Legislature(2015 - 2016)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

04/16/2016 09:00 AM Senate JUDICIARY

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Moved CSHB 147(JUD) Out of Committee
Moved HB 308 AM Out of Committee
Moved SCS CSHB 317(JUD) Out of Committee
Moved SCS CSHB 126(JUD) Out of Committee
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled: TELECONFERENCED
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
**Streamed live on AKL.tv**
           HB 147-ANIMALS: PROTECTION/RELEASE/CUSTODY                                                                       
9:21:30 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MCGUIRE announced the consideration  of CSHB 147. She noted                                                               
that this is the first hearing.                                                                                                 
9:21:50 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  LIZ VAZQUEZ,  Alaska State  Legislature, speaking                                                               
as  co-sponsor  of  HB  147, said  the  late  Representative  Max                                                               
Gruenberg  was  passionate about  this  bill.  When he  requested                                                               
help,  the  topic  also  became   her  passion.  It  has  serious                                                               
provisions  that will  help victims  of domestic  violence, local                                                               
shelters,  and   individuals  going   through  the   divorce  and                                                               
dissolution  process.  It  will  also save  money.  She  deferred                                                               
further introduction to Ms. Bailey.                                                                                             
CHAIR MCGUIRE  shared stories about  the late  Representative Max                                                               
REPRESENTATIVE   VAZQUEZ   shared   remembrances  of   the   late                                                               
Representative Max Gruenberg.                                                                                                   
9:26:14 AM                                                                                                                    
NICOLI BAILEY,  Staff, Representative Amy Spohnholz  and the late                                                               
Representative  Max Gruenberg,  stated that  HB 147  accomplishes                                                               
three things: it amends the cost  of care statutes for animals to                                                               
hold an  owner responsible for  the reasonable  third-party costs                                                               
of caring for animals lawfully  seized due to cruelty or neglect;                                                               
it  provides  statutory  protection  for  animals  in  protective                                                               
orders,  permits  granting  exclusive  temporary  custody  of  an                                                               
animal to the  victim; and permits a judge to  consider the well-                                                               
being  of   animals  when  deciding  ownership   in  divorce  and                                                               
dissolution proceedings.                                                                                                        
MS.  BAILEY  highlighted  that   the  Municipality  of  Anchorage                                                               
reported that from  2009 to 2014 it spent over  $100,000 to house                                                               
neglected  animals.  She  described  it as  a  win-win  if  these                                                               
animals don't need to be in  a shelter. She directed attention to                                                               
an article  from the "New York  Times" that speaks to  the number                                                               
of domestic violence victims that  stay in the situation in order                                                               
to  ensure the  safety  of  their pets.  Point  two  in the  bill                                                               
ensures the victim may take their pets.                                                                                         
CHAIR  MCGUIRE asked  her to  walk through  current law  and what                                                               
will happen  should the bill  pass with  regard to seizure  of an                                                               
animal  due to  cruelty or  neglect. She  expressed concern  that                                                               
there be an opportunity for the  other person with an interest in                                                               
the animal  to have a chance  to rectify the problem.  She drew a                                                               
tangential parallel  to a  recent bill  that allows  parents that                                                               
agree to relinquish parental power of attorney to a third party.                                                                
MS.  BAILEY  said the  cost  of  care  provision is  targeted  on                                                               
individuals who have  so many animals under their  care that they                                                               
are  neglected and  dying. She  suggested  the domestic  violence                                                               
part of the bill relates to  the chair's concern; when someone is                                                               
trying  to leave  a  domestic violence  situation,  they want  to                                                               
ensure that all children and pets will be safe.                                                                                 
CHAIR  MCGUIRE  said  she  wants   to  make  sure  that  all  the                                                               
circumstances  of animal  seizure  are considered.  She asked  if                                                               
there  is an  opportunity  for  the pet  owner  that hasn't  been                                                               
awarded  care rights  to make  a claim  for a  pet that  is being                                                               
purposefully    neglected   by    the   individual    given   the                                                               
responsibility of caring for the pet.                                                                                           
MS.  BAILEY said  the animal  will not  be put  up for  permanent                                                               
adoption as long as the owner  demonstrates they can take care of                                                               
the animal  financially. Turning  to the third  part of  the bill                                                               
that permits a  judge to consider the well-being  of animals when                                                               
deciding ownership  in divorce  and dissolution  proceedings, she                                                               
discussed   how   important   this   piece  was   to   the   late                                                               
Representative Gruenberg who was a family lawyer.                                                                               
CO-CHAIR  MCGUIRE commented  on  the  correlation between  animal                                                               
cruelty  and domestic  violence. She  expressed appreciation  for                                                               
the bill.                                                                                                                       
9:34:57 AM                                                                                                                    
REPRESENTATIVE  VAZQUEZ noted  a  national survey  found that  52                                                               
percent of  domestic violence  victims did  not leave  a domestic                                                               
violence  situation  due  to concern  about  leaving  their  pets                                                               
MS. BAILEY  shared that she  will put her  car on the  ferry when                                                               
she leaves Juneau and fly home with her cats.                                                                                   
CHAIR  MCGUIRE  shared  a story  about  the  late  Representative                                                               
Gruenberg's dismay that someone who  stole a car with dogs inside                                                               
would only be charged with attempted theft of a vehicle.                                                                        
9:38:33 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COGHILL  commented that  the reading  of the  language in                                                               
Section 19, subsection (a) is  inarticulate. He asked if there is                                                               
a reason for the wording.                                                                                                       
MS. BAILEY  explained that language  clarifies it is  a custodial                                                               
issue.  The sponsor  was ensuring  that the  property aspect  was                                                               
SENATOR COGHILL indicated he wouldn't offer the amendment.                                                                      
CHAIR  MCGUIRE  found  no  further   questions  or  comments  and                                                               
solicited a motion.                                                                                                             
9:41:14 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COGHILL moved  to report  the  CS for  HB 147(JUD)  from                                                               
committee  with individual  recommendations  and attached  fiscal                                                               
CHAIR MCGUIRE announced that without  objection, CSHB 147(JUD) is                                                               
reported from the Senate Judiciary Standing Committee.                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects