably would  not  have gotten  in                                                                 
trouble for it  had their actions not  been racially motivated.                                                                 
He  said he  does not  recall the  outcome of  that crime,  but                                                                 
believes it got a lot  more scrutiny because of the community's                                                                 
outrage.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LINCOLN  repeated that the offenders  were charged with                                                                 
misdemeanors,  which  means  their  hands were  slapped.    She                                                                 
agreed that people were outraged,  but the statutory punishment                                                                 
did not allow  for more than a misdemeanor charge  so they were                                                                 
not adequately punished.                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  reiterated two points made  by Senator Lincoln,                                                                 
the first being that the number  of cases that would be brought                                                                 
under SB 246  would be fairly small for two  reasons. The proof                                                                 
requirements  are stringent  and, thankfully,  hate crimes  are                                                                 
fairly rare.  He noted in the  absence of the videotape  in the                                                                 
paintball  incident,   a  prosecution   would  not   have  been                                                                 
sustainable.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  THERRIAULT asked  if there  is  any compelling  reason                                                                 
that these crimes should not be [elevated] with an aggravator.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  pointed out that  fourth degree  assault crimes                                                                 
are misdemeanors. A paintball is  not inherently dangerous so a                                                                 
crime using one is a  misdemeanor and the aggravators in Alaska                                                                 
law  do not  apply  to misdemeanors.  Therefore,  to take  into                                                                 
account  the  motivation  of  the  crime,  the  crime  must  be                                                                 
elevated  to a  higher level,  which is  what SB  246 does.  He                                                                 
added:                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     And the  same would go  - even if  it were a  class C                                                                      
     felony,  a  first  offender  on  a  class  C  felony,                                                                      
     there's no presumptive term. You  can be sentenced to                                                                      
     zero days  in jail if  the judge  sees fit.   So it's                                                                      
     not as  if - and  that sort of leaves  two arguments.                                                                      
     It's not  as if  the person  whose charged  with this                                                                      
     crime for  a fourth degree assault  is suddenly going                                                                      
     to go  off to jail  for a  long time. The  judge, you                                                                      
     know,  looks  at the  whole  picture.  The judge  can                                                                      
     still  send  that individual  away  with  no time  in                                                                      
     jail. On the  other hand, making it a  class C felony                                                                      
     gives the  judge a  lot more  leeway because  you can                                                                      
     kind  of  go up  to  about  two  years on  the  first                                                                      
     offense without really running afoul of the law.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT  asked if SB  246 notches all  categories of                                                                 
crime up one degree.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH said it does.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  THERRIAULT  asked  if  that could  not  be  done  with                                                                 
aggravators instead.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH said it cannot for misdemeanors.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN asked  if the law that applies  to aggravators and                                                                 
misdemeanors could be changed.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH said that is  what Senator Lincoln is doing with                                                                 
SB 246.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  LINCOLN  indicated  that  a  representative  from  the                                                                 
Department  of Law  (DOL) was  available  to answer  technical,                                                                 
legal questions. She  then pointed to language on  page 2, line                                                                 
22,  and said  the word  "knowingly" requires  a higher  mental                                                                 
element.                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH said  it  is  very difficult  to  prove what  a                                                                 
person  is thinking  so  SB 246  places a  high  burden on  the                                                                 
prosecution.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN  referred to  line 8 of  page 3,  specifically the                                                                 
words,  "prejudice,  bias,  or   hatred,"  and  said  he  can't                                                                 
imagine,  unless a  person  is insane,  a  violent crime  being                                                                 
committed by  someone who is  not motivated by hatred  or rage.                                                                 
He questioned what violent crime is not hateful.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  LINCOLN deferred  to other  testifiers to  answer that                                                                 
question.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS took public testimony.                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MR. ROBERT  JACOBS, Pacific Northwest Regional  Director of the                                                                 
Anti-Defamation  League   (ADL),  informed  members   that  Mr.                                                                 
Michael Lieberman,  legal counsel,  was unavailable  because of                                                                 
Passover,  but   that  Mr.  Lieberman  would   provide  written                                                                 
responses  to any  legal questions  members  have tomorrow.  He                                                                 
then gave the following testimony.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Since 1913 it's  been the mission of the  ADL to stop                                                                      
     the  defamation of  the Jewish  people and  to secure                                                                      
     justice  and fair  treatment to  all citizens  alike.                                                                      
     We're  dedicated to  combating prejudice  and bigotry                                                                      
     of all  kinds and defending democratic  ideals and to                                                                      
     promoting civil rights.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     The  Anti-Defamation League  is proud  to support  SB
     246,  which  would  take  an  important  step  toward                                                                      
     providing  appropriate  civil remedies  and  criminal                                                                      
     penalties  for hate  crimes in  Alaska. SB  246 would                                                                      
     provide  for additional  and  specific penalties  for                                                                      
     crimes committed against  persons or property because                                                                      
     of that person  or the owner or  owner's race, color,                                                                      
     religion,    nationality,    country    of    origin,                                                                      
     disability, gender, or  sexual orientation [indisc.].                                                                      
     46 states  and the  District of Columbia  have passed                                                                      
     hate  crimes  legislation   with  strong  bi-partisan                                                                      
     support; 31 of those  states provide a similar remedy                                                                      
     to the remedies provided in SB 246.                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     ...I  did  want to  respond  to  a Senator's  express                                                                      
     concern that  this legislation will create  a special                                                                      
     class  that   needs  more  protection   than  others.                                                                      
     Violent crimes of bigotry  demand a priority response                                                                      
     because of their  special emotional and psychological                                                                      
     impact on the victim  and the victim's community. The                                                                      
     damage done by hate  crimes cannot be measured solely                                                                      
     in  terms of  physical  injury or  dollars or  cents.                                                                      
     Hate crimes may  effectively intimidate other members                                                                      
     of  that  victim's  community, leaving  them  feeling                                                                      
     isolated, vulnerable  or unprotected  by the  law. By                                                                      
     making  members  of   minority  communities  fearful,                                                                      
     angry,  and suspicious  of other  groups, and  of the                                                                      
     power  structure that  is supposed  to protect  them,                                                                      
     these incidents can damage the  fabric of our society                                                                      
     and fragment communities.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
     Some  people ask  why a  crime  committed against  an                                                                      
     African-American,  a gay  person,  or  a Jew,  simply                                                                      
     because  that  person  is  African-American,  gay  or                                                                      
     Jewish, is worse than a  random robbery or assault or                                                                      
     vandalism.  And  aren't   we  all  terribly  violated                                                                      
     whenever we  are the victims of  physical attack? The                                                                      
     answer   is  absolutely   yes.   From  the   victim's                                                                      
     perspective, all crimes create  a sense of violation.                                                                      
     But  there  is  a   difference.  A  random  crime  is                                                                      
     committed  not because  of a  person's identity,  but                                                                      
     because of  a person's  misfortune. A  random robbery                                                                      
     is committed not because of  who you are, but because                                                                      
     of, for  example, you might  have money. In  a random                                                                      
     crime,  if  that  property   hadn't  been  robbed  or                                                                      
     vandalized,  it would  have been  that of  some other                                                                      
     unfortunate  victim.  And  so  while  it  might  feel                                                                      
     personal,  while  it's  happening,  it  shouldn't  be                                                                      
     taken personally.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
     But  the  opposite is  true  of  a hate  crime.  Hate                                                                      
     crimes are  specifically personal.  They're committed                                                                      
     against  somebody  else  because of  some  innate  or                                                                      
     unique   personal   characteristic  that   can't   be                                                                      
     changed,   that's  immutable:   skin  color,   sexual                                                                      
     orientation,  religious  background,  ethnic  origin.                                                                      
     Walking a  different, less  dangerous route  will not                                                                      
     necessarily stop  the hate crime  perpetrator because                                                                      
     he or  she is looking  for somebody of your  kind and                                                                      
     will find them, if not  now, later. The randomness of                                                                      
     the  crime  motivated  by greed,  or  need,  or  drug                                                                      
     addiction  -  that  kind  of  crime  is  absent,  the                                                                      
     motivation  is absent  from  hate  crime. That's  the                                                                      
     difference.  The hate  crime  -  you're not  selected                                                                      
     randomly. You're not in the  wrong place at the wrong                                                                      
     time. Victims  can avoid  bad neighborhoods  but they                                                                      
     cannot, and  they shouldn't have to,  escape from who                                                                      
     they innately are.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
     Hate crimes  are based on a  victim's race, religion,                                                                      
     gender,  sexual  orientation,  and  disability.  They                                                                      
     have  a special  psychological  and emotional  impact                                                                      
     that extends  well beyond  that original  victim and,                                                                      
     so  while bigotry  cannot be  outlawed, you  can't do                                                                      
     something to, say, bigotry  - the thoughts themselves                                                                      
     can't  be there.  Passage of  this  bill, which  will                                                                      
     provide Alaskans  with both  civil and  criminal hate                                                                      
     crime  protection   and  remedies,   demonstrates  an                                                                      
     important  commitment to  confront criminal  activity                                                                      
     motivated by prejudice.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
     In  partnership  with   human  rights  groups,  civic                                                                      
     leaders  and law  enforcement  officials can  advance                                                                      
     community  relations by  demonstrating commitment  to                                                                      
     be  both   tough  on  hate  crime   perpetrators  and                                                                      
     sensitive  to the  special needs  of  the hate  crime                                                                      
     victims.  The intent  of penalty  hate crime  laws is                                                                      
     not only to reassure  the targeted groups by imposing                                                                      
     serious  punishment on  hate crime  perpetrators, but                                                                      
     also  to deter  those  crimes  by demonstrating  that                                                                      
     they will  be dealt with  in a serious  manner. Under                                                                      
     these  laws, no  one is  punished merely  for bigoted                                                                      
     thought,  ideology  or   speech  but  when  prejudice                                                                      
     prompts somebody  to act on those  beliefs and engage                                                                      
     in criminal  conduct, a  prosecutor under  these laws                                                                      
     may  seek  a  more  severe sentence  but  must  prove                                                                      
     beyond reasonable doubt  the victim was intentionally                                                                      
     selected   because    of   his   or    her   personal                                                                      
     characteristics.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
     The fundamental  cause of bias-motivated  violence is                                                                      
     the  persistence   of  racism,  bigotry,   and  anti-                                                                      
     Semitism.   Unfortunately,   there  is   not   quick,                                                                      
     complete solution  to these problems.  Ultimately the                                                                      
     impact of  all bias crime initiates  will be measured                                                                      
     by  the  response  of  the  civil  judicial  and  the                                                                      
     criminal judicial  systems to  the individual  act of                                                                      
     hate crimes  or hate  violence. Enactment of  SB 246,                                                                      
     along  with the  implementation of  other hate  crime                                                                      
     training,   prevention,   and   anti-bias   education                                                                      
     initiatives is, in the words  of the ADL's mandate, a                                                                      
     step  toward  justice  and  fair  treatment  for  all                                                                      
     citizens alike.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     So we  applaud the  leadership of Senator  Lincoln on                                                                      
     this  measure and  we urge  the committee  to approve                                                                      
     this important legislation. Thank you.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS thanked Mr. Jacobs and asked Mr. Nelson Angapak                                                                   
to testify.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. NELSON ANGAPAK, SR., representing  the Alaska Federation of                                                                 
Natives (AFN),  stated support  for SB 246.  He asked  that his                                                                 
written   statement  and   a  letter   from   Julie  Kitka   be                                                                 
incorporated  into   the  committee  record  [located   in  the                                                                 
committee file]. Mr. Angapak stated the following:                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
     Hate crimes know no racial  boundaries. Right here in                                                                      
     Alaska...perpetrators  of hate  crimes have  targeted                                                                      
     the Alaska Natives. I know  somebody remarked a while                                                                      
     ago that  shooting someone with a  paintball will not                                                                      
     kill  the  person  in  and of  itself  and  I  agree.                                                                      
     However,  the psychological  impact of  that incident                                                                      
     is  greater  and  longer lasting.  I  saw  the  whole                                                                      
     paintball videotape and I can  still recall the young                                                                      
     man  saying,  'Let's go  out  and  hunt those  mukluk                                                                      
     Eskimos.'  I  am  an  Eskimo   from  Kobuk.  And  Mr.                                                                      
     Chairman, sometimes  when I'm driving down  that road                                                                      
     and I'm  walking outside, I wonder  is there somebody                                                                      
     out there  looking for me  to shoot me. I  think, Mr.                                                                      
     Chairman, it's  more important to -  rather than talk                                                                      
     about the  philosophy of whether  or not  a paintball                                                                      
     law should  be incorporated,  I think  this committee                                                                      
     should  seriously  consider  the passage  of  SB  246                                                                      
     because if this bill  is incorporated as Alaska state                                                                      
     statute, perhaps,  and it  is my  hope, that  it will                                                                      
     act  as a  deterrent  for those  folks  who might  be                                                                      
     contemplating [indisc.] of paintball.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Mr. Chairman, I applaud  that the legislature in 2001                                                                      
     -  that  they  condemned the  paintball  incident.  I                                                                      
     think,  Mr. Chairman,  what the  legislature did  not                                                                      
     accomplish at  that point was  to pass a  hate crimes                                                                      
     statute  and I  would like  to commend  you guys  for                                                                      
     giving yourselves a second  opportunity of passage of                                                                      
     a  hate crime  bill that  will elevate  this kind  of                                                                      
     crime from a misdemeanor to a higher level of crime.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     Mr. Chairman  - last point.  On behalf of  the Alaska                                                                      
     Federation  of   Natives,  we   would  urge   you  to                                                                      
     seriously  consider  moving  the  bill  out  of  your                                                                      
     committee   and  urge   your  Senate   colleagues  to                                                                      
     strongly  support its  passage. Thank  you very  much                                                                      
     and if  you have any  questions, I will be  more than                                                                      
     delighted to answer them at this point.                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
There  being no  questions, CHAIR  SEEKINS thanked  Mr. Angapak                                                                 
and called Mr. Monegan.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  WALT MONEGAN,  Chief of  the Anchorage  Police Department,                                                                 
stated support  for SB 246.  He noted he  sent a letter  to the                                                                 
committee that strongly  states his opinion, but  he offered to                                                                 
shed  some light  on some  of the  concerns he  heard expressed                                                                 
during the  hearing. He  said the  difference between  rage and                                                                 
hatred,  in  his personal  opinion,  is  that rage  is  usually                                                                 
directed at  an individual  while hatred  is directed  toward a                                                                 
group. He said  that type of a situation is  much more divisive                                                                 
and  destructive  to  any  community.   He  said  that  is  not                                                                 
something  he  wants to  see  take  root  in Anchorage  or  any                                                                 
community. His second point was  that personal gain or personal                                                                 
greed  motivates most  people to  commit a  crime. The  primary                                                                 
motive behind a  hate crime is to create fear  in a group. That                                                                 
differs from a normal criminal act.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
There being no questions, CHAIR SEEKINS called Ms. Buchholdt.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS.  THELMA   BUCHHOLDT,  an  Anchorage  attorney   in  private                                                                 
practice, said  that while she  is not testifying on  behalf of                                                                 
all of  the various  ethnic organizations, she  is a  member of                                                                 
the  Filipino  Community  of   Anchorage,  Inc.,  the  Filipino                                                                 
American National Historical Society,  the Filipino Arctic Folk                                                                 
Ensemble,  the  U.S.  Commission   for  Civil  Rights  Advisory                                                                 
Committee, and the Catholic  Social Services Advisory Committee                                                                 
for Immigration and Refugees, among others.                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. BUCHHOLDT said  she heard that SB 246 might  do better this                                                                 
year because  it has  no fiscal  note. She  served on  both the                                                                 
House  Finance  and  Judiciary  Committees  for  several  years                                                                 
during her four terms in  the [Alaska] House of Representatives                                                                 
and is aware that a bill with no fiscal note is generally a                                                                     
mere gesture and hardly enforceable. She continued:                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
     However,  in  this  case,  the  legislation  will  be                                                                      
     enforced by  the prosecutors and the  courts in their                                                                      
     normal  course  of  criminal  procedures.  I  believe                                                                      
     there  should  be  a  fiscal note  to  this  bill  to                                                                      
     provide  for  the  design and  establishment  of  our                                                                      
     diversity [indisc.]  training programs,  mandated for                                                                      
     juvenile  offenders within  the Department  of Health                                                                      
     and  Social Services.  And, for  adult offenders,  we                                                                      
     need the corrections system.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
     I  do have  one concern,  and  that's in  SB 246.  As                                                                      
     drafted now, it would  curtail the court's ability to                                                                      
     apply the SIS  - or suspend imposition  of sentence -                                                                      
     which  I   consider  to  be  an   important  tool  in                                                                      
     dispensing  justice.   For  crimes  such   as  felony                                                                      
     assault, where  the SIS  is already  disallowed, this                                                                      
     legislation would  make no difference. Here  under SB
     246,  however, but  for the  hate  crime factor,  SIS                                                                      
     would not be  an option. However, I  believe that the                                                                      
     bill    should   be    amended   to    require   some                                                                      
     specifications and conditions  [indisc.] as the moral                                                                      
     rehabilitation  of the  offender. As  a condition  of                                                                      
     avoiding   jail  and   having  this   shameful  crime                                                                      
     dismissed,  hate  criminals  should  be  required  to                                                                      
     undergo   well-designed    programs   of   diversity,                                                                      
     tolerance, counseling and  training. This would allow                                                                      
     our judges with greater  discretion that is expressly                                                                      
     provided by [SB] 246.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     While  I'm not  convinced  that mandatory  sentencing                                                                      
     and   [indisc.]  hate   crime  offenders   will  deal                                                                      
     effectively with  the underlying  hatred, I  do think                                                                      
     that the proper discretion  and direction, judges can                                                                      
     condition   SIS   release  and   ongoing   diversity-                                                                      
     tolerance programs  to help to  change the  heart and                                                                      
     mind  of the  hate crime  offender. However,  what is                                                                      
     clear  is   that  the  offender's  hatred   is  badly                                                                      
     engendered,  particularly  in  the case  of  juvenile                                                                      
     offenders. Family  counseling should be ordered  as a                                                                      
     condition of  SIS release. In  addition, conditioning                                                                      
     SIS  release on  diversity, tolerance,  training, and                                                                      
     the   Department  of   Corrections  should   likewise                                                                      
     condition probation and early parole.                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     Thank you  for hearing me  out this morning.  I think                                                                      
     that  you should  pass  this bill.  It  would be  our                                                                      
     public declaration of our  intolerance for hate crime                                                                      
     practices....                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  THERRIAULT  informed Ms.  Buchholdt  that  two of  the                                                                 
fiscal notes  are indeterminate,  not zero, so  the departments                                                                 
may incur an expense but do not know how much that might be.                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 04-36, SIDE B                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
MS.  DENISE  MORRIS, President  of  the  Alaska Native  Justice                                                                 
Center, told  members she served  as a member of  the Tolerance                                                                 
Commission, formed in 2001. The  Justice Center represented and                                                                 
advocated  on  behalf  of several  of  the  paintball  incident                                                                 
victims who  were traumatized.  She believes  many of  them had                                                                 
been victims of  hate crimes in the past but  those crimes went                                                                 
unreported.  When the  Tolerance Commission  traveled and  took                                                                 
testimony  across Alaska,  many  people came  forward and  said                                                                 
they  had been  victims  of  hate crimes.  She  pointed to  the                                                                 
Poindexter serial rapist  case, of which all  nine victims were                                                                 
Alaska  Native women.  That crime  was  not treated  as a  hate                                                                 
crime. More  recently, in  the Hunter case,  99 percent  of the                                                                 
victims  were  Alaska  Native women.  No  aggravator  could  be                                                                 
applied to those cases because  Alaska does not have hate crime                                                                 
legislation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS. MORRIS  noted that Alaska  Native women are 4.5  times more                                                                 
likely  to be  homicide victims.  In Anchorage  alone, over  50                                                                 
percent of  the reported cases  of sexual assault  are reported                                                                 
by Alaska Native women. Alaska  Native men are much more likely                                                                 
to be  homicide victims and more  likely to be victims  of hate                                                                 
crimes  in Alaska.  She understands  the concerns  expressed by                                                                 
members,  but  the  bill  reflects the  values  of  people  and                                                                 
signals that  crimes motivated by  hate are  especially tragic.                                                                 
An open society is one  that promotes fundamental human rights,                                                                 
guarantees  impartial   justice,  provides   opportunities  for                                                                 
people  to make  the most  of  their talents  and makes  public                                                                 
decisions through  a democratic  process that  is open  to full                                                                 
participation and constant re-examination.  SB 246 alone cannot                                                                 
eliminate bias  and hate  but it  will hold  people accountable                                                                 
for their actions. She urged members to pass SB 246.                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
9:00 a.m.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  CELESTE  HODGE,  Deputy Director  and  Community  Outreach                                                                 
Liaison of  the Anchorage Mayor's Office  of Equal Opportunity,                                                                 
shared a hate message left  on her voice mail immediately after                                                                 
launching a program to increase  diversity within the municipal                                                                 
workforce.  The   message  left  her  feeling   terrorized  and                                                                 
vulnerable. She encouraged members to pass SB 246.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR. NICK  KOKOTOVICH, a  member of  the Youth  Leadership Team,                                                                 
and chair of  the "Undo Racism Group," told  members he attends                                                                 
Yakoosgé Daakahídi, part of  Juneau-Douglas High School (JDHS).                                                               
He has seen a  lot of hate crimes at JDHS  this past year while                                                                 
visiting. He  said although a  paintball cannot kill  a person,                                                                 
it  can cause  serious eye  damage. He  told members  that last                                                                 
year, because  he is Native,  he was  harassed to the  point of                                                                 
physical violence  by a certain  person. The same  boy harassed                                                                 
three  other Native  boys. The  school district  suspended [the                                                                 
perpetrator]  for three  days,  along with  the  boys who  were                                                                 
harassed, because  the school has  a policy of no  fighting. SB
246 will give all youth in Alaska the security they need.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MS.  ALEXIE  OLSON, a  junior  at  JDHS,  told members  she  is                                                                 
involved  in  school  activities,  gets  good  grades,  and  is                                                                 
related to Elizabeth Peratovich.  She said during her sophomore                                                                 
year  at  JDHS  she  wanted   to  quit  school.  Students  were                                                                 
harassing her every morning at  school, pushing her so that she                                                                 
would  burn  herself  with  the  hot  drink  she  carried.  Her                                                                 
girlfriend  who is  not Alaska  Native did  not experience  any                                                                 
harassment, although they were  together everyday. She reported                                                                 
the  incidences to  the school  administrator  but nothing  was                                                                 
done.  She recounted  being pushed,  called names,  shoved into                                                                 
lockers, and  hurried down stairs purposely.  She remarked that                                                                 
all  Alaska   Natives  experience  racial   discrimination  and                                                                 
harassment.  Most   of  them  just   want  to   complete  their                                                                 
educations in  a safe environment  and to be respected  for who                                                                 
they are. She asked members to pass the bill.                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN asked Ms. Olson  if her dislocated knee was caused                                                                 
by the harassment.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. OLSON said  she was shoved by a "white"  person and injured                                                                 
herself badly.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN asked  Ms. Olson if she reported  that incident to                                                                 
the police.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. OLSON said she did not.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN  expressed sympathy about her  experience but said                                                                 
he also  was shoved around  in the  halls at school  because of                                                                 
his  size.  In retrospect,  he  turned  it  into a  good  thing                                                                 
because although  he suffered  a lot  from that  harassment, he                                                                 
took karate  and took on his  opponent. That was the  last time                                                                 
he was harassed. He hoped  Ms. Olson's experiences can make her                                                                 
a stronger person.                                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS asked  Ms. Olson  if  the school  administration                                                                 
does nothing when she reports these incidences.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. OLSON said that she  was called into the minister's office.                                                                 
He had  her point  out the  people who  were harassing  her but                                                                 
nothing came of it. The harassment continued all year.                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked Ms. Olson if  she has a counselor  she can                                                                 
work  with  in  the  school   to  bring  these  issues  to  the                                                                 
administration's attention and increase awareness.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MS. OLSON said  she told some of her teachers  because they saw                                                                 
the  burns  on her  arms  but  they told  her  to  talk to  her                                                                 
counselor who told her to talk  to the administrator.  She did,                                                                 
but no follow-up occurred.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS expressed  concern that  nothing was  done about                                                                 
basic bad behavior.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR LINCOLN told  members that the students  marched to the                                                                 
Capitol Building about two weeks  ago and started a dialog with                                                                 
the school  administration. She believes that  because of these                                                                 
students, the  allegations are being  looked into but  she does                                                                 
not know  the results  yet. She added  that someone  is writing                                                                 
KAN on the school and buses, an acronym for kill all Natives.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS asked  if it  would be  a crime  to deliberately                                                                 
cause a person to burn herself with hot liquid.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH affirmed it would.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS encouraged  anyone in  that situation  to pursue                                                                 
whatever  remedy is  necessary to  prevent that  from happening                                                                 
again.                                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  commented that  there was  a spate  of racially                                                                 
motivated incidents at JDHS, which  has raised the awareness of                                                                 
the  community  and  sparked  some  rallies.  He  believes  the                                                                 
reports have gotten  back to the authorities  and the community                                                                 
has given a fair amount of attention to the matter.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS thanked participants  and announced that he would                                                                 
hold the  bill in committee to  allow others to testify  and to                                                                 
address  members' concerns.  He  then  announced a  five-minute                                                                 
recess.                                                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects