Legislature(2015 - 2016)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)
02/19/2015 01:30 PM LABOR & COMMERCE
Note: the audio and video recordings are distinct records and are obtained from different sources. As such there may be key differences between the two. The audio recordings are captured by our records offices as the official record of the meeting and will have more accurate timestamps. Use the icons to switch between them.
Download Mp3. <- Right click and save file as
Download Video part 1. <- Right click and save file as
* first hearing in first committee of referral
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
SB 5-RESTITUTION: PROPERTY AND INCOME LOSS 1:32:56 PM CHAIR COSTELLO announced the consideration of SB 5. "An Act relating to loss of income and valuing property for orders of restitution." 1:33:31 PM SENATOR PETER MICCICHE, sponsor of SB 5, described the legislation as putting the rights of a victim of property theft just ahead of the rights of the perpetrator. He related that the Alaska Department of Public Safety (DPS) 2013 report shows that Alaskans lost over $23 million due to property crime. This is an increase of more than 12 percent from 2011. SB 5 seeks to address this scourge by 1) strengthening restitution laws to restore crime victims to a pre-crime condition; 2) clarifying in statute that public policy favors having criminals compensate victims for their loss, including loss of income; 3) defining loss of income as the total loss of income a business or person suffers as a result of not having the stolen property available during the time it takes to obtain a replacement; and 4) giving direction to the court in making determinations of loss for restitution to value property as the market value of the property. He provided an analogy of a roll of copper wire stolen from the job site. The copper itself may cost $2,500, but it may take another $10,000 to $20,000 in other costs before the contractor is restored to a pre-offense condition. SB 5 also addresses the decision in Lori Welsh v. State of Alaska. The appellate court ruled that the victim of a theft crime was not entitled to restitution that covered the loss of income, because it would be an unjust enrichment of the crime victim. SB 5 asks courts that are considering restitution to restore businesses and crime victims to a pre-offense condition. 1:34:31 PM SENATOR STEVENS joined the meeting. 1:36:55 PM CHUCK KOPP, Staff, Senator Peter Micciche, elaborated on the facts of the Welsh case. The crux of the argument was whether restitution should be retail or wholesale value of the stolen property. The appellate court reversed the district court order stating that two restitution statutes AS 12.55.045(a) and AS 12.55.100(a)(2) seemingly were competing. The court deferred to the more restrictive statute and commented that it had inferred earlier that the legislature should work out the conflict. SB 5 reconciles the statutes and clarifies that loss of income should be considered when the court considers restitution. MR. KOPP provided a sectional analysis of SB 5 as follows: Section 1 amends AS 12.55.045(a)(1) Restitution and compensation, clarifying that our public policy favors requiring criminals to compensate their victims not only for damages and injury, but loss of income as well. Section 2 amends 12.55.045(n) to define "loss of income" as the total loss of income a business or person suffers as a result of not having stolen property available during the time it takes to obtain a replacement. Section 3 amends AS 12.55.045 adding new subsection (o) which directs the courts, in making determinations of loss or damage for restitution, to value property as the market value of the property at the time and place of the crime or, if this cannot reasonably be established, the cost of replacement within a reasonable time after the crime. This section adopts language currently used by the courts in AS 11.46.980 to make determinations of property value in criminal offenses against property (i.e. theft, burglary, criminal trespass, vehicle theft, arson, criminal mischief, forgery, business and commercial offenses). Section 4 amends AS 12.55.100(a) Conditions of probation, clarifying how the court shall value property when determining the amount of actual damages or loss under this paragraph, establishing the same standard as in Section 3. Section 5 establishes that amendments in Sections 1-4 of the Act apply to an order of restitution for an offense committed on or after the effective date of the Act. MR. KOPP stated that the bill has received strong support from Alaska businesses and their representatives. CHAIR COSTELLO asked Ms. Schroeder to review the fiscal impact of the bill. 1:42:18 PM KACI SCHROEDER, Assistant Attorney General, Criminal Division, Department of Law (DOL), stated that SB 5 is not expected to have any fiscal impact on DOL. CHAIR COSTELLO noted that copies of the zero fiscal note are included in the packets. 1:42:57 PM CHRIS NETTELS, small business owner and representative, National Federation of Independent Businesses, stated strong support for SB 5. He related a personal story as the owner of a small service business to illustrate the need for the legislation. A snow machine was stolen from a job site after the job was finished. Had it been stolen earlier, his business would have lost the job. CHAIR COSTELLO asked who will determine the market value of the stolen property. MR. KOPP replied it will be determined by the market at the time and place where the crime occurs. He read the relevant provision [in Section 4 on page 2, lines 27-31]. CHAIR COSTELLO asked if increasing the value of the item will affect the level of the crime. MR. KOPP replied theft of property valued from $750 to $25,000 will be a class C felony. CHAIR COSTELLO asked if the difference in value could be considered as a mitigating factor when sentencing juveniles. 1:47:26 PM SENATOR MEYER joined the committee. MR. KOPP responded that the bill clarifies the public policy of restoring crime victims to a pre-offense condition when considering sentencing and probation. SENATOR STEVENS observed that the bill would take care of the type of situation Mr. DeWitt cited when he wrote that far more than the boat is harmed when a commercial fishing boat is disabled during the fishing season. MR. KOPP agreed. 1:50:05 PM CHAIR COSTELLO closed public testimony. 1:50:10 PM SENATOR GIESSEL moved to report SB 5 from committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal note(s). CHAIR COSTELLO found no objection and announced that SB 5 is reported from the Senate Labor and Commerce Standing Committee.