Legislature(1995 - 1996)

04/22/1996 01:35 PM JUD

Audio Topic
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
 SB 289 - MINORS, ESP. RUNAWAYS, & THEIR FAMILIES                            
 Number 365                                                                    
 ALLISON GORDON, Legislative Assistant to Senator Steve Frank came             
 forward to testify on SB 289.  She stated that they had prepared a            
 few amendments based on the last hearing which would satisfy the              
 Department of Health & Social Services, Covenant House Alaska and             
 other facilities like the Covenant House.  The first amendment                
 prepared would reflect the Department's fiscal note and their                 
 wishes to grant or contract with residential care facilities within           
 communities for the secure placement of run aways, the idea being             
 to keep run aways out of the already crowded detention centers and            
 away from children who have committed more serious crimes.  This              
 would still allow detention of habitual run aways in a secure                 
 environment pending a detention hearing which would assess the best           
 interests of this child.                                                      
 MS. GORDON noted that there were, taken out of the guide for                  
 implementing the comprehensive strategy for serious violent and               
 chronic juvenile offenders, references to community based                     
 residential facilities throughout the legislation.  She noted that            
 this was something already in place in other states, in their                 
 community based residential facilities.                                       
 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked if this would potentially have an effect on             
 the fiscal note which is quite large.                                         
 MS. GORDON offered that this was based on the department's fiscal             
 note, based on her understanding of their fiscal note.                        
 CHAIRMAN PORTER thought that one of the department's concerns was             
 that they would have to build new secured facilities.                         
 MS. GORDON stated that they thought they would need 20 new secure             
 placement beds.  She was not sure if they would need to upgrade               
 certain existing facilities in some communities to meet                       
 Number 593                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE made a motion to move amendment number one as            
 described.  Representative Finkelstein requested a response from              
 the department before making a decision.  Chairman Porter agreed              
 and requested that they review the amendments prior to this                   
 MS. GORDON then outlined amendment number two.  This amendment                
 addressed the concerns of Covenant House, an organization which is            
 funded by private donations and federal grants as opposed to state            
 funds.  They receive a very small amount of state funding.  The               
 department's fiscal note reflects their intent to convert six state           
 funded facilities to semi-secure.  Covenant House was not one of              
 them.  The legislation as it's written gives the authority to the             
 department to develop regulations regarding requirements for                  
 compliance.  Covenant House was not comfortable with the fact that            
 this would be left up to the department to decide about who would             
 be forced to comply.  This fiscal note would reflect that a                   
 facility which receives an amount in the excess of one quarter of             
 their program's cost shall maintain semi-secure portions, meaning             
 that, if they aren't a state funded facility they don't necessarily           
 have to maintain portions of semi-secure.                                     
 CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that as a practical matter this would put               
 Covenant House in the exception area.                                         
 MS. GORDON responded that yes, it would.  In the bill itself it               
 states that on page 5, beginning on line 10, the officer will give            
 highest priority for taking the minor to a facility that is semi-             
 secure which would lead one to believe that there would be                    
 facilities which don't have semi-secure portions, these other                 
 facilities which are not for habitual run aways.                              
 Number 760                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN stated that he did still have a concern            
 over the "sending to jail" circumstance and he was hoping to get              
 the department's testimony on what the existing conditions they can           
 ever detain someone are, especially for chronic run aways.                    
 Number 815                                                                    
 ANNE CARPENETI, Assistant Attorney General, Department of Law                 
 testified on SB 289.  She requested to speak to the criminal                  
 ramifications of this legislation.  The Department had two                    
 comments.  The first dealt with the section about contributing to             
 the delinquency of a minor on page 2, line 30.  Paragraph (a) (3)             
 prohibits a person over the age of 19 encouraging, inducing, or               
 causing a person under 16 to be repeatedly absent from school.  The           
 statute presently reads "without just cause."  The Senate Finance             
 Committee removed this phrase "just cause," and inserted the                  
 "permission of the parents, the child's parent, guardian or                   
 custodian."  The Department objects to this because there is no               
 reason why a parent should not be subject to prosecution for                  
 contributing to the delinquency of a minor if he or she engages in            
 conduct which actually induces or aids his or her child to stay               
 away from school.  There is a procedure under the delinquency                 
 statutes, but this is not as serious as the consequences of                   
 prosecution under this statute.  By adding this permission of the             
 child's parent, guardian or custodian they would essentially be               
 removing the possibility of prosecuting the parent under this                 
 statute.  The Department would recommend they remove the change in            
 paragraph (a) (3) and leave it to be "just cause."                            
 MS. CARPENETI stated that their second concern dealt with paragraph           
 (4).  The department had worked with the sponsor and his aide with            
 this change in the delinquency statute under paragraph (4), on page           
 2, line 31 and on page 3, lines 1 through 11.  Generally they                 
 thought that this was a good modification to be made to the                   
 statute, but she had one request for an additional change.  They              
 originally drafted it on line one, to read, "under eighteen years             
 of age to be absent from the custody of a parent, guardian, or                
 custodian without the knowledge or permission of the parent,                  
 guardian, or custodian."  This was removed from the Senate Finance            
 Committee with the very logical justification that permission                 
 includes knowledge, but her prosecutors tell her that it's easier             
 to prove knowledge than it is permission.  In proving the state's             
 case beyond a reasonable doubt the state could base it's case on              
 proof beyond a reasonable knowledge rather than permission.  She              
 didn't think this took away from the statute.                                 
 Number 1096                                                                   
 MS. GORDON responded to Ms. Carpeneti's concern.  She noted that              
 they had worked with the department of law on these changes                   
 contributing to the delinquency of a minor statute.  They                     
 appreciated the input which they received, especially on                      
 subparagraph (4) which was a good change.  They've had overwhelming           
 support and no opposition to this change of the bill.  Regarding              
 the knowledge or permission they would object to changing it back             
 to it's original language.  They felt as though there knowledge               
 exists if someone is given permission.  Ms. Gordon spoke                      
 specifically about a mother who's daughter was a runaway.  Her                
 daughter would leave and say she would be back at a particular                
 time, but never returned.  The mother said she would not be sure              
 where knowledge comes to play, is she suppose to report her                   
 daughter as a runaway immediately, what type of time frame does               
 this give her?  The daughter obviously didn't have the permission,            
 but the mother did have the knowledge that her daughter had not               
 returned home as expected.                                                    
 Number 1177                                                                   
 CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that he understood what she was saying, but            
 that what they were referring to was a different section of the               
 law.  What they were referring to was the delinquency of a minor.             
 In committee what they try to provide is, "if it is that we have              
 decided from a policy standpoint that that's going to be a crime,             
 we want to give the prosecutors and law enforcement as many tools             
 as they can have to make sure that they can accomplish that, so if            
 the Department of Law says it would be easier for them to establish           
 that crime has occurred with only having to establish knowledge as            
 opposed to permission, it isn't the state of mind of the parent               
 that's in question here, it is what it is that the prosecution can            
 prove to a jury.  Because the fact that there is sometimes a lack             
 of understanding on the part of the parent as to what it was that             
 they're knowledge was, whether they had actually given permission             
 or not, it would be an easier thing to prove to have 'knowledge or'           
 as opposed to just permission.  It makes it a tougher standard to             
 prove than if" (indisc. - trailed off.)  He didn't think that                 
 leaving these phrases in would affect the position which Ms. Gordon           
 stated.  It would just add to the prosecution.                                
 Number 1254                                                                   
 MS. GORDON stated that in relation to subsection (3) about the                
 "just cause" language.  They would object to putting this back in.            
 They feel parents are held accountable through truancy laws and               
 there really isn't a "just cause" for encouraging a child to be               
 repeatedly absent from school.  They feel it's a stronger statute             
 the way it's written in this version.                                         
 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked if a parent required their child to not                 
 attend school, that this could be an element at least in                      
 contributing to the delinquency of a minor.                                   
 MS. GORDON stated yes.                                                        
 CHAIRMAN PORTER pointed out that by this wording they are                     
 eliminating this from being an element, because they're saying that           
 repeated absences with the permission of a parent is o.k.                     
 MS. GORDON stated certainly not and she stated that this where                
 Alaska's truancy laws step in.                                                
 CHAIRMAN PORTER again noted that this was the section dealing with            
 contributing to the delinquency of a minor as a crime as opposed to           
 the truancy statute.                                                          
 MS. GORDON stated that the language of "just cause" creates a loop-           
 hole where the prosecution is non-existent.                                   
 Number 1340                                                                   
 CHAIRMAN PORTER outlined the two suggestions from the Department of           
 Law.  He asked what the wish of the committee was.                            
 Number 1360                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE made a motion to move amendment number one               
 which would consist that on page 2, line 30 to strike the following           
 language, "the permission of the child's parent, guardian, or                 
 custodian," and insert the phrase "just cause," and on page 3, line           
 1 after the word 'the' to insert the phrase "knowledge or                     
 permission."  There being no objection, it was so moved.                      
 Number 1420                                                                   
 L. DIANE WORLEY, Director, Division of Family & Youth Services,               
 Department of Health & Social Services testified on SB 289 and                
 responded to the two amendments before the committee previously               
 discussed by Ms. Gordon.  She stated that the department does have            
 some concerns and initially addressed amendment number 3.  This               
 amendment would establish two classes of run away shelters in                 
 Alaska.  This amendment was developed to waive Covenant House from            
 the necessity to become a semi-secure facility since this is                  
 outside of their philosophy.  They ran some figures on all of their           
 facilities around the state.  Covenant House deals with eighty-four           
 percent of the state's run aways.  "By introducing this amendment             
 we have eliminated pretty much most of the run aways who deal with            
 our run away programs from being exempt from this law, because the            
 way the bill reads is that they would have to run from a semi-                
 secure facility which would not be Covenant House because they are            
 saying they would not become semi-secure and they would then not be           
 part of the later lock-up and arrest for running away from a semi-            
 secure facility."  She wondered why if this was such a good idea              
 why were they eliminating the majority of their run aways from this           
 MS. WORLEY quoted from the text which discussed the amendments,               
 "the department's fiscal note reflects their intent to convert six            
 state funded facilities to semi-secure."  Their fiscal note was to            
 allow this money to be available if the facilities chose to be                
 semi-secure.  All of the facilities have not said that they would             
 even want to become semi-secure.  If these other state funded                 
 facilities said they would not want to become secure, but that                
 their philosophy was volunteerism, they would then loose their                
 state funding whereas Covenant House because they don't have state            
 funding could continue operating in this way.  This sets up an                
 inequity in their facilities and their ability to provide equitable           
 services across the board for all of their run aways.                         
 MS. WORLEY referred to the other amendment which ties back into the           
 definition of what they were talking about.  Currently there are              
 run away shelters which are voluntary, they are not semi-secure.              
 These facilities are staff secure which means that if the child               
 runs again, there is not a quick way to know that they've left the            
 facilities.  Many of the state's facilities have no problem with              
 becoming semi-secure, but when they get into secure facilities                
 currently they do not have any locked secure facilities for run               
 aways, except for state run youth facilities for adjudicated                  
 delinquents.  The way this legislation has now been changed it                
 would take the current residential care facilities which are                  
 treatment programs for delinquent youth with mental health problems           
 placed in these residential care facilities and converting them to            
 essentially 48 lock ups for run aways.  This totally changes what             
 their residential care programs will be and the department did not            
 ever anticipate converting these.  The department drafted their               
 last fiscal note to establish up to 20 new beds which would be                
 locked facilities.  Potentially these beds could be placed in                 
 existing facilities, but from talking with the funded facilities              
 most of them are not interested in going with this route.  What               
 they are looking at is to establish 5 beds in Fairbanks, 5 in                 
 Juneau and 10 in Anchorage.                                                   
 MS. WORLEY stated that if they pass this into legislation, first of           
 all, they don't have current regulations which allow them to fund             
 locked facilities.  New regulations would have to be established.             
 Then they would have to go through an Request for Proposal (RFP)              
 and granting out money.  This would establish a lag time between              
 when they would have locked facilities available for run aways.  If           
 this bill is passed with this lag time she asked where these run              
 aways would go to be detained in the interim.  Her guess would be             
 the state's five locked facilities with delinquent youth.  These              
 are the department's concerns.                                                
 Number 1715                                                                   
 CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that he couldn't let this go and noted that            
 the department should do a better job with their math when                    
 allotting beds to their facilities.  He pointed out that the                  
 Judiciary Committee was made up of all Anchorage representatives.             
 He questioned the 5-10-5 equation which probably had no relevance             
 to need.  It should be more like 1-2-17, with Anchorage on the                
 heavier side.                                                                 
 MS. WORLEY stated that in reality if they were developing a system            
 with one locked bed in a facility, it's not very cost efficient.              
 Number 1747                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked, "if you have a few beds as opposed to             
 the whole process now, does that do the same thing that you don't             
 want done within the facility, in other words, you don't want a               
 lock up, you want, what I thought I heard you say, kind of goes               
 against the principle of what you're trying to do there, but almost           
 that way, because we've got these 5, or 10 over here which are lock           
 ups, so we're really a pretty easy going group here, we want you to           
 regain your responsibility in society, but not quite because we've            
 got some of your peers over here.  Is that a dual standard?  It               
 seemed to me that you were concerned about full lock up or secure,            
 excuse me, and yet you want to have some security."                           
 MS. WORLEY stated that she was not quite sure she understood the              
 question, but responded that they do not want to criminalize run              
 aways.  They don't feel as though this is philosophically where               
 they need to be going in this state.  They understand that the run            
 away problem is a big one and they want to give parents more                  
 authority to get their children back.  They feel that through the             
 semi-secure process where if the facilities that the state                    
 currently funds choose to become semi-secure, this would mean they            
 would put alarm systems on the doors, the staff would know very               
 quickly if someone ran.  In some cases these systems might secure             
 children.  The department felt as though the semi-secure concept              
 can meet their needs and can assist in them responding more quickly           
 and assist them in getting the information out to pick the children           
 up or getting them back to the facility or their homes.  The state            
 does not philosophically support holding children in a lock up                
 facility and detaining them for running away.  The state supports             
 the semi-secure and they support the strengthening of the family's            
 role in this process, they support getting services to these                  
 families, but they don't feel the lock up concept is conducive.               
 They see this as slowing down the process.                                    
 Number 1883                                                                   
 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked under current law when does a chronic run               
 away now end up in a secure facilities, or do they ever?                      
 MS. WORLEY responded if they commit a delinquent act and become an            
 adjudicated delinquent then they would be housed in a lock up                 
 CHAIRMAN PORTER asked about a repeat run away and where would they            
 end up?                                                                       
 MS. WORLEY said that they could certainly end up in a short term              
 detention, but they wouldn't be placed in a permanent lock up.                
 Number 1915                                                                   
 DONNA SCHULTZ, Juvenile Probation Officer, Division of Family &               
 Youth Services, Department of Health & Social Services testified on           
 SB 289.  One of the ways a Child in Need of Aid or a chronic run              
 away can get into secure detention is through a valid court order.            
 A first time run away does not come under this auspicious, but it             
 takes a child who runs several times to come before the court.  If            
 the court states in an order that they are to not to leave                    
 placement and they do, then this child can be detained.                       
 Number 1949                                                                   
 CHAIRMAN PORTER recollected on occasion that this had occurred.               
 MS. SCHULTZ said that this was not used a lot.                                
 Number 1950                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN asked what the percent of repeat runaways was.           
 MS. SCHULTZ said that maybe 50 percent.                                       
 MS. WORLEY noted that when speaking to Diedre Phayer of Covenant              
 House she said about 64 percent have been repeat run aways, but               
 this is after their first exposure to the program when they leave.            
 Then they come back.  This is why they believe in volunteerism                
 because if a child wants to be in the program and makes this choice           
 then they are more likely to respond to the help which Covenant               
 House provides.                                                               
 Number 2015                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE stated that maybe if these kids didn't have              
 some place to "crash" they'd stay home.  Having said this it was              
 his understanding that it's not a crime to run away, but what                 
 they're saying is it's a crime to run away repeatedly.                        
 CHAIRMAN PORTER clarified that once a court order has been violated           
 a child can be confined.                                                      
 Number 2098                                                                   
 MS. WORLEY added that most of the cases where they would use a                
 valid court order is when a child is in their custody under a child           
 in need of aid, abandonment, etc., under some special circumstance.           
 Once this child has come into the system and are required to stay             
 within a particular facility and then run, this is when a valid               
 court order would be instituted.                                              
 MS. WORLEY then addressed an amendment which Representative                   
 Finkelstein made reference to.  Basically, the department did                 
 support the bill which came out of the Senate Judiciary.  They felt           
 it was a strong beginning in dealing with the issue of run aways,             
 it did not include the locked facility component.  It did include             
 semi-secure, harder penalties for those who harbor run aways, and             
 more parental involvement.  The department assisted in developing             
 an amendment that basically takes this legislation back to it's               
 original version.  This would eliminate the aspects of a locked up            
 portion of this bill, the area which the department cannot support.           
 The second part would address the Covenant House issue, it would              
 change the language regarding the state's facilities from "shall              
 become secure" to "may become secure."  The word "shall" puts                 
 Covenant House out of business.                                               
 Number 2197                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN noted that this second section which Ms.           
 Worley referred to was not in the amendment, the "shall" to "may"             
 language.  He also asked what the amount they spoke about last week           
 regarding the loss of federal funds.  How much money is involved?             
 MS. WORLEY stated that this amount was around $600,000 to $700,000            
 of the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention                  
 (OJJDP) funds, which funds about 30 community based, early                    
 intervention programs that deal with run aways currently.                     
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN asked if this was standard in keeping              
 the federal funds related to the idea that they can't jail minors             
 for violations which aren't crimes if they aren't an adult.                   
 Number 2237                                                                   
 MS. SCHULTZ stated that this was true and the technical term used             
 for this status was de-institutionalization of status offenders               
 which means those children should not be in a jail or a detention             
 facility.  Status offenders means offenses committed by someone               
 only because of their age as opposed to offense for everyone.  In             
 context of the money lost, the way a valid court order works now              
 under law allows them to meet the requirements.  "If we do have a             
 child that met this and we go through the valid court order and               
 that his behavior was based on run away or leaving the placement,             
 we've got that in.  That still leaves us in compliance for our                
 federal funds."                                                               
 Number 2298                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE asked a question which could not be heard on             
 tape and a brief conversation followed as a result.  He then stated           
 that he thought the reason why there was a 60 percent recidivism              
 rate at the Covenant House was because there's no "teeth."                    
 CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that this was the amendment in front of the            
 committee, as well as two and three.  He thought that they could              
 call this amendment as previously outlined by Ms. Worley as number            
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN moved amendment number four.                       
 Representative Bunde objected for discussion purposes.  The text of           
 this amendment number four was as follows:                                    
 Page 1, line 13 to page 2, line 6:                                            
 Delete all material                                                           
 Insert ": and                                                                 
 Renumber the following subsections accordingly.                               
 Page 2, line 13 following "facility.":                                        
 Delete "It is also the purpose of this Act to authorize temporary             
 secure detention of a minor who has previously left a semi-secure             
 program without permission.                                                   
 Page 3, lines 12 to 24:                                                       
 Delete all material                                                           
 Renumber the following sections accordingly.                                  
 Page 4, line 5:                                                               
 Delete "or a child in need of aid"                                          
 Page 4, line 14:                                                              
 Delete "If the court finds probable cause to believe the child is            
 a child in need of aid, it shall proceed under AS 47.10.142(e) and            
 order the minor to remain in the placement chosen for the minor by            
 the department or the minor's parent or guardian, as applicable."            
 Page 4, line 18 following "delinquent"                                       
 Delete "or for believing that the minor is a child in need of aid"         
 Page 4, line 20 following "case.":                                            
 Delete "If the court orders release of a minor who was arrested              
 under (a) of this section based on an alleged violation of AS                 
 47.10.141 (g), the court shall advise the minor and the minor's               
 legal custodian of available mediation services and of the right to           
 social services under AS 47.10.142 (b).                                      
 Page 5, line 25 following "AS 47.10.142 (b)." to page 6, line 3:              
 Delete all material                                                           
 Page 6, line 20 to 31:                                                        
 Delate all material                                                           
 Page 8, line 11 to 14:                                                        
 Delete all material"                                                          
 Number 2324                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN argued the 60 percent recidivism as                
 being a positive thing.  He asked when they'd ever seen this type             
 of success and noted that this was short term treatment.  It's the            
 half empty, half full analogy.                                                
 MS. CARPENETI stated that the Department of Law supported the                 
 original version of the legislation which came out of the Senate.             
 It was determined that the sponsor did not support amendment number           
 Number 2443                                                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE made the argument that this would take away              
 their federal funding, but "then there's the great hope that if we            
 don't spend federal money maybe they won't take it from us."                  
 There being no further discussion regarding amendment number four             
 a roll call vote was taken.  Representatives Davis, Finkelstein,              
 Green and Porter voted yes.  Representatives Bunde and Toohey voted           
 no.  Amendment number four passed.                                            
 TAPE 96-56, SIDE B                                                            
 Number 000                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN then gave an explanation about amendment           
 number 3.  He requested that on page 7, line 27 to change the word            
 "shall" to "may," after the word program.  Representative Toohey              
 objected for discussion purposes.                                             
 MS. WORLEY added that with the wording "shall" this would require             
 that all of their run away facilities become semi-secure, Covenant            
 House has stated that their philosophy is based on a voluntary                
 basis and this would put them out of business.                                
 Number 071                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE stated for the record that Covenant House as             
 an organization that's provides a service which the state doesn't             
 want, they should either change or go out of business.                        
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN quoted a section of the amendment, "in a                 
 proportion that meets regulations established by the department."             
 He asked if this doesn't give them the flexibility that they need.            
 It says shall, but he wondered if this still didn't give them                 
 MS. WORLEY stated it was their understanding in discussing this               
 with the word "shall," some portion of every facility would have to           
 have a semi-secure element to it.                                             
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN noted that in three places they indicated that           
 they were in favor of this.                                                   
 MS. WORLEY said that the Department doesn't have a problem with the           
 semi-secure component, but they also believe that Covenant House              
 offers a wonderful service in Alaska.  Covenant House does serve a            
 large number of their run aways and do have a great success rate              
 even after the initial recidivism, but they have stated that if               
 they are forced to provide semi-secure services they would not                
 continue to provide services in Alaska.  Their philosophy                     
 nationwide is to provide volunteer services.                                  
 Number 134                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN stated that he was having difficulty with what           
 he was hearing because the department is stating that it would be             
 good to have most of the facility unsecured except for a few areas,           
 but on the other hand they're saying they can't do this.                      
 MS. WORLEY said that the number given earlier when talking about              
 "the 20," this number was for secure lock up only, not the semi-              
 secure.  Currently they have five or six run away facilities which            
 are funded partially by the state, Covenant House is another one              
 and they don't receive any state funding.  These facilities as                
 mentioned are all functioning as volunteer run away shelters.  The            
 children make the choices to receive services on a run away basis.            
 Chairman Porter added for clarification that these facilities do              
 require that the child's participation is reported to the parents             
 and the state.                                                                
 MS. SCHWARTZ offered that if a couple of the facilities as                    
 mentioned took children on a semi-secure basis these facilities               
 would maybe only designate one or two rooms equipped with alarms.             
 MS. WORLEY continued that the department does not have a problem              
 with establishing semi-secure facilities, but Covenant House as one           
 of the largest providers of run away services does have a problem             
 with this requirement.                                                        
 Number 172                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN PORTER noted that this conversation raises new issues such           
 as the confusion surrounding the language in this amendment,                  
 whether they are talking about a portion of each facility or a                
 portion of the total facilities.  The department interprets this to           
 mean a portion of each facility.  If the word "may" is added to               
 this amendment they are definitely referring to a portion of the              
 MS. SCHWARTZ stated that it was her interpretation that if the word           
 "may" was inserted this would mean that their six or eight                    
 facilities out there could decide whether or not they wanted to               
 comply, as well as apply for the grant funds and they could decide            
 how much of their facility they wanted to make secure.                        
 CHAIRMAN PORTER pointed out that if one of those facilities wanted            
 to say no they could under the "may" language.                                
 Number 278                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE BUNDE stated that in essence this does legislate               
 specifically an exemption for Covenant House.  "I'm sorry, I know             
 they are well intentioned people but, they're also enablers and if            
 these kids didn't have 'three hots and a cot' they might work it              
 out and stay home."                                                           
 Number 290                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN PORTER pointed out that without Covenant House there would           
 be an immediate drain to the system in Anchorage.                             
 MS. WORLEY said she didn't know in detail the Covenant House                  
 program, but from what she does know once a child has decided to              
 stay there and within an eight day period can hear some counseling,           
 get the parents involved, this program can be successful, but to go           
 to the locked up facility concept of 48 hours.  This is not even              
 time enough for the child to even cool off.                                   
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN pointed out that there are hour long telephone           
 services set up to talk to children who are contemplating running             
 away.  He wondered why if these work, why 48 hours wouldn't be                
 Number 369                                                                    
 MS. WORLEY said there are a lot of reasons.  One of the things they           
 need to realize is that adolescents don't always think rationally.            
 Once they've made the choice to run and then they get picked up and           
 locked up.  What this does for a short period of time is escalate             
 their anger at the situation, the authorities, the parents, etc.              
 REPRESENTATIVE GREEN stated that he didn't want to start a debate             
 here, but "it just seems to me then that if you shall be required             
 to maintain a portion that's different than saying they all will              
 be, everything in there, or if this person has the mentality that             
 being caught and confined whether it's open or not they're still              
 going to harbor that and if there, you have the discretion in                 
 there, you have a few places.  'This one is going to run, this                
 one's really bad, or this one just needs some time to cool down and           
 get away from whatever they're running from.'  It just seems to me            
 that 'shall' in there is actually a benefit from 'may' because                
 'may' tells me that you won't do anything."                                   
 MS. WORLEY offered that adding "may" gives the facilities options             
 to become a semi-secure function.                                             
 Number 441                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN pointed out that Covenant House made a             
 deal with the state that when they were given the capital money to            
 get started they wouldn't ask for any additional state money.                 
 MS. WORLEY believed that they do receive some monies from the                 
 Department of Education for some educational type programming.                
 CHAIRMAN PORTER summed up the discussions concerning amendment                
 number 3 which consisted of changing the word "shall" to "may,"               
 which would allow one or more of the facilities they've been                  
 discussing to not become proportionately or at all semi-secure and            
 that others may become totally semi-secure or partially semi-secure           
 as is worked out by the department.  He then requested a roll call            
 vote on amendment number three.  Representatives Davis, Finkelstein           
 and Porter voted yes.  Representatives Green, Bunde and Toohey                
 voted no.  Amendment number three failed due to a tie.                        
 Number 522                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN moved amendment R2 which Chairman Porter           
 referenced as number four although an amendment number four had               
 already been passed.  This amendment was as follows:                          
 Page 7, line 27, following "program"                                        
 Delete "shall maintain semi-secure portions of its facilities in a            
 proportion that meets regulations established by the department"              
 Insert "that, as determined by the department, regularly receives             
 state money in an amount that exceeds one-quarter of the program's            
 costs shall maintain semi-secure portions of its facilities in a              
 proportion that meets regulations established by the department and           
 the needs of the community;"                                                  
 MS. CARPENETI came forward and stated that the Department of Law              
 had a problem with this amendment since it would probably be found            
 unconstitutional since it could possibly give a competitive                   
 advantage to one particular program by exempting them from the                
 requirements of providing semi-secure portions as compared to other           
 Number 577                                                                    
 CHAIRMAN PORTER stated that recognizing there can be constitutional           
 questions with everything they do, they're not saying that they               
 will accept the Covenant House, but they're saying they will accept           
 every program which receives less than 25 percent of their program            
 receipts from the state.                                                      
 MS. CARPENETI said that this was true, but in effect what they are            
 doing is exempting only Covenant House.                                       
 REPRESENTATIVE FINKELSTEIN said, "it isn't clear to me what the               
 constitutional problem is, but there is, I realize now that, my               
 goal is to make sure Covenant House gets, I'm not sure this is                
 worth it if it's at the expense of setting up this odd system where           
 16 percent of the programs have to meet this requirement.  If it              
 has the effect of driving those under or being any impediment to              
 the existing, the other 16 percent I think it would be                        
 counterproductive so, I will withdraw the amendment."                         
 Number 659                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY made a motion to rescind the action of                  
 amendment number 3.  There being no objection it was so moved.                
 This recision brought the amendment back on the table as described,           
 substituting the word "may" instead of "shall."   Representative              
 Green objected.  A roll call vote was taken.  Representatives                 
 Finkelstein, Toohey, Davis and Porter voted yes.  Representatives             
 Green and Bunde voted no.  Amendment number three passed.                     
 Number 710                                                                    
 REPRESENTATIVE TOOHEY made a motion to move CSSB 289 from the House           
 Judiciary Committee with individual recommendations and attached              
 fiscal notes as amended.  There being no objection it was so moved.           
 Chairman Porter asked the Division of Family & Youth Services to              
 make the necessary changes to their fiscal note for the House                 
 Finance Committee.                                                            

Document Name Date/Time Subjects