Legislature(2005 - 2006)HOUSE FINANCE 519
03/16/2006 01:30 PM FINANCE
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HOUSE BILL NO. 441 "An Act relating to operating or driving a motor vehicle, aircraft, or watercraft while under the influence; relating to mitigating factors in sentencing; amending Rule 35, Alaska Rules of Criminal Procedure; and providing for an effective date." Representative Stoltze MOVED to ADOPT Work Draft 24- LS1295\F, Luckhaupt, 3/8/06. There being NO OBJECTIONS, the Committee Substitute was ADOPTED. REPRESENTATIVE NORMAN ROKEBERG, SPONSOR, summarized the intent of the bill as conforming and updating statutes to the therapeutic court model in the State of Alaska for the DUI or alcohol related courts. He noted the success of the program, as well as the proposed savings to the general fund. He referred to previous testimony citing a ten to one savings ratio from hard dollars to general fund savings. He observed that an initial review of the pilot program revealed a two to one potential savings, and submitted that the most important element was the saving of lives by successful rehabilitation. He stated that the first program would begin in Juneau, and referred any questions to his staff member, Heather Norbrega. Representative Rokeberg referenced the zero fiscal note, based on previously authorized expenditures under the initial bill of HB 172, the initial DUI felony court levels, and subsequent legislation that authorized the necessary positions. There has been some discussion regarding the national highway safety funds. He noted that $669 thousand had been received from the National Highway Safety Transportation Fund with the adoption of the mandatory seatbelt law. He noted that some confusion existed regarding the local State match of $344 thousand in order to utilize the appropriation. He concluded that there had been issues with the Public Defender's Office, the Department of Law, the Department of Corrections, the Courts, and other issues of expense as a part of the General Fund appropriations. He noted that newer incoming funds would be used to establish new programs, such as in Fairbanks and Ketchikan. Representative Weyhrauch asked whether the bill established a separate court. Representative Rokeberg replied that the program initiated a court within a court or a type of process within the district and superior court levels. He noted that it also established a statutory framework which gave judges some flexibility in granting sanctions and concessions to program participants as long as they meet the requirements. Representative Joule observed that a recent Alaska Budget Report indicated budget changes made by the Court System sub-committee and wondered if they correlated to the bill. Representative Rokeberg stated that the program was not affected by budget changes since it carried a zero fiscal note. However, he stressed that in order for the program to succeed, it required not only policy support but also financial support by the Legislature. He stated that they were currently able to leverage substantial federal dollars by use of minimal General Funds. He noted historic problems culturally with some agencies that did not support such concepts, but acknowledged current progress. 1:53:14 PM Vice-Chair Meyer opened the floor to public testimony. There being no comments from the floor, testimony was invited via teleconference. There being no comments, public testimony closed. Representative Foster MOVED to REPORT CS 441 (FIN) out of Committee with individual recommendations and attached fiscal notes. There being NO OBJECTIONS, it was so ordered. CS 441 (FIN) was REPORTED OUT of Committee with a Do Pass Recommendation and seven zero fiscal notes: four new (ADM; DPS; HSS, COR) and three previously published (ADMIN; Courts; LAW).