Legislature(2003 - 2004)

04/19/2004 08:07 AM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
            HB 514-CHILD SUPPORT ENFORCEMENT/ CRIMES                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
MR. JOHN MAIN,  staff to Representative Pete Kott,  sponsor of HB
514, told members  that HB 514 touches on six  major areas of the                                                               
child  support statutes.  First, it  raises criminal  non-support                                                               
from  a misdemeanor  to a  felony.  Currently 33  states and  the                                                               
federal  government classify  criminal non-support  as a  felony.                                                               
Raising  that crime  to  a  felony will  give  the Child  Support                                                               
Enforcement Division  (CSED) a tool  to negotiate for  payment of                                                               
child  support. Individuals  sometimes do  not pay  child support                                                               
knowing the penalty is a misdemeanor.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MAIN stated  that since  2000,  the court  has convicted  24                                                               
people of non-payment of child  support. The difference between a                                                               
misdemeanant and a felon is the  conduct. CSED is forced to treat                                                               
both the individual  who owes $5,000 and the  individual who owes                                                               
$60,000  the same  and believes  that is  unfair. The  statute of                                                               
limitations for  a misdemeanor is five  years and 10 years  for a                                                               
felony.  Sentencing is  also a  major factor:  a misdemeanor  can                                                               
carry  up  to  10  years  of  informal  probation  and  one  year                                                               
suspended sentence;  a felony carries  up to ten years  of formal                                                               
probation  and  a  five-year suspended  sentence.  CSED  monitors                                                               
people   on  informal   probation,   while   the  Department   of                                                               
Corrections monitors people on formal probation.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAIN  said the felony charge  would apply to parents  who owe                                                               
at  least  $10,000   and  are  in  arrears  for   two  years.  In                                                               
comparison, an  individual who steals  or conceals $500  worth of                                                               
merchandise  would also  be charged  with  a class  C felony,  as                                                               
would an individual who defrauds a creditor for $500 or more.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAIN said  HB 514 also makes aiding and  abetting in the non-                                                               
payment of  child support a class  C felony. That would  apply to                                                               
individuals who help  a person conceal assets or  an employer who                                                               
knows an employee owes child support.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
The third area  of the statute that would be  affected applies to                                                               
judicial  jurisdiction.  The  change  would give  the  court  the                                                               
authority  to require  obligors  to pay  on  an approved  payment                                                               
plan,  to  seek  work,  and to  submit  permanent  fund  dividend                                                               
applications if they  qualify. The bill will  allow obligors, who                                                               
have struggled  for years to pay  a large debt, to  resume paying                                                               
that  obligation  and  reduce  the  debt  through  a  forgiveness                                                               
provision. CSED has been unable  to collect about $250 million in                                                               
arrears. At the same time, many  obligors have been unable to pay                                                               
because of  the amount of debt  that has been imposed  upon them.                                                               
In some cases, a man might learn  that he is a father and that he                                                               
owes $30,000 at  the same time. That puts a  tremendous burden on                                                               
that individual  and his family. CSED  is asking that it  be able                                                               
to  provide those  individuals  some relief  from  a large  state                                                               
debt.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAIN  said the  next change  in the bill  will allow  CSED to                                                               
establish  paternity  of the  children  of  victims of  rape  and                                                               
incest  for  the  purpose  of   collecting  child  support.  CSED                                                               
believes  that  omission  was  an  oversight  when  the  law  was                                                               
enacted.  In   those  situations,   CSED  would   only  establish                                                               
paternity if requested by the victims.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
The last change pertains to  modifications to amounts paid. Right                                                               
now,  CSED reviews  child support  obligations every  three years                                                               
and if the  obligor's income has changed 15  percent, the monthly                                                               
payment  is   adjusted.  However,  the  federal   government  has                                                               
determined that  CSED must modify  the monthly payment  amount no                                                               
matter how  much the obligor's  income has changed. As  a result,                                                               
CSED  will not  be in  compliance with  the federal  law if  this                                                               
provision is  not adopted and could  face the loss of  $14 to $17                                                               
million in  federal funds, which  would affect both CSED  and the                                                               
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families' (TANF) program.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
8:30 p.m.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN  asked Mr. Main  how he reconciles creating  a crime                                                               
for non-payment  of debt with  the provisions  in art. 17  of the                                                               
Alaska Constitution,  which says  there shall be  no imprisonment                                                               
for debt.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAIN  said that criminal  non-support was created in  1971 to                                                               
address the fact that children  need to be supported. He lamented                                                               
the need for child support  enforcement and that both parents are                                                               
not always involved  with their children. He  said non-support is                                                               
a travesty  on society and  he sees  it as something  that should                                                               
not be  tolerated. He  does not  believe that  imposing penalties                                                               
will resolve  the problem but it  will awaken people to  the fact                                                               
that if  they don't  pay, they  will not be  free. He  noted that                                                               
this law places  a tremendous burden on some people  to pay child                                                               
support but,  at the same  time, he  hopes those parents  who pay                                                               
are involved  with their children  on a regular basis.  This bill                                                               
will stiffen penalties  for those people who are  able to support                                                               
their  children but  do not  do so  and will  help those  who are                                                               
unable to pay due to lack of funds.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN said a civil process  exists for all other debts. He                                                               
then asked if all child  support cases are automatically referred                                                               
to CSED  or whether  parents can make  arrangements on  their own                                                               
upon divorce.                                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MAIN said  parties  can be  exempted from  using  CSED if  a                                                               
specific process is used. The  parties must petition the court at                                                               
the time  of divorce to  handle the payments  between themselves.                                                               
In  those  cases,  the  payments  are  routed  through  CSED  for                                                               
recordkeeping  purposes  but  CSED takes  no  enforcement  action                                                               
unless requested by one of the parties.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked if  CSED requires that  a minimal  amount be                                                               
paid for child support by the non-custodial parent.                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAIN said the minimum is $50.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked if a  divorcing couple decides to  deal with                                                               
that payment  independent of CSED,  and the  non-custodial parent                                                               
makes  no payment  for 24  months, that  person could  be charged                                                               
with a felony.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAIN  said the  24-month provision was  included in  the bill                                                               
because some people  have the ability to pay but  do not even pay                                                               
the minimum amount.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS asked if the 24-months must be consecutive.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAIN  said yes. He noted  that when these cases  are referred                                                               
to  the investigative  section at  CSED,  the investigators  make                                                               
sure that all  of the criteria that applies to  the civil process                                                               
have  been  met;  then  the  case is  referred  to  the  attorney                                                               
general. He clarified  that the c felony applies to  a person who                                                               
owes at least $10,000 or is in arrears for 24 months or more.                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS asked  if the aggrieved parent would go  to CSED or                                                               
the attorney general to charge the obligor with a felony.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MAIN said  the aggrieved  parent would  go to  CSED, and  an                                                               
investigation would ensue  to determine whether or  not to pursue                                                               
the case.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS   asked  if  CSED   would  give  the   obligor  an                                                               
opportunity to pay.                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MAIN  said  the  obligor   would  have  been  given  several                                                               
opportunities to pay the funds but  when CSED has found a lack of                                                               
cooperation and  ability to pay,  it will  turn the case  over to                                                               
the Department of Law.                                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS noted that Mr.  Main likened this crime to thievery                                                               
and asked  if he believes  that support payments in  arrears have                                                               
been stolen from the child.                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAIN said that is the  irony because in actuality, it is like                                                               
taking  money from  a child's  piggy bank.  He said  when parents                                                               
bring children  into the world,  those children should  expect to                                                               
be emotionally and  financially supported. A parent  who does not                                                               
do that places a  burden on the state or someone  else to do that                                                               
job and is taking away something from that child.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked if a  non-custodial parent made  one payment                                                               
after 30 months, a second 24-month cycle would begin.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAIN was unsure how CSED  would deal with that but thought it                                                               
might lower  the penalty  if it chose  to charge  that individual                                                               
for the  30 months of non-payment.  He noted that CSED  will have                                                               
to choose the most egregious cases to deal with.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS noted  the crime is a misdemeanor at  23 months but                                                               
a felony at  24 months. He asked  if at 24 months  the statute of                                                               
limitations is expanded to bring a claim against a person.                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAIN said that is correct.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN  asked about the  current sanctions  for non-payment                                                               
of child support.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAIN responded that depending  on the amount owed, the person                                                               
is  reported to  the credit  bureau,  can lose  a permanent  fund                                                               
dividend, can lose  a driver's license, can  have an occupational                                                               
license revoked or  suspended, and could lose a  passport. All of                                                               
those things might  occur yet an individual may  still choose not                                                               
to comply.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  OGAN expressed  concern that  an obligor  would need  an                                                               
occupational license  and driver's  license to  make a  living to                                                               
pay  the  debt  and  that  HB  514  will  add  another  level  of                                                               
difficulty by making non-payment a  felony. He felt that approach                                                               
is counterproductive.                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS  asked for further  explanation of  the forgiveness                                                               
provisions.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAIN deferred to Ms. Baily.                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MS. LANDA BAILY, special assistant  to the Department of Revenue,                                                               
said that  CSHB 514(FIN)am  contains some  minimum qualifications                                                               
for   participation    in   the   forgiveness    program.   Those                                                               
qualifications  will ensure  that  only those  people who  should                                                               
qualify  do, without  compromising  collectible  state debt.  She                                                               
noted a proposed amendment had been distributed.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS asked  Ms. Baily for a comparison  [of the contents                                                               
in  the proposed  amendment] to  the approach  contained in  CSHB
514(FIN)am.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BAILY  said  CSHB  514(FIN)am  says  the  agency  "may",  by                                                               
regulation, establish procedures...,  while the amendment changes                                                               
that  language  to  read  the   agency  "shall",  by  regulation,                                                               
establish procedures and standards  for forgiveness and arrearage                                                               
programs. The second change  authorizes withholding payments from                                                               
a self-employed  person. The  third change says  for each  year a                                                               
person participates in the forgiveness  program, up to 20 percent                                                               
of his  or her indebtedness could  be forgiven. She said  the key                                                               
will be  to make sure  the program  does not imperil  the federal                                                               
incentive  funding that  requires  Alaska to  keep a  competitive                                                               
profile. CSED is largely funded  with federal funds and the state                                                               
relies  on those  funds to  benefit the  children of  Alaska. She                                                               
added that the amendment also  requires CSED to adopt regulations                                                               
within nine months of the effective date of the bill.                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BAILY   maintained  that  CSED  and   the  commissioner  are                                                               
committed to  a program that addresses  non-collectible debt. DOR                                                               
needs to know why that debt  is uncollectible in order to come up                                                               
with  tight regulations  that will  create an  effective process.                                                               
The amendment  will allow CSED  to tailor the regulations  to get                                                               
the  right  people into  the  program  by looking  at  employment                                                               
opportunities  in  Alaska  and   using  effective  tools  already                                                               
available in the state.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MAIN  explained  how the  forgiveness  program  would  work.                                                               
First, CSED  and the obligor must  agree to a payment  plan after                                                               
the obligor  has met the  criteria. If the obligor  complies with                                                               
the payment plan, CSED could forgive  up to 20 percent [per year]                                                               
of  the state  debt  as  long as  the  obligor  continues in  the                                                               
program.  As an  example  of  an obligor  who  might qualify,  he                                                               
described a  man who was  not informed  he had fathered  a child.                                                               
The mother had moved to  Alaska and applied for public assistance                                                               
when the child was born. The  father was not named right away but                                                               
was eventually found  living in Mississippi. He had  worked on an                                                               
oilrig  for three  years making  about $75,000  per year  but was                                                               
laid off from  that job and took other employment  at the minimum                                                               
wage. CSED determined the father  owed roughly $30,000, primarily                                                               
due to  the public assistance  payments collected by  the mother.                                                               
The father is unable to pay  that amount because he is supporting                                                               
another  family  and  is  barely  making  ends  meet.  Under  the                                                               
arrearage compromise  program, CSED  would be  able to  work with                                                               
him and set up a program  where he would pay a monthly obligation                                                               
and simultaneously have his debt reduced.                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
TAPE 04-44, SIDE B                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT asked for clarification  of the provision that                                                               
allows the court to require  the non-custodial parent to work. He                                                               
said  he sees  that  as more  of a  problem  for a  non-custodial                                                               
mother who might  remarry. He questioned whether  the court could                                                               
require the  woman to work so  that the children could  receive a                                                               
higher payment.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAIN  said the  court could  do that.  He explained  that two                                                               
jurisdictions    within   the    state   have    made   different                                                               
determinations   regarding  whether   the   courts  can   require                                                               
individuals to  seek work:  one believes it  can, the  other does                                                               
not.  That is  why that  provision is  in the  bill. He  said the                                                               
obligor would have to prepare  applications, go to interviews and                                                               
report that activity to the court.                                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT asked  if any penalty exists for  a person who                                                               
refuses to take any job or quits a series of jobs.                                                                              
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MAIN said  the  court could  impose  sanctions against  that                                                               
individual, such as contempt of court.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS said in  the case of a father who  does not know he                                                               
has a  child, the forgiveness would  be limited to the  debt owed                                                               
to the  state for  public assistance payments  made on  behalf of                                                               
the child and not for other  child support that the state was not                                                               
involved in.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BAILY  clarified  that  the  forgiveness  section  addresses                                                               
state-owed arrearages  only. Those arrearages occur  when a child                                                               
is in  foster care or on  public assistance. She then  noted that                                                               
Diane  Wendlandt  and  John Mallonee  were  available  to  answer                                                               
questions via teleconference.                                                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
MS. DIANE  WENDLANDT, Assistant  Attorney General,  Department of                                                               
Law (DOL), said the forgiveness  provision in the bill is limited                                                               
to state  debt because the  state would  not have the  ability to                                                               
settle private  debts at this  time because private debt  is owed                                                               
to the parent and not to the state.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked if  the statute  of limitations  differs for                                                               
private versus state debt.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. WENDLANDT  said there are  some differences but not  in terms                                                               
of the  collection. Once a  child support order has  been issued,                                                               
the custodial parent  may continue to collect until  that debt is                                                               
paid, regardless of whether the debt is state or private.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
9:00 a.m.                                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  asked how  far back  the state  can go  to collect                                                               
arrearages  if  a  child  is  17  years  old  when  paternity  is                                                               
determined.                                                                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MS. WENDLANDT said under the  current statute of limitations, DOL                                                               
can go back six years to  establish state debt. For private debt,                                                               
however, the custodial parent can go back to the date of birth.                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN  asked for a  description of the  federal compliance                                                               
sections of  the bill  that must  pass for  the state  to receive                                                               
federal funds.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAIN said Section 15 must pass.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  entertained a  motion  to  consider the  proposed                                                               
amendment [Amendment 1], which reads as follows.                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
                      A M E N D M E N T  1                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
OFFERED IN THE SENATE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE                                                                                       
TO: CSHB 514(FIN)am                                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
Page 5, Section  12, beginning on line 20, and  ending on page 6,                                                               
line 18:                                                                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
     Delete all material and insert:                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
AS 25.27.020(d) is amended by adding new subsections to read:                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     (f) The agency shall, by regulation, establish procedures                                                                  
and standards  for the  forgiveness of an  arrearage owed  to the                                                               
state under  AS 25.27.120. The  agency may forgive  arrears under                                                               
this section, with  the approval of the  commissioner and without                                                               
the approval of the Department of Law, if                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
     (1)  the obligor                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
          (A) has or obtains employment for which income                                                                        
               withholding   is  initiated  under   AS  25.27.250                                                               
               within  60  days   of  the  date  the  obligor  is                                                               
               approved for the forgiveness program;                                                                            
          (B) enrolls in and successfully completes an                                                                          
               employment   training  program  approved   by  the                                                               
               agency  and  obtains employment  for which  income                                                               
               withholding   is  initiated  under   AS  25.27.150                                                               
               within 30  days after completion of the employment                                                               
               training program; or                                                                                             
          (C) enters into an agreement with the agency for                                                                      
               alternative  payment  procedures,  if  the  agency                                                               
               determines  that there  are unusual  circumstances                                                               
               justifying a waiver of income withholding; and                                                                   
                                                                                                                                
     (2) is in compliance with additional requirements and                                                                      
limitations imposed by the agency  by regulation to assure that a                                                               
forgiveness  is in  the best  interest of  the child  and of  the                                                               
state; and                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
     (3) the obligor makes monthly payments pursuant to a                                                                       
payment agreement approved  by the agency; if  the obligor misses                                                               
more than two  monthly payments in a calendar year,  or more than                                                               
two consecutive payments without approval  of the agency for good                                                               
cause,  the obligor  will  not  be eligible  to  continue in  the                                                               
arrears forgiveness program under this section.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
     (g) During each year in which an obligor complies with the                                                                 
requirements for  the forgiveness  of an  arrearage under  (f) of                                                               
this  section and  any regulations  adopted by  the agency  under                                                               
that subsection, the  agency may forgive up to 20  percent of the                                                               
total arrearage owed  to the state under  AS 25.27.120, including                                                               
any interest owed  on that debt. For purposes  of determining the                                                               
amount of the  forgiveness, the arrears will be  calculated as of                                                               
the  date  the  obligor  is approved  for  participation  in  the                                                               
forgiveness program.                                                                                                            
                                                                                                                                
     (h) The forgiveness program authorized under (f) and (g) of                                                                
this section may not be  implemented until the agency has adopted                                                               
regulations setting  standards and procedures.  Regulations under                                                               
this  section  must  be  adopted within  nine  months  after  the                                                               
effective  date of  this  section. The  agency  may establish  by                                                               
regulation  requirements   and  limitations  on   eligibility  in                                                               
addition to those stated in (f) and (g) of this section.                                                                        
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT moved to adopt Amendment 1.                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELLIS  objected  and asked  if  the  House  contemplated                                                               
Amendment 1 and rejected it.                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MAIN  said  the  House  did  not  consider  this  particular                                                               
language  but when  DOR told  Representative  Kott the  amendment                                                               
would improve  CSED's ability to  compromise arrearages,  he felt                                                               
it would be fine. He noted  it was not imposed upon Speaker Kott.                                                               
The amendment  will make the  language cleaner, the  program more                                                               
effective and allow obligors who are  burdened by debt to be part                                                               
of society again.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS  asked if the  distinction between the  private and                                                               
state portion  of the debt  is that the  state debt is  only that                                                               
portion paid  through temporary assistance  to needy  families so                                                               
this will not apply to the  amount owed directly to the custodial                                                               
parent.                                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAIN said that is correct.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELLIS asked  why the  forgiveness  amount is  "up to  20                                                               
percent." He said  that amount will not repair  a person's credit                                                               
or finances in any way.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAIN  said any number  could be used but  the goal is  to get                                                               
the obligor  to begin paying  ongoing child support.  The federal                                                               
and state  governments believe  that as  more obligors  pay their                                                               
ongoing  payments, the  better those  people will  feel and  will                                                               
have relationships  with their children. Also,  custodial parents                                                               
need assurance that  they will receive some amount  of support on                                                               
an ongoing  basis. This bill  seeks to  get those people  who are                                                               
struggling to make  ongoing payments to pay some  amount. He said                                                               
some people feel they will never  get out from under that debt so                                                               
this  provision will  give people  the possibility  of eventually                                                               
being debt free after five years.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS asked  for more information on who  has a statutory                                                               
duty to disclose [regarding the aiding and abetting provision].                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAIN said  that would be an employer or  individuals who have                                                               
knowledge that the  person owes child support, such  as a current                                                               
wife or  a bookkeeper.  Anyone who  receives a  withholding order                                                               
would be statutorily responsible.                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH asked for the citation.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. WENDLANDT  said the statutes  are AS 25.27.060,  AS 25.27.085                                                               
and AS 25.27.062.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELLIS asked  why  Amendment 1  includes  the words  "and                                                               
without the approval of the Department  of Law,". He asked if the                                                               
obligor  meets the  other  requirements,  the commissioner  would                                                               
have the sole authority to grant  up to 20 percent forgiveness of                                                               
the state debt.                                                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAIN said the belief is  that CSED has a great many qualified                                                               
individuals  that  should  be able  to  approve  the  forgiveness                                                               
without DOL's approval.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR ELLIS  asked if CSED  staff will make  recommendations to                                                               
the commissioner of  revenue, who will sign off on  them. He said                                                               
he does  not have a  problem with  not requiring the  approval of                                                               
DOL, but he has heard many  people argue over the years that CSED                                                               
is an agency that needs outside review.                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR SEEKINS  said those  arguments probably  did not  relate to                                                               
state debt forgiveness.                                                                                                         
                                                                                                                                
MS. BAILY added that DOL  will help promulgate CSED's regulations                                                               
to  avoid  any  problems  associated   with  the  public  purpose                                                               
doctrine or equal protection, regarding  who gets to participate,                                                               
and to protect the best interests of the children and the state.                                                                
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  THERRIAULT asked  what  incentive this  will provide  to                                                               
prevent people from  going into default so that  they qualify for                                                               
the forgiveness provision.                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
MS. BAILY  said that  is why  DOR feels it  is necessary  to make                                                               
sure that  the best interest  of the child  and the state  is the                                                               
statutory direction.  She said  it is  her understanding  that no                                                               
one wants to create an incentive  for an obligor to rack up child                                                               
support to  qualify for  forgiveness but no  one wants  to punish                                                               
those who have  lived up to their obligations.  DOR believes CSED                                                               
can design regulations to really look  at who owes, why they owe,                                                               
and  whether  they  intentionally  did not  pay  to  qualify  for                                                               
forgiveness of their arrearages. She  noted the federal office of                                                               
child support  enforcement has consistently warned  states to not                                                               
create that sort of incentive.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR THERRIAULT asked  if the regulations will  have some kind                                                               
of an income limit so that if a  person had a lot of assets, they                                                               
would be calculated into the equation.                                                                                          
                                                                                                                                
MS. BAILY said she believes  CSED will evaluate model legislation                                                               
from  other  states to  see  what  will  work in  Alaska.  Alaska                                                               
differs   from  other   states   in  terms   of  employment   and                                                               
transportation.  CSED  will  also  look  at  a  person's  health,                                                               
whether the  person is incarcerated,  and whether the  person has                                                               
drug, alcohol or  mental health issues. If so, CSED  hopes to tie                                                               
into the  therapeutic court system and  require parenting classes                                                               
in some cases.                                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  ELLIS   withdrew  his  objection  to   the  adoption  of                                                               
Amendment 1.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH  commented that  it  appears  that the  crime  of                                                               
aiding  and  abetting  must be  intentional.  A  House  committee                                                               
considered adding  the words "intentionally"  and "unreasonably,"                                                               
but  those  words do  not  appear  in the  CS.  He  asked for  an                                                               
explanation.                                                                                                                    
                                                                                                                                
MR.  MAIN said  DOL  testified [before  a  House committee]  that                                                               
adding  the  word  "unreasonably"  would create  an  obstacle  to                                                               
bringing a case to court.                                                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  said he objects to  the drafting style of  the CS                                                               
because  the word  "intentionally" appears  on line  20 and  that                                                               
word  modifies  three   subsections.  However,  the  subsections,                                                               
particularly  the third  one, are  worded so  that a  "knowingly"                                                               
state  of  mind  could  apply. He  suggested  removing  the  word                                                               
"intentionally" on  line 20 and  specifying the state of  mind in                                                               
each subsection.                                                                                                                
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAIN said the Criminal  Division of DOL reviewed the language                                                               
in the CS and felt it was adequate.                                                                                             
                                                                                                                                
MS.  WENDLANDT recalled  that "unreasonably"  was  included in  a                                                               
prior version  but prosecutors  felt the  inclusion of  that word                                                               
would make prosecuting that crime very difficult.                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
MS.  BAILY added  the House  Judiciary  Committee discussed  this                                                               
issue, where  Anne Carpeneti  looked at  that closely.  She noted                                                               
that "unreasonably" would  include a lot of people  who might not                                                               
want to  take money away  from their  existing family, such  as a                                                               
new spouse, and that would not be unreasonable.                                                                                 
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS commented  that Senator  French's  concern is  the                                                               
structure of  that section.  He agreed  that language  is awkward                                                               
and  felt Senator  French's suggested  language is  favorable. He                                                               
noted  his intention  to  hold  the bill  and  have that  section                                                               
redrafted.                                                                                                                      
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN  noted his desire to  work with the bill  sponsor on                                                               
the question of the constitutionality of debtor's prison.                                                                       
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR FRENCH  asked if  these cases will  be prosecuted  by one                                                               
prosecutor who works two-thirds of her time on these cases.                                                                     
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAIN said that is correct.                                                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR  FRENCH  pointed to  the  indeterminate  fiscal note  and                                                               
asked if CSED  intends to expand that prosecutor's  hours or give                                                               
her  additional resources.  He noted  that a  felony charge  will                                                               
require  a grand  jury  hearing,  which will  drive  the cost  of                                                               
prosecution  up. He  opined that  if she  is paid  for two-thirds                                                               
time, it  is unfair  to give  her a full  time caseload.  He then                                                               
asked for the list of  recreational licenses that will be revoked                                                               
if a person does not follow this law.                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
MR. MAIN said  recreational licenses are sport  fishing and sport                                                               
hunting licenses.                                                                                                               
                                                                                                                                
SENATOR OGAN repeated  his concern that this bill will  not let a                                                               
person  own a  business, drive,  or  feed himself  with fish  and                                                               
game.                                                                                                                           
                                                                                                                                
CHAIR  SEEKINS  replied, "With  that,  I  think  this is  a  very                                                               
interesting bill.  I think the intent  is not to allow  people to                                                               
live large  by stealing from their  kids and I agree  with that."                                                               
He then set the bill aside and announced a five-minute recess.                                                                  
                                                                                                                                
Upon reconvening, the committee took up HB 414.                                                                                 

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