Legislature(2009 - 2010)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)

01/28/2010 09:00 AM Senate STATE AFFAIRS

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* first hearing in first committee of referral
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<Bill Hearing Canceled>
Moved SB 184 Out of Committee
Moved CSSB 194(STA) Out of Committee
          SB 194-CIVIL DAMAGES FOR ALCOHOL VIOLATIONS                                                                       
9:24:13 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MENARD announced consideration of SB 194.                                                                                 
SENATOR MEYER  moved to adopt  the proposed  committee substitute                                                               
(CS) for  SB 194, labeled  26-LS0895\R, as the  working document.                                                               
There being no objection, version R was before the committee.                                                                   
SENATOR MEYER,  sponsor of SB  194, said some businesses  and the                                                               
Alaska  Cabaret,  Hotel,  Restaurant  and  Retailers  Association                                                               
(CHARR)  asked that  civil  damages be  increased  from $1000  to                                                               
$1500  for  certain  alcohol  violations.  They  also  requested,                                                               
though it cannot  be required, that a court be  able to recommend                                                               
alcohol training for the minors involved in these violations.                                                                   
9:26:40 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MEYER said in the  1990's, Anchorage establishments, such                                                               
as  Brown  Jug  and  Chilkoot  Charlie's,  were  frustrated  when                                                               
nothing resulted  from catching kids  with fake ID's  and turning                                                               
them  over  to  the  Anchorage  Police  Department  (APD).  These                                                               
establishments could  be fined or  lose their liquor  license for                                                               
serving minors and  wanted something in place to  deter kids from                                                               
trying to  get alcohol. In  2001, state law allowed  licensees to                                                               
take civil  action up  to $1000,  but this  no longer  covers the                                                               
costs of  going through the  civil action process.  Senator Meyer                                                               
felt  that  the  proposed  increased  fee of  $1500  would  be  a                                                               
deterrent to kids trying to get alcohol.                                                                                        
9:29:10 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  MEYER said  several establishments  have been  using the                                                               
civil program  effectively; the  Brown Jug  has seized  2000 fake                                                               
ID's  in  the last  10  years.  Big establishments  pursue  civil                                                               
damages  themselves;  smaller  establishments  go  through  CHARR                                                               
which pursues  the case for a  fee. He reiterated that  SB 194 is                                                               
raising the  civil penalty  from $1000 to  $1500 and  also allows                                                               
the  option of  a  judge  recommending the  minor  go to  alcohol                                                               
CHAIR MENARD began public testimony.                                                                                            
O.C. MADDEN  III, Director of  Operations for Brown Jug,  said he                                                               
has been  involved in this  civil penalty process since  it began                                                               
in the  late 90's.  He reported  that Brown  Jug has  seized 2100                                                               
ID's  from minors  in  the last  ten  years or  so  and has  been                                                               
aggressively pursuing civil action  against minors and adults who                                                               
buy for  minors. He  felt the civil  penalty laws  were effective                                                               
and had prevented a lot of  tragedies but that the cost of taking                                                               
civil action has gone up.                                                                                                       
9:31:47 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH asked how many ID's Brown Jug seizes in a week.                                                                  
MR. MADDEN estimated  Brown Jug seizes 150 a year  which is three                                                               
or more per week.                                                                                                               
SENATOR  FRENCH asked  if each  of those  seizures resulted  in a                                                               
civil remedy against the minor.                                                                                                 
MR. MADDEN  said he first sends  a letter to the  minor demanding                                                               
payment, and  then initiates discussion  with the minor  and acts                                                               
on a case by case basis.  In some instances, no further action is                                                               
needed. If  there was alcohol involved  or an adult buying  for a                                                               
minor, Brown Jug moves forward with a civil case.                                                                               
SENATOR FRENCH asked if SB 194  is meant to address adults buying                                                               
alcohol for minors or to address fake ID's.                                                                                     
MR. MADDEN  said he thinks  SB 194 addresses both  situations. He                                                               
referred  to Section  2(a) [page  1] and  believes it  deals with                                                               
minors who solicit adults to buy  for them or adults who order or                                                               
receive a beverage  from a licensee for the  purpose of providing                                                               
to a minor.                                                                                                                     
9:34:05 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH  asked what the  connection is between  adults who                                                               
buy for minors and fake ID's.                                                                                                   
MR.  MADDEN said  there are  two sections  to SB  194. Section  1                                                               
deals with AS  04.16.049(e) [page 1] which is illegal  entry of a                                                               
licensed premises by a minor. He  explained that is where fake ID                                                               
comes in.                                                                                                                       
SENATOR  FRENCH wanted  to clarify  that  SB 194  deals with  two                                                               
things: one is  young people presenting false ID's  and the other                                                               
is adults buying alcohol for minors.                                                                                            
MR. MADDEN  clarified that  SB 194  addresses three  issues: fake                                                               
ID's or illegal entry of  a licensed premises, minors who solicit                                                               
adults  to  buy for  them  and  adults  who  order or  receive  a                                                               
beverage  from a  licensee  for  the purpose  of  providing to  a                                                               
SENATOR FRENCH  asked how  Mr. Madden  detects adults  buying for                                                               
MR. MADDEN said  Brown Jug's trained security  personnel look for                                                               
profile transactions such  as parking far from the  front door in                                                               
spite  of  closer spaces  being  available,  or only  one  person                                                               
getting out  of a  car with  multiple passengers  to come  in and                                                               
make a purchase.  Security questions the person in  the store and                                                               
goes to the car and ask for ID's.                                                                                               
9:36:43 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH  asked, other  than seizing  ID's, how  many cases                                                               
Brown Jug  pursues of a more  difficult nature, such as  an adult                                                               
buying for a minor.                                                                                                             
MR. MADDEN  said he  doesn't have any  statistics but  knows that                                                               
Brown Jug has pursued over 100  of these more difficult cases. He                                                               
explained  that minors  who  solicit adults  to  buy alcohol  are                                                               
liable as well  as the adults that order and  receive alcohol for                                                               
minors. Of the cases Brown  Jug has pursued, a significant number                                                               
of  the  adults  involved  were prior  offenders,  including  sex                                                               
9:38:18 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR FRENCH asked  how many cases Brown Jug turns  over to the                                                               
MR. MADDEN said Brown Jug turned  over all cases of adults buying                                                               
for minors.  Every time  Brown Jug  seizes an  ID, they  call the                                                               
police and  an officer will  come to  the store if  possible. The                                                               
officer  can decide  what, if  anything, to  do. Mr.  Madden said                                                               
civil action provides  licensees with an avenue to  deal with the                                                               
situation  directly.  Sending  collection  letters  gets  parents                                                               
involved  and kids  tell their  friends that  Brown Jug  is after                                                               
them  for  $1000. He  said  the  civil  penalty money  gets  more                                                               
licensees involved  in preventing alcohol sales  to minors. Brown                                                               
Jug  uses  part  of  the  civil penalty  money  as  a  bonus  for                                                               
employees who helped with a case.                                                                                               
9:40:28 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MEYER clarified  that SB 194 does also  pertain to adults                                                               
buying alcohol for minors which  is a more serious offense. Kids,                                                               
however  sometimes get  a slap  on  the wrist.  He has  witnessed                                                               
Brown Jug clerks being proactive about who they sell to.                                                                        
9:42:21 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  PASKVAN  asked  if  the   definition  of  "premises"  is                                                               
intended to include any premise open to the public.                                                                             
MR. MADDEN believed this to be  correct; it includes any event in                                                               
which   a  minor   is  illegally   on   licensed  premises.   His                                                               
understanding  is that  statute 04.16.060  [Section 2(a)  page 1]                                                               
also deals  with fake ID's  to some  extent, for example  a minor                                                               
who  orders a  beer in  a restaurant  is soliciting  an adult  to                                                               
provide him or her with alcohol.                                                                                                
SENATOR PASKVAN  asked if the  intent is  to apply to  a beverage                                                               
dispensary, a standard bar.                                                                                                     
MR. MADDEN said that is correct.                                                                                                
SENATOR PASKVAN said poor enforcement  against minors on licensed                                                               
premises has been  a problem in Alaska for  decades. Civil action                                                               
gives  the owner  of  the  premises the  ability  to take  direct                                                               
9:44:26 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KOOKESH asked  how staff  can  recognize a  fake ID  and                                                               
asked if some ID's are sophisticated.                                                                                           
MR. MADDEN  said Brown Jug  staff goes through training  every 12                                                               
to 18  months. Brown Jug uses  about 100 seized ID's  as training                                                               
material.  Recent ID's  are extremely  sophisticated  and can  be                                                               
obtained  through the  internet  or from  kids  with card  making                                                               
CHAIR MENARD asked how many staff Brown Jug employs.                                                                            
MR. MADDEN answered roughly 174.                                                                                                
CAROL HARTMAN, Vice-president of  Anchorage CHARR, spoke in favor                                                               
of SB  194. She has  two liquor  licenses in Anchorage.  Over the                                                               
last  two years,  her security  personnel  have caught  23 or  24                                                               
minors attempting  to gain access  to her licensed  premises. APD                                                               
arrested  the minors  and  she followed  through  with the  civil                                                               
penalties  process,  which  is  time  and  labor  intensive.  She                                                               
explained that  Anchorage CHARR will  handle the process  for the                                                               
licensee for  a small fee.  She felt underage drinking  in Alaska                                                               
is  a  problem  and  the  consequences  are  traumatic  to  their                                                               
families,  the  public  and  businesses.  She  felt  more  severe                                                               
penalties are needed  for minors who attempt  to purchase alcohol                                                               
or  enter   a  licensed  premises.  She   explained  that  minors                                                               
jeopardize  her licenses  by breaking  the law  and they  must be                                                               
held  accountable for  their behavior.  As an  owner of  a liquor                                                               
license, she  could face a fine  of $10,000, a year  in jail, the                                                               
closure of her establishment or  the revocation of her license if                                                               
she  mistakenly allows  a  minor in  her  establishment. A  $1500                                                               
civil penalty would  be a better deterrent to  minors. The courts                                                               
should  recommend  or  require  that  these  minors  complete  an                                                               
alcohol education class.                                                                                                        
9:47:47 AM                                                                                                                    
MS. HARTMAN said  revocation of a minor's  driver's license might                                                               
be  another good  deterrent  as well  as  stronger penalties  and                                                               
bigger fines for repeat offenders.                                                                                              
SENATOR PASKVAN  proposed that perhaps a  licensed premise should                                                               
get a credit for successfully catching  a minor who was a part of                                                               
a sting operation with ADP.                                                                                                     
MS. HARTMAN  said the ADC board  issues you a letter  if you were                                                               
in compliance.                                                                                                                  
CHAIR MENARD opened Public Testimony.                                                                                           
SENATOR PASKVAN asked if an exemption  was needed for a minor who                                                               
enters  licensed  premises  as  a  part  of  a  sting  operation.                                                               
Technically the owner could retain and prosecute the minor.                                                                     
9:50:52 AM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR MEYER  thought that  kids involved  in a  sting operation                                                               
are protected and cannot be pursued criminally or civilly.                                                                      
SENATOR  FRENCH also  believed that  minors involved  in a  sting                                                               
operation are protected  from civil or criminal  charges. He said                                                               
SB 194 goes to Judiciary next and he would to confirm this.                                                                     
CHRISTINA  MARASIGAN,  aide  to   Senator  Meyer,  believed  that                                                               
Senator French  and Senator Meyer  were correct  about protection                                                               
for kids in sting operations.                                                                                                   
9:52:06 AM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR MENARD closed public testimony.                                                                                           
SENATOR PASKVAN  moved to report the  CS for SB 194),  version R,                                                               
from committee  with individual recommendations  and accompanying                                                               
zero fiscal note.  There being no objection,  CSSB 194(STA) moved                                                               
from the Senate State Affairs Standing Committee.                                                                               
9:52:51 AM                                                                                                                    
With no further business before the committee, the meeting was                                                                  
adjourned at 9:52 p.m.                                                                                                          

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