Legislature(2017 - 2018)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

04/03/2017 01:30 PM JUDICIARY

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01:34:31 PM Start
01:35:46 PM Confirmation Hearings
02:18:59 PM SB16
02:39:30 PM SB15
03:04:02 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Confirmation Hearings: TELECONFERENCED
Wendi Shackleford, Alaska Police Standards
Ronda Wallace, Alaska Police Standards Council
Luis Nieves, Alaska Police Standards Council
Jeffrey Stubblefield, Violent Crimes
Compensation Board
Heard & Held
Heard & Held
-- Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
           SB  16-FIDUCIARY ACCESS TO DIGITAL ASSETS                                                                        
2:18:59 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL announced the consideration of SB 16.                                                                             
2:19:08 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR SHELLY  HUGHES, Alaska State  Legislature, sponsor  of SB
16,  stated  that  this legislation  provides  guidance  for  the                                                               
disposition of an individual's personal  digital assets when they                                                               
pass  away.  This is  missing  from  current  law. SB  16  offers                                                               
digital users  the opportunity to  specify whether  their digital                                                               
assets should  be preserved, distributed to  heirs, or destroyed.                                                               
She explained the  need for an overarching law  to provide access                                                               
to digital assets to loved ones  in other states. She provided an                                                               
example of  Yahoo denying a  father access to his  deceased son's                                                               
account. It took  a lawsuit for the father to  gain access to the                                                               
account to  see if  there were  outstanding financial  matters to                                                               
settle.  If SB  16 were  to pass,  fiduciaries would  have easier                                                               
access to  digital assets  of the deceased.  The bill  models the                                                               
Uniform Law Commission recommendations,  so it would apply across                                                               
state lines.                                                                                                                    
She  listed  the  entities  that   support  the  bill  including:                                                               
National  Academy  of  Elder  Law  Attorneys,  Facebook,  Google,                                                               
Center for Democracy and Technology, and AARP.                                                                                  
2:22:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL asked  for a review of the uniform  code and a high                                                               
level overview of the sections.                                                                                                 
2:23:15 PM                                                                                                                    
BUDDY  WHIIT,   Staff,  Senator   Shelly  Hughes,   Alaska  State                                                               
Legislature,  provided  a  high  level  overview  of  SB  16.  He                                                               
described Sec. 13.63.010  as the most important  section. It sets                                                               
out user direction for disclosure  of digital assets. He read the                                                               
     Sec. 13.63.010  sets out user direction  for disclosure                                                                    
     of digital assets. This  proposed section addresses the                                                                    
     relationship   of    online   tools,    other   records                                                                    
     documenting  the user's  intent, and  terms of  service                                                                    
     agreements.  The   section  establishes   a  three-tier                                                                    
     priority system for determining  the user's intent with                                                                    
     respect to  a digital assets. Subsection  (a) gives top                                                                    
     priority  to the  user's wishes  as expressed  using an                                                                    
     online tool.  Subsection (b)  gives next  tier priority                                                                    
     to user's direction in will,  trust, power of attorney,                                                                    
     or other  record. Subsection (c) recognizes  the terms-                                                                    
     of-service  agreement   if  the  user  left   no  other                                                                    
MR. WHITT explained that Google  provides an example of an online                                                               
tool. An individual  who has a Gmail or other  Google account can                                                               
find the  tool in the  user's guide.  It is called  the "inactive                                                               
account  manager."  Facebook  also  uses an  online  tool  called                                                               
"legacy  contact." It  too can  be  found in  the user's  account                                                               
preferences. He said everything else  in the bill hinges off this                                                               
He  noted that  the chair  in  a previous  committee asked  about                                                               
forms and  was told that  the bill  does not address  forms. Upon                                                               
further  review, it  became clear  that power  of attorney  forms                                                               
needed to  be addressed because  they are part of  state statute.                                                               
The sponsor therefore suggests including  a provision for digital                                                               
assets under that form as prescribed in statute.                                                                                
CHAIR COGHILL invited Ms. Behr to  talk about her position on the                                                               
Uniform Law Commission and her perspective of SB 16.                                                                            
2:27:02 PM                                                                                                                    
DEBORAH   E  BEHR,   Member,  Alaska   Delegation,  Uniform   Law                                                               
Commission, Juneau, Alaska, stated that  Alaska has been a member                                                               
of the  Uniform Law Commission  since 1912. The  commission meets                                                               
annually to discuss problems for  which an interstate solution is                                                               
appropriate  and desirable.  She said  senior groups  and probate                                                               
attorneys brought  the issue  of access  to a  decedent's digital                                                               
assets to the commission's attention.  Probate laws have not kept                                                               
pace with  advances in technology  such as this. She  provided an                                                               
account of what happens when a  spouse is unable to access stored                                                               
digital  photos because  they do  not  have a  contract with  the                                                               
service  provider  (custodian);  the   deceased  spouse  has  the                                                               
contract. The typical  will does not work, nor  does the business                                                               
partnership. The  information is treated as  confidential and the                                                               
service provider generally requires a  court order for the spouse                                                               
or fiduciary to gain access.                                                                                                    
She reported  that 24 states have  enacted this model law,  it is                                                               
sitting on the  governor's desk in 2 states, and  16 other states                                                               
have introduced the legislation. A  major trust company in Alaska                                                               
has  endorsed  the bill  and  Google,  Facebook and  other  major                                                               
players have stated support for a standard, nationwide solution.                                                                
The model law  provides an opt-in solution  whereby an individual                                                               
gives express  consent for  access to  each digital  account. For                                                               
example,  I want  my  music to  go to  my  brother, my  financial                                                               
records to  go to my  wife, and I don't  want anybody to  look at                                                               
certain  other things,  she said.  When the  individual opens  an                                                               
account, a separate  screen will pop up asking what  they want to                                                               
do  with  their  digital  assets   if  they  pass  on  or  become                                                               
incapacitated. If  the individual does  not sign the  online tool                                                               
and there is nothing in the  will, the terms of service agreement                                                               
will apply and the spouse or  family or business partner will not                                                               
have access to the digital material.                                                                                            
She advised that the bill  provides immunity to the custodian for                                                               
good-faith compliance if they act within  60 days. In the case of                                                               
a  guardianship,  the  bill  has  a  provision  for  hearings  to                                                               
ascertain the extent of the  disability. For example, someone who                                                               
experiences a  disability might  be able  to handle  Facebook but                                                               
not a financial account.                                                                                                        
2:36:02 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked  if there is an age  limit for someone                                                               
to be able to designate disposition of their digital assets.                                                                    
MS.  BEHR said  she would  do  some follow-up  research, but  she                                                               
understands  that young  children  are able  to  open a  Facebook                                                               
account.  She opined  that doing  things appropriately  for young                                                               
children would probably involve the court.                                                                                      
CHAIR COGHILL offered his understanding  that the age limit is 16                                                               
to open an online account.                                                                                                      
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI  asked how it  would work if a  minor didn't                                                               
want their parents to have access to their digital assets.                                                                      
MS.  BEHR  recounted  a  case  in another  state  where  a  child                                                               
committed suicide and  the parents were never able  to access the                                                               
decedent's digital assets.                                                                                                      
SENATOR WIELECHOWSKI asked how jurisdiction is determined.                                                                      
MS. BEHR said  a provision in the bill from  the uniform law says                                                               
that residency is the determining factor.                                                                                       
2:38:52 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COGHILL held  SB  16 in  committee  with public  testimony                                                               

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
Nieves - Police Standards Council.pdf SJUD 4/3/2017 1:30:00 PM
Stubblefield - Violent Crimes Compensation Board.pdf SJUD 4/3/2017 1:30:00 PM
Shackelford - Police Standards Council.pdf SJUD 4/3/2017 1:30:00 PM
Wallace - Police Standards Council.pdf SJUD 4/3/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 16 - Letter of Support - AARP.pdf SJUD 4/3/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 16
SB 16 - Letter of Support - Alaska Commission on Aging.pdf SJUD 4/3/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 16
SB 16 - Letter of Support - Facebook.pdf SJUD 4/3/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 16
SB 16 - Letter of Support - Google.pdf SJUD 4/3/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 16
SB 16 - Letter of Support - Peak Trust Company.pdf SJUD 4/3/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 16
SB 16 - Sectional Summary.pdf SJUD 4/3/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 16
SB 16 - Sponsor Statement.pdf SJUD 4/3/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 16
SB 16 - Supporting Document - Comparison of UFADAA, PEAC, & UFADAA.pdf SJUD 4/3/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 16
SB 16 - Supporting Document - UFADAA Fact Sheet.pdf SJUD 4/3/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 16
SB 16 - Supporting Document - UFADAA Summary.pdf SJUD 4/3/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 16
SB 16 - Supporting Document - UFADAA_SASI Sheet.pdf SJUD 4/3/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 16
SB 16 - Supporting Document - Why Your State Should Adopt.pdf SJUD 4/3/2017 1:30:00 PM
SB 16