Legislature(2017 - 2018)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

02/26/2018 01:30 PM JUDICIARY

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01:30:51 PM Start
01:31:24 PM SB148
01:57:26 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Scheduled but Not Heard
Heard & Held
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
         SB 148-BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR POLICE & TRAINING                                                                     
1:31:24 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL announced the consideration of SB 148.                                                                            
1:32:06 PM                                                                                                                    
BOB  GRIFFITHS,   Executive  Director,  Alaska   Police  Standards                                                              
Council  (APSC),  Department  of   Public  Safety  (DPS),  Juneau,                                                              
Alaska,  introduced SB  148 on  behalf of  the administration.  He                                                              
explained that  APSC was  established by  the legislature  in 1972                                                              
to professionalize  the standards  for hiring and  training police                                                              
officers.  In   that  role,  APSC  promulgated   regulations  that                                                              
included  the  requirements  to  be hired  as  a  police  officer.                                                              
Because of  the difference between  urban and rural  policing, one                                                              
set  of regulations  was established  for urban  officers and  one                                                              
for village  police officers (VPOs).  The latter are hired  by and                                                              
work  for  communities of  1,000  or  fewer  people off  the  road                                                              
MR.  GRIFFITHS explained  that  the  standards for  hiring  police                                                              
officers   include  the   requirement   for  a   fingerprint-based                                                              
background  check. Because  many  small rural  hiring agencies  do                                                              
not  have access  to the  Criminal Justice  Information System  in                                                              
order  to  submit   fingerprints  and  conduct   criminal  history                                                              
background  checks, APSC  has tried  to do this  on their  behalf.                                                              
This became  a problem after  the Federal Bureau  of Investigation                                                              
(FBI) determined  that all  police standards  programs fall  under                                                              
occupational  licensing, not  public  safety. APSC  does not  have                                                              
the   statutory   authority   to   submit   fingerprints   as   an                                                              
occupational licensing  entity. SB  148 addresses that  problem by                                                              
amending state  statute granting  APSC the statutory  authority to                                                              
take  fingerprints  and  submit  them for  a  criminal  background                                                              
check  for  applicants  for  police   officer  or  police  officer                                                              
training in those  communities that lack CJIS access.  This is the                                                              
same  law that  applies  to occupational  licensing  for day  care                                                              
providers, attorneys, real estate agents, and others.                                                                           
1:36:32 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COSTELLO  asked if  an immediate  effective date  would be                                                              
preferable to waiting 90 days after the bill is signed.                                                                         
MR. GRIFFITHS agreed the sooner the better.                                                                                     
CHAIR COGHILL asked  if an immediate effective date  would work if                                                              
regulations need to be written.                                                                                                 
MR. GRIFFITHS  clarified  that the current  regulations would  not                                                              
need to be changed.  The problem is that APSC lacks  the statutory                                                              
authority  to take and  submit fingerprints  for criminal  history                                                              
records checks. SB 148 grants that power.                                                                                       
CHAIR COGHILL asked  if these small agencies would  live under the                                                              
auspices of APSC's regulatory authority for police standards.                                                                   
MR. GRIFFITHS said that's correct.                                                                                              
CHAIR  COGHILL   offered  his  understanding   that  this   was  a                                                              
housekeeping matter.                                                                                                            
MR. GRIFFITHS agreed  adding that it's a resource  issue for small                                                              
agencies that may have just one or two city employees.                                                                          
CHAIR COGHILL asked what the practical effect would be to have                                                                  
an immediate effective date.                                                                                                    
MR.  GRIFFITHS opined  that APSC  will be  compliant with  federal                                                              
law and  able to  take fingerprints  once the  bill is  signed and                                                              
the   Department   of   Public    Safety,   Criminal   Records   &                                                              
Identification Bureau is aware of the change.                                                                                   
CHAIR COGHILL requested a sectional analysis.                                                                                   
1:41:16 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. GRIFFITHS paraphrased the following sectional summary for SB
     Section  1:  Amends  AS  12.62.400   (National  Criminal                                                                   
     History  record checks  for  employment, licensing,  and                                                                   
     other noncriminal  justice purposes) to include  the new                                                                   
     subsection  (a)  (1)  (19) allowing  for  a  fingerprint                                                                   
     based  records check  to  be submitted  to  the FBI  for                                                                   
     admittance to  a basic police training program  under AS                                                                   
     18.65.230  (APSC training  programs)  or for  employment                                                                   
     as  a police  officer  under 18.65.240(  APSC  standards                                                                   
     for   appointment   as  a   police  officer),   if   the                                                                   
     prospective   employer  does  not   have  access   to  a                                                                   
     criminal justice information system (CJIS).                                                                                
     Section 2: Amends  AS 18.65.220 (Powers of  the APSC) to                                                                   
     include the  new subsection  (8) which requires  a state                                                                   
     and  national criminal  history check  for an  applicant                                                                   
     to a  training program established  in AS 18.65.230  and                                                                   
     for a person  to be appointed as a police  officer under                                                                   
     AS  18.65.240  if  that  person's  prospective  employer                                                                   
     does  not  have access  to  CJIS  to conduct  their  own                                                                   
     criminal history check.                                                                                                    
     Section   3:   Amends  AS   18.65.230   (APSC   training                                                                   
     programs)   by  adding  a   new  subsection  (b)   which                                                                   
     requires  an  applicant  for  appointment  as  a  police                                                                   
     officer  or  for admittance  to  a training  program  to                                                                   
     submit fingerprints  and a fee to the APSC,  unless this                                                                   
     has been done by the applicant's employer.                                                                                 
     Section  4:  Amends  AS 18.65.240  (APSC  standards)  to                                                                   
     reflect the new subsection (d), added below in                                                                             
     Section 5: Amends  AS 18.65.240 (APSC standards)  to add                                                                   
     a  new subsection  (d) which  limits the  issuing of  an                                                                   
     APSC  certificate  unless  the  Council  determines  the                                                                   
     applicant  will  undergo  a  national  criminal  history                                                                   
     record   check    pre-employment;   and    requiring   a                                                                   
     prospective   employer   to    submit   an   applicant's                                                                   
     fingerprints to  the council for submission  to the FBI,                                                                   
     if the prospective  employer does not have  CJIS access.                                                                   
     The  criminal  history  records  check  is  required  to                                                                   
     assure  applicants  meet minimum  standards  established                                                                   
     by the council.                                                                                                            
     Section 6:  Amends AS 18.65.290 (Definitions)  by adding                                                                   
     a new  subsection (9) which  clarifies that  the meaning                                                                   
     of criminal  justice information  system is the  meaning                                                                   
     given in AS 12.62.900(13).                                                                                                 
     Section  7:  Specifies  the  applicability  of  the  Act                                                                   
     applies  to  persons  that  apply for  admittance  to  a                                                                   
     police  training program  under  AS 18.65.230  or to  be                                                                   
     appointed as  a police officer under AS 18.65.240  on or                                                                   
     after the effective date of this Act.                                                                                      
     Section 8:  Includes a  revisor's instruction to  change                                                                   
     the catchline  of AS 18.65.230 from  "Training programs"                                                                   
     to "Training programs; fingerprints"                                                                                       
1:45:15 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR  COGHILL surmised  that the  definition  was needed  because                                                              
APSC must prove its capacity in this new section of law.                                                                        
Mr. Griffiths agreed.                                                                                                           
CHAIR  COGHILL   asked  when  the   FBI  determined   that  police                                                              
standards programs  fall under occupational licensing  and when he                                                              
became aware of this change.                                                                                                    
MR. GRIFFITHS  said he wasn't sure  when the change  occurred, but                                                              
it  was called  to his  attention about  a year  ago. He  deferred                                                              
further explanation to Ms. Monfreda.                                                                                            
1:46:56 PM                                                                                                                    
KATHRYN  MONFREDA,   Chief,  Criminal  Records   &  Identification                                                              
Bureau, Department  of Public Safety, Anchorage,  Alaska, said the                                                              
change  was  made  several  years   ago  after  the  FBI  reviewed                                                              
statutes  for  applicability  and   compliance  with  the  federal                                                              
public law  92-544. While DPS  considered APSC  to be part  of the                                                              
department,  the FBI  did not and  rescinded  approval for  DPS to                                                              
submit fingerprints  on behalf of  APSC. SB 148 complies  with the                                                              
federal  requirement for  the  state to  enact  an acceptable  law                                                              
under public law 92-544.                                                                                                        
SENATOR  COSTELLO  asked  if  the FBI  ruling  will  affect  other                                                              
occupational  licensing  groups  not specifically  listed  in  the                                                              
statute. "Is  that something  we should look  at before  this bill                                                              
moves out?"                                                                                                                     
MS. MONFREDA  said a few bills  are going through  the legislature                                                              
that  add to  the  list under  AS  12.62.400,  but the  department                                                              
hasn't had many requests in that regard.                                                                                        
CHAIR COGHILL asked how many communities are affected.                                                                          
MR.  GRIFFITHS said  the data  is  incomplete but  APSC does  know                                                              
that over  200 communities  meet the criteria  of less  than 1,000                                                              
population  and  off  the  road system.  Records  reflect  that  7                                                              
different  communities  have had  11  village police  officers  go                                                              
through the system successfully.                                                                                                
CHAIR  COGHILL   commented  that   the  Department   of  Commerce,                                                              
Community  and Economic  Development (DCCED)  could probably  help                                                              
with  the  numbers  because  small  municipalities  have  probably                                                              
reached out looking for all the help they can get.                                                                              
MR. GRIFFITHS  agreed adding  that they've met  and are  putting a                                                              
team effort forward.                                                                                                            
CHAIR  COGHILL said  he hadn't heard  any opposition  to the  bill                                                              
but would hold it to look at the question of the effective date.                                                                
1:52:31 PM                                                                                                                    
KATHIE  WASSERMAN,  Executive Director,  Alaska  Municipal  League                                                              
(AML), Juneau,  Alaska, said she  speaks to communities  every day                                                              
and AML  has a lot  of the lists  that state agencies  don't have.                                                              
"A lot of times  agencies or the legislature forget  to check with                                                              
us on  those sorts  of things."  AML also  carries risk  insurance                                                              
for  municipalities,   so  they   know  which  ones   have  police                                                              
insurance.  We have a  lot of  ways to  pull that information  for                                                              
underfunded state agencies, she said.                                                                                           
She explained that  she got involved with the bill  when she heard                                                              
committee  members in  the other  body suggest  a solution  was to                                                              
have   municipalities  do   their   own  background   checks   and                                                              
fingerprinting.  She knew  she needed to  keep up  on the  bill to                                                              
let  legislators know  that  this  is a  service  that the  Alaska                                                              
Police Standards  Council is  willing and able  to offer  to small                                                              
municipalities  that have  village  police officers.  The cost  is                                                              
minimal, but  the service  is needed; it  helps everyone  know who                                                              
is  providing law  enforcement work  in  these small  communities.                                                              
This  will promote  better record  keeping on  law enforcement  in                                                              
smaller  communities. She  said  she was  very  supportive of  the                                                              
1:55:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR COGHILL held SB 148 in committee.                                                                                         

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 148 - Supporting Document.pdf SJUD 2/26/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 148
SB 148 - Sectional Summary.pdf SJUD 2/26/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 148
SB 148 - Sponsor Statement.pdf SJUD 2/26/2018 1:30:00 PM
SB 148