Legislature(2015 - 2016)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

04/04/2016 01:30 PM Senate JUDICIARY

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       SB 164-FISH & GAME: OFFENSES; LICENSES; PENALTIES                                                                    
2:24:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MCGUIRE announced the consideration of SB 164.                                                                            
2:24:30 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL  moved to adopt  the CS  for SB 164,  labeled 29-                                                               
GS2958\H, as the working document.                                                                                              
CHAIR  MCGUIRE announced  that without  objection,  version H  is                                                               
before the committee.                                                                                                           
2:25:01 PM                                                                                                                    
KEVIN BROOKS, Deputy Commissioner,  Alaska Department of Fish and                                                               
Game (ADF&G),  noted that the  four members present heard  SB 164                                                               
in the Senate Resources Committee.  He explained that the purpose                                                               
of the  legislation is to  provide Alaska Wildlife  Troopers with                                                               
the  authority to  issue correctable  citations.  The bill  would                                                               
prohibit a  person from  receiving a  sport fishing,  hunting, or                                                               
trapping  license   in  Alaska  if  their   privileges  had  been                                                               
suspended or  revoked in another  state. The bill  also increases                                                               
restitution   for  animals   harvested  illegally,   standardizes                                                               
penalties  for  offenses, and  provides  an  additional tool  for                                                               
Alaska Wildlife Troopers to charge  some wildlife, fisheries, and                                                               
habitat  offenses as  violations. Finally,  the bill  also allows                                                               
the display of a license in an electronic format.                                                                               
He reviewed  the following changes between  the original, version                                                               
A, and the current, version H, for SB 164:                                                                                      
     1)  Page  1, line  5  adds  a  semicolon to  the  title                                                                    
     creating an  exemption from payment of  restitution for                                                                    
     certain unlawful takings of big game animals.                                                                              
     2) Page  2, section 3,  line 21 removes the  words "tag                                                                    
     or permit"  from an item  that can be  correctable, and                                                                    
     removes  reference  to  the Court.  An  individual  can                                                                    
     correct a  violation at a  Department of  Public Safety                                                                    
     3) Page 5,  section 17, line 6 adds language  "and c of                                                                  
     this section" to address changes  in section 18 of this                                                                  
     4) Page  5, section 17 lines  14-25 changes restitution                                                                    
     amounts that the court may  apply if the court feels it                                                                    
     is appropriate. These increases  represent the value of                                                                    
     the  illegally  taken  resource   to  the  citizens  of                                                                    
     5) Page 5,  line 26 deleted section 17  of the original                                                                    
     bill  which  was  redundant  with  section  15  of  the                                                                    
     original bill.                                                                                                             
     6)  Page  5, section  18,  lines  26-31 creates  a  new                                                                    
     section  that  provides  that a  court  may  not  order                                                                    
     restitution under  section 17  of this  bill in  a case                                                                    
     where a  defendant voluntarily turns themselves  in and                                                                    
     is charged  with a violation offence.  It also provides                                                                    
     that a  person must voluntarily and  immediately report                                                                    
     to  ADFG or  DPS  a violation  that  they committed  to                                                                    
     qualify for this affirmative defense.                                                                                      
     7) Page 6, section 24,  line 21-22 was a drafting error                                                                    
     that  was  corrected  to reflect  the  correct  statute                                                                    
     8) Page  7, line 7,  delete section 27 of  the original                                                                    
     bill related to Court Rule 5(a)(4).                                                                                        
2:27:53 PM                                                                                                                    
VICE CHAIR  COGHILL asked  Major Chastain if  he had  anything to                                                               
add related to the changes in version H.                                                                                        
2:28:08 PM                                                                                                                    
MAJOR   BERNARD  CHASTAIN,   Deputy  Director,   Alaska  Wildlife                                                               
Troopers,   Department  of   Public   Safety   (DPS),  said   the                                                               
substantive changes  occur in Section  18. He offered  to address                                                               
those issues and discuss the goal of adding that language.                                                                      
VICE  CHAIR COGHILL  asked him  to  discuss the  new language  in                                                               
Section  18,  the idea  of  Court  Rule 5(a)(4)  for  correctable                                                               
citations  going directly  to  DPS,  and how  the  fines will  be                                                               
MAJOR CHASTAIN  explained that  Sections 1 and  3 provide  that a                                                               
trooper or  law enforcement officer  who is  charged specifically                                                               
with enforcing  fish and game  laws regarding licenses  may issue                                                               
an  official correctable  citation  in instances  where a  person                                                               
forgot their license in their vehicle  or at home. They will then                                                               
have 30 days to bring their  license to any office of the issuing                                                               
agency to show proof of  licensure. The citation is corrected and                                                               
is not part of the person's record.                                                                                             
Section 18  relates to self-report  violations. It  adds language                                                               
that states  the person must  voluntarily and  immediately report                                                               
the taking to the department  and surrender all salvaged portions                                                               
of the animal.  In those instances, the court  is prohibited from                                                               
applying  the  restitution  amounts  listed in  Section  17.  The                                                               
individual is only fined for the offense.                                                                                       
2:33:15 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI returned to Section  3 and asked if a person                                                               
who  received  a  citation  can  mail or  email  proof  of  their                                                               
MAJOR CHASTAIN replied  the process in place  for all correctable                                                               
citations  is that  the  individual must  bring  the citation  in                                                               
person to any office of the arresting or citing agency.                                                                         
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI   commented  that   this  likely   will  be                                                               
burdensome for  some people living  in rural Alaska. He  asked if                                                               
it  would be  "a big  deal" to  allow the  individual to  mail or                                                               
email the proof.                                                                                                                
MAJOR  CHASTAIN said  the current  process requires  the citation                                                               
itself to  be officially stamped;  that tells the court  that the                                                               
citation has been officially corrected and to pursue no action.                                                                 
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI wondered  if there couldn't be a  way to use                                                               
technology  to make  the process  less burdensome.  He asked  the                                                               
administration  to  take  another  look  to  see  if  that  isn't                                                               
MAJOR CHASTAIN  said there  is likely a  way for  all correctable                                                               
citations  to  be  addressed  either   through  the  mail  or  an                                                               
electronic check-off,  but that  process isn't  in place  at this                                                               
2:36:34 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MICCICHE  directed attention  to  page  2, line  3,  and                                                               
recalled  discussion  in  the previous  committee  was  that  the                                                               
reference  in  paragraph  (1)  would be  sport  of  personal  use                                                               
fishing. Version H only references sport fishing.                                                                               
MAJOR CHASTAIN said personal use  isn't included in that section.                                                               
As previously  discussed, a  personal use permit  must be  in the                                                               
individual's possession at  the time of the take.  There are also                                                               
recording requirements  on the permit before  leaving the fishing                                                               
site. Those  are separate  violations and the  intent was  not to                                                               
make those a correctable citation.                                                                                              
SENATOR MICCICHE offered his understanding  that Section 1 is not                                                               
about correctable citations.                                                                                                    
MAJOR CHASTAIN  explained that Section  1 is the vehicle  for the                                                               
correctable citation in Section 3.                                                                                              
VICE CHAIR  COGHILL asked if  Section 18 can be  implemented with                                                               
the existing language.                                                                                                          
MAJOR  CHASTAIN  said  DPS believes,  in  consultation  with  the                                                               
Department of Law,  that the language will prohibit  a judge from                                                               
imposing restitution when a  person voluntarily turns him/herself                                                               
SENATOR MICCICHE  noted that Section  18 is  about self-reporting                                                               
for  game  but  not  fish  even  though  that  was  part  of  the                                                               
discussion  in  the previous  committee.  He  questioned how  the                                                               
department would  handle a fisher being  over the line due  to an                                                               
equipment breakdown  in a commercial  fishery. His  preference is                                                               
that the  fisher would notify  the department they were  over the                                                               
line and  harvest the  fish as  opposed to  cutting the  gear. He                                                               
noted this an area of fines rather than restitution.                                                                            
MAJOR CHASTAIN said he isn't  aware of a self-reported commercial                                                               
fishing  violation other  than  when someone  calls  to report  a                                                               
mechanical  failure.  In  those   situations,  the  fisherman  is                                                               
treated  as  fairly as  possible.  There  is no  restitution  for                                                               
commercial  fishing in  this  area  but if  the  fish are  caught                                                               
illegally they're  sold and the  proceeds are held in  an account                                                               
pending the disposition from the court.                                                                                         
SENATOR MICCICHE  asked why sport fishing  and commercial fishing                                                               
aren't  included   under  Section  18.  He   clarified  that  for                                                               
commercial fishing he is only talking about a first offense.                                                                    
MAJOR  CHASTAIN  said the  short  answer  is  that there  are  no                                                               
restitution amounts in sport fishing  or commercial fishing. In a                                                               
typical case of  being over the limit in sport  fishing, the bail                                                               
schedule provides a  flat fine for the offense  and an additional                                                               
amount for each fish taken illegally.                                                                                           
SENATOR MICCICHE  commented on the importance  of encouraging the                                                               
best behavior.                                                                                                                  
MAJOR  CHASTAIN said  this could  be  more clear,  but he  didn't                                                               
doesn't know how that would look.                                                                                               
2:47:38 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI  asked  if  the salvaged  portions  of  the                                                               
animal discussed  in Section 18  include bear paws and  bear gall                                                               
MAJOR CHASTAIN  replied it is all  parts of the animal  and if an                                                               
investigation   indicated  the   parts  were   being  sold,   the                                                               
individual would not be immune from restitution.                                                                                
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked  if there is a problem  in Alaska with                                                               
trafficking  animal parts,  because  he isn't  sure the  language                                                               
provides adequate protection from that.                                                                                         
MAJOR  CHASTAIN  said  other  areas  of  regulation  and  statute                                                               
require salvage  of all  game meat and  applicable parts,  and he                                                               
feels  very  comfortable  that  together  they  provide  adequate                                                               
protection. With  regard to trafficking  bear parts, he  said the                                                               
problem isn't as bad as it was in the 1990s.                                                                                    
2:50:43 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE  mentioned the  50-inch challenge  and expressed                                                               
concern that Section  18 doesn't impose a  first-time or once-in-                                                               
five-years limit.  Without that, it eliminates  the incentive for                                                               
a hunter to be extra careful.                                                                                                   
MAJOR CHASTAIN  agreed that there  was a lot of  discussion about                                                               
that  issue  in  particular,  and  it came  down  to  giving  the                                                               
troopers  or the  citing agency  flexibility in  charging because                                                               
every  situation  is  different.   He  explained  that  violation                                                               
offenses are typically  charged on a first  time occurrence only,                                                               
but it's at  the discretion of the district  attorney's office or                                                               
the  charging  agency because  there  are  many reasons  a  first                                                               
offense shouldn't  be charged  as a violation.  One example  is a                                                               
call or multiple  calls from people who are  watching a violation                                                               
occur.  That scenario  is a  call  for service  meaning that  the                                                               
troopers  would  investigate  and   make  a  determination  about                                                               
whether or  not the person  intended to turn him/herself  in. The                                                               
language is vague to allow the needed flexibility.                                                                              
SENATOR MICCICHE read the language in  Section 17 on page 5, line                                                               
12, and in Section  18 on page 5, line 27, and  asked if there is                                                               
another way to charge the illegal  taking of an animal other than                                                               
a violation.                                                                                                                    
MAJOR  CHASTAIN explained  that  all these  crimes  default to  a                                                               
misdemeanor offense; 5 AAC 92  and associated regulations provide                                                               
the  ability  to  charge those  crimes  as  violations.  Whenever                                                               
someone self-reports,  they are charged with  a violation offense                                                               
instead  of a  misdemeanor. That  fine is  $500. The  language on                                                               
page 5,  line 12,  comes from  the part  of statute  dealing with                                                               
misdemeanor offenses  so the  court may order  up to  the amounts                                                               
listed on  page 5,  lines 14-25,  in restitution  for misdemeanor                                                               
offenses. Section 18  says that when the offense is  charged as a                                                               
violation, the court cannot impose restitution.                                                                                 
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  said he  shares Senator  Micciche's concern                                                               
with Section 18  because he reads the language  as mandatory, not                                                               
discretionary.  Should  the  bill   pass  as  currently  drafted,                                                               
individuals who  are now  being extremely  careful may  decide to                                                               
take  a change  because they'll  get a  free shot  if they  self-                                                               
report. The  language "voluntarily  and immediately  reported" is                                                               
also concerning  because that  could be  days later  depending on                                                               
how remote  the hunting  location happens to  be. He  pointed out                                                               
that someone could wait until they  were close to their house and                                                               
then decide not to report after  all and instead opt to keep that                                                               
undersized moose.                                                                                                               
MAJOR CHASTAIN said it's important  to remember that the charging                                                               
agency and the district attorney's  office have the discretion to                                                               
decide  when  to  charge  as a  violation.  He  deferred  further                                                               
comment to Mr. Peterson.                                                                                                        
2:57:30 PM                                                                                                                    
AARON PETERSON,  Assistant District Attorney,  Criminal Division,                                                               
Department of Law, Anchorage, Alaska,  said Section 18 is talking                                                               
about a case where a  person voluntarily turns him/herself in and                                                               
the  court being  unable to  issue an  order to  pay restitution.                                                               
However, if  it's somebody who does  this year after year  or for                                                               
other reasons  the Department  of Law  decided to  treat it  as a                                                               
misdemeanor, the potential  fine is $10,000 per  offense and loss                                                               
of  hunting privileges  for  an extended  period  of time.  These                                                               
penalties are  much more  substantial than  restitution, although                                                               
restitution is  important as evidenced  by the numbers  listed in                                                               
Section 17.  To zero in  on that  alone misses the  greater point                                                               
that  somebody who  decides to  shoot a  30-inch moose  and claim                                                               
they  thought it  was  50 inches,  isn't going  to  get off.  The                                                               
Department of Law takes this  seriously and when an offense needs                                                               
to be treated as a misdemeanor it is.                                                                                           
MR.  PETERSON pointed  out that  while the  language "voluntarily                                                               
and immediately"  is somewhat subjective,  it is one of  the many                                                               
places in criminal law where a determination has to be made.                                                                    
SENATOR  WIELECHOWSKI  commented  that  he  has  a  long-standing                                                               
concern about leaving too much  discretion to prosecutors; that's                                                               
the job of the legislature.                                                                                                     
SENATOR MICCICHE expressed increased  satisfaction as a result of                                                               
the  discussion.   He  summarized  his  understanding   that  the                                                               
prosecutor would be more likely  to charge with a misdemeanor and                                                               
require restitution on a subsequent offense.                                                                                    
MAJOR CHASTAIN  agreed with  the summary and  advised that  it is                                                               
rare for a person who self-reports to violate a second time.                                                                    
SENATOR MICCICHE said  he's ready to let go of  his concern about                                                               
the  subjective  use  of  prosecution  with  assurance  that  the                                                               
department  "has been  fairly pure  in the  prosecution of  these                                                               
cases." He asked Major Chastain what his experience has been.                                                                   
MAJOR  CHASTAIN confirmed  that the  Wildlife Troopers  statewide                                                               
work very  closely with  the district  attorney offices.  DPS has                                                               
policies  and  procedures in  place  and  the troopers  are  well                                                               
informed   on   how  to   follow   those   policies  and   charge                                                               
appropriately with the district attorney's assistance.                                                                          
3:04:59 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BROOKS  informed the committee  that the  restitution amounts                                                               
have been raised  50 percent and the companion bill  in the House                                                               
raises some  of those higher  yet. The House  Resources committee                                                               
thought the  amounts ought to be  higher to reflect the  value of                                                               
the animals.                                                                                                                    
3:05:44 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MCGUIRE stated she would hold SB 164 in committee.                                                                        

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
HB 108 ACLI Statement on Alaska Securities Law Amendments 2016-SB 108 HB 194 as amended.pdf SJUD 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
HB 194
SB 108
SB108 Fiscal Note-DCCED-DBS-1-25-16.pdf SJUD 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
SB 108
SB108 Hearing Request.pdf SJUD 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
SB 108
SB108 Summary of Changes.pdf SJUD 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
SB 108
SB108 Transmittal Letter.pdf SJUD 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
SB 108
SB108 Version W Sectional Analysis.pdf SJUD 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
SB 108
SB108 Version W.PDF SJUD 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
SB 108
SB 164 Version H.pdf SJUD 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
SB 164
SB164 - Sectional Analysis.pdf SJUD 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
SB 164
SB164 ADFG Hearing Request Letter Senate Judiciary 3-7-16.pdf SJUD 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
SB 164
SB164 Sponsor Statement - Governor's Transmittal letter.pdf SJUD 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
SB 164
SB164 ver A.pdf SJUD 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
SB 164
SB164-F&G-CO-2-2-16.pdf SJUD 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
SB 164
SJR 12 Fiscal Note #1 - LEG-SESS 3-30-16.pdf SJUD 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
SJR 12
SJR 12 Fiscal Note #2 - OOG 3-30-16.pdf SJUD 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
SJR 12
SJR 12 Support Document - AK Constitutional Convention Minutes on Electing AG.pdf SJUD 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
SJR 12
SJR 12 version W (Initial Version).PDF SJUD 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
SJR 12
SB 164 Changes to Version H.pdf SJUD 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
SB 164
SB 108 Ver W Whitepaper.pdf SJUD 4/4/2016 1:30:00 PM
SB 108